…faith was for Paul [the apostle] not a particular spiritual exercise of moving through self-trust to despair to confidence in the paradoxical goodness of the judgment of God; faith is at its core the affirmation which separated Jewish Christians from other Jews, that in Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah had come. A Jew did not become a Christian by coming to see God as a righteous judge and a gracious, forgiving protector. The Jew believed that already, being a Jew. What it took for him or her, to become a Christian was not some new idea about his or her sinfulness or God’s righteousness, but one about Jesus. The subjective meanings of faith for the self-aware person, and its doctrinal meanings for the believing intellect, build upon this prior messianist affirmation. They cannot precede or replace it.
– John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus (p. 215-6, emphasis mine)
I read this to mean that, in Yoder’s view (of Paul), the primary element of faith, or perhaps the beginning of faith, is not a recognition of God’s holiness or my own sinfulness (as we tend to focus on), but first and foremost a recognition and confession that Jesus is Lord. Everything else naturally follows.