The Gift of Faith
Take out a King James Bible and follow along, looking up each verse given. Note the several concepts or ideas given us of God with respect to salvation/eternal life, in evangelism. The message preached by Jesus Christ and by John the Baptist was to repent and to believe the gospel (Mark 1:15): “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel”. The preaching of the gospel is essential to evangelism (Rom 1:16, 1Cor 1:17): “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” and “ For God sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel….”. Paul gives the content of the gospel message in 1Cor 15:1-4, of his death, burial and resurrection according to the scriptures. Paul, Peter, et all spoke the same to the Gentiles (Acts 2:38,41 3:19 4:12 10:43 14:15 20:21): “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissions of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” And “Then they that gladly received his words were baptized….” And “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” And “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” And “To him all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall have remission of sins” And “…..and preach unto you that you should turn form these vanities unto the living God….” And “Testifying both to Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The effect/work of the gospel message is of GOD alone (1Cor 1:18): “For the preaching of the gospel is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”. The seed or word of the gospel message when preached is planted by the Lord (Matt. 13:37): ‘…He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man…..”. The growth of the planted seed depends on the soil on which it is planted (Parable of the Soils, Matthew 13). Note that all four soils received the seed, but only the ones who produced fruit are said to be the good ground, that saw with eyes that perceived and heard with ears that understood. The hardened soil is that of a man given over, a demonized man (Lk. 8:5) or demonically influenced, for the seed is stolen by the ‘birds’ or agents of Satan: “A sower went out to sow…some fell by the wayside….and the fowls of the air devoured it”.
And the soil with a rocky underground, allows no roots, and represents those who come for personal gain only (Name it and Claim it, Health and Wealth Word of Faith Movement, NAR, etc. Matt 13:4,21): “Some fell on stony places…” “Yet hath he no root in himself….for when tribulation or persecution ariseth….he is offended”. The soil with thorns represents those who have other cares of this world and the seed never germinates, for it is choked and thus non-productive. Many of these are today sitting in church pews (Matt 13:7,22): “And some fell among the thorns,…..and choked them” “……and the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choked the word…..”. The good soil that produces good fruit, are the good works produced by Jesus Christ in them (Matt 13:8, 23): “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit...”. **The Scriptures tells us that the lost are those who are not willing to come to Jesus Christ, and that those that are saved are those who are willing to come to believe in Jesus Christ . This is most telling of all, where we come to understand who ends up saved for eternal life and who does not, and it stresses the free will of man to chose to believe God or chose against God. John 5:40: “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life”. John 5:43: “I am come in my Father’s name and ye receive me not,…another shall come…… him ye will receive". John 6:67 “Will ye also go away”. John 7:17: “If any man will to do his will (John 6:40), he shall know of the doctrine….”. John 8:24: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins”. John 3:15,16: “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal . Life”
And “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever-lasting life". John 12:44,48: “….he that believeth on me, believeth not on me but on him that sent me” And “ He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words…..the same shall judge him in the last day”. Matt 7:24: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them…..”. Rev 22:17: “ And the Spirit and the bride say, Come……..And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” . Matt 16:24: “….If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me". John 6:51: “….if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever……which I will give for the life of the world”
Recapitulating the message so far given: when in evangelism the message is proclaimed, those in the audience, by the power of God have the seed planted by Jesus Christ in their hearts. Those who are willing to receive it are the good soil, but some soils cannot even perceive it nor understand it, given that they either ignore what they received, or accept it for personal temporal gains, or the Devil’s agents takes it away as soon as it is planted. Here is where it begins to get even more than interesting but wonderfully so, since we are going to come to see that those that are willing, receive of the Father the measure of faith needed to believe in his Son, for it is, after all, the Father’s work and will that we believe so that we may receive eternal life. Follow along again then: It is God the Father’s work that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ (John 6:29), and it is not our work and is to us, non-meritorious in nature: “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he has sent”. It is the Father’s will for us that we come to believe in the Son unto everlasting life (John 6:40) and it is the Father’s will for the Son to lose none of the ones He has given him (Security, John 6:39): “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” And “ And this is the Father’s will, which hath sent me, that all of which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up on the last day”.
Faith comes to a man by hearing and hearing by the word of GOD (see Rom 10:17), at the preaching of the gospel message (1Peter 1:25): “…And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you”. Faith has to come to the believer, for what faith comes from him is as good as his works, filthy rags. Before the word of faith came (Gal 3:23) we were under a schoolmaster (the Law) but after that faith is come (Gal 3:25) we are no longer under the Law but under grace. Thus by the faith that came, that of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:16), we must believe: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” And “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” And “And his name, by faith in his name..yea, the faith which is by Jesus Christ……….”. Faith is given to us as a free gift of grace from GOD (Eph 2:8,9): *“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Rom 12:3b: “…according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith”), and that faith therefore stands in the power of God (1Cor 2:5: “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God”) as when men believed, as the Lord gave to every man when Apollos and Paul preached in Corinth (1Cor 3:5: “who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man”. Faith is given, on behalf of Christ, to believe on him (Phil 1:29: “ For unto you is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him but also to suffer for his sake”).
