Posted by: Pastor | January 28, 2009

THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

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.
(Ephesians 2:8-9)

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17)


The Source of Faith

Let us consider briefly the source of faith. There is here as in repentance a divine side and a human side.

(1) The Divine Side. On the divine side faith is the gift of God (Rom. 12:3; 2 Pet. 1:1). Eph. 2:8 probably refers to “salvation” rather than “faith”; for “and that” (kai touto) is neuter and not feminine, and so refers to the whole experience. The Greek words for “faith” (pistil) and “grace” (charis) are both feminine. The statement in 2 Thess. 3:2, “for all have not faith,” does not mean that they may not have it, but merely that they do not have it. We are asked to believe in order that we may feel our inability to do so, and to induce us to cast ourselves upon him to produce faith in us. The man with the withered hand was asked to stretch forth his hand; and when he attempted to stretch it forth, strength came into this impotent member so that he could stretch it forth.

(2) The Human Side. On the human side faith is produced by the Word of God (Rom. 10:14, 17; John 5:47; Acts 4:4). The Scriptures disclose our need, state the promises, indicate the conditions, and point out the blessings of salvation. Our salvation begins with an intellectual belief of the Word of God. It is also produced by looking unto Jesus (Heb. 12:2). The idea seems to be, that He is our Example and Inspiration to believe. Prayer is also definitely represented as a means to faith (Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5; 22:32). It is held out as the means to deliverance from unbelief and to increase of faith. The prayer of Jesus avails to preserve us in faith. We may begin with little faith; but if we use what faith we have, God will increase it. See Judg. 6:14; Matt. 25:29. George Mueller of Bristol, England, disclaims having the “gift” of faith, but explains that his faith “is the self-same faith which if found in every believer, and the growth of which I am most sensible of to myself ; for by little and little it has been increasing for the last sixty-nine years.” George Mueller, Autobiography o f George Mueller
(London: J. Nisbet and Co., 1905), p. 173.

The Results of Faith

We have time and space to look at only two of these, which seem to be the most important ones.

(1) Assurance. It is true that assurance comes by the witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 4:13; 5:10) ; but nevertheless He refers the soul to the promises in the Word of God, and assurance comes when we believe them. Closely connected with assurance are peace (Rom. 5:1; Isa. 26:3) and rest (Heb. 4:3), with the resulting
joy (1 Pet. 1:8).

(2) Good Works. Faith necessarily leads to good works. We have been saved apart from works (Eph. 2:9; Rom. 3:20), but yet “for good works” (Eph. 2:10). Jesus said, “So let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works” (Matt. 5:16). James emphasizes the manifestation of faith in “works” (Jas. 2:17-26). Paul stresses the insufficiency of “good works” to save a soul (Gal. 2:16; 3:10), yet he also emphasizes the fact that “works” are the outgrowth of faith (Tit. 1:16; 2:14; 3:8). Among these “works” is any form of Christian service (Gal. 5:6; Ps. 116:10)

adapted from Thiessen’s Lectures in Systematic Theology

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