The Faith That Saves

Grace For The Journey

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30Aug

There is faith

And then

There is saving faith.

What, you ask, is the difference?

Some people claim to have no faith, but that’s not possible.  If that the case, no one would fly in an airplane, ride in a car, go to school or work, or engage in any other activity that carries a level of risk.  It is by faith, that when you are asked to “sit down” and are shown a chair, you trust the chair won’t collapse.  We wake up each day believing the sun will rise, the earth will continue to turn, and gravity will continue to exert its downward force so that we don’t fall off the earth into outer space.

Faith by this definition –

As a belief that things

Will continue as they

Have always proven to be –

Is something that

Everybody exercises day.

But according to the Bible,

That is not a faith that saves.

There is a big difference

Between human faith

And saving faith.

Everybody has human faith, but not everyone has saving faith.  Saving faith is a gift; one that the Bible teaches comes from the Father that is given by the Spirit of God (John 1:13; 3:6-8; Ephesians 2:8-9).

It is this God-given faith

That resides at the very heart

Of the gospel and

The center of Christianity.

A proper understanding of this kind of faith is important because this faith is the ground of our justification, the forgiveness of our sins, and the crediting of Jesus’ perfect righteousness by God the Father.  That is what makes this faith saving.

The word “faith” and related words like “trust,” “honesty,” “firm,” “reliable,” and “truth” is found more than 430 times in the Old and New Testaments.  The Old Testament presents faith from two different aspects: (1) Of people having a strong confidence in God’s promises.  Abraham’s believed God when He promised him a land for his ancestors.  The outworking of that promise is the account of Israel’s rescue from slavery in Egypt, their wilderness journey described in the Exodus, and the conquest of the Promised Land.

But what underlies that story

Is that Abraham believed God’s promise

And God “counted it to him for righteousness.”

A word that means “innocent.

Made right, or

Being in right standing

From a legal perspective”

(Genesis 15:6).

(2) A second aspect of Old Testament faith is the faithfulness of God to His people and His promises.  Again, the entire narrative of the Exodus and entrance into the Promised Land is centered on God’s trustworthiness.  Those who believe God were promised a righteousness that leads to eternal life, and God went to great lengths to prove to His people His promises were sure.

In the New Testament, faith is presented primarily as the active, responding belief that occurs and the impact on one’s life when the gospel is heard and believed (John 3:7-8; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8).  Of the more than 260 references to faith in the New Testament, 75 are statements to “trust in the gospel” and another 26 emphasize that the good news of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ is true and should be believed.  The Bible says in Romans 3:21-22a, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.  For there is no difference.””  In other words, Jesus was the final revelation of God and His life, death and resurrection are God’s saving plan for mankind.  Jesus kept the law perfectly and, The Bible teaches that all those who have faith (belief, trust) in Him are credited with the righteousness necessary for salvation.  The Bible says in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).

In summary . . .

Every human person

Has a type of faith

That comes from life experience

That enables all people to live, work,

Hope, and have dreams of a better life.

No one is truly without “faith.”

But . . .

Until the gift of saving faith comes from God,

Ho one has the type of faith

Necessary to believe in Jesus Christ

And gain the promised peace

With God mentioned in Romans 5:1.

Everyone has faith,

But not everyone believes in Christ.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit

That brings dead hearts to life

And gives saving faith.

When that happens Hebrews 11:1 says,

We gain a faith that:

“… Is the assurance of things hoped for,

The conviction of things not seen.

This faith is saving faith

And is a gift from God

By His grace.

(Ephesians 2:8-9

It is a hard reality, but a biblical truth, that until the Spirit makes someone alive to God and Christ, they simply can’t see the truth of the gospel (Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:14; Luke 8:10; Romans 11:8).  But the Bible also tells us that “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” and this is a truth found in both the Old Testament and the New (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).  So, if you have been given this saving faith, you need to tell others.  If you have been given this faith, it also gives you the power to proclaim Jesus, to love others, and live in gratitude to God for what He has given you.  Through saving faith Jesus has given you the righteousness earned by His Son as your righteousness and has punished your sins on Christ.  And all of that is given not because of any goodness in you, but simply because of His grace.  This is good news indeed.  May you rest in this truth as you seek to glorify God in all you say and do.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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