Archive for the ‘Temporary Faith’ Category

Temporary Faith – Archibald Hall

February 25, 2010

The idea of temporary faith is taken from the stony-ground hearers in the parable of the sower. They are said to “hear the word,” and “immediately with joy to receive it;” yet they “have no root in themselves,” and they “endure only for a while.” Hence their faith is called temporary, because it doth not continue to the end. This attachment to the word of God includes, not only an assent to the truth of the Scriptures, but some sudden, though transient, flashes of joy in the affections, and some hasty resolutions for God and religion, while they are hearing the word. Their character and apostasy are thus described by Luke, “These have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” Such believers either receive the word upon the evidence of those arguments that satisfy the understanding about the truth of it; or else their faith rests upon the prejudice of education, or upon the testimony of him that preaches the word: and their joy usually arises from an apprehension of their own happiness being promoted by what they hear. Upon this principle they hear the word gladly, even while they neither understand the spiritual meaning of the law of God, nor depend upon the report of divine favor through Jesus Christ.

It is of little importance to us to examine the precise differences between historical and temporary faith, as it is evident that neither of them is the faith of God’s elect. Only it may be observed in general, that historical faith seems more immediately to refer to that persuasion the mind has of the truth of the word of God; whereas temporary faith, as it is compared to the seed which fell upon the stony ground, and forthwith sprung up, because it had no deepness of earth, seems more directly to respect that comfort which the mind receives in the goodness of the joyful sound. Persons may have no doubt of the truth of the Scripture, while yet they never relish any comfort or joy in the declarations of it: or, in other words, they may be historical believers, while they are not stony-ground hearers. It is, moreover, reasonable enough to allow, that the temporary joy may vanish, when the historical belief remains; though it is certain, that there can be no such joy as the temporary believer has in the word, without some historical belief of those things that occasion his gladness being the truths of God.

– Rev. Archibald Hall, A Treatise on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel, pp. 242-45

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Temporary Faith – John Hales

February 24, 2010

Let therefore every man thoroughly examine his own heart, whether, upon supposal of times of trial and persecution, he can say with David, ‘My heart is ready:’ Psal. 108:1 [old translation] whether he can say of his dearest pledges,’All these have I counted dung for Christ’s sake?’ Philippians 3:8 whether he find in himself that he can, if need be, even lay down his life for his profession? He that cannot do thus, what differs his faith from a temporary faith, or from hypocrisy? Mark, I beseech you, what I say; I will not affirm, I will only leave it to your Christian discretion: a temporary faith, that is, a faith resembled to the seed in the gospel, which being sown on the stony ground, withered as soon at the fun arose, a faith that fails as soon as it feels the heat of persecution, can save no man. May we not with some reason think, that the faith of many a one, who in time of peace seems to us, yea, and to himself too peradventure, to die possessed of it, is yet, notwithstanding, no better than a temporary faith, and therefore comes not so far as to save him that hath it? Rufus, a certain philosopher, whensoever any scholars were brought unto him to receive education under him, was wont to use all possible force of argument to dissuade them from it; if nothing could prevail with them, but needs they will be his hearers, this their pertinacity he took for a sure token of a mind thoroughly settled, and led, as it were by instinct, to their studies. If God would use this method to try who are his, and bring on us those temptations which would make the man of a temporary faith to shrink, think we that all those who, in these times of peace, have born the name of Christ unto their graves, would have born unto the rack, unto the sword, unto the fire? Indeed to man, who knows not the thoughts of his friend, some trials sometimes are very necessary; but he that knew and foretold David what the reSolution of the men of Keilah would be, if Saul came to them, knows likewise what the resolution of every one of us would be, if a fiery trial would appear. Who knows, therefore, whether God hath numbered out the crowns of life, according to the number of their souls, who he foreknew would, in the midst of all temptations and trials, continue unto the end? For what difference is there betwixt the faith that fails upon occasion, or that would fail if occasion were offered? for the actual failing of faith is not that that makes it temporary, it is only that which detects it, which betrays it unto us to be so. The faith therefore of that man which would have sunk as fast as St. Peter did, if tempests had arisen, notwithstanding that through the peace of the church he dies possessed of, is no better than a temporary, and cometh short of a saving faith. It is a hard speech, some man may say; but let him that thinks thus recount with himself, that it is a hard way that leads to life. Beloved, deceive not yourselves; heaven never was, nor will be gotten without martyrdom: In a word, my brethren, try therefore yourselves, whether you have in you true resolution: summon up your thoughts, survey every path in which your affections were wont to tread; see whether you are prepared to leave all for Christ: if you find in yourselves but one affection looking back to Sodom, to the things of this life, ‘remember Lot’s wife,’ Luke 17:32 her case is yours; you are not yet sufficiently provided for the day of battle.

