Process Toward Salvation: Step 1: Faith
I hope that after the past few weeks, we all have an understanding of certain things. #1, God defines right and wrong, not mankind. #2. That established what sin was and God determined the consequence of sin, death, physical and spiritual. #3. God gave mankind a means for pardon. This was in 2 phases: a). under the old law, they were to remember their sins and offer particular animal sacrifices to delay sin’s consequence of spiritual death. b). Under a promised new law, the appropriate sacrifice would be made, where God and mankind could forget the man’s sin, and God would forgive man’s guilt. Due to these factors, man’s greatest problem with our lives is the weight of sin. We want and need relief from the consequence of sin. Our standard is God’s Word. Since the New Law, Christ’s law, the New Testament, offers us the forgiveness and forgetfulness, We choose to release the burden and live under this law of God.
God designs the standard by which we can have forgetfulness of sin and forgiveness. We had wronged Him by our sin, and are not worthy of a relationship with Him. The simple text of John 3:16, teaches that because God loves man, we must believe in Christ, to not bear the consequence of sin. But is that just an affirmation of knowing about Christ or much more? We must investigate scripture to understand what the use of “believe” implies. One verse is Biblical but it is not a Bible. It is only a portion of the Bible. The Bereans (Christians) were more noble than the Christians in Thessolonica because they “searched the scriptures daily”, they wanted to know and be sure of what God expects. Acts 17:11. We would do well to do the same. Hebrews 11:6, tells us that we can’t please God without faith. So what is “faith”? Hebrews 11:1, defines it, “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is accepting a thing as fact, even when it is not seen. Ie. We can’t see God the Father, but we know He exists. Faith is understood as we look at the perfection of the universe, all the laws of nature, the beauty, its existence.
So to seek salvation, our attitude must be to please God and serve Him, and to do that, we must have faith. Romans 10:17 says that “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing the Word of God”. This implies we must learn God’s Word. But hearing alone and having faith alone is not quite enough. It is the start on our path for salvation. To please God, we must know what offends Him, and what He wants us to do in pleasing Him. Jesus said in John 14:!0, that the words He spoke, came from His Father, and the His works also. Christ exhibited obedience with completing the works of His Father, and expressing His Father’s teaching. John 6: 63 said these words were spiritual, and gave life. A life precipitated by God would be pleasing to God.
Some teach that “faith alone saves”, but James 2: 14-26 states and illustrates how faith is to save. First is the question of faith saving by itself. Then the writer illustrates with explanation. Each faith has its own work. Then the only passage stating faith only, vs. 24, says it does not save but is dead. Verse 26, explains again that faith without works would be dead.
The result of our study in text, is that we are to belief and establish faith from the faith within scripture. This establishes a way of life, which involves certain works, given by that faith. Next, we will consider where “grace” come in . We are to work out our faith. 1 Thessolonians 1:13.