Justified by Faith
The Bible teaches, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boas” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is an instant experience. It is grace on God’s part and faith on man’s part. Faith receives the gift of God. It is through the act of giving ourselves to Him that we are saved, not that faith is the means of our salvation, but simply the channel (Romans 4:3).
Salvation is a free gift that we can’t earn (Isaiah 55:1; John 4:14; 2 Corinthians 9:15; 1 John 5:11). People do not do good works to be saved but because they are saved (Romans 3:31). The moment the believer repentantly confesses his past sins and appropriates the blood of Jesus for forgiveness and believes that the Lord has forgiven him, he gets justified. The Lord promised, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Faithfulness is one of God’s qualities (1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Sanctified by Faith
The good news is that Jesus came not only to forgive the sinners of all past sins but also to transform him (sanctify) by His Spirit. This is a life-long process. Salvation is gained “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Sanctification takes place when a person holds to Christ daily by study of the Word and prayer. “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5).
By himself the believer cannot produce good works. It is necessary for him to be born again in Christ. The Savior declared, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Thus, the believer cooperates with God’s power. The Christian will allow the Lord to do His will in his life. The only way he stops this process is to cut himself off intentionally from the Lord.
Jesus came to empower people to keep His commands that they may reflect His image (Romans 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).
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.
In His service,