A series of spiritual messages on:
THE FAITH IN CHRIST and ITS FUNCTIONING
“…The just shall live by faith.” (Rom.1:17)
- · “Verily, verily, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)
Part 1c: faith, its meaning and importance
With part 1c we will close the exposition of verse John6:47by stressing the beneficial results of faith in Christ for now and eternity. Before we examine the rest of this verse, I deem it necessary to insert some basic notions and truths:
3e) The meaning of the terms of “justice”, “mercy” and “grace”
We must understand the meaning of the terms of “justice”, “mercy” and “grace”:
- · If God had applied justice to us we would have gotten what we deserved: Hell! And what we deserved was to die on a cross. Jesus died on the cross in our place!
- · God, however, in His mercy has not given us what we deserved that is the cross and eternal death. On the contrary, Jesus has propitiated through His blood our sins and has cast them into the depths of the sea (Mic.7:19). We received the remission of our sins! (Ezr.9:13 and Ps.103:10-11).
- · He has, in His grace, justified us and has given us a lot of blessings that we did not deserve. His grace is immeasurable!
So, He has not only REMOVED our sins but has also ADDED a lot of virtues and blessings. Blessings upon blessings!
God’s Simple Plan of Salvation
Unfortunately, people do not understand that their joy or sorrow, happiness or misery for now and for all eternity depends upon their choices! God has, however, fixed a plan for our salvation, different from that of human mentality!
If we depend on our church affiliation to get saved from Hell, we are mistaken. Also, we are mistaken if we rely on how good we are and that because of our goodness we will be with God when we die! The Bible is clear on the point of salvation: In order to be saved from Hell, we must be born again (Joh.3:7). We cannot be born again by the Spirit unless we realize that we are sinners (Rom.3:23). As sinners we are condemned to death, for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom.6:23). This includes eternal separation from God in Hell. Hell is not a falsehood of someone’s imagination or just a figurative term. Hell is very real.
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this is the judgment (Heb.9:27). But God loved man so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and my sin and die in our place. He came because of our sin, He died to pay our debt and He arose to keep us saved eternally. For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Cor.5:21). Jesus had to shed His blood and die because without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb.9:22). We must accept that Jesus Christ has already paid our sin debt. “… God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8). He became our substitute. We must accept by faith what Jesus Christ did for us. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (Joh.3:36) This is the reason why God calls us to repent and thank Him for His unequalled gift (Ac.17:30).
Those who received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name (Joh.1:12). Therefore “…whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Rom.10:13). If we believe on Him as our crucified, buried, and risen Savior, we receive forgiveness for all of our sins and eternal salvation by faith. It is written: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mrk.8:36). If we lose our soul, we miss Heaven and lose all. God can save us this very moment.
The sinner’s prayer
The moment one receives Jesus, God promises that he is not any more under condemnation but he has everlasting life and that he will never perish in Hell. “Most assuredly, I say to you, 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.” (Joh.5:24).
Those who really believe should pray and say: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe that His shed blood, His death, His burial, and His resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior and Lord of my life. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life. I know that I am a sinner; if I died now in my sin, I would go to Hell. Right now, by faith, I trust You as my personal Savior and my only hope for Heaven. Thank you for dying on the cross for me and for saving me from eternity in Hell. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If man believes he will be saved. No church, no good work can save him. Let us remember that it is God that does the saving. Those who are saved should not forget or neglect to witness for Him. “Be not you therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner…” And, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” (Mt.10:32) And they should not forget that “…we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2Cor.5:10).
4. “…he who believes IN HIM”: not in angels or icons or departed saints etc.
Just as man’s son is a man so God’s Son is a God.
God’s Son is the creator of all things.
- · “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (Joh.1:3)
- · “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1Cor.8:6)
- · “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” (Eph.3:9)
- · “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Col.1:16)
- · “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Heb.1:1)
He was loved by the Father before the foundation of the world
- · “And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.” (Joh.17:5)
- · “Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (Joh.17:24)
- · “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house has more honor than the house.” (Heb.3:3)
So, the expression “in Him” means that we put all our trust in Him exclusively for our salvation. Neither in angels, nor in icons nor in dead saints’ intercessions nor in their dry bones and sculls, nor in any human being, nor in the visible church, nor in a priest or pastor, nor in any religious movement but only in Him and directly in Him (John ch.14 and 16). In Him who is the WORD, God’s only begotten Son, who has been made flesh and has been delivered for our offences and Who has been raised from the dead for our justification. He who wanted “…through death …destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb.2:14-15). He who is above angels and archangels (Heb.1:4-14) who loved us with an eternal love and who gave himself as an expiatory victim to transfer us out of darkness into the marvelous light of His kingdom (1Pe.2:9). He who is called “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”, (Tit.2:13) “…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev.1:8) and Who will gather together all that belong to Him. Yes, all those who have made a “…covenant with Him by sacrifice.” (Ps.50:5).
