Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Morning Bible Study - Faith Required For Salvation

 Leonard V Johnson    About

In our latest sermon “What Is True Spirituality?” I lightly speak about faith. In the sermon, I quote the Apostle Paul – under the inspiration of God’s Spirit – “Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God!” I had bracketed the word faith in quotes because it appears as if in this world each individual considers to themselves just what is faith. But, what is God’s living word’s definition of faith!? And, exactly WHAT KIND of faith do we need to please God!? To live our lives in obedience, OVERCOMING, and finally being born into the glorious and holy family of God!?

First and foremost, we need to understand that this faith is not just a power of positive thinking – as in trying to overcome our transgressions against the LORD God by just our own positive thoughts.

Also, a great many of our peoples make the mistake of confusing faith with mere emotions. They try and “work up” faith, as in an emotional feeling. But, these emotional feelings ARE NOT the evidence of having real faith required for salvation.

Real faith is a spiritual matter – not physical. Let us understand God’s definition of the very faith required for salvation.
1) Are true Christians to “walk” – meaning, to live their lives – by faith!? Notice –
Prophet Moses was not in tune with the New Covenant. However, Moses’ great-great-great-great-grandfather Abraham (from his father Amram) was in tune with the New Covenant. The Apostle Paul, in Galatians chapter 3 says, “And the Scripture, FORESEEING that God would justify the Gentiles by faith …” – vs. 8. Remember Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved THROUGH FAITH, …” Not just following the regiment of the Old Testament. Or the regiment and practices of Jewish leaning traditions. “ … preaching the gospel to Abraham BEFOREHAND, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ Verse 9 – “So then those who are of faith are blessed WITH BELIEVING ABRAHAM.” Faith in what!?

Faith in JESUS CHRIST. Faith in His divinity. Faith in His sacrifice. Faith in His teachings─which we can simply call the New Covenant. The gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of the Kingdom, the gospel of the good news of salvation.

Verse 11 – “ … no one is justified by the law [the Old Covenant] in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’

And that’s a phrase you find back in one of the minor prophets – Habakkuk. You find it quoted several times in the writings of Paul. ‘The just shall live by faith.’

Also, notice 2nd Corinthians chapter 5 –

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” – vs. 7. What exactly does this mean!?

When you look into the context here – he’s talking about our earthly tabernacle. And, that we inhabit a physical body and that eventually, we will wear out - just like the ancient patriarchs before. But we have the greatest hope of the resurrection and into the family of God – the very kingdom of God. So, we walk not according to this flesh – and what it has to offer. I remember coming home many times from a job and telling my wife of all the wonderful ‘toys for boys’ that all the guys had – from Hayabusa motorcycles to sports cars, to tricked-out pickups. Things that these people own that mean the world to them! And, they were so vain and proud in their possessions – that now, since the company was sold and no longer in business – do they still own these prized possessions!?

Without the hope of the resurrection, that’s all there is – just what we have on this earth. And yet, Paul here is speaking about the faith that we do have concerning the kingdom of God and the resurrection unto life.
2) Did the Apostle Paul also say that true Christians seek after the real and unseen eternal rewards and promises of God?
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” – 2 Corinthians 4:18.

Or, rather, we hope for them. Which is what!? The resurrection, the Kingdom of God, and eternal life. That’s what we hope for! “…For the things which are seen are temporary, …” – everything around us is temporary. Our house, our car, our clothes – someday they’ll all end up in a trash heap! Everything is temporary! Including all of us! However, with the promise of Jesus Christ, our hope is to be changed into an immortal eternal spirit being. As a member of the family of God!

The next verse is most powerful! – “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent [this tabernacle], is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens [and is now─that kingdom─in heaven – the third heaven]. 2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, …” But we know that that house is coming to the EARTH! Verse 3 – “if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4) For we who are in this [tabernacle] groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by LIFE.” – Eternal life is ALREADY partly living inside of us! Through a measure, a portion, of God’s Spirit – which we now have – as begotten children of God! Those of us who have our name’s written in the Book of Life.

Verse 5 - “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” – and that’s what we have now! It’s just a “down payment.”
3) So, do the above Scriptures confirm the LORD God’s definition of faith, which is found in Hebrews 11:1, 6; Romans 4:3; James 2:23!?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for …” – or, more accurately, the assurance or confidence of things hoped for. Before we receive what we hope for, we already have it IN SUBSTANCE. And that substance─that assurance or confidence that we shall possess it─is faith. This faith is based upon the sure promises of Almighty God, which are recorded for us in His living word – the Holy Bible.

