Faith has a threefold distintion of Notia, Assensus, and Fiducia. That's Latin for Knowledge, Assent, and Trust. It's the standard Reformed definition of faith. In English, it goes like this...
- KNOWLEDGE - the factual assertions of the Gospel (Jesus was and is the Christ, Who died for our sins and rose after three days).
- ASSENT - agreeing that the factual assertions are true and real.
- NOTE - the first two alone are NOT SAVING FAITH. This is what the Reformers call "historical faith", and it is not saving. It's the kind of faith the demons have, and shudder (James 2:19).
- The third element is TRUST, the reliance on Christ and His mercy for our righteousness before God. It is Trust that says, "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling..." Together, these three compose saving faith. I hope this helps.