About "Saving Faith"
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
This is part 1 of a two-part Bible study.
In certain situations, this study may be
used as a "stand alone" commentary in order
to address specific questions about the
nature of Christ's salvation. To access
part 2 of this study, click on the
SOZO: The Three-Fold
Salvation of God
Return To Home Page
Many of our articles and commentaries focus on the ongoing institutional church war against “the truth of the Gospel of Christ”. The authentic Gospel, which provides our “free justification by faith” is the doorway into Christ’s salvation--and makes this subject the most important in the Bible. The Gospel outlines how the salvation of Christ is obtained today and carries eternal implications. Our website appears to be narrowly focused for this reason. Jesus taught that "God's way, which leads to life" is a narrow way that few find (Matthew 7:13-14). After the cross this "narrow way" takes on a different meaning, which tends to anger many overly religious people. We attempt to follow Christ’s example, who often taught by contrasting wrong religious tradition with His Father’s truth. Yet, many church members and self-proclaimed Bible believers become upset or even combative when God begins to reveal that their cherished beliefs do not agree with Scripture. This is part of the “spiritual growth process” every Christian believer experiences--and it's almost never pleasant. When we go through these emotional trials a decision must be made. We can change and align ourselves with God's revealed will--or choose to stay with “our way” and continue to hold wrong beliefs. Jesus suggested that choosing our way instead of His way is--"the broad way that leads to destruction".
More insight into this problem is
available at the following link:
Unbelief--The 800-Pound Gorilla In
The Church That Everyone Ignores
One of our purposes is to draw attention to the hidden spiritual threats to the Gospel that operate inside the world-wide Christian Church. It’s impossible to cover all of these issues because there are so many. For this reason, we choose to limit our studies and examine some of the most dangerous. One such influence is corrupting and redefining (changing) Christ’s salvation. It is always done with the best of intentions and cannot be easily identified or discerned. It is practiced quietly and covertly through distorting the Bible's context. Some theologians refer to this common way of handling the Bible as “allegorizing [ or spiritualizing ] Scripture”. Saint Paul condemned it as “handling the Word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2). This method of interpretation can't be easily discerned by the average church member or Bible believer because out-of-context teaching continues to look and sound like Bible truth. Saint Paul warned that this was one of the worst sin committed by church leadership because it illegally alters or modifies the New Covenant definition of the Gospel. When the principles that govern salvation are subtly changed into something that God does not honor, IT MEANS WE COULD BE TRYING TO LIVE FOR CHRIST UNDER THE ILLUSION THAT WE POSSESS SALVATION--WHEN WE DON’T. Many church members proudly call themselves “a Bible believer or fundamentalist”, yet unknowingly interpret and believe the Bible wrong. Concerning the Gospel of Christ, which tells us how to obtain eternal life, this is not a trivial problem. Never let anyone persuade you that all the different beliefs about salvation circulating around the church are only a “difference of opinion” that should be set aside to keep from being divisive. Why? These “different beliefs [which are actually a different gospel] affect a person’s future destiny involving heaven and hell, eternal life or eternal death.
