TEXT: EPHESIANS 2:8-10
TITLE: UNDERSTANDING REAL SAVING FAITH
If there is one word that could accurately describe the average American’s understanding of the Christian Faith, it would have to be either IGNORANCE or CONFUSION. The Church is as ignorant and confused as the world around them. Relativism and Pluralism has engulfed the land and left us in a state of confusion.
There is confusion in the areas of:
1. Becoming a Christian
The views on how one really becomes a Christian ranges from, being good, being baptized, being a member of a particular Church, to just being willing to call yourself a Christian. Confusion abounds and true converts are becoming more rare.
2. Believing as a Christian
It is alarming to see the increasing numbers of people who call themselves a Christian which do not believe in Absolute Truth. To believe in the Authority of the Word of God and the fact that there are Fundamentals of the Faith one must believe and hold to, to be able to truly be a Christian, is seen as folly and fool hearted.
3. Behaving as a Christian
We not only live in a day where a man can call himself a Christian and Believe anything he chooses, but we also live in a day where you can call yourself a Christian and Behave any way you want to as well. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power if it…”[2 Timothy 3:5] describes us perfectly. We say we are Christians, but do not believe in Repentance and the Life Changing power of the Gospel.
4. Benefiting from being a Christian
Again many are so confused that they see no Benefit in being a Christian, either in this life or the life hereafter. Jesus is someone of little relevance to their lives or eternity.
Most of our confusion stems from the fact that we are confused on what the Bible means when it says that:
“ For by grace are ye saved through faith…” [Ephesians 2:8] What does the Bible mean when it says that we are saved through faith? What does Saving Faith really look like? Let’s let the Bible help us to understand what it means by “Saving Faith.” Let me give you a Biblical explanation of Saving Faith by using five words that fully explain Saving Faith to us. Let each examine their Faith to see if it is really Saving Faith.
I. THE ORIGIN of SAVING FAITH [Ephesians 2:8; John 16:7-11]
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” [Ephesians 2:8]
Does this Scripture say that Salvation is a gift of God or is Saving Faith the Gift of God? It has to be both. If Salvation is a gift of God then everything pertaining to it must also be a gift. Therefore, if anyone is truly saved it all originated with God. “Salvation is of the Lord.” [Jonah 2:9]
Let me explain. John 16: 7-11 tells us that a sinner’s first encounter with the Lord is when the Holy Spirit, in a sovereign act, begins to awaken the spiritually dead and blind sinner to the fact that they are a condemned sinner and that Jesus and His shed blood on Calvary is the only thing that can keep you out of H-E-L-L.
I recall my salvation; one day I had no thoughts of my soul, my salvation, my eternity, or the Lord Jesus. Then like a sudden and mysterious wind, the Holy Spirit began to move upon me in conviction. It was He that CONVINCED me that I was a H-E-L-L bound sinner and Jesus was my only hope. The Holy Spirit made a believer out of me and if you have every been truly saved you too have to say that your Faith in Jesus ORIGINATED from the Lord Himself.
II. THE ORGAN of SAVING FAITH [Romans 10:10; James 2:19]
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…” [Romans 10:10]
An ORGAN is a part of a body that has a specific function. I use the term here to speak metaphorically of the spiritual heart of a man that Romans 10:10 speaks of. All of us know what it is to just give a mental assent to a belief, without being sincere about it. Many come to the wedding altar and say “I DO”, but in their heart of hearts they really do not mean it, they are not sincere about the commitment that they gave mental assent and lip service to.
We find Jesus encountering such people in John 2:23-25. We are told that; “…many believed in His Name, when they saw the miracles which He did.” [John 2:23] They knew by His miracles that He was the Messiah, God in flesh, but in verse 24 we read of the strange response Jesus gave to their belief. It says; “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men.” [John 2”24] The reason Jesus did not make a commitment to them was because as God, He could see their Hearts, and He saw that they were not sincere. Sure they believed about Him, but not in Him.
These are the people who make a profession of faith and later on fall away, claiming it never worked for them. Their problem was that they never truly believed in Jesus from their heart, they never were sincere. They really never believed in Jesus. Saving Faith must be from the heart. Believing about Jesus is not enough, Saving Faith believes in Jesus. Did you really mean it when you confessed Christ? Were you sincere? If you were, you can be assured Jesus honored His Word and your faith in Him. If you did not really mean it, you can be sure that Jesus did not save you.
