Faith That Brings Salvation (I Peter 1:9)

By | Oct 14, 2017

The one condition that God has chosen for man to experience salvation is faith. This being true, it is obvious that in spite of all that man lost in the fall, he never lost the capacity for faith. Otherwise it would be unjust for God to expect us to meet a condition that we are not capable of meeting. While we recognize that faith is a gift from God, man must still have the capacity to exercise the gift.

Christ in His first advent, completed the provision for the full operation of God’s redemptive plan. He inaugurated the day of salvation in a scriptural sense. The words denoting “the day of salvation,” is not a twenty-four hour period. This day began with Pentecost and continues until Jesus returns in His second advent. It is the time which is described by our Lord in the parable of the King’s Son, “Come, all things are ready.” (Matt. 22:4)

There were certain things that had to be accomplished in order for all things to be in readiness. I will list them in sequence. A final and perfect offering for sin had to be made. The animal sacrifices offered under the old law were never sufficient to deal conclusively with the sin problem. They were offered only as a type of the final sin offering which was Jesus Christ. Jesus was the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) The writer to the Hebrews makes it plain that the sin for which there is no pardon is the rejection of the sacrifice of Christ. (Hebrews 10:26) Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

There are certain facts concerning the death of Christ on the cross that are important for us to understand. For example, Christ did not literally save anyone while on the cross, except the thief that appealed to Him and to whom He spoke forgiveness. What He did do, was to provide for the saving of all men from all sin forever. He made atonement by His vicarious sacrifice, which offered to God something in the place of that which was due by the sinner. His death was not to appease the anger of a wrathful God, but to put away the thing that made Him angry, that thing being man’s sin. Through His sacrificial death He made it possible for a Holy God to remain Holy, while offering mercy to save a sinful race, which He loved. As Paul said in Romans 3:26, “He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Jesus rose from the dead the third day as He promised and ascended back to the right hand of the Father. His blood that He shed on Calvary as our Redeemer has now been sprinkled on the mercy seat in the holy of holies in heaven. Jesus is now not only our atonement but also our advocate before the Father. The way has now been opened for all of Adam’s race to come to God.

On the day of Pentecost He sent the promised Comforter in His official capacity to superintend and extend the cause of Christ. What Jesus provided on Calvary, the Holy Spirit comes to make perpetually available and continuously operative. He is the official administrator of the provisions of Calvary.

In the early ministry of the Holy Spirit, He inspired holy men to give to us a full, final, and finished revelation of God. The inspired Word of God is our final court of appeals. The Bible is as up to date and as relevant as today’s newspaper. It is the Word of the “Eternal Contemporary,” therefore it shall always be relevant. Man is the same needy species today as he has been down through the history of humanity. The nature of sin has not changed, and the blood that was shed on Calvary is as efficacious as it ever has been.

Everything that we need for the present, abiding, and eternal saving of our souls is provided for by the death of Christ. In the death of Christ there is an absolute BUT conditional provision for everything we need. It is all in the blood! (Be sure to not read over the word “CONDITIONAL.”)

Everything that our soul needs and the blood has provided is made real, actual, and effective in us by the operation and agency of the Holy Spirit. [The Holy Spirit does the work, and it is from this standpoint that I said that Christ did not save us at the moment He was on the Cross. He provided for our saving and we are saved by the merits of His death on the Cross, but our personal salvation is a direct work of the Holy Spirit.]

God wrought perfectly in the provision of our salvation when He died on Calvary. He works again in the actualization of salvation. He works anew every time a soul is saved. The only hand that can reach into the sacred death of Christ and obtain the benefits of His death is the hand of faith. It is all by the blood, provisionally. (Procuring Cause) It is all by faith, actually. (Conditional Cause)

Now let us consider this topic of faith, the conditional cause of my salvation. There are four elements to faith.

  1. Knowledge

A man must have a knowledge of a thing before he can believe. There must be some facts for faith to rest upon, so “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

  1. Assent

Following the knowledge, the mind must assent to the truthfulness of the facts. This is mere intellectual faith and while it is necessary, it will bring no special blessing, if it goes no further.

  1. Consent

The mind, the will and the affections must consent to be governed by the facts known and assented to. Consent to have the truth exercise its influence on the life immediately.

  1. Laying hold

By faith, one must appropriate the truth known, assented to, and consented to, so that the benefit or promised result of that truth will be experienced exactly according to the promise. Faith is believing certain definite results. Our faith rests upon the fact and truth of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Following His exultation He sent the gift of the promised Spirit to His Church. These are the facts upon which our faith rests.

There are, however, some things that will hinder the exercise of saving faith.

Sin of any kind or a wrong attitude toward truth. In II Thessalonians 2:10-12, Paul records two adverse attitudes toward truth. In verse 10 he records that they, “received not the love of the truth.” In verse 12 he records that they, “believed not the truth.” He reveals the reason behind their unbelief in verse 12 as, “because they had pleasure in unrighteousness.” In these three short verses, Paul makes quite plain that unbelief is not an intellectual problem arising from a lack of evidence, but a deep moral problem arising from a lack of willingness. They were not willing to relinquish their pleasure in sin.