When seen together with Galatians 2:16 no one can dispute at all that we are given Jesus’ faith to believe in Him: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law: for by the works of the law, shall no flesh be justified”. God plants the word of faith, very near, in the heart, in the mouth (Rom 10:8 “…The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that is the word of faith that we preach”. The faith that God gives freely is the faith of Jesus Christ, so that we can believe in Jesus Christ, so that we may be justified by the faith of Jesus Christ (Gal 2:16), justified by Christ (v.17), by the faith of the Son of God (v.20). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved ( see Rom 10:13), one confessing with the mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in the heart that God raised him from the dead, has believed unto righteousness and has confessed unto salvation ( see Rom 10: 9,10). The promise (the Holy Spirit of promise) by faith of Jesus Christ to be given to them that believe (Gal 3:22: “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe”. A dear brother and I have debated this item of faith many times, for he defends that it is the faith of the person, whether his own or given of God, by which we come to believe and I defend that it is the measure of faith given by God, and at that the very faith of Jesus Christ given us by which we believe, so that we have absolutely zero merit in the matter. We have however come to the agreement that this is not a deal braker and as long as we ask Jesus Christ to save us so that we come into a relationship with God, we are saved by Him.
And the righteousness that we receive is not of our own, but that which comes by faith of Jesus Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Phil 3:9:”And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness that is by faith”. Paul was very clear in Romans 3:21,22 when he told us that the righteousness of God is outside of any legality, but is by faith of Jesus Christ, and is given unto all that believe (Is. 54:17b too). Let us read these verses now: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe….” And Isaiah says, “..This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord”. And we contend that the same principle of understanding applies where it is written: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Rom. 4:5). It is by the faith of him (JC) that we have boldness and access to God’s power (Eph 3:12: “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him”. God gives us peace, and love with faith, from the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 6:23: “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith from God…..”. James told us that with the faith of Jesus Christ we are not to show partiality (favoritism) of persons (Jam 2:1: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons”. Even during the Tribulation, the saints will have to patiently depend on the faith of Jesus Christ (Rev 14:12: “ Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ”.
The point of all this is to accentuate the fact that what GOD requires of man is to be willing to accept his Son as the Messiah, and GOD does the rest. It is God’s work that we believe and it is to those who are willing that God gives the measure of faith (of Jesus Christ) so that they can believe in Jesus Christ. And it is by the faith of Jesus Christ that we are justified and by the same faith that we receive His righteousness as a gift (Rom 5:17,18), even the righteousness that is of faith (Rom9:30b, 10:6a). The importance of all this is that man has been taken out of the equation as regards to merit, for all that glory belongs to Jesus Christ alone, and our faith is not but the consequence of the faith of Jesus given to us so that we can believe in him (Gal 2:16). Salvation by works receives therefore the death blow forever, and no man will boast in heaven that he had any meritorious cooperation in his salvation. No wonder it is written that boasting is excluded by the law of faith (Rom 3:27)!. Note that there is no need at all to first regenerate a man before he can believe (as in the hermeneutical system of Calvinism), for to the willing, God gives the measure of faith required to believe and trust in the Saviour. If the person appropriates that faith he can then receive Jesus Christ personally, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
SHOULD WE SAY IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN?
Jesus was very clear to the rich young ruler when he told him that there is none good but One, that is GOD (Matt 19:17). Jesus also taught his disciples that even though man can do good things for his children, man was evil (Luke 11:13), and indeed he knew what was in man (John 2:3).This has major implications in Biblical Theology. First, the Bible is clear that whosoever wills to come to the Lord will receive the faith of Jesus Christ so that he/she can believe in Jesus Christ. Our Lord reiterated over and over again in the gospel of John how he always believed and did the will of the Father, for he was one with the Father. His faith was perfect faith and that is the faith that we are freely given in a measure, sufficiently so that if willing, we can come to believe in Jesus Christ. There ought to not any longer be objectionable to those who oppose the phrase “faith alone” as not being biblical since the word ‘alone’ be added for emphasis and clarity. Once it is realized that it is the perfect faith of Jesus Christ that is bestowed by the Father on any willing individual, what is the need to add our faith to the equation as meritorious, for Jesus Christ’s faith has no limits nor shortcomings. Indeed it is by **the imparted faith of Jesus Christ that we receive the gift of righteousness and are declared justified (Rom 5:16, 17). The Holy Spirit said by the author of Hebrews that by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ we obtain *eternal redemption (Heb 9:12) and have our *eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15) for Jesus was the author of *eternal salvation (Heb 5:9).
The perfect faith of Jesus Christ apportioned to each one of us knows nothing of the controversial teaching of ‘Lordship Salvation’, that is, of receiving Christ not only as Saviour but as Lord as well. When we receive the faith of Jesus Christ, would that faith not accept him as Lord also? Does this previously provocative issue not melt away as immaterial? If the soil of the heart in which the word is planted is good soil, and not any of the other three, the person that appropriates the faith of Jesus Christ will believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Messiah that GOD has declared him (Acts 2:36).
