Part 16 of 22
Evidence of Saving Faith
might say that God Himself is the ultimate “free will,” and man, being
made in God’s image, was also given to have a free will. The exercise of
“saving faith” is the responsibility of the one in need of salvation. This
is an exercise of free will. The Lord presented this choice to
Kings 18:21a (AMP) Elijah came near to all the people and said, How
long will you halt and
limp between two opinions? IF THE LORD IS GOD, FOLLOW HIM!
Some have ask me; “Why wouldn’t God make us choose Him or makeus love Him?” Genuine love is of a free will choice to give of ones self to another. Love cannot be compulsory, or it would not be love. If it were a compulsory demand of God for us to love Him then it would not be a demonstration of love on God’s part, and then also our requisite response would not be out of a pure motive of love. Apart from free will, man could never have a credible love for any other person or a love for God.
the free “gift” of God’s grace is “faith” (Eph 2:8)
that can save us, the choice to exercise that faith belongs to each person. We
must “receive” the ultimate gift,
“the gift of God is eternal life,
through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:23).
Every person is born into the world being “in sin” (Psa 51:5), having the Sin nature. Yet, Paul says, all know Him, and in their arrogance, some refuse to “glorify Him as God or give Him thanks.”
1:19-22 (AMP) For that which is known about God is evident to
made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself]
has shown it to them. 20 For ever
since the creation of the world His invisible nature and
attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made
clearly discernible in and
through the things that have been made (His handiworks). SO
[MEN] ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE [altogether without any defense or
justification], 21 Because when
THEY KNEW AND
RECOGNIZED HIM AS GOD, they DID NOT HONOR AND
GLORIFY HIM AS GOD or give Him thanks. But instead they
became futile and
godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish
reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were
darkened. 22 Claiming
to be wise, they became fools [professing to be
smart, they made simpletons of themselves].
the one who decides to receive “the gift of God” in the person of
His Son, Jesus Christ, “saving faith” is not complicated – they just “believe
in” (that is “trust in”) Christ alone for their
salvation. They choose, deciding to put their eternal well-being into the
hands and work of Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
16:31 And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ
[give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust
yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this
applies both to] you and your household as well. ‘
10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt
believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved. 10 For with the heart
man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto
It is only subsequent to salvation and its regeneration that the believer has a growing awareness of the far-reaching effects of his past sinful and utterly fallen Adamic nature. Yet, this fuller grasp of the implications of man’s neediness and God’s fullest “salvation” is not a condition for our salvation.
Some time subsequent to regeneration, the believer should come to realize just how lost, hopeless, and needy he actually was to receive salvation in Christ as “the gift of God.” He then comes to realize the grace of God. He realizes his only need was to simply receive “the gift of God” by the exercise “faith” – by trusting in Christ. Then also he realizes that salvation is something for which he himself can take absolutely no credit – except to receive it. Many confuse their Christianity with their activity in good works. Norman Grubb once said; “There can be no godly activity before there is receptivity.” John 1:12 …as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…
“Saving faith,” carries with it certain implications that are characteristics of which the one who is coming to Christ may or may not be conscious of the time of initially trusting in Christ. The one under conviction should become persuaded that Christ, by His cross, is sufficient and that nothing else is needed. At the time the needy lost sinner’s decides to receive salvation in Christ, the implications and massive life-changing benefits of his continuing dependence upon Christ are not his primary focus of attention.
The absence of the following may indicate that ones trust is not in Christ alone for their salvation.
1. ONE MUST BELIEVE THAT CHRIST IS GOD and CONSEQUENTLY CHRIST IS THE SOVEREIGN LORD OVER ALL THINGS, and as such CHRIST IS THE ONLY OBJECT OF THEIR “SAVING FAITH.”
11:6 (AMP) But without faith it is impossible to please and
be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God
(the Almighty Sovereign God) must [necessarily] believe that God exists
and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and
diligently seek Him [out].
Few people at the moment of salvation understand fully the implications of Christ’s sovereignty over their lives.
7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye
have of God, and YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN?
Since Christ is both the “son given” and “the everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6), and He is “the Spirit” (2Cor 3:17a) – Thus, Christ is absolutely all. He is The All who is seen in creation and The All that indwells every recipient believer.
3:10-11 …(you Colossian believers) have put on the new man,
which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek
nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor
free: but CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL.
Obedience to the love-commands of the Pauline grace gospel is another outgrowth of saving faith. Beyond obedience, there is implied an absence of rebellion against what Christ stands for.
1:21 And YOU, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your
mind by wicked works, yet NOW HATH HE RECONCILED. 22
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy
and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Though once “at enmity with God” (Rom 8:7), the believer’s rebellion is now put away. The believer then wants to follow whatever He knows of the Lord. One can hardly place his full trust in Christ while harboring enmity against Christ or having a predisposition to oppose Him.
3:15-17 (AMP) So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and
full-grown have this mind and
hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different
attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. 16
Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and
order our lives by that. 17 Brethren,
together follow my (Paul’s) example and observe those who live after the
pattern we have set for you.
2. TRUSTING IN CHRIST ALONE, in all things, is our most genuine repentance; it’s a change of direction in mindset and attitude from sin and self …now toward the Savior. A person can hardly seek forgiveness for something toward which he has no aversion. Acts 20:21 (I Paul) Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance (turn) toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (See Acts 2:36; 11:18; 26:20; 1 Peter 2:24).
True belief that saves has no requirement of the kind of “repentance” that most people commonly defined as “being sorry for your sins.” Some are said to have repented only because they are sorry for some sinful act they have done; i.e., it could be that they are merely sorry for getting caught (e.g., Bill Clinton), or for hurting another, etc., but these are not acts of genuine repentance. To “repent” as “being sorry” really does not necessarily include trust in Christ. The emphasis of genuine repentance is not so much the turning away from sin, as much as a turning toward Christ… to trust Him as the remedy. I recall that the day I trusted Christ I personally was not so much sorry for my sins as I wanted a new life and at that time I simply believed the offer I heard preached - that Jesus held the way for to me becoming a “new creation” (2Cor 5:17).
“repentance” at salvation is more of a first step toward sanctification
than a requirement for salvation. Genuine repentance is “a change of
direction,” which is somewhat inherent with saving faith or trust in
Christ for salvation – whereas once we trusted in our self, now we trust in
Christ to save us from judgment.
This is a limited directional change. There is a greater
“turning” or change of direction that the believer will eventually come to
in the process of their practical “sanctification.”
We may still sin occasionally but it is no longer our way of living. Where once we were slaves of the self and the Sin nature, we now are the Lord’s willing servants – “we love Him because He first loved us” (1John 4:19).
1:9 …ye turned to God from idols to serve the living
and true God;
6:16-22 (AMP) Do you not know that if you continually surrender
yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you
obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience
which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with
God)? 17 But thank God, though
you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to
the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and
to which you were committed. 18 And
having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of
righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and
action). 19 I am speaking in
familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you
yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever
increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once
for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to
sanctification. 20 For
when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21
But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of
which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death. 22
BUT NOW SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE FROM SIN AND
HAVE BECOME THE SLAVES OF GOD, you have your present reward in
holiness and its end is eternal life.