Understanding the Principles Behind
Christ's New Covenant "Saving Faith"
In any discussion about the truth of the Gospel of Christ, the subject of "saving faith" eventually comes to the forefront. To properly address this subject, we must first look at some basic principles on which our salvation is established. Contrary to popular yet false teaching about salvation, God does not relate with people today the same way as He did before the cross. The sacrifice of Christ changed all the previous rules governing salvation. This “change of rules” occurs through the New Covenant, which is known as, “The new and living way of Christ”. Additional information is available at the following links:
The New Covenant: Christ's Great Salvation
The Holy Spirit's Role in Salvation
After the Cross
Recognizing Religious Deception:
The Shocking Decision of the Acts
Chapter 15 Apostolic Council
After the crucifixion of Christ, the Bible teaches that we now acquire eternal life through a special kind of faith that does not require works. This is why Saint Paul sternly warned the Church to “examine themselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5) to make sure they were walking in this “New Covenant faith in Christ”, which didn’t begin to operate until AFTER THE CROSS. Tragically, this incredible spiritual truth runs contrary to the beliefs held by many professing Christians. Receiving salvation through "a faith without works" (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:4-8, Romans 11:6 and Titus 3:5-7) is made possible through something Scripture calls "God's Grace". We see Grace in operation when God freely gives a person a valuable benefit without any consideration to their merit, good behavior or personal worthiness. He offers it freely to undeserving people. God emphasizes the free nature of His salvation by referring to it as "the gift of eternal life". A gift is something that is previously bought and paid for by one person and freely given to someone else without conditions or cost. Just because the gift didn’t cost the recipient anything, DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS CHEAP OR WORTHLESS.
Dangerous Religious Propaganda
In an effort to propagate a popular and historic counterfeit Christian gospel, many preachers and evangelists (and those that follow them) attempt to characterize God's gift as something cheap simply because it is given freely (without cost). You will often hear these ministers refer to the free gift message of the Gospel as; greasy grace, easy believism or "the watered-down gospel". They condemn it as “easy and watered-down” because it contradicts and threatens their unbiblical and out-of-context works-based salvation doctrine. One enraged fundamentalist preacher condemned those that embrace the “free gift” evangelistic message as "belonging to the grace cult" and suggested that they were “of the devil”. I suppose that this particular individual failed to read the Bible--especially where it teaches that God is the one who said His gift of eternal life was free. Attempting to discredit something that comes from God by saying that it's “of the devil” is a popular practice in some fundamentalist and reformed theology churches. The Pharisees used it against Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Jesus called it “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” and it continues to carry very severe spiritual consequences. Keep in mind that many of these accusations are coming from popular preachers, ministries, denominations and people that claim to be "Bible-believers". Many do not engage in "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" (as the preacher in our example). However, among those that do it still involves an influential segment of the institutional Christian Church. They are not some small “fringe” group that can be ignored.
We mention these shocking examples to warn about those who take the forbidden liberty of attaching additional character, behavioral and performance conditions to the gift of eternal life, which were not originally put there by God. It is now imperative that we don’t just believe someone because they represent “the clergy” and hold a seminary degree. Regardless of their religious title or office, we must closely examine a minister's doctrine, especially the kind of gospel message they preach and believe. Every Bible teaching that claims to be "the gospel" does not necessarily come from God, just because a preacher or evangelist says so. A good Biblical example of this type of discernment is where Jesus spoke some surprisingly harsh words about some errant apostles and commended the believers at Ephesus for their diligence in exposing them.
Note: An apostle represents one of the highest levels of spiritual authority in the Church.
"To the church of Ephesus, Jesus said, 'I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. AND YOU HAVE TESTED THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES AND ARE NOT, AND FOUND THEM TO BE LIARS . . .'" (Revelations 2:2 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
One Baptist Bible scholar, Dr. Ernest Pickering, gave a sober warning to the Church about those that preach the popular "Lordship Salvation doctrine", which changes the principles that govern Christ's Gospel message.
"One of the chief objections to the notion of ‘Lordship salvation’ is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to sinners that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of "Lordship salvation" tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God. At the point of gospel presentation they do not know what things those are, nor does the personal worker seeking to point them to Jesus know. There is a vast and significant difference between believing on Christ for salvation and learning from Him as our Lord....None of us are happy with shoddy, fleshly, and disobedient Christians. But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel. Well over 100 times in the New Testament, we are told that salvation is by faith or through believing. It is a very serious matter to add an ingredient to the gospel of salvation which is not found in the New Testament....Our task is to keep preaching the plain, simple gospel of free grace. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to produce in true believers those qualities of righteousness which we all devoutly long to see."