III. THE OBJECT of SAVING FAITH [John 3:16,18.36; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Ephesians 2:10]
The Object of Saving Faith is as important and inseparable for real salvation as is the Origin and Organ of Salvation. Many sincere people have believed with all their heart, but their problem is that they have sincerely believed in the wrong object. The Object of their Faith has been wrong; they have a misplaced faith. Many have trusted in their Baptism, their Church Affiliation, their Religious Rituals they faithfully observe, their good lifestyle and works, etc. Proverbs 16:25 tells us that; “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is death.” Jesus called these many ways the “…broad…way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in that way.” [Matthew 7:14]
The verses I have listed, along with many others tell us plainly the JESUS and JESUS ALONE is the ONLY WAY of SALVATION. If you are trusting in anyone, in anything, or in Jesus plus anything else, you do not have Saving Faith.
May I also warn you not to be deceived by others into believing that ALLAH is the same God as the Christian God, but with a different name. That is Blasphemy, that is Heresy, that is a LIE. We are “…created in Christ Jesus…” [Ephesians 2:10] not Allah. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]
Acts 4:12 makes it clear that we all must be saved and that we all must be saved the same way and Jesus is the only way for all men.
IV. THE OUTCOME of SAVING FAITH [Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17]
Real Saving Faith in Jesus unleashes the Power of God in a person’s life. As the Lord tells us: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
Whom the Lord chooses, He changes. We live in the day where it is popular to “Have a form a godliness,but denying the power of it…” [2 Timothy 3:5], but as someone has rightly said; “If your religion has not changed you, you need to change your religion.”
When Jesus saves a man He does not patch him up, He makes him a new man from the inside out. What he used to love he now loathes and vice-versa. Too many Church members have walked the aisle, shook the preachers hand, went under the baptismal waters, and came up the same old sinner. They drink their same beer as before, they go to the same places as before, they curse just like before, they run with the same crowd as before, the fact is, that they are the same as before. They have never been Born Again.
I have noticed that every time that the Salvation experience is spoken of in the New Testament that is is described in drastic terms. From death into life; from darkness into light; a new creation, and born again, for a few examples. These describe salvation as having a dramatic Outcome on a man. A drunk finds sobriety, the immoral begin to live a pure life, the bound find freedom, the mean man becomes as gentle as a little lamb. Was that the Outcome of your faith? If not, it was not Saving Faith.
V. THE ONGOING of SAVING FAITH [Romans 1:17; 8:29; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 3:14]
If the Bible makes anything clear, it makes it clear that Saving Faith is not a ONE TIME ACT, nor a SHORT TIME ACT, nor a PART TIME ACT, but a LIFETIME ACT. It is the way of life for the true believer. The Church Rolls are full of members who walked the aisle and were baptized, but now they either rarely attend and serve the Lord, or they have dropped out all together, or they never returned after they were baptized. What is to be said of such people? If we say what the Bible says, we have to say that whatever faith they had, it was not Saving Faith. Faith is a way of life for the true believer, our end has been predetermined from the beginning and the Lord does not stop what He starts until He has finished it. There will be many times in every Christians life where their Faith may seem to be all but lost, but just at that moment the Lord will re-ignite your Faith in Him and you are back in the race again. (1 Peter 1:5) Has your Faith been an ONGOING FAITH? If not, it was not Genuine Saving Faith from the beginning.
I believe that many Church Members would have to admit that the Faith I have just described does not describe many of their fellow members. If that is the case, then I must tell you that many of your fellow members are not saved, and if that does not describe you, the Lord has commanded me to tell you that you too are still lost and in your sins, headed for an eternity in the “Lake of Fire burning with brimstone…” [Revelation 19:20] in which you “…shall be tormented day and night forever and ever. [Revelation 20:10]
It is not too late to come to Jesus with all of your heart and trust Him and Him alone to save you. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and sup with him, and he with Me.” [Revelation 3:20]
Today, if you hear Jesus knocking at your heart’s door, if you will open it and invite Him in, He promises to come in and save you at that very moment.