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Salvation Through Faith

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posted on Jul, 30 2005 @ 05:36 PM
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One of the most important, and all-pervading, themes in Holy Scripture that describes what it means to be a Christian is often overlooked, by those of us who know The Lord, when we witness to non-believers; that is the importance of faith.

Scripture and the words of Christ and the Apostolic fathers are very concise and direct on the subject; it is a necessary and non-negotiable prerequisite to salvation and living the Christian Life. Let's look at a few examples in scripture where this is made clear and then talk about what it all means.

"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." [Hebrews 11:4-6]

It is clear in the above scripture that before we can even come to God to ask for forgiveness, from sin, we must have faith; the faith that He is, that He is actually Who He says He is, and that He will "reward" those who seek Him, that is reveal Himself to the seeker and grant them what they seek. And without faith it is impossible to please Him. He was pleased to accept Abels sacrifice over Cain's because Abel had faith that God would accept and bless his offering, whereas Cain had no faith and in fact was only doing what he had been told was "required" of Him; there was no investment of faith in his offering. He did not believe that it was necessary to bring his best "fruits of the ground' for his offering, and so scripture says, God did not accept his gift. Cain was angry; he thought whatever he brought to the altar should be sufficient or perhaps he was not a very good farmer. The point is that he did not have faith enough in the Majesty and Holiness of God to bring Him a "good" offering.

In the same scriptures we are told that Enoch was pleasing to God because he had faith and so God spared him from death and took him directly to heaven. Enoch was a very righteous man and sought to be faith-ful to God and God honored that faith.

So, what exactly is faith and where does it come from? Well, the writer of Hebrews tells us what faith is in the first verse of Hebrews 11;

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

O.K., so, faith is the "assurance" of things hoped for and the "conviction" of things unseen. So, what he is saying here is that "conviction of things not seen" corresponds to verse 6, "believing that He is; that God is there all-powerful, all-knowing and unseen and that He doesn't need us in the least.
The "assurance of things hoped for., then would relate to the portion of verse 6 that says, "He is the rewarder of them who diligently seek Him"; in other words that this All-Powerful and self-sufficient God is also a Loving, compassionate, long-suffering God, who rewards those who seek Him in spirit and in truth with forgiveness and Grace.

O.K., So, now we know what faith is, how do we go about getting it.?

"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

In this verse we are told that Jesus is the author or creator of our faithbut not only that, He is the finisher or perfecter of our faith. Faith, then, comes from God through Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. This is born out in other scripture in the Word of God. It is also, by the Word of God that we obtain faith; this is made clear in the Word of God itself:

"...So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

So, then, it would appear that in the act or process of hearing the word of God( and note it says "hearing", not "reading") we receive the initial gift of faith to accept as true what is being proclaimed or taught from the Word. This should cause those of us who believe to be very diligent in making sure that we are well grounded in the Word ourselves; if God is granting the gift of faith to those we talk to and share our faith with, we must be certain that we are rightly dividing the Word of truth and not altering or modifying it to fit our individual "take" on salvation. God is not mocked and those who are not found by God to be "approved" as "workmen" who need not be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15) run the risk of being a stumbling block to those sincerly seeking the truth.

So what have we discovered? It is impossible to please God with out faith. Jesus is the origination or giver of that faith, and we can only obtain it by hearing the word of God; which explains why Christ commissioned his disciples to go into all the world, preaching the Good News". It also explains why the Lord Jesus, explained that the Gospel must be preached to the whole earth before He would return. We are commanded to pass along the Good News of the Gospel in boldness and in faith that what we do for God will insure a "bountiful harvest."

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
Hebrews 11:6

It is also important to remember, I think, that we who are called by His Name, must still exercise faith in our day to day journey with Jesus; our salvation is assured by the faith that we received when first coming to Christ and it is even more important in our daily walk thereafter. I can attest, personally, to what can happen to a Christian person who loses or sets aside their faith in God and Christ in crises and stressful situations. Without our faith being continually renewed each day we are at the mercy of every attack by the enemy and unforseen circumstance; How beneficial and how empowering is your eternal salvation if all the days of your life before eternity you are constantly and forever being pouned by the stresses and heartaches of life? Without our faith being firmly grounded in our Lord and Savior, and in His powerful work on the cross and presence in our life through the Holy Spirit, we are useless to Him and to our neighbor who is lost and at risk of eternal loss.

Let us be steadfast and resolute, then, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to put on the full armor of God, and don't forget the shield of Faith and the sword of the Spirit. If our faith is strong and a cornerstone of our witness and preaching, then God will reward us, in this life and in the next.

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...."

Ephesians 6:10-18


Grace and Peace to all of you who love the Lord and who look for His return,

Your Brother in Christ,

Lightseeker




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