[Lordship Salvation, by Dr. Ernest Pickering, published by Baptist World Mission, P.O. Box 1463, Decatur, AL 35602]
More detailed information is available
about this popular stealth evangelistic
message at the following links:
What Is Wrong With Lordship Salvation?
By Dr. Andy Woods (PDF Format)
The Prime Directive of Christ's
Another warning that complements the one given by Dr. Pickering was delivered nearly 70 years ago and comes from former Moody Memorial Church pastor, Harry Ironside (1876-1951).
“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. THESE THINGS ARE PROPER IN THEIR PLACE, BUT THEY DO NOT CONSTITUTE THE GOSPEL; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past...
Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. YOU MAY DO ALL THESE THINGS, AND YET NEVER BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND CONSEQUENTLY NEVER BE SAVED AT ALL.”
[ Dr. Harry A. Ironside, from his famous sermon: What Is The Gospel?--Emphasis Added ]
Providing the above information in this
commentary should not necessarily be
interpreted as complete agreement with
the theology, eschatology or political
views of Dr. Ernest Pickering or.
Dr. Harry Ironside.
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under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the “fair use”
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Jesus Christ paid the entire price so that eternal life could be given to us as a gift. This valuable blessing wasn’t cheap or “watered down”. It cost Jesus His life and blood. If it isn't free like the Bible says, God lied when He called it a gift. The following Scriptures reveal this incredible truth:
"...NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, THAT HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)
“Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. BUT TO HIM WHO DOES NOT WORK BUT BELIEVES ON HIM WHO JUSTIFIES THE UNGODLY, HIS FAITH IS ACCOUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man TO WHOM GOD IMPUTES RIGHTEOUSNESS APART FROM WORKS: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; BLESSED IS THE MAN TO WHOM THE LORD SHALL NOT IMPUTE SIN." (Romans 4:4-8)
"For the wages of sin is death, but THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD." (Romans 6:23)
"FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
"AND IF BY GRACE, THEN IT IS NO LONGER OF WORKS; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work." (Romans 11:6)
"...BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS, whom God set forth as a propitiation BY HIS BLOOD, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26 -- Emphasis Mine)
Eternal life was not offered as a gift under the Old Testament administration of the Law, WHICH OPERATED BEFORE THE CROSS.
"Saving Faith" According to
The Counterfeit Gospel
As previously discussed, the Bible warns that there is both an authentic and a counterfeit gospel of Christ operating inside the world-wide Christian Church. As a result, there are both authentic and counterfeit rules governing the subject of “saving faith”. The counterfeit adds various character and behavioral requirements before a person can obtain [and keep] God's gift of eternal life. In other words, God’s gift is subtly redefined (changed) into something that is not a gift.
Here’s one example:
A pastor gave an alter call to receive Christ during one of his services. He then warned those who responded that God would "look into their heart to see if they possessed a willingness to obey Christ". He continued ... “If God doesn’t see a sufficient willingness to obey Christ’s authority as Lord (usually taught as obedience to some ethical code or derivative of Old Testament Law), He won’t save you--even if you ‘call upon the name of the Lord Jesus’ as Romans 10:8-13 instructs”.
