HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Faith is one of the countless gifts with which God has blessed us, and it is so often overlooked. Jesus said a lot about faith, because faith is something that we practice every day. Faith means to believe God and trust God completely.
There are three types of faith:
#1. Logical faith, with which we are born. This faith believes something is true without proof or commitment. A person can believe Jesus was a real Person, and that He did perform miracles . . . but they do not accept the Fact that He was God in Man.
#2. Faith in God, believes in God’s existence and His abilities. This kind of faith holds a confident belief that God will fulfill what He has promised.
#3. Saving Faith—Believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a living Person, for the forgiveness of sin and trusting Him because He provides eternal life with God. It is NOT enough to simply believe in the actions of Jesus Christ or the abilities of God. True saving faith is more than that; it is a personal relationship with the Saviour. Saving faith is the key that determines our eternal destiny.
So many people are deceived. They think because they go to church, are baptized, and tithe regularly, they are saved. They DO know Jesus intellectually (with the mind), but they do NOT have a personal relationship with Him.
There is a faith in Christ which IS saving, and there is a faith in Christ which IS NOT saving. You may say, "But I know that mine is saving faith. I have seen myself as a lost sinner, realize I can do nothing to gain acceptance with God, and have put my trust in the finished work of His Son." My friend, the heart is terribly deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and Satan misleads many (Rev. 12:9). So much is at stake that it benefits each of us to make sure. Only a fool is ready to give himself the "benefit of the doubt" in an matter as important as this.
You may say, "But I know that my faith in Christ is a real and saving one, because it rests upon the sure Word of God." Dear ones, others who were just as sure as you, are now in Hell! Let me ask you a question. Have you tested your faith by Scripture? Have you taken the time and trouble to determine IF your faith is accompanied by those proofs which go hand in hand with a saving faith? A saving faith is a supernatural thing, and therefore it brings forth supernatural fruit. Is this true for you? Does this puzzle you?
Consider the following:
A saving faith in Jesus Christ means that we believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), accept Jesus as the Son of God (Jn.3:16), the ONLY sacrifice that could atone (pay) for our sins. When we have this kind of faith, we earnestly desire to repent and to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him. He will then transform us and conform us to His image (Rom.8:29). As we then walk with God, He will bless each of us all the more with perfect assurance regarding our salvation and our relationship with Him. We MUST have a personal relationship with Jesus! Without that, there is NO saving faith!
There are millions who are already a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. But intellectually, being a believer in Jesus is NO proof someone has been born again and is on his way to Heaven. The New Testament tells us: John 2:23-24 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, (KJV) . . . As He spake these words many believed on Him (John 8:30), yet in verse 59, a little later they sought to stone Him! Among the chief rulers also many believed (not simply 'about', but) on Him. BUT . . . see what immediately follows: but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43). Dear one, this is proof that they were utter strangers to a saving work of God in their souls . . . yet they were "believers" in the Lord Jesus!
In Acts 15:9 we read, purifying their hearts by faith . . . also see (Mat.5:8; 1 Pet.1:22). WHAT is a purified heart? It is one that has been purged of all idols and impurities and turned to a pure object (1 Thess.1:9). A purified heart hates all that is sinful, and loves all that is holy. A pure heart is one that has been cleansed from the love of all that is evil.
Another characteristic of saving faith is that it "worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6). Faith is a mighty standard of operation by which the Christian lives unto God. He walks the narrow path of obedience (Mat.7:14), by which he submits to God and resists the devil (Jam.4:7) and denies the flesh (Gal.5:16-17). And this is done, not because of fear, but because of love!
"Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). God has opened the eyes of His TRUE children (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8) to see how hollow and worthless the best that this poor world has to offer is! He has weaned their hearts from the world by satisfying them with spiritual and heavenly things.
Saving faith saves you from hating God's commands and a dislike of His holiness! Saving faith saves you from pride, covetousness and murmuring! Christ Jesus did not die to obtain the pardon of our sins and His taking us to Heaven, while our hearts still remain clinging to the things of earth. No way my friend! He lived and died so that His Spirit might quicken His people into newness of life, making them "new creatures" (2 Cor.5:17), and causing them to be pilgrims in this world (1 Pet.2:11; Heb.11:13), as those who are not of it, but as those whose hearts have already departed from it. Saving faith truly is a marvelous thing. And it certainly is supernatural!
But what about, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31)? The apostles did not tell the jailor to "rest on the finished work of Christ"; instead, they set before him a Person. They did not say "Believe on the Saviour", BUT "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" a PERSON! Saving faith includes the renouncing of our own sinful, "lordship", the throwing down of the weapons of our warfare against Him, and the submitting to His yoke and rule. Saving faith consists of the complete surrender of my whole being and life to the lordship of Christ! "They first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:5). Have you done this?
It should be quite clear that not all faith is saving faith! WHY? James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (KJV) . . . Even the Satan and all his demons BELIEVE there is a God! Are they saved? NO way! The value of saving faith CANNOT be over emphasized. John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV) . . . It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6). We must believe that God exists, and we must believe He is a Rewarder of them who diligently seek Him. The importance of faith or belief is seen in the fact that the saved were called "believers" (I Tim. 4: 12). The need of biblical faith is also observed in the accomplishments of faith. The scriptures teach that the saved are justified, purified and sanctified by faith (Rom. 3: 28; Acts 15: 9; 26: 18). Paul stated that men become children of God by faith. Hear him: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal.3:26-27). And so dear one, our time and energy is well justified by carefully examining the faith that saves.
An examination of all pertinent verses relative to teaching about faith and the recorded examples in Acts of people having saving faith sweetly teach and exhibit faith as being necessarily and always consists of acceptance, confidence, knowledge and obedience.
Having saving faith is the key because it determines our eternal destiny. Many people are deceived. They think because they go to church, are baptized, and tithe regularly, they are saved. They know Jesus intellectually, but they do NOT have a personal relationship with Him.
#1. A person who has saving faith, BOTH knows the truth of Scripture and practices it (Rom. 1:32).
#2. Even demons and the devil have intellectual faith. We must BOTH believe and bear fruit (James 2:18-20).
#3. Jesus is addressed as “Lord” 185 times in the Gospels. This is VERY important because it shows that the disciples recognized and accepted His Lordship. This Truth is the foundation of our faith, the bedrock upon which everything else is built. Jesus MUST be Lord in your heart and life. And you must have a personal relationship with Him, to have saving faith!
#4. Those who believe must also SINCERELY express repentance for sin if they truly acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (Luke 24:45-48; Acts 2:36-38). Faith and repentance go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other!
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