Christian faith is shaped, and its nature determined, entirely by its object, just as the impression of a seal is shaped entirely by the die-stamp that is pressed down on the hot wax.
The object of the Christian faith, Packer writes, is threefold:
first, God the Three-in-One, the Creator-become-Redeemer, who throughout history has been, and still is, transforming sinners into a new humanity in Christ;
second, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate and Saviour, now absent from us in the flesh but personally and powerfully present with us through the Holy Spirit; and
third, the many invitations, promises, commands and assurances that the Father and the Son extend to all who will receive Jesus as their Saviour and Lord and become his disciples, living henceforth by his teaching in his fellowship under his authority.
Biblically, then, faith is a matter of
knowing the facts of the gospel (the person, place and work of Jesus Christ),
welcoming the terms of the gospel (salvation from sin and a new life with God) and
receiving the Christ of the gospel (setting oneself to live as his follower, by self-denial, cross-bearing, and sacrificial service).
Packer calls New Testament faith a “two-tone” reality:
Believing the biblically revealed facts and truths about God, and trusting the living Lord to whom these facts and truths lead us, are the two “tones,” the intellectual and relational aspects, of real faith, blending like a chord in music.
This is the understanding of faith that need to be re-established.
—J.I. Packer, Taking Faith Seriously (Anglican Essentials Canada, 2006), p. 5.