Johann Arndt’s work is recognized as the first great literary expression of Pietism. In his True Christianity he lays the foundation for biblical faith and how the believer must experience the power of faith in a vivid Christian lifestyle.

Text is from Wahres Christentum (1606) translated by Peter Erb in the 1979 edition. Used with permission of Paulist Press.

What True Faith Is

He who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God.

Faith is a deep assent and unhestitating trust in God’s grace promised in Christ and in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It is ignited by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Through this faith we receive forgiveness of sins, in no other way than through pure grace without any of our own merits (Eph. 2:8) but only by the merits of Christ. For this reason, our faith has a certain ground and is not unsteady. This forgiveness of sins is our righteousness, which is true, continual, and eternal before God. It is not the righteousness of an angel but of the obedience, merit, and blood of Christ and becomes ours through faith. Even if it is weak and we are still hemmed around with many sins, these are covered over out of grace for Christ’s sake (Ps. 32:2).

By this deep trust and heartfelt assent, man gives his heart completely and utterly to God, rests in God alone, gives himself over to God, clings to God alone, unites himself with God, is a participant of all that which is God and Christ, becomes one spirit with God, receives from him new power, new life, new consolation, peace and joy, rest of soul, righteousness and holiness, and also, from God through faith, man is newborn. Where new faith is, there is Christ with all his righteousness, holiness, redemption, merit, grace, forgiveness of ...

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