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

What Every Christian Should Know About Justification

What Justification Means

To be justified means to be declared not guilty of all sin and penalty of God’s Law. God treats those who are justified as righteous and treats them as if they have kept all of His laws.

How We’re Justified

We cannot justify ourselves by any work we do because our works fall short of God’s standard:

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

Justification is a gift from God:

“…and are justified by his grace as a gift…” (Rom 3:24)

The gift of justification is Christ taking our place in judgment by paying for our sins on the cross:

“…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation [payment] by his blood, (Rom 3:24-25)

At the cross we gave Christ our sin and He gave us His righteousness:

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

This gift is received by faith alone. This means trusting completely in Christ to pay the penalty of our sin:

“…to be received by faith.” (Rom 3:25)

“Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6) so that he might take away their sins. Christ has no sin of his own, but is punished for human sin.

We have no righteousness of our own, but we take the divine righteousness when we come to Christ in faith, and now stand accepted before God.

Is It Fair For Christ To Pay For Our Sins?

Is it fair for Christ, who was innocent, to be punished for our sins? Isn’t it unjust to punish someone who is innocent, even if he’s willing to be punished?

In order to understand how Christ’s atonement can be fair and just, we must first understand our relationship with Him.

We’re one with Christ. We’re united with Him. He willingly takes our sin and gives us His righteousness.

Imagine two companies. Company A agrees to purchase Company B, which has great debt that it can’t pay. When Company A buys Company B, they willingly agree to absorb their debt and pay it. Company B’s debt is legally transferred to Company A.

In the same way, Revelation 5:9 teaches that Christ has bought us…

“With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

And again in 1 Corinthians 7:23…

“You were bought at a price.”

When Christ purchases us, we become one with Him, and He willingly agrees to have our sin debt legally transferred to Himself. This is taught in 2 Corinthians 5:21…

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

We’re so closely united to Christ that His death is our death and His resurrection is our resurrection. This beautiful promise is made in Romans 6:5…

“If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

I Believe in Jesus, Not Doctrine

You cannot separate what a person believes from who they are. This is the reason why doctrine is so important.

Some people say, “I do not believe in doctrine; I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; I’m saved, I’m a Christian, and nothing else matters”. To speak in that way is to invite disaster.

We are to guard ourselves against being tossed “to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Eph 4:14).

If your doctrine goes astray your life will soon suffer as well. This is why the New Testament warns us against this very danger:

“Test everything; hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thess 5:21)

And again:

“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 Jhn 4:1)

It’s in our best interest to study doctrine so that we may safeguard ourselves against erroneous and heretical teachings that are as common today as they were in the days of the early Church.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Nature of God

The Knowledge of God

While it’s true that we can never fully comprehend God, it does not follow that we can have no knowledge of Him at all. We can know Him only in part, but nevertheless with a knowledge which is real and true. This is possible because God has revealed Himself (1 John 5:20, John 17:3, Romans 1:19).

Knowledge of God from Special Revelation

While it is not possible to define God, it is possible to give a general description of His being. It’s perhaps best to describe Him as a pure Spirit of infinite perfections. The description involves the following:

God is a pure Spirit

The Bible contains no definition of God. The nearest approach to it is found in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, “God is spirit” (John 4:24)

This means that He is essentially spirit, and that all the qualities which belong to the perfect idea of spirit are found in Him. The fact that He is pure spirit excludes the idea that He has a body of some kind and is in any way visible to the physical eye (1 Tim 6:16).

God is personal

The fact that God is spirit also involves His personality. A spirit is an intelligent and moral being, and when we ascribe personality to God, we mean exactly that He is a reasonable Being, capable of determining the course of His life.

Many deny the personality of God and simply think of Him as an impersonal force or power. However, the God of the Bible is certainly a personal God, a God with whom people can converse, whom they can trust, who enters into their experiences, who helps them in their difficulties, and who fills their hearts with joy and gladness. Moreover, He revealed Himself in a personal form in Jesus Christ (Malachi 2:10, John 14:9b).

God is infinitely perfect

God is distinguished from all His creatures by infinite perfection. His being and virtues are free from all limitations and imperfections. He is not only boundless and limitless, but also stands out above all His creatures in moral perfection and in glorious majesty.

The children of Israel sang of the greatness of God after they passed through the Red Sea: “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)

God and His perfections are one

Simplicity is one of the fundamental characteristics of God. This means that He is not composed of different parts, and also that His being and attributes are one.

It may be said that God’s perfections are God Himself as He has revealed Himself to man. They are simply so many manifestations of the divine Being. That’s why the Bible says that God is truth, life, light, love, righteousness, and so on.

– Louis Berkhof

By Grace, Through Faith

“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.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

God is gracious…

Because God is gracious, sinful people are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It’s not because of anything in them, or anything that ever can be in them, that they are saved; it’s because of the boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God.

It’s because “his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:41) that we are not destroyed. It’s because “his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22) that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven.

Remember these things or you may fall into error by focusing so much on your faith that you forget that grace is the source of faith itself.

