"When I see thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast established; What is man...." (Psalms 8:3)
Eternal Life, the Free Gift of God
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.
"For God has not sent his Son into the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him.
"He that believes on him is not judged: but he that believes not has been already judged, because he has not believed on the name of the only-begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
Getting to Heaven
What Will You Do
When The End Comes?
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What is Genuine Saving Faith?
If I express an interest in the things of the Lord after an evangelistic service a counselor may ask me if I "believe" that Christ died for me, and that He rose again from the dead? Receiving an affirmative answer, the counselor may then "assure" me that I am now eternally saved.
But an intellectual "belief" based on pressure from a well-meaning evangelist may leave a person with a "false assurance" of having been added to God's book of life. Consider the following:
Eternal salvation is the free gift of God. You cannot "do" anything to get this gift. It begins when God in His sovereign plan 'foreknows' us (fore-loves us) (see Romans 8:29-30). God then freely gives us the gift of faith which enables us to believe and understand eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). And, the very fact that you are interested in seeking God's purpose for your life may be a strong indication He is working with you to personally make you one of His own children.
The Lord Jesus said that there are two births, one of "flesh" and one of "spirit" (John 3:6). Every person who enters this world has been born of the "flesh." But due to the limitations of this "flesh" we can understand only the outward things pertaining to everyday life in the world, but we cannot understand the Divine Being or His plan for our lives. Nor can anyone who has only been born of the flesh communicate with God, because God is an unseen Spirit. This is why a human being, (a creature of flesh), must be "born anew" (John 3:7). This second birth enables us to communicate with God, the invisible Spirit.
Just as we had absolutely nothing to do with our conception and birth in the flesh by our parents, our spiritual birth is totally the sovereign working of God (John 3:8). Without this spiritual birth no one can be part of God's kingdom (John 3:5). Every human being is born spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins," and only God can "quicken" us, (make us alive spiritually). (Ephesians 2:1).
Once I am "born of the spirit" my spiritual eyes are opened and I begin to realize that by my natural birth I was completely lost for eternity, and that only what God has done for me through the precious sacrifice of His Son, is what actually saves me. It is now possible for me to know this because God has given me the free gift of faith which "saves" me and causes me to become one of God's own children. (See Ephesians 2:8) What total love God shows toward us!
But, if an evangelist assures me that I am saved, yet there has been no actual turning to God from sin on my part it raises important questions as to the reality of my profession of faith. Perhaps I may never have been "born of the spirit" and I may have a false "assurance" of having been saved! Realize, it is not my intellectual faith that saves me. I can become "convinced" of all the "facts" related to the blessed death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ but still remain lost. This is because true saving faith is totally the gift of God, and has nothing to do with any "human understanding" of the gospel, nor does it depend on any moral works that I might or might not perform.
To 'believe on' Christ means much more than believing certain FACTS about Him. 'Believing on' Christ carries the idea of commitment to Him, as a bride and groom commit to one another for a life-long relationship of love. It means that I fully rely on God's mercy and fully depend upon the Person and saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God given "saving faith" becomes evident when it moves me to realize that I am totally marked by sin (Romans 3:23), and that I am under the terrible Divine sentence of death. And it moves me to repent of sin (Acts 17:31-32) and to receive the free gift of God.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."(Romans 6:23)
Repentance means I consciously change my mind. If I repent of my sin I consciously change my mind about my sin and turn to God from sin. True faith also moves me to fully accept that there is nothing I can do in my own power to get right with God. Church membership, giving to charity, my own good works, water baptism, communion, observing all the rituals of a religious organization. Even my repentance and my human faith, etc., do not pave the way to heaven. And salvation from sin is not achieved by signing a "decision card" or by praying a "formula prayer." So what is left?
God is a God of mercy. Because God has made me spiritually alive, I can finally realize I am a sinner and that I can do nothing to earn God's favor by any good works I do. I can only cast my whole self upon God. I can only rely completely on His mercy, and His provision for sinners. This provision for sinners is the Lord Jesus Himself. This Jesus is the only one who can take away sins because He died in the place of those who are lost and are under the Divine sentence of death (Romans 6:23). He, (the Lord Jesus), and only He ". . . is able also to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him" (Hebrews 7:25).
God alone is the originator of, author of, and giver of eternal life to those who believe on or "toward" (not merely about) the Lord Jesus.
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to seek God unless the Father draws that person to His Son (John 6:44). This is why "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" is an actual evidence (Hebrews 12:1) that I, an undeserving sinner, have been spiritually 'made alive' (Ephesians 2:1 & 5) and have received spiritual life in Christ Jesus the Lord. It is the evidence that I have been given a vital link with God and have become one of His children. Any faith in the Lord Jesus that originates in my human mind is not the cause of my salvation. The Lord Jesus is the cause of my belief and my salvation. And He has given us the faith to truly believe on Him and enjoy the gift of eternal life in Christ.
A true child of God has been bought with a price (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and thus becomes a bondservant. As a slave of Christ I gladly commit myself to Christ as my Savior and as the Lord of my life. While none of us could ever live a perfect life, if you or I simply believe the facts about the Lord Jesus, without ever committing our lives to Him, this is not evidence of a "Saving Faith." A true Christian bows to Him as both Savior and Lord.
If you are concerned about your personal relationship with your 'Maker,' and wish to discuss this with someone, you are invited to contact us by clicking the following email link:
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