Countless expressions and variations of this toxic kind of evangelism and theology exist in the world-wide institutional church. MANY PREACHERS OF THIS DOCTRINE WRONGLY DEFINE OUR WILLINGNESS OR COMMITMENT TO OBEY GOD (OR CHRIST'S LORDSHIP), AS "SAVING FAITH". They say that if God looks into your heart and doesn’t see “saving faith” (as they define it), He won’t allow you to obtain eternal life (salvation) regardless of how sincerely you “call upon the name of Jesus the Lord” (Romans 8:13). Some preachers express the error like this: “God won’t save anyone who He can’t command”. As a result of this false teaching, when the Christian believer eventually experiences doubts about their salvation (something God freely gives them because His Son paid for it), they are told that they probably never had “saving faith” to begin with. Imagine the kind of intense fear and mental torment this generates. In order to address this problem, the preacher then insists that the doubts are being caused by either a lack of repenting from sin--or by failing to be obedient or faithful enough to God. They are told: “If you want the torment of fear and doubt to go away -- repent and be more obedient!” This kind of religious nonsensical advice reminds me of a comical saying among soldiers in the military; “The beatings will continue until morale has improved”. But, there’s nothing funny about religious doubt and fear. Millions of professing Christians live under this sort of oppressive teaching. The instruction of these preachers improperly exploits the fear of losing salvation (understood as being destined for hell) as a powerful “control mechanism” to motivate church members to obey their teachings. IT IS ONE OF THE DOMINATING TYPES OF AUTHORITY THAT JESUS FORBIDS HIS LEADERS TO PRACTICE (Matthew 20:25-28 and Mark 10:42-45). The apostle Peter also warned shepherds and leaders about using this kind of authority (1 Peter 5:1-4). Using the fear of losing eternal life once you have it (as a way to coerce a congregation to obey church leadership) is a common tactic that goes all the way back to the same heresy that Saint Paul condemned in the Galatian Church of the first century.
To refute this kind of false theology, Saint Paul made the following statement:
"FOR GOD'S GIFTS AND HIS CALL ARE IRREVOCABLE. [ He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call. ]" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible—Emphasis Added)
The easily found fear-based manipulative theology we warn about in this study IS NOT FROM GOD, which is one reason Christ’s Grace Gospel is under attack from within the church. The free gift takes away this oppressive tool of religious coercion and greatly limits the abuse of spiritual authority that’s common in the world-wide church. Some spiritual leaders are secretly angered because they don’t want to lose this kind of dominating authority. It's one reason they twist and allegorize the Scriptures away from the context God intended. There’s nothing wrong with repenting from sin and desiring to be more obedient and faithful to God FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. Yet, well-meaning ministers continue to tirelessly labor to undermine God’s Grace. They think it wrongly gives the believer free access to Christ’s salvation (or too much freedom). As a result, the Biblical principles that govern Christ's redemptive program are changed (altered) to fit their theology. They tell their audience that obtaining and keeping eternal life depends on our “obedience and commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ”, WHICH GOD DESIGNED TO OPERATE UNDER THE ONGOING PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION. By failing to keep these two areas separated, eternal life is commonly held hostage to our obedience and faithfulness. It also means that it’s impossible to have any assurance that we are saved under this kind of theology. Once again, obedience to Christ’s Lordship is not being discarded or minimized. It is something every true believer should desire and embrace. Yet, what we seek to expose is the error of mixing God’s free gift with the process of sanctification (or being conformed to the image and obedience of Christ--Read Romans 8:28-30). This common practice does a “bait and switch” trick that redefines the Gospel and diverts the believer’s "SAVING FAITH" away from God’s Grace AND REDIRECTS IT onto our spiritual performance, godly obedience and good works. The change usually goes unnoticed. It’s the dangerous spiritual trap that Paul warned about when he commanded believers to “examine themselves” to make sure they are walking in the true faith of Christ--and not the popular counterfeit (2 Corinthians 13:5). Sanctification is a good thing when it remains where God originally designed it to operate. Nobody experientially (or in this earthly life) operates in “the image and obedience of Christ” 100 per cent. Anyone who claims to have achieved this level of spirituality through their personal devotion, obedience, sinless living or Christian service is deceiving themselves and others. That’s why Scripture warns that our level of success in sanctification (or learning to live under Christ’s Lordship) NEVER DETERMINES THE VALIDITY OF OUR SALVATION. Making God’s gift of eternal life dependent upon our success in “obeying Christ” and holy (or sinless) living is similar to the error that nearly destroyed the faith of the Galatian church. Notice what the apostle Paul said in his warning:
