Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Importance of Faith Alone

In light of the the event that took place 498 years ago today, the birth of the Protestant Reformation, we offer these thoughts by L. R. Shelton, Jr., on faith. Taken from the Free Grace Broadcaster # 157 on the subject of Faith. For other articles like this one, please visit: Please enjoy and ponder the implication of this article. 
Brother Pat


L. R. Shelton Jr.

SOME CONCLUDING THROUGHTS as we close these articles on Faith.
1. There is no salvation in Christ apart from faith, and no instrumental means other than faith as these Scriptures bring out so clearly: "For by grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8). "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17); and "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6).

2. Saving faith must of a necessity be a gift of God because it comes to us by grace through the effectual working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts by the Word of God: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). When Apollos had come to Achaia, he "helped them much which had believed through grace" (Acts 18:27). "When ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (I Thess. 2:13). "That our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power" (II Thess. 1:11). "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (I Cor. 2:4-5).

3. Even though the Scriptures show plainly that true saving faith is a gift of God, worked in us by the Holy Spirit which comes to us by grace, yet in no place do they teach that the Holy Spirit believes FOR US; the Holy Spirit frees our wills and enables us to believe. Therefore the act of faith, the coming to Christ as THE OBJECT of our faith, is spoken of in Scripture as the sinner abandoning all hope in himself to merit salvation, the going outside of himself to Another for help, and the looking only to Jesus, the Christ of the Bible Whom he has personally trusted and obeyed. This is clearly shown in II Tim. 1:12 in these words: "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

4. Saving faith is not an isolated act, but is continuous all the days of our lives. The Amplified brings this out in such a blessed way in Rom. 1:17—"For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith—disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live, and shall live by faith." The eleventh chapter of Hebrews tells us that the Old Testament saints were saved by faith, lived and worked by faith, and died in faith, as does every soul whom God saves. As it was at conversion, so it is every day of our lives: the impulse to faith is a felt need, the motion of faith is always from self to another, and THE OBJECT of faith is always Christ Himself.

As we came then, empty-handed to receive of Him (John 1:11, 12; Col. 2:6), so we do now. As we came then, hungering and thirsting after Christ Who is the Water of Life and the Bread of Life (Isa. 55:1; Matt. 5:6; John 6:35, 50-56; 7:37), so we do now. As we came then, casting our heavy burden of sin and all of our ways and works upon Him (Matt. 11:28-30; I Pet. 5:7), so we do now. As we came then, turning our weary eyes upon Him Who alone could save us, forgive us, and cleanse us (Isa. 45:22; John 1:29; 3:14-15 with Num. 21:8; Zech. 12:10 & Heb. 12:2), so we do now. As we came then, fleeing to Him as our Refuge and our Hiding Place (Heb. 6:18), so we do now. As we came then, to receive all our needs from Him (John 6:35, 37; Phil. 4:19), so we do now.

Surely the child of God follows the Lamb "whithersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14:4) all the days of his life.

5. Therefore, since "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17), how important it is for us to heed our blessed Lord's admonition: "Search the Scriptures... for they testify of me" (John 5:39). "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27). Search the Scriptures, for we find in them the Foundation of our hope: it is the Word that testifies of Christ and His ability to save.

Then, when we have searched them, how important it is to believe what we read and the witness God gives of His Son. As I John 5:9-12 tells us, "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

The question is asked, "What is the record that God has given us that testifies of His Son's ability and willingness to save?" The record we are to believe is that the Lord Jesus Christ came voluntarily from heaven's heights to earth's depths to be  born of a virgin, to take upon Himself the nature of man, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, that He might deliver them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15).

The record we are to believe is that the Lord Jesus Christ emptied himself so He could manifest the glory of the Father here upon earth, doing the will of the Father so He might pay our sin-debt in full by the giving up of Himself upon the cross as God's Substitute for sinners. It is that He died, the Just for the unjust, the Godly for the ungodly, the Righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring many sons into glory, and by the shedding of His blood, satisfy God's holy law and justice.

The record we are to believe is that in His death, burial and resurrection, our blessed Lord has opened the way for poor sinners to come back to God in repentance and faith, and that God can be just in justifying every poor sinner who comes unto Him through Christ.

My dear friend, my prayer is that as you read the Scriptures, you will meditate upon them and cry unto the living God of the Bible that He, by His Spirit, will make the promises, which are beacons that lead us to Christ, real to your heart, so your faith will rest in Christ Himself Who is the very life of the promises, the very marrow and sweetness of the promise, Who alone can be our Resting Place, our Refuge, our Mediator, our Salvation and our Standing before God for time and eternity.

Willing to take the cross was He,
Willing to suffer misery,
Willing to go to Calvary,
Laying His glory aside;
Willing to hang there on the tree,
Willing to bear the agony,
Willing to die for you and me;
Jesus the Crucified.
F. W. Hawkins

Taken from the booklet: Christ the Object of True Saving Faith, available from Chapel Library.

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