Second, is the teaching of the first of the five points of the Reformed/Presbyterian/Grace Baptist doctrine of Calvinism, known as “Total Depravity”. That man is depraved in all aspects of his being is a given, (spiritual, physical, emotional, ethical, moral, etc.) an undisputable. But man is not utterly depraved in that every thought, action, and desire of his is evil. Man being evil can give good things to his children, Jesus said. And even when fallen, man too can will to respond to the hearing of the word of GOD, and faith can come by that as we have just covered. It is the Father’s work and will that all come to faith and none perish (2Pet 3:9). Jesus told the Pharisees that they would die in their sins if they did not believe he was Messiah, for they were unwilling to receive him. But those that do receive him are empowered to become sons of God, and are born of God by the will of God (John 1:12, 13). Man does not have to be made ‘born again’ first so that then he can believe; regeneration does not precede faith, but follows it. Calvinism has God regenerating man, the elect group, before they believe in Jesus Christ. But now we see that that is not the correct interpretation of these verses, which in this form of the faith of Jesus Christ is absent from modern bibles. As a hermeneutical system Calvinism is made void entirely. I have been often reminded that without the King James Bible in hand, error can creep in unawares, and find that to be so true.
Third, as just alluded, the greatest problem in all this rests in the use as final authority of the corrupt manuscript evidence text stream for the word of GOD. There are 4 main ones of concern to us. (1) The Majority Greek Text (with the Traditional readings of the Received Text or TR), from Antioch, the center of activity in the early life of the Church. The traditional readings are found not only in the over 5400 manuscripts but in the readings of Lectionaries and Church Fathers apology-works or letters.(2) The Pesshitto or Syriac Peshitta, an Arameic work, into the NT was completely translated by 150 AD and the entire OT translated by the end of the same century. Because it was late in arriving at the final canonical content of books, it was given a fifth century date, when what matters is when the manuscripts were translated, not when they were compiled in codex form.(3) The Old Latin Text which is said to have about 10,000 manuscripts (whole and incomplete) and used by Jerome for the Latin Vulgate, which served as the source for the RCC’s Douay-Reihms translation into English in 1610. (4) The Minority Greek Text, stream from Alexandria, Egypt with about 300 manuscripts, which describes itself as the oldest and the best (it is not older than the Peshitto nor the best of any of the rest). It is the old Westcott and Hort text (the Critical Text) revised once and again and again and is based on the Alexandrian Text (a Greek attempt to reconcile the Scripture to Greek Wisdom) and depicted in the Codex Vaticanus and Siniaticus. Today it is in the 28th revision of the Nestle-Aland / UBS translation. Audaciously this is the Greek text used to correct all other streams of manuscripts, corruption correcting incorruption!
So why all this? Because the Majority Greek Text in the TR (the text of the KJV, Spanish Reina-Valera), the Peshitto and the Latin Vulgate all agree in these critical verses that it is the faith of Jesus Christ adjudicated to us by impartation by which we come to believe in Jesus Christ. Only the Minority Greek Text, from which all the modern bible versions are written, disagrees. It is not the purpose here in to cover the corruptions of the Minority Greek Text, for this is just an article and not a book nor an encyclopedia of errors. However, it concerns the readers to know from which stream of manuscript evidences their bibles were translated in order to avoid the pitfall of being one of those from the Minority Greek Text. And the final point for now: abandoning the KING JAMES BIBLE in the English (or the Reina-Valera-Gomez in Spanish, both of the Majority Greek Text) leads to serious and grave misunderstandings of the Scriptures. And this is just what most have done to the detriment of their faith and that of their congregations! Hopefully this would be of help to you in mentoring and disciplining your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Then there is the matter of the vicarious and substitution-atonement of Christ sacrifice, for by it the just took our punishment in his body and the unjust unloaded his sins on him. The transaction resulted in the granting of the very righteousness of God on the one who willingly by faith has deposited his trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross in his behalf. The imparted faith of Jesus Christ on the willing soul, in his heart and in his mouth, when appropriated, can believe unto righteousness and confess with the mouth unto salvation (Rom. 10:8-10). Christ’s very righteousness is imparted on the believer as the gift of God (Rom.5:17) being therefore declared justified by God by imputation (Phil. 3:9), through the faith of Jesus Christ. It is of the Father to declare the man of faith justified (forensically, a legal transaction) in Christ (Rom. 4:3, 5-6), thus being God the justifier of those who are saved (Rom. 3:26).
Those who have their works form part of what they trust in for salvation, added to the “merits’ of Christ, or those that pretend that their works are the sole cause of their salvation, are too preoccupied with their own goodness and efforts to be concerned about the salvation of any other. They do not even evangelize their own family or loved friends, other than attempt to bring them to the influencing fold of their church in their rules, laws and traditions. Evangelism in the hands of these self deceived ones is non-existing or is for their own glory and selfish motives. See to follow the pages on forgiven of all sins, and the non-entity of "original sin"! End.