"The predominating sense in which the term faith is used throughout the scriptures is that of full confidence and trust in the being, purposes, and words of God. Such trust, if implicit, will remove all doubt concerning things accomplished or promised of God, even though such things be not apparent to or explicable by the ordinary senses of mortality....
"Belief, in one of its accepted senses, may consist in a merely intellectual assent, while faith implies such confidence and conviction as will impel to action.... Belief is in a sense passive, an agreement or acceptance only; faith is active and positive, embracing such reliance and confidence as will lead to works. Faith in Christ comprises belief in Him, combined with trust in Him. One cannot have faith without belief; yet he may believe and still lack faith. Faith is vivified, vitalized, living belief....
"Faith thus becomes to us the foundation of hope, from which spring our aspirations, ambitions, and confidences for the future. Remove man's faith in the possibility of any desired success, and you rob him of the incentive to strive. He would not stretch forth his hand to seize did he not believe in the possibility of securing that for which he reaches. This principle becomes therefore the impelling force by which men struggle for excellence, ofttimes enduring vicissitudes and suffering that they may achieve their purposes. Faith is the secret of ambition, the soul of heroism, the motive power of effort."
- James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 96–97, 103
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Elder Talmage's analysis of the difference between belief and faith is not just a semantic exploration. It's a very instructive consideration of what faith really is, and how it can bless our lives. While belief often describes a mostly intellectual acceptance of something, faith goes beyond to the point where the attitude of faith results in action. And even more specifically, faith in Christ comes when belief is accompanied by trust.
There are some beautiful phrases here, deserving of careful pondering:
- "Faith is vivified, vitalized, living belief."
- "Faith thus becomes to us the foundation of hope, from which spring our aspirations, ambitions, and confidences for the future."
- "Faith is the secret of ambition, the soul of heroism, the motive power of effort."