Keith Hunt - SAVING FAITH WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS IT IS - Part 1

SAVING FAITH WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS IT IS - Part 1

     Jesus, when looking at the time when He would return to this
earth said, ".....when the Son of man comes, shall He find THE
FAITH on the earth" (original Greek, Luke 18:8).  Obviously
Christ did not expect the last generation before His return to be
exhibiting THE faith, in any large amount.
     But is there not a religious REVIVAL sweeping our nations?
More are attending church today than 10 or 20 years ago. Surely
then, is not FAITH strong? According to Jesus He said THE faith -
the REAL faith of God would not be very evident at the end of
this age.

     On another occasion Jesus said: ".....O you of LITTLE
faith....." (Mat.6:30). Then still at another time He said:
".....I have not found so GREAT faith, no not in Israel"
(Mat.8:10). It is possible then to have LITTLE or
GREAT.....FAITH!

     To a woman Christ once said, ".....Your FAITH has saved
you....." (Luke 7:50). 

     A Christian is actually SAVED through FAITH.  Paul was
inspired to write, ".....for by grace are you saved through
FAITH....." (Eph.2:8).  And again, "But WITHOUT faith IT IS
IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: for he that comes to God MUST BELIEVE
that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY
seek Him" (Heb.11:6).  And so it is: "The just shall LIVE BY
FAITH" (Heb.10:38).

     It takes FAITH to BELIEVE God, to OBEY God and receive His
gift of grace and eternal life.

     Today the Lord is calling the "firstfruits" of His great
plan of salvation (James 1:18) in order to prepare them for
positions in His Kingdom. Only a FEW are being granted a
conscious CONVICTING KNOWLEDGE of His TRUTHS and WAYS (1
Cor.1:26). They are the "salt" of the earth sprinkled here and
there that Christ talked about.

     In these Bible lessons of the foundation of redemption and
salvation, the way to be saved, God is granting you the knowledge
of His TRUTHS. He is calling YOU to REPENT of SIN, to accept His
Son as your personal savior and to LIVE by FAITH!

     But WHAT IS faith?  What KIND of faith do we need to please
God?

     Before we learn the answer, let's first be sure we know what
faith is NOT.

     FAITH is not a "pull yourself up by your own boot straps"
philosophy. This is man's method of self-salvation, and although
such ideas and practices may have some reward in this physical
life on a human level, it is as far as eternity goes, useless in
saving anyone. Such ideas that man can FORGIVE himself of sins
apart from God's grace, and live by his own standards of his
society, to be justified, and live forever, is SELF DECEPTION!
This way of man builds confidence in the SELF not God or Christ.
Wise King Solomon called persons who trust in their OWN heart, a
FOOL (Prov.28:26).

     Many confuse faith with EMOTIONS - trying to work up faith,
which is to them an emotional feeling. But true emotional
feelings are not the evidence of SAVING FAITH.  Faith is a
SPIRITUAL matter, not physical.  To LIVE by FAITH does not mean
that you put on some sentimental feeling that tingles the spine,
act or speak in a certain "religious" manner or follow after some
mental or physical signs. This is not to say God's way is
emotionless. It is written, in the shortest verse in the Bible,
"Jesus wept."  He also got righteously ANGRY at times, as when He
cleared the Temple of the money hustlers. 
     True living faith though is not FOUNDED on human emotions.
It's foundation is from the solid rock of God the Father and
Christ.

                     FAITH DEFINED BY GOD

Hebrews 11:1-6

     1) Is "faith towards God" one of the foundational doctrines
        of the Bible? 
     2) Is it possible to PLEASE God WITHOUT faith?
     3) Did the people of God in the past ages LIVE by faith?     
        Did the Eternal give them a good report for so doing?
     4) Do those that have faith seek and look forward to         
        promises and rewards which are not seen?
     5) Does  having  faith  towards  God  mean  we BELIEVE God   
        EXISTS and He rewards us both in this life and that which
        is to come?
     6) Is faith coupled with our desire to diligently SEEK God?

Note.  Faith is the "substance" - more accurately rendered
ASSURANCE or CONFIDENCE - "of things hoped for."  You do not hope
for that which you already have.  Faith then comes BEFORE
possession!  Before you receive what you hope for, you already
have it in substance - in assurance that you shall possess it. 
That assurance is FAITH!

     Faith is  expressed in absolute recognition that God exists,
but it is not a BLIND faith though. It has proved there is a God
by the physical creation around us (Romans 1:19-20). And that His
word contained in the pages of the Bible is INSPIRED and to be
believed and trusted (2 Tim.3:15-17).
     God has given to Christians very real promises, some are for
this earthly life here and now, and some for the life to come.
Unseen as yet, some are. Faith is the assurance we shall possess
them.
     Faith is ACQUIRED.  You cannot "dream it up" or hypnotize
yourself into receiving true LIVING SAVING faith.
     