"I MARVEL THAT YOU ARE TURNING AWAY SO SOON FROM HIM WHO CALLED YOU IN THE GRACE OF CHRIST, TO A DIFFERENT GOSPEL, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. BUT EVEN IF WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL TO YOU THAN WHAT WE HAVE PREACHED TO YOU, LET HIM BE ACCURSED." (Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV -- Emphasis Mine)
"O foolish Galatians! WHO HAS BEWITCHED YOU THAT YOU SHOULD NOT OBEY THE TRUTH, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, OR BY THE HEARING OF FAITH? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:1-3 -- Emphasis Mine)
"You have become estranged (cut-off/separated) from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; YOU HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE." (Galatians 5:4 -- Emphasis Mine)
Additional information about how some preachers
distort the meaning of God’s Grace is available
at the following link:
Exposing The Error of Redefining God's Grace
"Saving Faith" According to the
Authentic Gospel of Christ
The principles that govern our salvation are concentrated in the epistles of Saint Paul. Romans chapter 10 focuses our attention on how salvation is obtained [and kept] AFTER THE CROSS. Paul refers to our subject of “saving faith”, but describes it using different words. He calls it “the word of faith that we preach”. Let’s look at the whole context of this vitally important section of Scripture:
"But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): THAT IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH THE LORD JESUS AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD HAS RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. FOR WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.” (Romans 10:8-13 NKJV)
When we consider the fact that God now offers eternal life as a gift, certain things must be true. When someone gives us a gift all that is necessary is to reach out, take the package and thank the giver. Receiving salvation is similar. Yet, because obtaining salvation comes by faith, there are two simple beliefs concerning Jesus Christ that we must hold according to the New Testament. There are some specific Gospel guidelines that must be followed. We can’t believe anything we want and expect to be saved. It’s important to understand that these two prerequisites (listed below) are not about performing any kind of good works.
We must confess that Jesus is Lord. Most modern day evangelists assume that their audience knows what the word "Lord" means. Our English word "Lord" comes from the Greek root word "kurios" which means Lord--God--Master. By confessing (and believing) that Jesus Christ is Lord, you are also proclaiming that He is God. The Bible teaches that God exists as a “Trinity” (meaning three). Bible Scholars refer to this as “The Three In One or The Godhead”, which consists of God the Father, God the Son--and God the Holy Spirit. When we confess that “Jesus is Lord” we are saying that He is God the Son (or The Son of God), and the second person of the Godhead or Trinity. A good example is what Thomas said after first seeing Jesus after His resurrection. Thomas addressed Jesus as; "My Lord and my God" (John 20:27-29).
The apostle John describes it this way:
"If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; FOR THIS IS THE WITNESS OF GOD WHICH HE HAS TESTIFIED OF HIS SON. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that GOD HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON. HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS LIFE; HE WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE SON OF GOD DOES NOT HAVE LIFE. THESE THINGS I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU WHO BELIEVE IN THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD, THAT YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:9-13 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
The apostle Paul said it this way:
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:13-14--Emphasis Added)
The apostle John comments again and says:
"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; AND WE ARE IN HIM WHO IS TRUE, IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. THIS IS THE TRUE GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE." (1 John 5:20 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
After seeing Christ after His resurrection, the apostle Thomas made this confession:
(Jesus is speaking) "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. AND THOMAS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HIM, MY LORD AND MY GOD. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:27-29 KJV--Emphasis Added)
We must believe that God raised (resurrected) Jesus from the dead (or the grave). According to the New Testament, the forgiveness of our sins was not a reality until Jesus, after His death on the cross, was raised from the dead. It is this one truth that separates Christianity from all other religions of the world. The head of the Christian Church died, was resurrected and is still alive and rules the Church today. It was Christ’s resurrection that initiated God’s redemptive plan for the human race. This is why believing that God raised Jesus from the dead is a prerequisite for obtaining His gift of eternal life.
