Monday, April 21, 2014

Saving Faith

On March 23, 2014, Pastor Jeff Riddle of Christ Reformed Baptist Church taught on Spurgeon's Catechism Question #69, 'What is Faith in Jesus Christ?'  Before answering the current question, Pastor Riddle recapped the answer to Question #68 on how we escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin through:  (1) faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, (2) repentance, or turning away from our sin, and (3) sanctification, or living a life of holiness.

Faith is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation as He is set forth in the Gospel.  Salvation is God-centered.  Therefore, faith is not a work because it is not the cause of our salvation, (Eph. 2:8-9).  We are justified by or through faith, not because of faith.  Faith is the means of our salvation, not the cause of our salvation.  The Author of our salvation is God alone.  It is a free gift; He uses our faith as an instrument.

God works this grace of faith in our souls by the ordinary hearing of the word preached, (Rom. 10:17, 1 Cor. 15:11).  The word is preached and God uses that to affect faith, which is the instrument of salvation.

The proper object of biblical faith is the Lord Jesus Christ, His righteousness, and the promises which are made through Him in the Covenant of Grace.  The proper subject of biblical faith is the elect of God, (Acts 13:48).

Saving faith is more than just intellectual assent; it also grasps the heart and the will, (Rom. 10:10).  Sandemanianism is the heretical belief that all you need to do to be saved is to give intellectual assent to the Gospel.  It is the underlying belief in the "carnal Christian" mentality, which says that you can be saved, but still live carnally (not adhering to the commandments of God).  It also underlies the Quick Prayerism evangelical methodology which says that if you believe you are a sinner and you believe that Jesus died for you, then all you need to do is to say a prayer to become a Christian.  However, the Bible teaches that salvation is not merely a matter of the mind and of the tongue, but of the heart and of the will.  We should give intellectual assent to the Gospel, but we should also have a change of heart and of the will.

Becoming a Christian means receiving Christ as a gift and believing on His name, (John 1:12).  You enter into the Sabbath rest of God, (Heb. 4:3), because you realize you are unable, but Christ is able and He is willing. Jesus is revealed to us in the Scriptures alone.

"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him," (Heb. 10:38).