     Faith comes by HEARING. Hearing about the promises and ways
of God. And hearing comes from a willingness to read, to study,
to listen, to understand the WILL of God through His WORD
(Rom.10:17;  Eph.5:17).

     What the Lord has promised He will also perform. It is
IMPOSSIBLE for Him to LIE because He is PERFECT HOLINESS
(Heb.6:18;  Mat.5:48).  We can have absolute confidence -
POSITIVE FAITH - that God will always do whatever He has
promised.
     Faith is assurance that God's word is TRUE!  That His
promises are sure and that it is impossible for God to lie!  This
assurance, this reliance on God's word - this confidence - is
FAITH!

                        YOUR FAITH

     You have studied in a previous lesson what the word of the
Lord has to say about REPENTANCE, SIN, JUSTIFICATION, and the WAY
of God to the beginning of the road of salvation. You have seen
that ALL have sinned (Rom.3:23). All have incurred the wages of
sin - death (Rom.6:23). That God calls you to REPENTANCE (Acts
17:30). Whatever you NOW DO (keeping God's law completely
perfectly) will NOT erase, blot out, justify you of your past
sins.  
     You have seen that God the Father sent Jesus Christ to DIE
for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2;  John 3:16).  That
through Him there is justification - reconciliation to God the
Father and ultimate eternal life (Rom.3:23-28).

     You then have HEARD these truths. You have studied  God's
word to understand these truths. You have found the promises of
God pertaining to FORGIVENESS and being reconciled to the Father.
YOU NOW MUST EXERCISE FAITH!  You must have TRUST, ASSURANCE,
CONFIDENCE that what God has PROMISED He will do.  Remember He
cannot lie.
     God has said that upon your REPENTANCE and willingness to
CHANGE your life to conform to His WAY, He will apply the very
blood of His Son, the blood He shed on the stake in death, to
YOU!  Your sins can be washed away by the blood of Christ.

     YOUR PART is to BELIEVE this promise of God.  To have FAITH
that the Father will DO as He has said.  You must let go of your
doubts or worries.  Throw yourself completely on God's love and
mercy.  Cry out to Him in HUMBLE repentance.  BELIEVE what God
has said, He is there wanting to forgive you, to justify you
through the death of His Son Jesus Christ.

     When you have done this, exercised your trust and faith in
this PROMISE of God, then the Father has also PROMISED that you
can have the VERY FAITH that was IN Christ(while He lived on this
earth as flesh and blood). That very same faith the Father has
promised to PUT WITHIN YOU!

                     JESUS' LIVING FAITH

     When Jesus walked the earth in human flesh, He possessed
TREMENDOUS FAITH!  Few realize that what He did, His obedience to
God's laws and the miracles He performed, was not done by any
power of His OWN!  Everything He did was done through FAITH in
the Father's POWER - the power of the Father IN Him.

John 8:38,42

     Did Jesus' family say He came from God the Father?

Matthew 19:16

     How did Jesus answer the question, "How can I have eternal   
     life" ?
     Was Jesus talking about the Ten Commandments(verses 18-19) ?

John 15:10

     Did Jesus say He could of Himself do nothing?

John 14:10

     How did Christ LIVE and DO the works He did?

               LIVING BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST

Romans 3:31

     Does FAITH render the law of God VOID, unnecessary to        
     observe?

James 2:20-22

     Is faith WITHOUT works, obedience, a DEAD useless faith?

Romans 1:17

     Must those who are declared RIGHTEOUS - justified , forgiven 
     of sins LIVE by  faith?

Phil.3:9

     By WHOSE faith is a Christian's righteousness, obedience to  
     God's commands,  made possible?

Rev.14:12

     WHOSE faith does God's people have today?

Gal.2:20

     Did Christ live WITHIN Paul?
     By Whose faith did Paul live?

Romans 8:9-10

     Does Jesus live within the individual Christian by the Holy  
     Spirit (see also John  14:16-18)?

Romans 5:5

     What does the Holy Spirit impart to us?

1 John 5:3

     What is the love of God?

Note.  The false teaching being promulgated today is that Jesus
kept God's holy spiritual law in our stead, and that we don't
have to keep it!
     But if you ask those people who teach this NO LAW doctrine
if they mean you can go out and MURDER someone, STEAL from the
supermarket, commit ADULTERY with your friend's wife or husband
etc. they will usually stammer around and say, "well, I, I, ....I
didn't say you could do those things."
     The fact is that the no law teaching has come about because
of the 4th commandment, what it clearly states, and because most
of professing Christianity does not observe it.