– John Hale, Of St. Peter’s Fall, in The Works of the Ever Memorable John Hales of Eaton, Volume 2, pp. 226-29

Temporary Faith – Philadelphia Confession of Faith

February 23, 2010

This faith [saving faith], although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.

(Heb. 5:13, 14; Matt. 6:30; Rom. 4:19, 20; 2 Pet. 1:1; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 5:4, 5; Heb. 6:11, 12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 12:2)

– Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Chapter 14, Section 3

Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.

(Job 8:13, 14; Matt. 7:22, 23; 1 John 2:3, 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24, 5:13; Rom. 5:2, 5)

– Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Chapter 18, Section 1

Q.119. What is temporary faith?
A. Those who for a short time take joy in certain portions of the Word of God, believing certain promises belong to them.
Scr. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” 2 Peter 2:20
Q.120. Where does temporary faith fall short of saving faith?
A. Temporary believers have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them.
Scr. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” — Romans 8:9 See also Hebrews 6:4-9

– Philadelphia Baptist Catechism, Q/A 119-20

Temporary Faith – Menno John Bosma

February 22, 2010

In 1907, Menno John Bosma explained the concept of Temporary Faith this way:

What is temporary faith?

It is a receiving of the word straightway with joy, often caused by artificial methods.

What is lacking in a person having temporary faith?

A regenerated heart and therefore godly sorrow for sin and absolute surrender to Christ.

The name temporary faith is derived from the parable of the Sower, wherein Jesus describes those who are like seed sown on rocky places, and declares they endure only for a time.

Matt. 13:20, 21: “And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth.”

This temporary faith may last a shorter or longer time, sometimes till death, sometimes its true nature will be sooner discovered, as Jesus says in days of persecution or tribulation, or it may and often does fail when the stimulus and excitement which has produced it is taken away. An example of temporary faith is found in the history of Demas, who was once a companion of Paul, Col. 4:14, later he forsook him, “having loved this present world.” II Tim. 4:10.

In what does temporary faith differ from saving faith?

Jesus says they who endure for a while have no root in themselves.

In this their principal difference from those having saving faith is found. True believers have the true root of faith in the depths of their hearts, implanted within them when they were born again by the Holy Spirit. Temporary believers lack this true principle of faith, for they were never regenerated; their faith does not therefore proceed from the depth of their hearts and control the whole soul, but is much more a temporary affection of the emotions; it is not accompanied by sincere sorrow for sin as saving faith is, but straightway, when the emotions have been stirred, it receives the promise and assurances of the Bible with joy, it is sure of salvation without having forsaken the old sinful life, it applies and appropriates something to itself that does not belong to it. A peculiarity of temporary faith is that it is intent wholly on its own enjoyment and salvation, but cares little or nothing for the honor of God, it is selfish.

Temporary faith differs from saving faith therefore in character as well as in duration.

When is temporary faith most likely to be found?

In stirring times, as in periods of war, famine and pests, and especially during some man-made revivals of religion when people are agitated and excited but not deeply convicted, not changed in heart.

– Menno John Bosma, Exposition of Reformed Doctrine, pp. 196-97

Notice that for Bosma the difference is not simply one of duration (i.e. that temporary faith doesn’t last) but one of kind (arising from an unregenerate heart).

– TurretinFan

Temorary Faith – Robert Rollack

February 21, 2010

Next followeth a temporary. Of this faith ye have these texts : Matt. xiii. 20, 21, But he that received the seed in stony ground, is he who heareth the Word, and by and by receives it with joy, yet hath no root in himself, but is for a time, and when persecution and trouble ariseth because of the Word, is offended presently. To the same purpose read Luke viii. 13. Of this faith see also Heb. vi. 4, 5, For it cannot be, that they which have been once enlightened, and tasted of the good Word of God, and of the powers of the world to come, if they fall away, &c. To conclude, of this faith ye have John v. 35, He, namely, John, was a burning and a shining candle, and ye would for a time have rejoiced in his light. The reason of the name is this; it is called Temporary, because it endures but for a time, because it hath no root.

It hath the same object with justifying faith, and which is properly so called, namely, Jesus Christ with his benefits, offered in the word of the Gospel and in the Sacraments; wherein it differs from historical faith, which hath for the object thereof the universal truth. It hath the same subject with justifying faith: for it hath its seat both in the mind, and also in the will and heart.

