1. We talk a lot about faith in connection with salvation, and no wonder: Paul tells
us it\u2019s something we must have in order to be saved, as we see from our passage.
But what does it mean to believe?
a. In Protestant circles, we believe that we are saved by grace \u2013 by God\u2019s
b. It\u2019s important for us to say this because we want to make a distinction
between what we believe and what the Roman church believes.
(i) They believe that they are saved by the grace of God alone.
(ii) But the way they believe they receive that grace is not by faith alone, but
through the sacraments given to them by a consecrated priest, and through
their cooperation with the grace they receive, they receive more grace.
(iii) But if the \u201csalvation\u201d they receive is not by faith alone, can it really be
by grace alone? And if it isn\u2019t by grace alone, do they really receive
2. Even within Protestant circles, we differ as to what that faith is that brings
a. Faith is so often defined as a prayer we pray, or something we do that is so
c. Whenever we add works to grace, we destroy grace. Grace, by definition,
excludes works. If salvation is to be by grace alone, it must be by faith alone,
apart from works, as Paul writes, \u201cFor by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works,
so that no one may boast\u201d (Eph. 2:8-9).
2. That\u2019s why we\u2019re going to spend this evening looking at saving faith \u2013 both to
make surew e have it, as well as to equip ourselves to help others find their way
a. First, we\u2019ll look at the different parts of faith, but only briefly.
b. Then we\u2019ll seek to understand what it means to believe savingly.
c. What is it we have to hear? The Gospel. \u201cFor I am not ashamed of the
Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes\u201d
shore up their lives.
(ii) The \u201cexperts\u201d can\u2019t be wrong \u2013 and the experts say that we all evolved.
(iii) But what they don\u2019t realize is that the \u201cexperts\u201d don\u2019tknow evolution
b. If you are to be saved, you have to believe the Bible is true \u2013 that you really are a sinner, that Christ really is the only Savior \u2013 otherwise, you will never be able to \u201cbelieve\u201d and be saved.
3. But there is one more thing:
a. Knowing and believing isn\u2019t enough: You must alsotrust in the Lord.
b. You must place your whole hope of heaven on Christ and on Him alone.
c. We might wonder how the Philippian jailer ever figured this out. He just
happened to understand the Greek language, since that\u2019s what he spoke, and
knew what Paul was saying: he knew he needed to place his whole hope of
heaven on Jesus Christ.
2. Since we don\u2019t understand this as well as he did, let\u2019s look at a couple of
explanations to get a clearer picture of this in our own minds:
a. First, let\u2019s consider what William Gurnall, the Puritan author of that great
(i) \u201cEveryone that assents to the truth of [i.e., believes to be true] what the
Scriptures says of Christ does not believe on Christ. No, this believing on
Christ implies a union of the soul to Christ, and fiduciary recumbency on
Christ [a leaning on Christ by faith]. Therefore we are bid to take hold of
Christ (Isa. 27:5), who is . . . called God\u2019s strength, as elsewhere His arm,
\u2018that we may make peace with God, and we shall make peace with Him.\u2019
It is not the sight of a man\u2019s arm stretched out to a man in the water [that]
will save him from drowning, but the taking hold of it\u201d (Gurnall; italics
(ii) \u201cJudas knew the Scriptures, and without doubt did assent to the truth of
them, when he was so zealous a preacher of the Gospel; but he never had
so much as one drachm [mite] of justifying faith in his soul. \u2018There are
some of you which believe not, for Jesus knew from the beginning who
they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.\u2019 Yes, Judas\u2019s
master, the devil himself, one far enough (I suppose) from justifying faith,
yet he assents to the truth of the Word. He goes against his conscience
when he denies them: when he tempted Christ he did not dispute against
the Scripture but from the Scripture, drawing his arrows out of this quiver
(Matt. 4:6). And at another time he makes as full a confession of Christ
(for the matter) as Peter himself did (Matt. 8:22, cf. 16:17). Assent to the
truth of the Word is but an act of the understanding, which reprobates and
devils may exercise. But justifying faith is a compounded habit [is made
up of two parts], and has its seat both in the understanding and will: and,
therefore, [it is] called a \u2018believing with the heart\u2019 (Rom. 10:10), yes, a
\u2018believing with all the heart\u2019 (Acts 8:37). It takes in all the powers of the
soul. There is a double object in the promise; one proper to the
understanding, to move that: another to the will, to excite and work upon
that. As the promise is true, so it calls for an act of assent from the
understanding; and as it is good as well as true, so it calls for an act of the
Now bringing you back...
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