     No, Jesus did not live a good life FOR you - in your stead. 
You are not excused from keeping God's commandments.  You are
expected to obey them, to grow in spiritual grace and knowledge
(2 Pet.3:18), to ENDURE and OVERCOME to the END in order to
inherit eternal life (Mat.19:17; 24:13).
     We must be willing to do these things to be saved.  Yet we
cannot do them of ourselves - even Jesus could not do them by
Himself alone (John 5:30).
     The answer is FAITH!  The very faith of Christ IN us.  The
same LIVING FAITH - the same POWER of God IN US that Jesus had in
Him.
     That same faith of Jesus in us will ESTABLISH the law - will
lead and help us to OBEY God, to do His WILL!

     We are "justified" - forgiven our past sins - reconciled to
God the Father - through OUR faith in the sacrifice of Christ
(Rom.3:24-26, 28). But only those who will be willing to go on to
OBEY God's law will He justify (Rom.2:13).  There are CONDITIONS
in order to be forgiven of sins.  Jesus came to save us FROM our
sins, not IN our sins (Mat.1:21).  We must REPENT, BELIEVE and be
WILLING TO OBEY!

     The members of God's family have the very "FAITH OF Jesus." 
It's not just OUR faith in Him, but HIS faith - the same
spiritual power He had - placed WITHIN us.  So He lives His life
over again INSIDE our moral body and mind.
     Jesus is said to be the "author" and "finisher" of our faith
(Heb.12:2).  A better translation for the words "author" and
"finisher" is PIONEER and PERFECTER.  Jesus led the way, setting
us the perfect example of LIVING FAITH (1 Pet.2:21).  But Jesus
also PERFECTS His faith IN us!

     We have seen Paul said he no longer lived by his OWN faith
(Gal.2:20) but by the very faith of Jesus Christ IN him, through
the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God implanted
in Paul's mind the SAME KIND of faith, trust, and obedience, that
can be in YOUR mind.  This faith - the very faith of Christ in
you - will enable you to be willing to obey God's commandments,
to serve the law and ways that are pleasing to Him, as it did for
the apostle Paul (Rom.7:12; 22-25).
     Christ IN us - His faith in us - will give us the victory
over SIN and death.  We will be able to overcome the world, sin,
and Satan.  We will be able to endure to the end, and serve God
in humble obedience.

             HOW TO RECEIVE THE FAITH OF CHRIST

Eph. 2:8-9

     Is this living faith of Christ a GIFT from God?

Gal.5:22

     Is this faith an attribute of the Holy Spirit?

Acts 2:38

     How can we receive the Holy Spirit?

Acts 5:32

     To whom will the Holy Spirit be given?

Note.  The very faith of Christ comes to us by means of the Holy
Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit BOTH the Father and Jesus can
come to live their lives in us.  As Paul said, it is Christ IN US
that is the HOPE of GLORY (Col. 1:27).  Read about the WORK of
the Comforter in John chapters 14 and 15.  It is by means of the
life of Christ - the Spirit of Christ - HIS faith in us that we
are eventually SAVED (Rom.8:9-11; 5:10) to INHERIT the
Kingdom.

     This saving LIFE - faith - is given to us as a gift from
God.  You cannot EARN it, work for it, and so demand it as a
right from God.  You cannot "work it up" emotionally, or receive
it by any thought of "I can do it on my own steam" philosophy.
     God will give it to us as a gift, BUT just as any gift given
to us may carry certain CONDITIONS that we must meet in order to
qualify for the gift, so God has laid down TWO conditions for us
to receive His gift of saving life.

     1) REPENTANCE.  We  studied  about  the  experience of  real
repentance in the previous lessons.

     2) BAPTISM.  We shall study all about water baptism in the
next lesson following part two of this study.

     When these two conditions have been met by us, God has
PROMISED to GIVE us His Holy Spirit, the very saving power and
faith of Christ, that will enable us to obey and say with Jesus,
"not my will be done but thine."

                   FAITH MUST BE ACTIVE

James 2:14-20, 26

     1) What must faith have in order to SAVE you?
     2) How did James say he would declare his faith to others?
     3) Do  the  demons  BELIEVE  in certain FACTS?  Will mere    
        factual belief save them?
     4) What kind of faith is a DEAD faith?

Note.   We have seen that we shall be saved by the life of Christ
in us. The Holy Spirit which emanates from the Father through
Christ Jesus into us, gives us eternal life here and now (1 John
5:11-12).  And if His Spirit remains in us to the end (our
physical death or Jesus' return) we shall be made immortal
(Rom.8:11).  God's Spirit is a LIVING power. Faith is one of its
attributes.  So the faith it will manifest in an individuals life
will be a LIVING FAITH!

     James tells us that in order for faith to be living it must
have WORKS.

     But what does the Bible mean by WORKS?  Some of the EXAMPLES
recorded for us answer that question.  James uses the example of
Abraham (verses 21-24 of chapter two).  Abraham's life is a good
place to start, for he is known as the "father of the faithful."

To be continued

Written 1989



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