Last of all, it hath as many parts of nature as the justifying hath. For it is a knowledge of the understanding, conjoined with both the judgments of the mind, and it is the apprehension of the will or heart, whereout followeth also the stirring of the affections, as of joy, delight, &c.

But that I may speak a little more largely of this apprehension, which is in temporary faith, and of this joy. First, it is certain, by the Scripture, that these things are in the temporary faith, For Christ saith in Matthew, That he, which is but for a time, doth receive the Word, and that with joy. And in John, the Jews are said to have rejoiced for a time in the light of John Baptist. And to the Hebrews, there is attributed to this faith, not only the enlightening of the mind, but also the taste of the heart, and that performed not only by the Word, but also by the Spirit; for he saith, “They which have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost.” Therefore, in temporary faith, there is indeed a kind of apprehension; there is indeed a certain joy, wherein temporary faith differeth from historical faith. For in historical faith, these things are not indeed, but he that hath it doth feign, and dissemble, and lie, in his outward profession, that he hath these things; wherefore he is a shameless hypocrite. But he that hath temporary faith hath these things indeed—apprehension, I say, and joy, after a certain manner, neither doth he so feign or lie, as he that hath an historical faith; yet he is a hypocrite, because this apprehension and this joy are not sincere, albeit after a certain manner they be true.

I say, they are not sincere, because they are not for that cause for which they should be, that is, they are not for Christ himself, offered in the preaching of the Gospel; they are not for God’s sake, they are not for his glory, nor for those heavenly benefits of Christ, his righteousness and eternal life; but they are for other causes, as for the newness of the Gospel, which is to be understood in that place, John v. 35, He was a burning and a shining candle, and ye would have rejoiced for a time in his light, namely, for the newness of the matter. Secondly, they be, because of a licentiousness to sin, which men by and by snatch to themselves, upon the hearing of free justification by Christ, and Christian liberty. To conclude, they are for riches, honours, and other commodities of this life. Now, seeing the temporising professor hath these causes propounded to himself in hearing and receiving the Word, and in rejoicing, it must needs be that these are not sincere in him. For nothing is done sincerely, unless it be done in respect of the glory of God. And herein differs Temporary Faith from Justifying. For the Justifying Faith doth all things for Christ himself, for God himself, for the heavenly and spiritual benefits of Christ, as much as it can for man’s infirmity.

Out of this, therefore, it follows, that the temporiser is also a hypocrite, seeing he is not sincere, and that the temporary faith is hypocritical, seeing it is not sincere. Out of that again, that it is not sincere, another thing followeth, namely, that it is not sound and firm; for nothing that is not sincere can be sound. For those causes upon which it depends are not sound; as, for example, those worldly things, as riches, honours of the world, &c. In which thing temporary faith differeth from justifying faith; for justifying faith, as it is sincere, so it is sound. For of that it is said, Col. ii. 5, And the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. For justifying faith is, as it were, a solid body, consisting of three dimensions, length, breadth, depth, for it possesseth the depth and lowest of the heart; but temporary faith is not a body with three dimensions, but only a surface, sticking in the upper part of the heart; for it is not either a sound light, enlightening all the heart, or a sound apprehension, arising from the bottom of the heart; or, to conclude, a sound joy possessing the whole body, but all these things are only superficial in the temporary faith. Whereupon, Heb. vi. 4, that apprehension of heavenly things which is therein, is compared to tasting, or slight touching, seeing that the heart doth but, as it were, with the tip of the tongue, lightly taste those heavenly things, and not quite drink them up, and receive them into itself.

Again, out of this, that temporary faith is not sound, another thing also followeth, namely, that it doth not endure for ever, but only for a time. For that which is not sound, is not durable and perpetual; but only temporary. Wherein also it differeth from justifying faith, which, as it is sound, so it is perpetual and constant. From this property this faith took her name, and was called temporary; now this property doth presuppose the two others going before; namely, first, that it is not sound; secondly, that it is not sincere, albeit it be in some sort true.

