Part 1 – “Saving Faith”
This is the 1st part of a sermon series on Faith. What is Faith? Faith is a multi-faceted term that is often misunderstood. Hebrews 11:1 states; “ Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” The writer to the Hebrews goes on to say in ch 11:6; “And without faith it is impossible to please God,…” How many of us want to please the creator of the universe, to have the almighty God look upon us and smile? The Bible says that this is impossible without faith. No good works, no amount of helping the poor, no amount of money given, no amount of preaching the Gospel message, …only through faith. Well then it is pretty important then isn’t it? We had better know what faith is and live it out.
In Ephesians 2:5 and 8, Paul mentions twice that it is through grace that we are saved, but in verse 8, he hints at another aspect of the salvation process – through faith. Let’s look briefly at these two well known terms; Grace and Faith.
Grace is such a profound word and an overwhelming topic to cover in a few sentences, many books have been written about it, and the implications of the Grace of God extend to every aspect of our lives.
Grace is defined as unmerited favor, a gift from God. There is nothing we can do to earn it. Grace is apart from works.
But what God in His great mercy does, is he wipes out all our sins, they are no longer counted against us. We are saved by grace. Ephesians 2:9 goes on to say that we are not saved by our own works, so that no one can boast. Imagine if getting to heaven one day was like attending school, and only the top 10% of students would get in. unfortunately many people today think this way and already count themselves out. Salvation is a gift and not a reward, Jesus has already completed the work on the cross.
Grace Glorifies God, Works Glorify Man.
Ephesians 2:8 says; “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…” So weunderstand that we have been saved by Grace, but a gift is no good to us unless we open it. How do we open the gift of grace? The Bible says it is through Faith. (see Philippians 3:9)
Knowledge is not enough we need to appropriate that knowledge to our lives. Knowing that Jesus is the Son of God, Knowing that he came to earth and died for our sins, knowing that he rose again on the third day is not enough. James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in the facts of the son of God, does that mean they are saved? In fact knowing the facts of Jesus’ life and even agreeing with them are not enough.
Faith is taking the facts into account, believing in them and then committing to a course of action that radically changes your life.
Believing in Jesus is not enough, you need to put your faith and trust in him as your Lord and savior. Faith is trusting in Jesus as a living person, still alive today, for the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life.
Perhaps a better word for faith is “trust”. Trusting Jesus as your personal savior, not just believing the facts of his death and resurrection.
But for true conversion to take place, our faith must be put into action by repentance. Repentance is the heartfelt sorrow for our sins, and the turning away from it. Turning away from a lifestyle of sin. Repentance is like faith in that it starts with an intellectual understanding of the need, sin is wrong and we need to renounce it, turn away from it.
Merely being sorry for our sins is not enough, most often that sorrow is as a result of the felt consequences of our sin. No, repentance is a determined conscious decision to turn away from our sins. Thus we have faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of our sins, two components of conversion leading to salvation. One doesn’t happen before the other, they are simultaneous. As I turn from my lifestyle of sin, I turn to my savior and trust him for my salvation.
Are you trying to earn your salvation? Working as hard as you can to be noticed by God, to get a good grade?
Why don’t you put your trust (faith) in him and make Jesus Christ lord of your life today, the gift of grace is free and available to you.