Therefore, until all sinning in practice is renounced, faith for forgiveness cannot be exercised. The one pre-requisite to faith for forgiveness is repentance. If one does not truly repent then the faith faculty is paralyzed and one cannot reach into the sacred death of the Savior and appropriate the provisions of Calvary.

This is also true of inward sinfulness. Until the prerequisite of faith for inward cleansing is accomplished, one cannot believe for the cleansing of the heart. That prerequisite being an abandonment of one’s total self to His will and mastery.

Another problem some have is a mistaken view about the relation between the work of the Spirit and the witness of the Spirit. Many try to make the work and witness of the Holy Spirit a basis for their faith. They expect to have the Spirit’s witness to the work in the heart in order for them to believe that the work is done. They insist that the Spirit must do His work in order that they may believe or that they must have the witness in order to believe.

The basis of our faith is the Word of God, and the object of our faith is Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Our faith rests on the promises of the Word of God that have been provided for by our Savior’s sacrificial death. I must stand on the promises and look to the cross for my provisions. The final Word of God reveals to me the finished work of Christ. There I rest my faith.

To expect God to witness to a work that you have not yet believed for would be to expect Him to testify to a lie. Faith must precede the work of the Spirit and the work of the Spirit must precede the witness of the Spirit.

When one meets the conditions of repentance and faith, the Spirit of God comes to take up His abode in the heart according to Galatians 4:6. I assure you that He cannot come into the heart without one knowing it. When He comes He will bare witness with our spirit that we are sons of God, for He comes into the heart crying “Abba Father.” Hallelujah!

He also subsequently purifies the heart by faith. As Peter said in Acts 15:8-9, “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

Shine As Lights (Phil 2: 13-16)

By | Sep 14, 2017

At the time of creation the world was in the state of chaotic night and God said, “let there be light.” Six times in the first chapter of Genesis it is said that God moved from evening until morning. He always moves from darkness to light. Following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, once again conditions were not only chaotic but the darkness seemed impenetrable. But God gave man a ray of light when He promised that “the seed of the woman would bruise the serpents head.” That promise came to fruition when Jesus went to the cross and offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of man.

Three words are dominant in John’s message to the world and they are life, love, and light. He has the message of life for those who are dead, the message of love for the depraved and the message of light for those who sit in darkness. It is the message of light that I want to emphasize in this article. When Jesus was made flesh and dwelt among us we read, “in Him was life; and the life was the light of men. The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (The darkness could not put it out) John 1: 4-5.

Darkness describes the moral condition of this sinful world, Isaiah 9:2 says, “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light….upon them hath the light shined.” “Jesus was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” It is in Him that we see the “light of the knowledge of God shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ.” Jesus, who is “the light of the world,” exhorted His disciples, “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” In Philippians 2: 16 the Apostle Paul reminds them that they were in the “midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” In this dense darkness God wants us to shine for Him. Without which the world would be a gloomy dungeon.

Light serves many purposes. It is a disinfectant for both the body and mind. It is used by those who battle with depression. While darkness breeds disease of all kind, light is a deterrent. A study was done of cities with a population of 1000 or more concerning the correlation of crime and darkness. They discovered where there was adequate lighting crime decreased as much as 90% and the average decrease was 43%. This teaches us that there is danger in darkness and safety in light.

The same God that said, “let there be light” and brought cosmos out of chaos in the beginning; is the same God that has shined into the darkness and chaos of our hearts and has illuminated us by His glory and we are to shine as fixed luminaries in this dark world.He has called us to live radiant lives in this world filled with darkness that others might be lead into His glorious light.

My text reveals characteristics of radiant living. It is a life that finds a pleasurable obedience in doing His will. Obedience will always be done without murmurings and disputings. Murmuring reflects an undercurrent of discontent and disputing is more of an open defiant attitude against the will of God. The Apostle, in speaking of his own experience in Phil. 4:11 says, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” We find that there is not only contentment but great pleasure in doing His will.

As the moon is a reflection of the Sun’s light and can only give light to the earth as it remains in the full light of the sun. The radiance of the Christian’s life can only continue as one maintains a clear view of the face of our Lord. Paul admonishes us to be “blameless and harmless, and without rebuke in this dark and perverse world.” It is only through the holy living of God’s saints that the radiance of Christ can break in on this dark world. We are only able to do this as we “hold forth the word of life.” It is the written word that is our guide and inspiration. It reveals the living Word in whose image we are being restored from glory to glory.  The best it yet to come, for “the path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18) When we enter into that celestial city it will blaze forth with eternal light, for “the Lamb is the Light” in that grand city. If we stay faithful and shine as lights in this world, we will sit with Him on His throne, and shine with Him forever.

In this dense darkness God has called us to be lights. In this immoral, ungodly, and pagan world, God has placed His children as sentinels. The light that they reflect is challenge to the darkness because it cannot extinguish that light and therefore the darkness must flee. Like the Philippians we have seen a new vision, heard a new voice and that voice has called us to “shine as lights in this world.” If we are faithful to this call God has declared, “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” The promise follows that if we continue to be obedient and shine as lights in this dark world we will “rejoice in the day of Christ, that we have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.” Let us, like the five wise virgins, keep our lamps trimmed and burning with the oil of the Holy Spirit until we move into that Perfect Day where we will behold the effulgence, glory, and luster of our Lord and Savior, the original and eternal Light!

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