1. Born as we are in a fallen race, we need to begin with the recognition that unbelief is our default setting (Matt. 13:58). Unbelief is abnormal, but not really unusual.
2. This means that we are in a state of perpetual tension, because everything in the world around us declares the faithfulness of God (Rom. 1:19), and is declaring it with clarity to hearts that don’t want to accept it.
3. Because our loss of faith did not cause us to lose our wits, we retain a high level of ability in rationalization (Eph. 4:18). Faith and unbelief therefore traffic in competing narratives.
4. This condition of unbelief is incorrigible, and cannot be undone apart the efficacy of an imperishable seed that comes to us from outside ourselves (1 Pet. 1:23).
5. Faith must therefore be understood as a gift from God. It is not something we autonomously offer to God; it is something He gives to us so that we may render it back to Him in gratitude (Eph. 2:8-9).
6. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). The imperishable seed that reverses our natural state of unbelief comes to us in the form of propositions. The Word comes to us by means of declarative speech. And this is not sola Scriptura only, but also tota et sola Scriptura.
7. Once genuine faith is quickened in us, it grows as a seed grows into a mature plant. Faith therefore admits of degrees (Matt. 8:26).
8. Once genuine faith is quickened in us, unbelief does not vanish in an instant, but as with every other aspect of how sin is dealt with in our sanctification, it is mortified and weakened continually (Heb. 3:12).
9. Faith is to be understood as a function of relationship, as we considered Him faithful who had made the promise (Heb. 11:11).
10. We are to walk in faith in the same way we began our pilgrimage by faith. Being a Christian is not radically distinct from becoming a Christian (Gal. 3:3).
11. Faith has a punctiliar beginning, but the faith itself is not punctiliar. The just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17).
Faith, therefore, is a gift of God, and is the natural response to the perceived faithfulness of God.