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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary not.”[20] According to A. H. Strong, “Temporary faith is as irrational and valueless as temporary repentance. It perhaps gained temporary blessing in the way of healing in the time of Christ, but, if not followed by complete surrender of the will, it might even aggravate one’s sin; see John 5:14”[22]. In paragraph 3, we discuss temporal faith in more detail.

Historical Faith

There is also another category of faith, which is similar to temporal faith in that it is not saving. But Historical Faith is usually the name given to the kind of faith which people have who believe the truths of the Bible. A lot of people, who even claim to be Christian, have Historical Faith. Historical Faith is that kind of faith that believes that Christ is the Son of God; that He has come to save us; that He died and resurrected. It may believe a lot of orthodox doctrines. But what makes Historical Faith non-saving is the fact that the person does not, through faith, embrace Christ as his own, in Whom he finds all that he needs. It is not the kind of faith that finds no hope other than in Christ. It is not that kind of faith by which we are united with Christ. It is not that kind of faith that causes us to love and worship Christ. Strong observes that “this Historical Faith is not without its fruits. It is the spring of much philanthropic work. There were no hospitals in ancient Rome. Much of our modern progress is due to the leavening influence of Christianity, even in the case of those who have not personally accepted Christ.”[22] It is that kind of faith that most people in the western world have, who have been raised in a Christian environment. James, in rebutting those who claim faith without works, says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (Jas. 2:19). The mere belief of true facts is never saving. We must believe in these facts, but we must also believe that we have an interest in these facts. We are not saved because we believe that Christ died for sinners. We are saved because we place our hope in Christ Who died for our sin also. Robert Dabney lays out the differences between historical and saving faith out:

It is certainly true that Historical Faith does not believe all the propositions embraced by saving faith, nor the most important of them. Cat. que. 86. It believes, in a sense, that Christ is a Savior, but does it believe that all its best works are sins; that it is a helpless captive to ungodliness; that sin is, at this time, a thing utterly undesirable in itself for that person; and that it is at this moment, a thing altogether to be preferred, to be subdued unto holiness and obedience in Jesus Christ? No, indeed; the true creed of Historical Faith is that “I am a great sinner, but not utter; that I shall initiate a rebellion against ungodliness successfully some day, when the ‘convenient season’ comes, and I get my own consent. That the Christian’s impunity and inheritance will be a capital thing, when I come to die; but that at present, some form of sin and worldliness is the sweeter, and the Christian’s peculiar sanctity the more repulsive, thing for me.” Now, the only way to revolutionize these opinions, is to revolutionize the active, spiritual tastes, of whose verdicts they are the echo—to produce, in a word, spiritual tastes equally active in the opposite direction. We have hence shown that Historical Faith does not embrace the same propositions as saving; and that the differenc...