Saved Through Faith
How beautifully the grace of God is set before us in Ephesians chapter two. We see man in his fallen state living under the influence of Satan, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, dead in trespasses and sins. But, by the mercy of God, the dead are raised and the rebel is subdued.
Language could not be more explicit: man by nature is alienated from God and lacks the interest or the ability to correct the problem.
It is grace that intervenes and lifts up the sinner from the pit to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
It Is the Gift of God
This great salvation is by grace and it is though faith. In an effort to interject free will into the process, some say that grace is God’s side of this salvation and faith is man’s side. But the passage plainly declares that faith itself is the gift of God. There is no room for boasting. No one can say, “Here is what I contributed to my salvation. God did his part and I did mine.” No, it is all by grace and God gets all the glory. The faith of which Paul writes is not something which man generates but which God gives. Just as he emphasizes that point in the Ephesian letter we see it also as he writes to the church at Philippi: “For unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”(Philippians 1:29).
Faith in Christ is a gift from Christ, because of what Christ did at the cross on your behalf.
Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
And in the Galatian epistle genuine faith is identified as being the fruit of the Spirit.
God-Given Faith Is In Christ
The question may be asked, “What is this faith that God gives?” It is not wishful thinking or religious sincerity. It is not a subjective feeling or some mystical experience of which the individual is not even aware. Faith has an object.
Galatians 3:26 says, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” We read that the gospel is hid to the lost because Satan has blinded their minds (2 Corinthians 4:3-4); consequently the message of Jesus Christ and him crucified is foolish to some and a stumbling block to others. Jesus said, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you” (John 10:26). But there is good news: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me…” (John 10:27).
Those who are his sheep—those given to him in the covenant by the Father—hear his voice, and they follow him.
And Paul writes, “…unto them which are called, both of Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). When one is called effectually by the Spirit of God he or she is given faith. Now for the man who thought the gospel to be foolish, it all makes sense. It is good news!
The man who stumbled at the message because of personal prejudices, as was the case with many of the Jews, now embraces Jesus Christ as his Savior.
The Apostle could say concerning those to whom he preached at Thessalonica that they were of God’s elect because he saw faith in action. The gospel came to them in power and they received it. There was genuine repentance, evidenced by the fact they “turned from idols to serve the living and true God.”
The fact that they believed the gospel was evidence that they belonged to the Lord.
And we see the same truth set forth in Acts 13:48, that when Paul preached the gospel “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”As James H. Oliphant wrote over a century ago:
“…it is the result of God’s grace that we believe in him as the all-sufficient Savior, and receive him as our righteousness…The faith, therefore, of God’s people is a gift, or the result of divine power. It is called ‘the faith of the operation of God’—Col. 2:12, that is, it is the result of God’s ‘operation.’”
When Peter made a confession of faith in Christ, Jesus made it clear that this truth was made known to his disciple by the Father in heaven: “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus and answered and said unto him; Blessed are thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17).
God-Given Faith Overcomes
Faith then involves an acknowledgement of, and an affection for, truth. James tells us that the devils believe, and even tremble (2:19), but their belief is obviously not the vibrant faith which is given of God. A person may embrace the historical facts concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but still know nothing of true faith.
In fact, James further speaks of “dead faith” which is of course not true, living faith.
True faith is never destroyed since it is given by God and maintained by him, but the child of God may still at times struggle with deep doubts.
In moments of weakness, when one is focused on his own unworthiness, anxiety and fears may arise—but faith will overcome! “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Paul describes some who had their faith overthrown by false teachers but then provides these words of comfort, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his…” (2 Timothy 2:19).
The Lord knows those who are his and sustains his work in them, so that Paul could describe himself as “being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). In Peter’s first epistle we get another view of the position of those who have been given faith, writing to those “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). Their inheritance is incorruptible and undefiled, Peter says.
In contrast to our treasures here where moth and rust can corrupt them, the heavenly inheritance cannot be destroyed.
It is reserved in heaven for the redeemed. Nothing can spoil it, the inheritance cannot be dissipated. But what about the heir to this inheritance?
Although no one can pluck him from the Father’s hand, can he remove himself? No, he is being kept by the power of God through faith. Nothing can go wrong here either. He is being guarded by the power of God through faith unto salvation. He will arrive on schedule to receive the inheritance which is secure.