Traditions and rituals have annulled the Word of God. Mariolatry has, in reality, replaced the worship of Christ who is the only mediator between God and men. Priests and people pray Mary, the mother of Jesus, to save them in their dangers, problems and difficulties. Is Jesus unable to save them? Are there two main Saviors, Jesus and Mary, His Mother? Are there also many other “little” saviors and mediators, the departed saints, who are omnipresent (!!!) and able to protect their cities, participate in their wars, hear them and save them from their dangers, problems and difficulties either through icons or directly? Lord, have pity on us!
Let us examine now the expression:
5. “HAS ETERNAL LIFE”
No condemnation provided we walk in the Spirit
The phrase “has eternal life” or blessed “endless life” means that he who believes already HAS eternal life. Yes, yes, yes, he HAS it even from now. He has it by faith and in hope; he has it as a pledge of the Spirit of grace; he already has a before-taste of eternal life in his soul, and he will one day certainly enjoy it. He will not have it merely after death, because he already “…has passed from death into life” (Joh.5:24). And elsewhere God‘s Word says: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Rom.8:1). The assurance of salvation is not based on feelings but on facts concerning the life and the death of Jesus Christ. These facts secure him the certainty of a new life, of a new relation with his God and Savior. If Jesus’ death is indisputable, it is equally indisputable that the true believer, I repeat, the true believer, has already eternal life. To support what I have just said, I would like to mention two verses: First, Rom.10:9: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”, and second Joh.3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Joh.3:16) Again and again we see one and only one possibility to be saved: to believe sincerely and wholeheartedly in Him!
The same verse says to us that he who does not believe in Christ does not have eternal life. His life finishes here; after that it is the judgment; and after that it is the eternal damnation. It is a hard word but at the same time it is a warning of love from God… “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him.” (Joh.3:36).
Love for the truth; love for sincerity
The only condition is that we are sincere towards Christ, our Lord. We must not, however, let the truth slip out of our mind that Christ cannot become our Savior unless we have taken the decision to accept Him also as the Lord of our life. It is He who decides and it is we that must obey in sincerity and in good will! Obey in what? Obey in works of the law? No, but obey by repenting, by believing all God’s words and promises and by trusting God’s character! Not in words but in acts and in truth. Our society might not give a medal on integrity, but God does. We must admit the truth in our heart in all we are and do: For example: « Yes, Lord, I sinned, what I did was unjust, what I said was an exaggeration, it was a lie, it was a subterfuge… Yes, Lord, I reacted in an angry and brutal way… Yes, Lord, my attitude was not honest… My attitude was selfish… Yes, Lord, what I feel is a feeling of bitterness, of revenge…etc. » (Ps.15:2). Change me, Lord, according to your Word.
I would like to finish this point by referring to a great and glorious truth: The blessing on the life of the man is closely related to the fact that he fears the Lord, that he loves the truth and that he loves to do all that is good and right. His love: “Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth (1Cor.13:6). On the contrary, “… for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thes.2:11-12)
If true faith is all that man needs to have eternal life, spiritual growth, power to resist sin and Satan etc, etc – without being obliged to add something to it – ; if faith is the key to open the door to Heaven, then, you can understand how fundamental is its importance! We must thus pay great attention… Consequently, let us apply accurately the exhortation of the Word of God: “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” (2Cor.13: 5)
Let me repeat what I said in my previous message: When man is saved and is regenerated, it is IMPOSSIBLE to remain as he was! The Holy Spirit that regenerates him changes radically his intentions and desires of his heart, in the twinkling of an eye and sets him free from the love of sin, because the Holy Spirit writes His laws in man’s heart. He or she who thinks that has been saved but continues to be slave to sin, he or she is in error and in self-deception… He or she has never truly believed. His/her faith is but theoretical. True faith is never unfruitful but it is exercised in love and good works. Justification, regeneration and sanctification are inseparable qualities, just as light and heat from sun’s rays. Where there are no good works, there is no true genuine faith, and as a consequence, neither justification nor salvation. Faith is manifested by obedience in whatever God commands.
Having, therefore, a God such as ours, the Creator, who preserves the universe and the Savior of our soul, body and mind; having glorious promises concerning the forgiveness of our sins, the deliverance of our spirit from the dominion and the slavery of sin – here and now – and the redemption of our body when God’s Son will appear; having a God WHO, in the meantime protects us and takes care of us and WHO unties us of the Satan’s traps, let us call upon the name of the Lord and “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb.4:16) Amen!