What Does It Mean To Have Faith?

Faith in Jesus Christ is acknowledging the truth of everything that God has revealed in his Word, trusting in him, and also receiving and resting on him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Watch John Yates talk about what it means to have faith:

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Copyright © 2012 by Redeemer Presbyterian Church

3 Things You Need To Know Before (And After) You Become A Christian

There are three things a person needs to know in order to become a Christian and then live a fulfilling life in Christ.

1) You need to know you are a sinner

The Gospel begins with the bad news that we’re all sinners:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)

There is none righteous, no, not one. (Rom 3:10)

And our sin places us under God’s judgment:

The wages of sin is death… (Rom 6:23)

We often make the mistake of comparing ourselves to other people. When we do that we convince ourselves that we aren’t so bad. But it’s “the glory of God” that we fall short of. God compares our behavior to His own — not other people — and all of us fall short when held to this standard.

Why this is important to know: 1) We must recognize that we need be saved from our sins in order to be at peace with God and 2) That salvation must come from a source outside of us because we can’t live up to God’s standard.

2) You need to know how you can be forgiven for your sins

After laying out the problem, the Gospel then give us the solution to the problem of sin:

The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)

Christ Himself fulfilled all that God has required in His Law, and paid for our sins:

What the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. (Rom 8:3)

We are saved through Christ’s work, not our own:

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

As we learned above, we can’t save ourselves from our sin because our good works can’t live up to God’s standard, but where our works are stained with sin and rejected, Christ’s work is perfect and is accepted.

When we say we recognize our need to be saved, and call on Christ to be our Savior, we mean we’re relying on His sacrifice to be a payment for our sins and to make peace with God on our behalf. When we do this God credits Christ’s perfection to us, we’re justified, and we’re forgiven for our sins.

Why this is important to know: Because only Jesus can save us from the penalty of our sin, any other way we try to make peace with God will fall short (Acts 4:12).

3) You need to know how you should respond to God’s forgiveness

Once we are at peace with God, through Christ, we are a new creation:

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor 5:17)

We no longer live for sin, we live for God:

Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Rom 6:13)

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:9)

And our lives should bear good fruit:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)

Why this is important to know: In order to grow in Christ we need to know how to respond to God’s grace. What Christ has done for us effects how we live. We do good works, not to be saved, but because Christ has saved us (Eph 2:10). We forgive because Christ has forgiven us (Matt 6:12). We bless because Christ has blessed us (Eph 1:3). We served because Christ has served us (Mrk 10:45). We love because Christ has loved us (1 Jhn 4:19).

Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes With Your Salvation

One of the core teachings of Christianity is that we need to have faith in order to be saved. But what kind of faith saves us?

In a previous study we discussed what it is we’re saved from. In this study we’re going to discuss how we know we’re saved.

To do this, we’re going to look at three examples of people in the Bible who mistakenly thought they were saved, see why they were wrong, and from that learn how we can know we’re saved.

Mistake #1 – Believing you’re saved because of your tradition

“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.'” – John 8:42-44

Our first example comes from a heated exchange between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees — the religious leaders of their day. Jesus tells them that He speaks the words of His Father, while they speak the words of their father, the devil.

These religious people felt they were saved because of their bloodline and because of the traditions they followed. They felt these things made God their Father. Many people believe this today. They feel because they were raised in a Christian home, or because they attend a church, they’re saved.

But Jesus refutes this by saying, “If God were your Father, you would love me…” The requirement for being a child of God is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Notice two things:

1) Notice that Jesus says “you”. Not your parents, or friends or your church but “you”. No one can have a relationship on our behalf. You alone must put your trust in Him to be saved.

2) Notice that Jesus says “me”. It’s not where you were born, or what church you attend that makes you a child of God. It’s a belief and a trust that Christ came from the Father to pay for your sins (John 3:16). John 1:12 tells us that “all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Let’s look at our second example.

Mistake #2 – Believing you’re saved because of your behavior

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”- Luke 18:10-14

Our next example comes from a parable Jesus told. Here we find that the Pharisee thinks he’s saved because of his good behavior. This is probably the reason most people today believe they’re saved. Most people feel that they’ve lived good lives.

But Jesus refutes this by telling us that it’s not the Pharisee who is justified (declare innocent from sin), but the tax collector. To be justified Jesus tells us we must be humble about our condition. We must realize we’ve sinned and call on God to forgive us.

Notice two things:

1) Notice that the Pharisee compared his behavior to the tax collector.

2) Notice that the tax collector compared his behavior to God.

