A. Saved by grace through faith
Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
While faith is not salvation, it is the means of receiving salvation. All the promises of God are only available by faith.
B. Faith - more than a moment
Many think of faith as just a moment of belief, but the bible describes faith as more of a continuous journey.
Romans 1:17 (NKJV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Hebrews 10:38 (NKJV)
38 Now the just shall live by faith;But if anyone draws back,My soul has no pleasure in him.”
C. Faith - heart belief
There are several definitions of belief. Too often we think of belief as just weighing the evidence and simply making a decision to believe. The Bible tells us to believe with our hearts. This is more than simply acknowledging the existence of God or even the life of Christ.
I don’t believe in abortion. Belief in this example is more than just believing that abortion exists. I know that it exists, but I don’t believe in it. In my head I know that it is real, but my heart says that it is wrong. Heart belief refers to deep agreement, devotion, support, or alignment with an ideology.
The Bible defines what is meant by faith in Scripture.
Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Faith is defined by God as:
1. Believing in Him
2. Believing enough to diligently seek him
3. Believing that God will reward your seeking.
If you are not seeking diligently, with your whole heart, then you only have partial faith. If you are not expecting God to reward your seeking and give you good gifts (including the promised Spirit) than you have partial faith.
Biblical faith is not just mental assent. Heart belief changes who you are and what you do.
D. Faith - the evidence
The evidence of complete saving faith is obedience to God’s Word.
Romans 10:16 (NKJV)
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
Would any true believer that understands who God is question His plan for salvation or rebel against His promises?
Jesus at the crucifixion stated that He had the power to call down 12 legions of angels. He could have proved that He was the Messiah. In the face of heaven’s army, the soldiers wouldn’t have crucified Him. The Jews wouldn’t have rejected His claims.
What if He did this now? What if when we were tempted to do something that we know is wrong the Lord visibly showed Himself in might and power? Would we reject His counsel then? Of course not, but we don’t see the Lord. We don’t see His angels. We don’t see immediate punishment. Conversely, what if He took us to Heaven so that we could see its splendor, would it change our priorities in this life? Can we believe it anyway?
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
By faith we understand who God is and believe/obey His instructions, commands, and plan.
E. Partial faith and empty confessions
It seems that most people claim to be believers, but very few act on what they believe.
James 2:14, 17-22 (NKJV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?...17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
Faith that doesn’t change our lives is not saving faith. Instead of life giving, it is dead. Faith must cause us to act. The demons have the same level of faith as many “Christians.” They believe that He exists. Their belief isn’t enough to motivate them to obey. Ultimately this rebellion and unbelief led to their judgment.
Matthew 7:21 (NKJV)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
F. The priority of faith
Faith is the way that we receive from God. Faith motivates us. It also motivates God. He responds to sincere, believing, seekers.
Luke 11:5-10 (NKJV)
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
G. Salvation - Receiving God's grace through obedient faith
1. Repent by faith – Believe that God’s way is right
Mark 1:15 (NKJV)
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
2. Be baptized – Believe that God will wash your sins
Mark 16:16 (NKJV)
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
3. Be filled with the Spirit - Believe and seek until God pours out His Spirit
John 7:38-39 (NKJV)
38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
By faith we also receive healings, blessings, deliverance, direction, provision, wisdom, etc. Faith is at the core of everything that we do. It dictates our decisions. It determines our actions and lifestyles. Faith colors our perspectives and gives us appropriate priorities. Faith drives our hunger for the things of God.
H. Faith - tested and tried
Jesus promised that in this world we will have troubles. We will face temptations. We have an adversary that tries to convince us to believe a lie. By faith, we stand on God’s Word.
Keep the faith. A man or woman of faith must be faithful. Only through faith will we receive salvation.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,