While I consider somewhat more diligently of the cause of these three properties, I find that it is not to be imputed so much to those outward things for which this faith doth apprehend Christ in the Word, and rejoiceth in him, as to the inward evil affection of the heart. For the heart of man, as Christ saith, is stony ground; that is, it is neither good nor honest of its own nature. Now, we measure this goodness and honesty, chiefly by simplicity and sincerity, which is opposed to hypocrisy and dissembling. Therefore, a deep hypocrisy, which is contrary to sincerity, possesseth the heart of man. Now, the heart, so affected, doth believe, apprehend and rejoice, not sincerely, for a true cause, for which it ought to do these things, but for other worldly causes. It followeth, therefore, that the cause of these evils doth lurk in the heart. Wherefore, if any man will not be a temporiser, let him above all things look to his heart, and sift and examine it diligently, night and day, so long till he feel that the faith of Christ takes root in the bottom of his heart, and doth throughout possess the whole heart, as much as may be.

Out of these things which we have spoken, touching the properties of this faith, and of the cause of them, a mark may be taken, whereby any one may discern true and justifying faith from temporary. And that is, sincerity; in a word, sincerity in doing, in believing, in apprehending, in rejoicing, and in doing all things throughout the whole course of the life. Now, sincerity is known by this, if all things be done and performed by us for God and for Christ, whether those things be of small or great moment. Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31. By these things which have been spoken, it is easy to gather a definition of this faith. For temporary faith is a knowledge in the mind, and an apprehension in the will, of Christ with all his benefits; but yet temporary, or enduring but for a time. And thus much of temporary faith.

– Robert Rollock, “A Treatise of God’s Effectual Calling,” in Select Works of Robert Rollock, pp. 207-10

Temporary Faith – Ralph Erskine

February 20, 2010

(4.) There is a temporary faith, that goes beyond all the former, and is effected by the common operation of the Spirit of God: nor is it merely taken up with the truth of the gospel, but also hath some relish of the goodness and sweetness of it; and hence the stonyground hearers are said to receive the word with joy, Matthew xiii. 20.; yet this belief hath no root, no abiding principle: it is not the faith of the promise that takes place in the children of promise.—Here is the most subtile deceit in the matter of faith: some people may take hold of Christ, as it were, and really get some sap and virtue from him, for their refreshment, and yet never get in to him. They are like the ivy, that grows up by the tree, and clasps about the tree, and draws sap from the tree, and yet grows upon its own root, and is never one and the same with the tree: so here, some professors may receive Christ, in the promise, by a temporary faith, they clasp about him closely, and draw some sap and virtue from him; but still they are never rooted in Christ, but rooted in the old Adam; still rooted in the old covenant, were never cut off from the old root, and ingrafted into Christ, but only draw virtue from Christ to maintain their old-covenant fruit. I imagine it will be a hard chapter for some here to read, How shall I know but I am one of these that have only that faith which takes hold of Christ, like an ivy to the tree, drawing sap from him, without ever being rooted in him ? I shall offer you but one key for the opening of this difficulty, and you have need to have it opened; for it as much as your eternal salvation is worth, to mistake here. If you have no other but that temporary faith, you may believe and be damned with the devil, but cannot believe unto salvation.

The key for opening the matter, then, is this question, What know you of the difference betwixt righteousness In Christ, and righteousness From him?

Temporary faith may say, From the Lord I have righteousness and strength; but true faith says, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.”—Temporary faith may get many things from him, but true faith gets all things in him, and is complete in him.—Temporary faith, being without root, never rooted in him, hath nothing in him, but from him; but true faith being rooted in Christ, whatever it gets from him, it rests not there, but looks to what is in him,and glories in that: “In him shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” See Isa. xlv. 24, 25. 1 Cor. i. 30, 31. What think you the Popish way of believing unto salvation is? Indeed the refined of them go as far as some professed Protestants; they own there is no salvation but by Christ; and though they do not believe, with application, that they have any righteousness in him, yet they build upon a righteousness from Christ, saying, “It is he that gives a man power to do, and then sprinkles the man’s doings with his blood, upon which he merits their life and salvation.” So many such Papists amongst us, they believe that Christ only can save them, and they go to him to be saved from sin, and for grace to do better; and if they find power to do better, then- they hope they shall be saved; while yet they may be damned, and go to the devil, though they should escape all the pollutions of the world, and that even through the knowledge of Christ, not from their own strength, but from the strength and virtue of the knowledge of Christ, 2 Peter- ii. 20. But true faith comes first to Christ for righteousness, and gets a righteousness in him for justification and eternal salvation: and being rooted in Christ, grows up in him, and hath all in him; and hence can rejoice in him, even when it finds nothing but emptiness in itself; for, it is the nature of it to go out of itself to Christ in the free promise. Hence also temporary faith receives Christ conditionally, but true faith receives him freely as he is offered. Temporary believers take him for a Saviour: but, how ? even in this conditional way, if I be a servant to him, he-will be a Saviour to me; and so he serves him, and thereupon expects salvation from him: thus he bears the root, and the root bears not him. But true faith receives Christ freely for righteousness and strength both, saying, Even so I take him, both for righteousness, that he may be a Saviour to me; and for strength, that he may make me a servant to him, to serve as a son, not as a hireling. Temporary faith and legal faith believes Christ will save- me upon condition of my good behaviour for the time to come; in case I serve him, then he will save me: but gospel-faith takes Christ upon gospel-terms, as he is exhibit in the gospel promise, saying, O I dare not promise any thing to him, but I take him as promising all things to me: and, blessed be sovereign grace, that all is in the promise; for, if any thing depended upon my good behaviour and future service, I fear all would be cast loose; therefore I take a Christ for all, and a promise for all: and, O well is me, that he hath promised all, for I can promise nothing; therefore, I will rely upon the promise of salvation, 1 will rely upon the promise of sanctification. And, in this way of taking the promise freely, he comes to be furnished for a better behaviour, than all the legal and conditional believers in the world; for, as he believes the promise, so he lives upon it.

