What is Saving Faith?
Faith is important in the life of both the non-Christian and the Christian believer. We all exercise faith every single day of our lives. Even an atheist will exercise faith.
For example, when we fasten our seat belt in an airplane, we trust that the pilot will fly us safely more than 30000 feet in the air to our destination.
Concerning Christians, the Bible emphasizes that faith plays an important role in the life of a Christian believer.
In several passages of Scripture the Bible says that Christians shall live by faith and not by sight (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 10:38).
In other words, the life of the Christian is a life of faith.
However, what is saving faith and what is the nature of saving faith?
The Bible is clear that for any person to be saved then he/she must believe or exercise saving faith.
So without faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we cannot become Christians. Without faith in Christ there is no salvation. So the Bible mentions that for one to be saved he/she must “believe” or have “faith”
For example, let’s observe the keywords in these 4 verses on salvation:
John 1:12 –“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” [Emphasis added]
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [Emphasis added]
Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” [Emphasis added]
Romans 3:28 – “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” [Emphasis added]
This kind of saving faith mentioned in the Scriptures above is not just an academic understanding to the facts about the Bible or the gospel. This kind of faith is not just an academic understanding or mental acknowledgment that God or Jesus exists.
James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in God. Even satanists believe in God, but their belief in God’s existence does not lead to a relationship with Him. To the satanist, God is actually the enemy and satan is the master.
Therefore many people believe in God, but they do not necessarily become Christians.
The saving faith mentioned in the verses above is a free gift available to anyone and it’s a faith which leads to genuine regeneration, genuine repentance and a genuine sanctification of one’s life when we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Faith comes by hearing the word of God. Faith is sourced from believing what God has said in His word about any issue including the salvation of man.
Romans 10:17 says: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith Without Works is Dead. What Does This Mean?
When we read James 2:14-26, James emphasizes that faith is dead without corresponding deeds. He presents the case that if somebody claims to have faith, then his faith will be evident by his corresponding actions and lifestyle.
The issue of faith without works in James 2:14-26 is an important issue which James emphasizes in relation to the issue of salvation. In these scriptures, James is explaining and defining Biblical saving faith.
James is not talking about a mere intellectual belief in God. Nor is he talking about an academic understanding of God or salvation.
James is speaking of the kind of Biblical belief or (saving) faith in God which results in a transformed mind, transformed values and a transformed life in Jesus Christ.
This is the saving faith that is mentioned in such verses as John 1:12; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:28 and many other verses that speak of faith or believing in relation to salvation. Saving faith is what results in spiritual regeneration and transformation so that we begin to conform to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
It’s very important to understand when reading James 2:14-26 that James is not implying that we are saved by our works or personal effort. He is not saying that works are the cause of our salvation.
We are not saved because we do good works. We do good works because we are saved.
For example, Matthew 5:16 says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
So in James 2:14-26 the emphasis that genuine saving faith will undoubtedly produce good works. James is teaching that genuine saving faith will produce a changed life in Christ.
Saving Faith Leads to Repentance
Saving faith leads to genuine repentance. What is repentance?
Repentance means: to change one’s mind. The Greek word for Repentance in the Bible is [Metanoia] which means “a transformative change of heart”.
John the Baptist preached repentance (Matthew 3:2). Jesus Christ preached repentance (Matthew 4:17). The apostles also preached repentance (Acts 3:19).
2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
God’s desire is that everyone should repent. Therefore saving faith leads to a transformative change.
If a person professes to have faith but yet that person continues to unrepentantly and wilfully live like the devil afterwards, then that person is deceived. He is being hypocritical and not living the life of a genuine Christian.
The fact that Christ lives in us, should begin the process of sanctification where our desire to please God and to be more like Christ becomes evident.
Saving faith in Jesus Christ leads to a spiritual change in one’s mind regarding sin and lawlessness. We begin to feel godly sorrow because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us who convicts us of sin (2 Corinthians 7:10; John 16:8).
We also begin to have a hatred for sin because we understand the consequences of sin and the fact that God also hates sin (Romans 12:9).
However, when we do sin as Christians we are quick to recognize sin and confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9).
Therefore an empty profession of faith which does not lead to a life of obedience to Christ is in reality a dead faith, and this is the crux of James 2:14-26.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Ultimately our saving faith in Jesus Christ leads us to a lifestyle where we desire to be more like Christ. It leads us to a process of sanctification where God conforms us to be more and more become like His Son. We desire for Christ to increase while we decrease. Our regeneration and sanctification is all the work of the Holy Spirit.
When we trust in Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we will never be the same again.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to change your mind about sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “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” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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