Faith is the work of God’s grace in us…

Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No one can say that Jesus is the Christ except by the Holy Ghost. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

So faith is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last cause of salvation while faith acts as an important part of the machinery which grace employs.

It’s important to remember that we’re saved “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.”

Faith occupies the position of a channel. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the along which the flood of grace flows down to refresh the thirsty.

But faith is only the channel and not the fountainhead, and we must not place it above the grace of God. Our life is found in “fixing our eyes on Jesus,” (Hebrews 12:2) not in fixing our eyes on our own faith. By faith all things become possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God upon whom faith relies.

Encouragment for those whose faith is weak…

So you see, the weakness of your faith will not destroy you. A trembling hand may receive a golden gift. The Lord’s salvation can come to us though we have only faith as a grain of mustard seed because the power lies in the grace of God, and not in our faith.

Great messages can be sent along slender wires, and the peace-giving witness of the Holy Spirit can reach the heart by means of a thread-like faith which seems almost unable to sustain its own weight.

Think more of Him to whom you look than of the look itself. You must look away even from your own looking, and see nothing but Jesus, and the grace of God revealed in Him.

– Charles Spurgeon

The Purpose of the Law

The Purpose Of The Law…

The purpose of the Law is to define sin, to reveal its nature; and that is why we are without any excuse at all. The law is in our hearts, but that’s not clear enough, so God made it explicit. He has defined it, He has underlined it, He has shown it plainly in the written Law.

The Law was given to pinpoint sin, to define it, to bring it out of its hiding-place and to show its exceeding sinful character. Nothing shows the exceeding sinfulness of sin as much as the Law itself does; and once a man has seen the real meaning of the Law he sees the sinfulness of his own nature.

What The Law Doesn’t Do…

The Law was never given to save people. The purpose of the Law is to show people that they can never save themselves.

Once a person has understood the Law, and its spiritual meaning and content, he knows that can’t keep it. What’s the summary of the Law? It is: “You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength; and you shall love you neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

How We Are Saved…

Has anyone done that and kept the Law? No, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That’s what the Law says. It shows us our utter helplessness and hopelessness, and so it becomes “our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ,” (Galatians 3:24) the only One who, by the grace of God, can save us, and deliver us, and reconcile us to God, and make us safe for all eternity.

– Martyn-Lloyd Jones

Two Minute Theology: In Adam Or In Christ

The Bible teaches that all humanity is represented by one of two people – Adam or Christ. Those who are represented by Adam are said to be “in Adam” while those represented by Christ are said to be “in Christ”.

Adam was man’s first representative and he failed to live up to God’s standards and rebelled against Him. This rebellion brought with it the curse of sin. (Genesis 3)

Christ was man’s second representative who lived up to God’s perfect standards. This obedience brings with it the gift of salvation. (Romans 8)

This is taught in Romans 5:18…

“Through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

And again in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22…

“Since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Those who choose to be represented by Adam are represented by sin and rebellion and are under God’s wrath. But those who choose to be represented by Christ are represented by perfect righteousness and stand blameless before God.

God Bless,
Paul

The Trinity

The Bible teaches that, while God exists in three Persons, called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are not three persons in the ordinary sense of the word; they are not three individuals, but rather three modes or forms in which the Divine Being exists.

At the same time they are of such a nature that they can enter into personal relations. The Father can speak to the Son and vice versa, and both can send forth the Spirit. The real mystery of the Trinity consists in this that each one of the Persons possesses the whole of the divine essence, and that this has no existence outside of and apart from the Persons.

The three are not subordinate in being the one to the other, though it may be said that in order of existence the Father is first, the Son second, and the Holy Spirit third, an order which is also reflected in their work.

Scripture Proof for the Trinity

The Old Testament contains some indications of more than one Person in God. God speaks of Himself in the plural:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)”

“Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another”s speech. (Genesis 11:7)”

The Angel of Jehovah is represented as a divine Person:

“And the angel of Jehovah found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai”s handmaid, whence camest thou? and whither goest thou? And she said, I am fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, I will greatly multiply thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah hath heard thy affliction. And he shall be [as] a wild ass among men; his hand [shall be] against every man, and every man”s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his brethren. And she called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou art a God that seeth: for she said, Have I even here looked after him that seeth me? (Genesis 16:7-13)”

The Spirit is spoken of as a distinct Person:

“Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; from the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord Jehovah hath sent me, and his Spirit. (Isaiah 48:16)”

“But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] himself fought against them. (Isaiah 63:10)”

Moreover, there are some passages in which the Messiah is speaking and mentions two other Persons:

“Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; from the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord Jehovah hath sent me, and his Spirit. (Isaiah 48:16)”

“The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening [of the prison] to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)”

“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] himself fought against them. (Isaiah 63:9-10)”

Due to the progress of revelation, the New Testament contains clearer proofs. The strongest proof is found in the facts of redemption. The Father sends the Son into the world, and the Son sends the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, there are several passages in which the three Persons are expressly mentioned, such as the great commission:

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: (Matthew 28:19)”

And the apostolic blessing:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)”

“Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:21-22)

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)”

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)”

“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2)”

– Louis Berkhof