– Ralph Erskine, “The Pregnant Promise,” in The Sermons and Other Practical Works of Ralph Erskine, pp. 237-40

Temporary Faith – John Brown of Haddington

February 19, 2010

Q. What is temporary faith ?—A. An affecting persuasion of divine truths, and presumptuous leaning on the promises for a time, without receiving Christ as our only Saviour, Matth. xiii. 20—22. Acts. viii. 13.

– John Brown of Haddington, An Essay towards an Easy, Plain, Practical, and Extensive Explication of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, pp. 27-28

Temporary Faith – Zacharias Ursinus

February 18, 2010

Temporary faith is an assent to the doctrines of the church, accompanied with profession and joy, but not with a true and abiding joy, such as arises from a consciousness that we are the objects of the divine favor, but from some other cause, whatever it may be, so that it endures only for a time, and in seasons of affliction dies away. Or, it is to assent to the doctrine delivered by the prophets and apostles, to profess it, to glory in it, and to rejoice for a time in the knowledge of it; but not on account of an application of the promise to itself, or on account of a sense of the grace of God in the heart, but for other causes. This definition is drawn from what Christ says in the explanation of the parable of the sower; “He that received the seed into the stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while, for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matt. 13: 20, 21.) The causes of this joy are in a manner infinite, and different in different individuals; yet they are all temporary, and when they fade, the faith that is built upon them, vanishes away. Hypocrites rejoice in hearing the gospel, either because it is new to them, or because it seems to calm their minds, whilst it delivers them from the burdens which men, by their traditions, have imposed upon them, as does the doctrine of christian liberty, justification, etc.; or, because they seek, under its profession, a cloak for their sins, and hope to reap rewards and advantages, both public and private, such as riches, honors, glory, etc., which shows itself when they are called to bear the cross; for then, because they have no root in themselves, they fall away. But hypocrites do not rejoice as true believers, from a sense of the grace of God, and from an application to themselves of the benefits offered in the divine word, which may be regarded as the cause of true and substantial joy in the faithful — the removal of which single cause is sufficient to make their faith temporary.

This temporary faith differs from historical only in the joy which accompanies it. Historical faith includes nothing more than mere knowledge; whilst this has joy connected with this knowledge; for these time-serving men “receive the word with joy.” The devils believe, historically, and tremble, but they do not rejoice in the knowledge which they have; but rather wish it were extinguished; yea, they do not even profess themselves to be followers of this doctrine, although they know it to be true; but hate and oppose it most bitterly. In men, however, historical faith is sometimes joined with profession, and sometimes not; for men often, whatever may be the causes, profess that truth and religion which they hate. Many also who know the doctrine to be true, still oppose it. Die wollten daß die Bibel im Rhein schwimme. These sin against the Holy Ghost.

Objection: But the devil has often professed Christ. Therefore he cannot be said to hate this doctrine.
Answer: He did not, however, profess Christ from any desire of advancing and promoting his doctrine, but that he might mingle with it his own falsehoods, and thus cause it to be suspected. It is for this reason that Christ commands him to keep silent, as Paul also does in Acts 16:18.

– Zacharias Ursinus, The commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg catechism, p. 109

(UPDATE: I see that another version of Ursinus’ commentary is on-line here.)

