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By Grace Through Faith
BY David A. DePra

     Ask yourself this fundamental question: What is it that saved

you? Many of us might answer, "Faith in Jesus Christ."

     The Bible seems to back this answer up. We all know the
usual scriptures on the subject. The Bible says, "Without faith it
is impossible to please God," and, "Your faith has saved you...."
The suggestion that we are saved by our faith is prominent
among God's people. It is such an established fact that we rarely
think about it.
     But we must think about this for a moment. In fact, if we do,
we will find that we are NOT saved by our faith in Jesus Christ.
We are not saved by our faith at all. Such assumptions are
wrong. Dead wrong.
     Wrong? How can that be wrong? Doesn't the Bible say our
faith saves us?
     No, it doesn't. I suppose you could find some isolated verses
where Jesus makes that statement when He heals someone, or
take it out of context in one of the epistles. But if you take all the
teaching of the Bible on the subject it does NOT say that our faith
saves us.
     Ok. So if our faith does not save us, then what does? Well,
not -- WHAT does. But WHO does. In other words, our faith
doesn't save us. Jesus Christ saves us. Our faith is merely our
belief and embracement of the fact He does.
     Note that again. Our faith does nothing to save us. It cannot
impart to us eternal life. It cannot. Jesus Christ, by the sheer
grace of God, saves us. And then if God calls us to Christ, and
we believe, we are saved. Our faith is merely the embracement
of what Jesus has already done.
     This is not a petty distinction. Many Christians live under the
notion that it is by their faith that they are saved. They think that
their faith is what gets God moving for them on a daily basis. So
they try and try to "generate faith." And over the course of time,
their attempt to "generate enough faith" can become a worse
bondage than trying to generate enough works. They just can't
seem to do it. And it can be really discouraging.
Is Faith a Creative Force?
     The notion that we must "generate" the necessary faith for
salvation, or for daily living, has been molded into a number of
heresies today. One of them is the idea that faith is a "force"
which "creates" the thing we believe. For instance, if I want
money, and "believe" I'll receive it, my faith will create the money.
Or if I "speak" victory, it will create victory. Or if I confess
anything with my mouth, it will come to pass. The underlying
idea is that if I speak, or believe, or claim, I will set in motion the
forces necessary to bring it to pass.
     All of this is error. I cannot create anything by believing.
Rather, I must believe because it is already there. This is such a
simple thought that it is amazing that some Christians have
strayed from it. We cannot make something true by speaking it,
believing it, or claiming it. It is either already true, or it is not.
This is so in the physical world, and it is so in the spiritual
     What all this boils down to is the will of God. Either something
IS the will of God, or it is not. Either it IS true, or it isn't. By faith
we apprehend and embrace God's will, and believe the Truth.
We don't create anything. We don't make anything true.
     Heresies such as "positive confession," and "seed faith
theology" arise from the desire to have MY will be done, rather
than God's. All I need to do is claim my will, say I believe it will
come to pass, and accept nothing less. Then God is somehow
obligated to honor my "faith."
     Such heresies are not new. They all stem from a refusal to
surrender to the will of God. They are religious devices, carrying
Biblical terms, which seek to justify a Christian in his tendency to
own himself.
By Grace THROUGH Faith
     Notice what the Bible clearly teaches:
By GRACE you are saved THROUGH faith. And that, not of
yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man
should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus UNTO good works, that God has before ordained, that we
should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10)
     We are not saved by faith. We are saved by GRACE. It is
THROUGH faith that the free gift of salvation is imparted to us.
Our faith can no more save us than can our works. Only if Jesus
Christ has ALREADY finished our salvation, and offers it as a free
gift, is there anything there for us to believe and embrace by our
     The finished work of redemption through Jesus Christ IS
finished. It doesn't become "more finished" if we believe it. It
doesn't become "less finished" if we disbelieve it. It is finished
whether we believe or reject it. Indeed, if there were never a
single soul who believed and accepted the finished work of
Jesus Christ, it would nevertheless be a fact. God has done all
the forgiving, saving, and redeeming He is going to do! He
simply beckons us to believe and receive it.
A Principle
     Salvation is a once for all, one time event. But God's work in
us does not end with salvation. It begins with it. God intends to
work out His salvation in and through us, and in all creation.
     The principle under which God works out His salvation in us
is the same one under which we are saved: Grace through faith.
In other words, everything God does in us in the realm of
santification and spiritual growth is by grace through faith. God
has done it all in Christ. But we must believe. And if we believe,
we will obey. We will choose the will of God, not our own will.
     The victory of Jesus Christ is finished. It is DONE. Nothing
can change that, or add to it, or subtract from it. Not even our
faith. But by our faith we are able to embrace it, and ultimately,
be conformed to it. *

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