Friday, September 08, 2006

We Believe that Salvation is by Grace through Faith

We believe that salvation is by grace through faith.  Continued trust in Jesus, demonstrated by Spirit-led life, is a must for the Christian.

We are saved by grace.  The vehicle through which grace saves us is faith.  That’s true at the moment sins are forgiven, and that continues to be true as I live out my post-baptism walk with Christ.

If then, my faith is gone, the vehicle through which God’s grace saves me, is gone.  In this way, the salvation that was once mine has been forfeited along with my faith.  In scripture, this happened with some of the formerly faithful in Galatia.  Paul had preached the gospel, they had responded in faith, been saved by God’s grace; and then, they believed “another gospel.”  When their faith in Jesus was gone, having been replaced by trust in their own efforts, Paul told them the horrible consequence:

“Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 2:2-4).

It is also true that since faith is the basis of my discipleship, if I turn from the way of righteousness to walk the path of sin, I am no longer a person of faith.  That’s why Peter could write:

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.  Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud’” (2 Peter 2:20-22).

My faith causes me to look to Jesus for my salvation.  My faith causes me to walk according to the Spirit.  If I look elsewhere for my salvation or turn back to the works of the sinful nature I do so because of a lack of faith.  If salvation is by grace through faith, then when that faith is gone, so is salvation by grace.

I demonstrated my faith when I repented of my sins and was baptized for the forgiveness of my sins.  I demonstrate my faith still as I keep in step with the Spirit and look to Jesus for forgiveness when I fail.  That’s Life at Work!

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