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The Just Shall Live By Faith
We know this is a basic truth because:
1. The Holy Spirit choose to record it four times in both the Old and New
Testaments. (Habakkuk 2: 4; Romans 1: 17; Galatians 3: 11;
Hebrews 10: 38)
2. It is an eternal truth that spans man’s existence both before and after the
coming of the Savior. (Hebrews 10: 38- 11: 40)
3. It is given to us as a promise of God not as a work of law. This is of prime
importance since salvation is by the grace and favor of God and not by works
of law or works performed to make us righteousness before God.
4. It reveals a fundamental truth; salvation is by grace through faith.
(Ephesians 2: 8- 10)
In His wisdom and sovereignty, God determined to save those that believe. The simplicity of this statement does not appeal to man, who out of pride in their own accomplishments perverted the gospel of Christ into a different gospel, a gospel of works. The Reformers are to be highly commended, in that they recognized that salvation is not through the keeping of sacraments but through faith. But then many of them, having avoided the doctrine of works, embraced the other extreme, the doctrine of “salvation by faith alone”. The glorious light that was cast upon the religious scene was for the most part short lived. (1 Corinthians 1: 21; Galatians 1: 6- 9)
How can we know that the doctrine of salvation by faith alone is a stawy, unsubstantial doctrine?
We can know because:
1. The Scriptures repeatedly stress that salvation is by grace through faith, but
they never state that salvation is by grace through faith alone.
2. The Scriptures explicitly state that justification and salvation are mot by faith
alone. (James 2: 20; 24)
3. The Scriptures identify many factors in salvation. Denial of self, faith,
repentance, confession, baptism, the new birth, conversion. Eating the flesh
and drinking the blood of Christ, hope, obedience, washing of regeneration,
renewal of the Holy Spirit, calling on the name of the Lord, love, enduring to
the end, grace, mercy, and sanctification by Spirit, prayer, and childbearing
God has determined to reckon faith for righteousness. Works have been shown to be an inadequate instrument for salvation because of the weakness of the flesh. Works require faultless execution of which we are incapable. Works engender pride and pride leads to sin.
What faulty assumption apparently was made by some of the Reformers make?
They apparently assumed that because salvation is by grace through faith and not of works, then salvation is by faith alone.
Apparently they failed to recognize that “the obedience of faith” is neither a “work of law” nor a “work done to be righteous”.
Is obedience explicitly said to be a necessary factor in salvation?
Jesus is the source of eternal salvation to all that obey. (Hebrews 5: 8)
Those that do not obey the gospel await eternal destruction. (2 Thessalonians 1: 8)
How is the promise, the just shall live by faith.” set apart from the principle of life found in the Law?
1. The promises of God are unconditional; the works of the law are conditional.
2. Paul contrast the two principles in Galatians 3: 11- 12) No one is justified by
Law but justification is by faith.
The righteous man shall live by faith (Galatians 3: 11)
He who practices them, shall live by them (Galatians 3: 12;
Leviticus 18: 5)
3. Faith is compatible with grace; works of law or righteousness are not.
(Romans 11: 6)
The law of Christ is not a law of works but of faith (Romans 3: 27)
Those in Christ are not under law. (Romans 6: 14)
Those in Christ are children of promise. (Galatians 4: 28)
If the function of the obedience of faith is not to be righteous before God on the basis of our works, what is the purpose?
Grace is the “why” of salvation, faith is the “how” of salvation and obedience is the “when” of salvation.
James tells us that our faith is “perfected” by our works (obedience of faith) and that faith alone is useless and dead. When faith leads us to obedience, faith is perfected and is at that time reckoned for righteousness, (James 2: 14- 26)
When Abraham stretched out his hand to slay Isaac for the sacrifice, the angel of God stopped him and said, “Now I know that you fear God.” James used this very example to show that it was at this time that God reckoned his faith for righteousness. (Genesis 22: 11; James 2: 23)
Paul said the purpose of his apostleship was to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentile? What a strange statement if the obedience of faith is not critical to salvation. (Romans 1: 5; 16: 26)
1. Salvation is through faith, a perfected faith
2. Law is conditional; the promises of God are unconditional.
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Last Update 09/26/12