Saint Paul said it this way:
"Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: AND IF CHRIST BE NOT RAISED, YOUR FAITH IS VAIN; YE ARE YET IN YOUR SINS. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. FOR AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, EVEN SO IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE." (1 Corinthians 15:12-22—Emphasis Added)
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? IT IS CHRIST WHO DIED, AND FURTHERMORE IS ALSO RISEN, WHO IS EVEN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, WHO ALSO MAKES INTERCESSION FOR US." (Romans 8:31-34 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
"THEREFORE IT IS OF FAITH, THAT IT MIGHT BE BY GRACE; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; AND BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT, WHAT HE (GOD) HAD PROMISED, HE WAS ABLE ALSO TO PERFORM. AND THEREFORE IT WAS IMPUTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; BUT FOR US ALSO, TO WHOM IT (RIGHTEOUSNESS) SHALL BE IMPUTED, IF WE BELIEVE ON HIM THAT RAISED UP JESUS OUR LORD FROM THE DEAD; WHO WAS DELIVERED FOR OUR OFFENCES, AND WAS RAISED AGAIN FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION." (Romans 4:16-25 KJV--Emphasis Added)
Authentic “Saving Faith” is
Simple to Understand
Paul warned about “a different” or counterfeit gospel of Christ that “corrupts our minds” and takes us away from the simplicity of Christ.
"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, SO YOUR MINDS MAY BE CORRUPTED FROM THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST. For if he who comes preaches ANOTHER JESUS WHOM WE HAVE NOT PREACHED, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, OR A DIFFERENT GOSPEL WHICH YOU HAVE NOT ACCEPTED—you may well put up with it!" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4--Emphasis Added)
The term “saving faith” is understood to mean the minimum level of faith (or belief) needed to obtain eternal life (or salvation). According to the teachings of Christ’s New Covenant;
IF YOU. . . Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord (meaning that you believe He is the Son of God--or the second person of the Trinity or Godhead). By confessing Jesus as Lord and God, YOU ARE INVITING HIM TO HOLD THE HIGHEST POSITION OF AUTHORITY IN YOUR LIFE. It means that you do not permit anyone (apostle, prophet, elder, evangelist, pastor, priest, bishop or the Pope--and even yourself), to usurp this position of Lord. JESUS IS NOW YOUR ONLY LORD. HOWEVER, your success or failure in the on-going process of learning to allow Jesus to rule your life (commonly called sanctification) does not add to, subtract from or cancel the eternal life that God freely gives you. Learning obedience to Christ’s authority is important, BUT IT IS NOT A PREREQUISITE OR CONDITION FOR OBTAINING OR KEEPING ETERNAL LIFE as some churches wrongly teach. Every true Christian believer will have a different measure of success in learning to yield to Christ's authority as Lord.
IF YOU. . . Believe in your heart that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. It means you believe Jesus is no longer dead and in the grave, but alive today (as described in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22, Romans 4:16-25 and Romans 8:31-34). There is an “outward sign” that you truly believe Jesus is alive from the dead. You will be eagerly watching for Him to return again as He promised (Acts 1:11, John 14:1-3, Mark 13:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Hebrews 9:28). HOWEVER, watching for Christ’s return is not a requirement or prerequisite to obtain or keep salvation (eternal life). It is only one of many evidences that confirm that we have a living faith in the resurrection of Christ.
...THEN, YOU WILL BE SAVED.
Contrary to some popular false Bible teaching, if you believe the simple truths listed above, YOU HAVE “SAVING FAITH”. Don’t let any preacher deceive you. God’s gift of eternal life is simple enough to understand that a correctly taught young child can easily receive it. The Bible says:
FOR WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
SHALL BE SAVED.” (Romans 10:13 NKJV)
This is part 1 of a two-part Bible study.
In certain situations, this study may be
used as a "stand alone" commentary in order
to address specific questions about the
nature of Christ's salvation. To access
part 2 of this study, click on the
SOZO: The Three-Fold
Salvation of God
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