When we go down to verse 6, we get a much clearer definition of the faith required for salvation. “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.” And, there’s even another definition that does an even better job describing faith – “ …’ Abraham believed God, …’ – Romans 4:3.
4) Are true Christians REQUIRED to keep God’s Law – summed up in the TEN COMMANDMENTS – in order for their faith to be alive and acceptable to the LORD God?
“Do we then make void the Law through faith? CERTAINLY NOT! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” – Romans 3:31; see also James 2:14-26.

The universal message from nearly every pulpit falsely tells people that Jesus Christ abolished, or “fulfilled,” His Father’s Law – but your Bible says otherwise!

God’s living divine word mentions nothing about grace being a license to disobey the Law of God! To be “under grace” means to be extended mercy and forgiveness as a result of sincere repentance and resolve to obey Almighty God.

How do we demonstrate our faith?

“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” – James 2:18.

‘Faith without works is dead.,’ so said, James. And if faith without works is dead, then love without works, I think, by extension, by logic, is also dead. To just say, “Oh God I love You, I love You!” Or, to say to your fellow human being, “Oh I love you! I love you!” and yet there’s nothing backing it up, it’s worthless. It’s just hot air.

Now the majority of Protestants and Catholics alike base their belief wholly on the works of charity. And most Protestant churches teach that the fault with the Old Covenant was God’s Law and that as the Old Covenant was made with Israel, the New Covenant is made with Gentiles. And that the New abolishes God’s Ten Commandments and is based wholly on promises. This, of course, is NOT true! Complete obedience to God’s eternal and universal Law is a condition we must meet to have salvation. Be sure to read Acts 15:13-39 and Acts 21:17-26 – the Apostle James indeed endorses Apostle Paul!

In your Bible turn with me over to Acts 5:32 – “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Also, Jesus Christ’s own words, “ …’ If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him’ – John 14:23. Also, ’ IF you love Me,’ – ‘if you are loyal to Me’ – ’ keep My commandments’ – John 14:15.


God’s grace and faith save us. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:10.

Faith & works tie in together.

Sadly, the majority of professing Christians have a dead faith. Faith to them is merely a belief in Jesus Christ’s existence and in His sacrifice for the sins of mankind. They are ignorant of – or refuse to accept – the fact that God requires them to OBEY HIM! This world’s Christianity believes that Jesus lived a good life for us all – and that He obeyed God’s Law in our stead. Yet, God’s living word makes it abundantly clear that having faith DOES NOT excuse us from spiritual obedience to the LORD God.
5) Did Patriarch Noah express to the LORD God a living faith when he obeyed God in the building of the Ark?
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, …” – Hebrews 11:7.

What about Patriarch Abraham? Did he have a living faith?

“’ because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws’” – Genesis 26:5.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9) By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same PROMISE [that promise being the earth and New Jerusalem]; 10) for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” – Hebrews 11:8-10.

Patriarch Abraham proved his living faith by his works. Therefore the LORD God promises to greatly bless him and his descendants! – Genesis 22:15-18. These two great patriarchs are tremendous examples of the living faith required for salvation.
6) Is the faith that pleases God a gift from the LORD God?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD” – Ephesians 2:8.

God provides all true Christians with the WILLPOWER, the FAITH OF CHRIST, and MOTIVATION to do His good pleasure. God the Father and Jesus Christ have gone to great lengths to provide the grace – the unmerited favor of Their divine mercy – to help Their begotten children to succeed in their calling. But They expect results!

Is this faith an attribute of God’s Spirit that all true Christians should possess?

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the attributes] is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], kindness, goodness, FAITHFULNESS, 23) gentleness, self-control, Against such there is no law” – Galatians 5:22-23.

So, in reality, whose faith is it!?

“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those WHO KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD and THE FAITH OF JESUS” – Revelation 14:12.

Understand – it’s not just our faith in Him, but it’s His faith placed within us and acting within us! Truly, a person who walks in TRUE FAITH will TRUST in God to supply all their needs and to protect them. If you are faithful and loyal to God, then He has your back!

