16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:16-17)
Last time we looked at this passage, we saw that the gospel is the answer to man’s greatest need- namely deliverance from sin; in it is revealed that perfect righteousness , which we sinners need to be accepted with Him.
We also saw that this salvation which was brought to us through the gospel can only be enjoyed by those who believe. As it says “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”.
This leads us to ask the question as to the nature of this saving faith. How do I know if the faith that I posses is one that will save me at the end? The scripture tells us that the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19); and we know that they certainly will not be saved. It also tells us that “many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men” (John 2:23-24); Jesus did not acknowledge their faith as being genuine. It also tells us that “Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 7:21). These along with other passages compel us to examine our faith in light of scripture, to see if it will stand up to Christ’s scrutiny in that final Day of Judgment.
So what is saving faith? The Shorter Catechism gives us a helpful summary:
“Faith in Christ is a saving grace, whereby sinners receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to them in the gospel”
The first thing we see is that it is of grace. That is, it is an unmerited favor from God. It’s not something we’re born with, or can earn, nor could anyone confer it on us. God is the author of this faith. When the disciples were asked as to who they thought Christ was; Peter responded without any hesitation that He was the Christ the Son of the living God. To which Jesus replied “.. flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:15-17). Most everyone saw Jesus as a mere prophet, or a good teacher; but Peter saw Him as the Messiah- the anointed one. Hence we see that this faith is a supernatural faith. No one can receive Christ as savior and Lord unless they are born again by the power of the Spirit.(2 Cor 4:4-6; John 3:3,6)
Secondly we see that saving faith is not a mere agreement with the facts of the gospel, as many do today; but rather it is receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. These are a couple of important features of saving faith; God willing we will look at more during the sermon.