The tax collector did the right thing because Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It’s “the glory of God” that we fall short of. Our behavior is compared to God — not other people — and all of us fall short when held to this standard. But Romans 3:24 tells us that we can be saved because we’re “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Let’s look at one final example.

Mistake #3 – Believing you’re saved because of your works or deeds

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23

In our final example we find Jesus talking about who will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Here we find people who believe they’re saved because of good works they do. Again this is something many people do today.

Jesus refutes this by saying that He won’t accept their works. As we mentioned in our last example, God’s glory is the standard we’re held to, and it’s perfect. So unless our offering is perfect, it falls short of His glory. When we try to offer good deeds to atone for our sins, God rejects that because the sacrifice is stained with sin, and falls short of His glory.

Jesus says that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the kingdom. What is His will? “He commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) What does it mean to repent? It means to turn from sin, to Christ.

Where our works are stained with sin and rejected, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is perfect and is accepted. When we repent and come to Christ to be our Savior it means we’re relying on His sacrifice to make peace with God on our behalf. When we do this God credits Christ’s perfection to us and we are justified.

How are we saved?

In this study we’ve looked at people who mistakenly thought they were saved because of their tradition, behavior or good works. Each example had one thing in common: Each tried to obtain salvation through their own strength and fell short.

God gives us salvation through His Son. Our salvation isn’t based on what we’ve done, it’s based on what Christ has done. We know we’re saved when we know we trust in Christ completely for our salvation.

Verses to remember

– “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8)

– “This is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)

– He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25)

4 Things The Gospel Frees Us From

Learn more about the Gospel: What Is The Gospel?, How Do We Know We’re Saved?

The “gospel”, from the Greek word evangelion, literally means “good news.” In ancient times, the evangelion (“good news”) was proclaimed from city to city to celebrate the accession of the new king to the throne upon the death of the old.

That is exactly what is being proclaimed in the gospel of Christ: the gospel is the joyful proclamation of the reign of Christ (literally, of God’s “Anointed One”), the rightful heir to the throne of David who lived and died and rose again to glory.

The gospel is the announcement that the blessing for which all of us long – more, better, richer, purer life – is available to us, even now; and this blessing is all bound up in the person and work of Jesus, “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

The gospel is the most powerful message of human liberation that has ever been proclaimed on earth. The gospel gives us:

1) Freedom from bondage of sin

“God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Rom 6:17-18)

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jhn 8:36)

2) Freedom from the condemnation of God’s moral law

“Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Rom 4:24)

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering…” (Rom 8:1-3)

3) Freedom from fear of death

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:55-57)

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:20-21)

4) Freedom to live boldly in the assurance of God’s love for us

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb 4:15-16)

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

– Adapted from JD Grisham’s Dust & Glory: The Meaning & Implications of the Gospel of Grace

All About Angels

What Angels Are Like

Angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve Him (Ps 148:1-5; Col 1:16). Calvin described angels as “heavenly spirits, whose obedience and ministry God employs to execute all the purposes which he has decreed,” while the writer of Hebrews described them as “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.” (Heb 1:14)

There are countless numbers of angels (Dan 7:10; Heb 12:22), though they do not reproduce (Matt 22:30). Matthew 18:10 may hint that there are at least as many angels as there are humans who have lived throughout history.

Exactly when they were created is unknown, but they were present during the creation of the world, and shouted for joy when they witnessed God’s creative power. (Job 38:6-7)

Like humans, angels are personalities who display intelligence, emotion and freewill. But while humans are both spiritual and material beings (Jam 2:26) angels are only spirit. (Heb 1:14) They sometimes appear in the glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9), sometimes as men (Heb 13:2; Mar 16:5), and sometimes appear as strange forms (Isa 6; Ezk 1).

Angels are limited beings and are not omniscient (2 Pet 2:11). They desire to learn more about the gospel (1 Pet 1:12) and rejoice when a sinner repents. (Lk 15:10)

What Angels Do

Angels worship God (Ps 148:2; Heb 1:6) and serve Him (Psa 103:20). They announce and execute judgment on God’s command (Rev 14:6-7; Rev 16:1).

Angels also appear to be involved somehow in bringing answers to prayer requests (Dan 10:12; Acts 12:5-10), though as mere servants of God they are never to be prayed to or worshiped. To do so would be a terrible sin. (Col 2:18)

Angels observe our world, taking special interest in Christ’s work on the cross. (1 Pet 1:12) No doubt they were amazed to see the Lord step out of glory and into our fallen world.

