Faith That Saves
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Heb 11:1. Those who are outside of Christ do not have this kind of faith.
All men by nature have some kind of faith, but this should not be confused with the gift of saving faith.
Even the atheist believes that there is no God and this is foolish faith. Ps 14:1
We all exercise natural faith and trust every day. We trust the bus driver, the train driver, the pilot of an aircraft and the surgeon. We even believe newspaper reports. And we don’t bother to look under the bed before getting into it, nor do we have our food tested before we eat it. Sometimes our confidence turns out to be misplaced. However life would be very inconvenient and perhaps ludicrous without our natural faith. Such faith comes to us quite readily by observation, experience and sometimes by sheer convenience.
Then there is what might be called historical faith. This involves belief of the facts without trust in or commitment to a person. Such faith will not save us. James 2:19
There is the kind of faith which for various reasons does not last. It is described in the parable of the sower. Matt 13:5-7 Matt 13:20-22.
Those whose faith is of this kind have never been made partakers with Christ. Heb 3:6,14.
True Saving Faith
There is an excellent illustration of the trust and confidence aspect of faith, in the time worn story of the man who allowed himself to be wheeled in a barrow along a tightrope stretched across the Niagara falls. Such confidence in the tightrope walker no doubt arose by observation of many previous performances. However this illustration is of no help at all in regard to the origin of true saving faith, which does not come by observation, experience or convenience.
It is sometimes held that God has given all men faith and all that they need to do is exercise it. This, however, is not true since the Scripture explicitly states that all men do not have faith. 2 Thes 3:2
The faith that saves is called "precious faith" and it must be obtained from God in each individual case. 2 Peter1:1.
It comes to individuals through "hearing" the word of God. Rom 10:17
This involves much more than mere physical hearing of the message. Rom 10:10 Matt 13:10-17 Mark 4:11,12 John 8:47
Faith comes through the operation of the Holy Spirit. 2 Thes 2:13 John 16:8,13 John 15:26
True saving faith involves:
- revelation. Matt 11:25-27 Matt 16:17 John 6:44,45
- perception John 3:3
- belief of the facts,
- trust in Christ,
- commitment to Him 2 Tim 1:12
- and obedience to the gospel. Rom 1:5
It is a result of the new birth John 1:13
It is a gift of God. 2 Peter 1:1 Phil 1:29 Matt 16:17 Eph 2:8,9
It is written in the prophets
And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore who has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me. John 6:45 Isaiah 54:13
True saving faith is also described in the parable of the sower. The seed is the word of God and the good ground is the one who hears the word of God, understands it, receives it and bears fruit. Matt 13:3-23
The test of true saving faith is whether or not it is accompanied by fruit . Gal 5:22,23.
"I know not how this saving faith to me he did impart;
or how believing in His Word wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin;
revealing Jesus through the Word creating faith in Him.
But I know whom I have believed
and am persuaded that He is able
to keep that which I've committed
unto Him against that day". (D.W.Whittle)
It is always accompanied by:
- love, 1 Tim 1:14 Eph 6:23 Gal 5:6
- rejoicing, 1 Peter 1:8
- obedience, James 2:14,17 Eph 2:10 Rev 14:12 2 Peter 1:5-9.
It overcomes the world 1 John 5:4,5.
God gives faith. Eph 6:23
God tests our faith. 1 Peter 1:7
Faith pleases God. Heb 11:6
Faith honours God. Rom 4:20
God rewards faith. 1 Peter 1:7-9
Those who have this kind of faith can never lose it because they are kept by the power of God. 1 Peter 1:5.