What is saving faith?

In his sermon “The Way to the Kingdom,” John Wesley reflects upon the nature of saving faith.

It is not, as some have fondly conceived, a bare assent to the truth of the Bible, of the articles of our creed, or of all that is contained in the Old and New Testament. The devils believe this, as well as I or thou! And yet they are devils still. But it is, over and above this, a sure trust in the mercy of God, through Christ Jesus. It is a confidence in a pardoning God. It is a divine evidence or conviction that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their” former “trespasses;” and, in particular, that the Son of God hath loved me, and given himself for me; and that I, even I, am now reconciled to God by the blood of the cross.

This is a much different definition of faith than the ones I am used to. This is because Wesley is writing here specifically about his understanding of saving faith, as opposed to faith as a generic thing.

A lot of the conversation in the church about faith strikes me as taking place on the generic level. We speak of faith much more than of saving faith. At least that is my experience.

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