They must have marveled at the thought of He who knew no sin becoming sin on our behalf. (2 Cor 5:21) Every day they witness His grace in the lives of believers and it cause them to praise His holy name. It should cause us, the recipients of His grace, to do no less

7 Things That Change When We Follow Christ

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

When a person comes to faith in Christ there will be some evidence of this faith in their lives. You won’t see perfection in a Christian, but what you will see is something different in that person. You will see some evidence that a person has a relationship with Christ.

Now it’s very important to we understand that we aren’t talking about being saved by works. You aren’t a Christian because you don’t curse or smoke or cut people off in traffic or because you go to church or give money to charity.

Everyone sins and falls short of God’s glory, but through Christ we are forgiven of those sins. A Christian is someone who calls on Christ to save them from their sins. (Rom 3:23-26)

You’ll see these differences more clearly in some Christians than in others – we’re all a work in progress and we all grow in Christ at different rates. But eventually the person who is following Christ will:

1) Love Christ

We love Him because He first loved us. (1 Jhn 4:19)

2) Hate Sin

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (Rom 12:9)

3) Pray

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)

4) Read and Apply the Teachings of the Bible

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Jam 1:22)

5) Turn from the Works of the Flesh

The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. (Gal 5:19-21)

6) Produce the Fruits of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)

7) Live by Faith

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

The 3 Steps of Repentance

“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” – 2 Corinthians 7:10

To repent means to change one’s attitude towards sin and God. It’s a change that must occur in both the mind and the heart.

In Matthew 27:3 Judas repented in his mind but not his heart. In other words, he had a sense of regret or remorse, but he remained in his sin instead of turning to God for forgiveness.

Repentance of the mind and the heart leads to salvation and consists of three steps:

Step 1 – Recognize Your Guilt

The idea here is that we understand who we are and where we stand before God. 1 John 1:8 tells us that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” While Romans 6:23 tells us the “wages of sin is death”.

The first step in repenting involves understanding that we are sinners and stand under God’s judgment.

Step 2 – Trust That God Will Forgive You

In Psalm 51 David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”

Repentance is not only acknowledging our sin, it’s also recognizing that God is willing and able to forgive our sin.

We’re promised in Hebrews 8:12 that God will “forgive our wickedness and will remember our sins no more.

The second step in repenting involves believing that God will forgive us.

Step 3 – Turn From Sin, To God

Once we realize that we stand before God guilty of sin, and that He is willing to forgive us, we must then come to Him to receive that forgiveness. We come to God the Father though Jesus Christ, who is God the Son.

John 3:16 declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 John 4:10 tells us that Christ is “the propitiation [or payment] for our sins.”

Because Christ paid for our sins, Romans 3:24 tells us that we have been “justified freely” through Him, and we now stand before God innocent.

The final step in repenting involves calling on Christ to save us from the penalty of sin. Acts 2:21 promises that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.

Once we have repented and come to Christ for forgiveness Ephesians 2:19 tells us we are “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.

A Look At The Gospel (And How It Works)

The word gospel means “good news”. The best description of the gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

“I declare to you the gospel…by which you are saved, if you hold fast that which I preach to you – unless you believed in vain. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Let’s break these verses down and see what we discover.

“I declare to you the gospel…by which you are saved, if you hold fast that which I preach to you – unless you believed in vain.”

The first thing we learn about the gospel is that it’s the message by which people are saved from God’s judgment.

God has chosen to save us – not because of any work or deed we’ve done – but by His grace, through faith in Christ. Salvation is God’s gift to us. (Eph 2:8, Rom 6:23)

Now let’s take a look at how the gospel works.

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried…”

God is perfect and we aren’t. We sin and are separated from God when we fail to live up to His standard. (Rom 3:23) We do this by either by not doing what He requires of us or by doing what He has forbidden us to do. Sin can occur in thought, word, or deed.

So before we go to heaven something needs to change. Our sin needs to be paid for.

To do this God became a man – Jesus Christ – lived the perfect life you and I couldn’t, and died on the cross as a payment for our sins. We find this taught in Romans 8:1,3:

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

If we call on Christ to save us from our sins, are sins are charged to His account and He pays for them (1 John 2:2). We are then “born again” (1 Peter 1:23) and able to enter heaven (John 3:16).

“…He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

After Christ died for our sins He didn’t stay in the grave. After three days He rose again.

When Christ was raised from the grave, it showed that the sacrifice He made was sufficient and accepted by God the Father.

If we put our trust Christ to pay for our sin we too can look forward to God raising us one day.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9)

What good news that is!

Learn More: How Do We Know We’re Saved?