Millions of Americans claim to be true Christians, but are they? At church a few weeks ago, our pastor gave a very good sermon about the nature of saving faith. Below are some notes from his sermon…
Here I want to instruct or remind you that the Scriptures, and especially the New Testament, describe a faith that does not save. In other words, not every person who believes is saved or a true Christian, many false believers will end up in hell. Now it's my opinion that fewer things are more necessary in our day then a clarification of the nature of saving faith. I think many professing Christians would be surprised at leaning that many "believers" are not truly believers.
1. Misguided believers
Misguided believers are people who look to Christ for something other than salvation for sin...
For example—think of how the gospel is often preached—Come to Christ to have your personal needs met... a better marriage—a meaningful life—happiness—purpose—physical healing—or financial blessing. Now, some or many of these things may be a benefit of coming to Christ, but they are not THE reason to come. True and saving faith has Christ as its object, and, primarily, Christ as the Lamb slain because of our sins. But not so with the MISGUIDED believer—for he isn't primarily concerned with being saved from his sins. He's willing to follow Christ providing he gets what he wants—whatever that is—but it isn't salvation from sin. We see a vivid example of this in Acts 8
Acts 8:13—"Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done."
Acts 8:18—"When Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
2. Unfruitful believers
Unfruitful believers are people who fail to get into Christ—they fail to have that vital union with Him.
Thus, because there's no union with Christ, their lives fall to show any transformation or real fruit for God. We see an example of this kind of believer in James chapter 2
Jas 2:14 "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him."
Jas.2:19-20 "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead."
So what are the ingredients of saving faith?
Saving faith can be summed up in 3 words... knowledge, assent, and trust. True and saving faith is more than merely understanding and believing the general facts of the gospel.
Let me illustrate this with Noah and the ark—think of Noah standing at a distance looking at the newly built ark. He believed everything that God had said... Noah, I am going to destroy the world, built an ark for your salvation. He believed that God was holy and just, He believed that God has merciful and gracious in providing an ark. But—unless Noah himself got into the ark, he would never be saved—he must TRUST himself to what he believes. So the same is true for sinners, they hear about God's wrath and mercy and they behold His salvation in Christ. They may believe these things as do the demons; but unless they personally get into Christ, they shall never be saved.
3. Temporary believers
Temporary believers seemingly start well—they're on fire for Jesus—but don't last because they don’t have a true, saving faith. We see an example in Luke 8:13
Lk.8:13 "But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”
If you are one of these misguided, unfruitful, or temporary believers, ask God to change your heart. Go to Him in prayer repenting of your sins and putting all of your trust in Christ to save you.
Throughout my blog postings, I plan to post helpful table tennis articles as well as truths that I have been learning from the Bible.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
The Gospel influences every area of my life - personal, table tennis, family, hobbies. With God's help, I want to live each moment for Him.
Read truths from 3 Bible Passages