Temporary Faith – Abraham Kuyper Quoting Wilhelmus à Brakel

February 17, 2010

Wholly different from this is the historical faith, which Brakel briefly describes as follows: “Historical faith is thus called because it knows the history, the narrative, the description of the matters of faith in the Word, acknowledges them to be the truth, and then leaves them alone as matters that concern it no more than the histories of the world; for one can not use them in his business, neither does it create any emotion in the soul, not even sufficiently to cause man to make a confession: ‘Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well, the devils also believe and tremble’ (James ii. 19). ‘King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest’ (Acts xxvi. 27).”

Next comes temporary faith, of which Brakel gives the following description: “Temporary faith is a knowledge of and a consent to the truths of the Gospel, acknowledging them as the truth; which causes some natural flutterings in the affections and passions of the soul, a confession of these truths in the Church, and an external walk in conformity with that confession; but without a real union with Christ, to justification, sanctification, and redemption: ‘But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet, hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended’ (Matt, xiii. 20, 21). ‘For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance’ (Heb. vi. 4, 5). ‘For if, after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning’ (2 Peter ii. 20).”

There is also a faith of miracles, which Brakel describes in these words: “The faith of miracles is a being inwardly persuaded, by an inward working of God, that this or that work shall be wrought, in a supernatural manner, upon our word or command, in ourselves or in others. But the ability to perform miracles is not of man, but of God, by His almighty power, in answer to faith: ‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain. Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you’ (Matt. xvii. 20). ‘And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains’ (1 Cor. xiii. 2). ‘The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked’ (Acts xiv. 9, 10). This faith was found especially in the days of Christ and of the apostles, for the confirmation of the truth of the Gospel.”

These three kinds of faith do in some respects resemble saving faith, but they lack its being. Least of all is the faith to perform miracles, which was found also in Judas. Faith which removes mountains is not justifying faith. Historical faith comes a little nearer, unless, by reason of a slothfulness and indifference, it merely echoes the words of others without accepting their truth, and thus opens the way to Pharisaism. Temporary faith comes nearest, which is indeed wrought by the Holy Spirit, and affords a taste of the heavenly gifts, but which has not root in itself. It is a bouquet of flowers, that for a day adorns the breast of the person who wears it, but which, being cut from its root, is not a plant in him.

– Abraham Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit, pp. 420-21

Temporary Faith – Thomas Ridgley

February 15, 2010

There is another kind of faith, which has some things in common with saving faith, and is sometimes mistaken for it, but is vastly different from it. This, in some, is called an historical faith; and in others, by reason of the short continuance thereof, a temporary faith. An historical faith is that whereby persons are convinced of the truth of what is revealed in the gospel, though this has very little influence on their conversation: such have right notions of divine things, but do not entertain a suitable regard to them; religion with them is little more than a matter of speculation; they do not doubt concerning any of the important doctrines of the gospel, but are able and ready to defend them by proper arguments: nevertheless, though, in words, they profess their faith in Christ, in works they deny him: such as these the apostle intends when he says; Thou believest that there is one God, thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble, James ii. 19. And he charges them with a vain presumption, in that they expected to be justified hereby; whereas their faith was without works, or those fruits which were necessary to justify, or evince its sincerity; or to prove that it was such a grace as accompanies salvation; and therefore he gives it no better a character than that of a dead faith.

As for that which is called a temporary faith, this differs little from the former, unless we consider it, as having a tendency, in some measure, to excite the affections; and so far to regulate the conversation, as that which is attended with a form of godliness, which continues as long as this comports with, or is subservient to their secular interest: but it is not such a faith as will enable them to pass through fiery trials, or part with all things for Christ’s sake, or to rejoice in him, as their portion, when they meet with little but tribulation and persecution, in the world, for the sake of the gospel. This will evidently discover the insincerity thereof; for it will wither like a plant that is without a root: our Saviour speaks of it in the parable, of the seed that fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root they withered away; which he explains of him, who heareth the word, and anon with joy, receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of thy word, by and by he is offended, Matt. xiii. 5, 6. compared with ver. 20, 21. This parable had a particular relation to the Jews, who heard John the Baptist gladly, rejoicing in his light for a season; and seemed to be convinced, by his doctrine, concerning the Messiah, who was shortly to appear; but when they apprehended that his kingdom, instead of advancing them to great honors in the world, was like to expose them to tribulations and persecutions they were offended in him; and this is also applicable to all those who think themselves something, and are thought so by others, as to the profession they make of Christ and his gospel; but afterwards appear to be nothing, deceiving their own souls.

– Thomas Ridgley, A Body of Divinity, Volume 3, p. 124


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