As the three Hebrew men (Daniel 3:16-18, 25, 28) – some 600 years before our Lord Jesus Christ was born - true Christians walk by FAITH in no fear of DEATH. If they were to die they will go in a joyful manner in knowing their service to God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar II, ruler of Babylon, for refusing to bow down to worship a golden statue in the image of the king! If we truly BELIEVE GOD and TRULY HAVE FAITH IN HIS PROTECTION then we will walk IN FAITH knowing that God will protect us. But, we had better be living our life for Him! If we live IN FAITH with full trust in God then we have zero fear of sickness or of death. We know that we are protected by God – even if we should die. If we die IN FAITH then we are secure eternally with God.
7) Did the Apostle Paul clearly state that our Lord Jesus Christ lived in him?
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I [meaning not of and by his own volition, will power] who live, but Christ lives in me; …” – Galatians 2:20.

It means exactly what it says – ‘Christ lives IN me!’

What we’re talking about here is a primary teaching point of the Days of Unleavened Bread – a point which, sadly, a great many of our peoples don’t properly understand. For seven days we have this physical ritual of imbibing unleavened bread to remind us WE NEED JESUS CHRIST in the innermost parts of our being! “…and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and give Himself for me.”

How did our Lord Jesus Christ live within him?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 2:5.

How do you let the mind of Jesus Christ be in you!? Except for the Spirit of God to enter into you and grant you part of the mind of Jesus Christ. Again, symbolically that’s what the Days of Unleavened Bread are all about. The Unleavened Bread of sincerity and truth. The Unleavened Bread of the presence of Jesus Christ!

Now, if we were able – of ourselves – to supply this living faith that pleases God, it would be self-righteousness. We’re told in Isaiah 64 – every time that you start to think of yourself as doing something really well, you need to remember these words – Isaiah 64:6 – “But we are all like an unclean thing, [and at our best; I’m adding editorially] And all our righteousness are like filthy rags; …” – when compared to the might, the grandeur, the power, the righteousness of God the Father and Jesus Christ! I prefer the analogy – I am just a small, little, ugly, slimy, worm. That’s all we are. If any good thing comes from our lives, realize we need to give the glory to God. Without the presence of God in our lives, and without the presence of God’s unending love and amazing grace, we would simply be like all other human beings – devoid of God.
8) What must one do to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and receive the gift of the very faith of Jesus Christ?
“… ’ Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” – Acts 2:38.

So, repentance begins with an inner thought of having repentance. It is an inward change of the heart that Peter was teaching – and it was the same in his own life. Recall He had once fallen at the knees of Jesus and said, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ He was very repentant to Jesus. And, it was the same in Paul’s life when Ananias of Damascus came and laid hands on him and prayed, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” – Acts 9:17. And immediately, Paul was healed of his blindness and was baptized.

You MUST be willing to obey the LORD God!

“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit [which] God has given TO THOSE WHO OBEY HIM” – Acts 5:32.

Being ‘born of water’ is to be baptized. And being baptized is an outward symbol of an inward change in the human heart as a result of repentance. Once a person has realized that they’re going to die (see: Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8) as a result of sin. And of course, God’s living word says this very thing – “sin is lawlessness” - 1st John 3:4 – and that ‘all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God’ – Romans 3rd chapter. And, that ‘the wages of sin is death’!

Baptism represents one's death – Paul tells us that we’re ‘buried with Jesus Christ.’

Now, “Jesus came and spoke to them [His disciples], saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19) Go therefore and make disciples [to teach] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, …’ ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved; …’ – Matthew 28:18, 18; Mark 16:16. And we know that Jesus Himself was baptized. God’s Spirit gives us great understanding.

So, once a person has been baptized and had hands laid upon them we receive the earnest – the down payment – the gift of God’s Holy Spirit within our very mind and heart bestowing upon us God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control – that we could not have on our own. □

Scriptural Index:

Old Testament - Genesis 26:5; Isaiah 64:6; Daniel 3:16-18, 25, 28.
New Testament - Matthew 28:18, 19; Mark 16:16; John 14:15, 23; Acts 2:38; 5:32; 9:17; Romans 6:23; 3:31; 4:3; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:1-4, 7; Galatians 2:20; 3:8, 9, 11; 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:8-9, 10; Philippians 2:5; Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 11:1, 6, 7; James 2:14-26; 1 John 3:4; Revelation 14:12; 20:14-15; 21:8.

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