The characteristics of the saints
John the Revelator declares that the saints are those who keep the commandments of God and have faith of Jesus (Rev. 14:12). The remnant church thus honors the commandments of God (Exodus 20:3-17), and keeps them, not in any legalistic way but as a revelation of the Creator, who lives in the hearts of the sincere Christians (Gal. 2:20).
The commandments of God are a transcript of His character. They set forth the divine standard of righteousness that He would have people attain but which in their sinful state they cannot do. For “the carnal mind … is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). For this reason, people continually come short of the glory of God in spite of their best efforts to keep the commandments (Rom. 3:23).
The operation of faith
But praise God, Jesus came to empower people to keep His commands that they may reflect His image (Rom. 8:3,4). He came to reveal to them the Father’s loving character, and in this way enlarged the moral law which is founded on two principles: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Faith is the hand that the sinner puts out to take the “free gift” of God’s love (Rom. 5:15). And the Lord is always waiting and willing to give this gift to His children, not as a reward for anything they may do ( Ephesians 2:8-9), but simply because of His own endless love. The gift of salvation is offered to all to accept, and it is obtained “through faith.” John wrote, “he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (ch. 5:24).
Faith leads to transformation
Thus, faith is not merely a mental acceptance of certain truths. It is an active appropriation of God’s promises for victory over sin in the life of the believer. For faith that doesn’t lead to a transformation of character is dead (James 2:14-26). As a result, good deeds become the natural fruit of a converted life—works that spring forth because of faith.
Righteousness is not obtained as a reward for our faith in Christ, but rather faith is the method of appropriating righteousness. When in humility and gratefulness the believer in Christ submits himself to God without holding back, the righteousness of justification is credited to him (Romans 3:23-24).
Maintaining the faith
And as the believer abides daily in fellowship with Christ through prayer and the study of the Word, his faith increases, empowering him to receive more and more of the imparted righteousness of sanctification. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). And it is possible for those who have walked with Christ to cut their connection with Him and be lost (Heb. 6:4–6). Therefore, Salvation is conditional upon abiding in the Lord till the end.
In His service,