Faith Alone

Faith Alone

How does one truly diagnose someone’s spiritual condition?  One of the biggest problems in the church today is that so-called believers combine faith plus works or good deeds as the basis for God accepting them.  Last week, I talked with a lady who said that she knew she was saved and going to heaven, but was trusting in her own goodness. She told me that since she believed in Jesus and was nice and had not hurt people, God would accept her into heaven.  This faith + works problem is an epidemic in the church.  There are many churchgoers, who have a faith, but it is really a faith in themselves with a belief in God and/or Jesus attached to it.  That faith doesn’t save.  Only faith alone saves.

How can we clear up this Gospel confusion that sends so many to hell?  First, God reveals that good works are always the product (fruit) of saving faith, but not ever a cause of God’s forgiveness or acceptance (James 2:17).  Pastor James is saying to us that we cannot trust Jesus as a mere ticket to heaven, without the trust to follow Him as our Lord.  Martin Luther once wrote, “Faith, is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.”  By faith alone in Christ’s finished work on the cross, you can have a personal relationship with God that will change your life.  Life-change is always a fruit and result of true saving faith.

Second, God reveals that salvation (righteousness before God) is by Faith Alone – without any meritorious works.  Paul says, “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this [the grace, salvation, and faith] is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8–9).  We never deserved righteousness and we will never earn the forgiveness of God – ever – not one bit.

Thirdly, God tells us to always be taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-6).  This means that we must preach the gospel to ourselves, otherwise, we will forget it.  The gospel is forgotten when it no longer functions as our ongoing hope and confidence before God, or when it becomes unessential for the practical, daily living of the Christian life.  Since performance (accomplishment) is the default mode of every human: thinking we have to do good works to please God (and even other people), we need to actually tell ourselves to stop it and trust in the once-for-all saving work of Jesus Christ.

No matter your past, you can still have a life-changing relationship with God if you trust in Christ and what he has done for you.  Don’t be like the lady who believed that faith + works would save her.  Since you contribute nothing to your salvation, you must embrace that eternal salvation is by faith alone!!!!

Pastor Glenn

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