Part 4 – Is our faith for salvation a “work”?
|This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called Calvinism & Arminianism Versus Dispensationalism.|
Some say; “Paul says nobody is saved by their “works” and your “faith” is a work of yours.” They may sight this verse; “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5). They may also say we’re bragging… they assume we’re saying it’s our own faith that saves. That faith, they claim, is something we did.
They need to read again and believe the words of Eph 2:8-9 where Paul says we are “saved by grace through faith” is “the gift of God, not of works lest any man boast.”
As seen earlier and again here, we clearly see that ‘saving faith’ is only due to “the power of God” that is derived from having heard and recognized or perceived “the gospel of Christ.”
“For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ: for it is the POWER of God Unto Salvation (given) to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16).
Here above, Paul’s phrase “to every one that believeth” tells us “every” saved “believer” came by way of “the Gospel” as “POWER of God unto salvation,” by which we clearly heard and “believed.”
Then of course there’s the Calvinists who erroneously say that “faith” is something God gives ONLY to “the elect (chosen)” people, so they can then believe His Word and be saved. They correctly say true salvation is by the faith that God imparts, but they say this is only to a predestined “chosen” or “elect” group. They say only some people are “elected” to be gifted with ‘saving faith’… while others are not. Actually, and as you will see, the Calvinists have it exactly backward; we believe first, then we are become His “chosen” and “elect” … ordained to “serve.”
This is another important related matter. What here is “the gift of God”? “… the Gift of God Is (His) Eternal Life through Jesus Christ…” (Rom. 6:23b). The “gift of God” here is not faith – it’s the “Eternal Life” that is “in Christ.” Paul, writing the grace believers (above and below), saying the great gift is Christ, with His life and sinless nature, in us… this is the great “gift of God.” “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col. 1:27)
With salvation, Christ in us becomes our faith source for Christian living and serving.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of (from) the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20, KJV only)
This “gift of God” is Christ’s own faithful life that He gives us to complete our new creation.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved (Gk. sozo, completed) by his life.” (Romans 5:10)
God’s saving grace of salvation is three-fold; 1) by the death of Jesus Christ He freely reconciled us to Himself, and 2) since we died “with him” (Rom 6:3), He thereby freed us from the power of “Sin in the flesh”; and 3) by His resurrection, “His life” is “freely” given to dwell in us to be our new righteous life.
Paul tells us, all graced believers are in fact “God’s elect.” but not elected to salvation. We as ALREADY saved members of “the body of Christ” are His “elect” who are now elected to serve others with expressions of His love and grace… by the working of His indwelling life and nature as a giver.
“(Paul writes to believers) Put on therefore, “as the elect of God,” holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (as service)” (Colossians 3:12)
Both salvation and His life are received… and enjoyed by allowing our “faith” to rest in Christ alone! Yet, there’s no merit in “faith” per se. Faith is believing and trusting in something to do its job. E.g., If you’re sitting on a chair you trusted it because you saw it to be worthy of your trust in it to hold you.
The merit related faith is determined by whether faith relies on something dependable. The object of our faith must have merit. The merit is in that which our faith rests ... for us it is faith “in Christ” that saves us. Obviously, there is no merit in trusting ourselves to perform under religion’s laws… we fail, we fail, we fail. Our performance or activity under any religious merit system is useless.
Only Christ is reliable; to trust Him is to acknowledge the only thing we can do to be counted righteous before God; we rely upon Jesus Christ. Paul expresses this here;
“to him that worketh not, but believeth ON HIM that justifieth the ungodly, his (that person’s) FAITH is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5)
So, “faith” is not a work and there is no boasting when it comes to faith for salvation or living.
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that HE might be just, and The Justifier of him which Believeth IN Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law (operation) of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified By Faith Without the Deeds of the law.” (Rom. 3:26-28)
Saving faith is first rooted in God’s grace… resting on God’s promise… it celebrates God’s glorious “grace” … and it relies upon His “power.” All who “call upon” Him will be saved.
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For Whosoever Shall Call Upon The Name Of The Lord Shall Be Saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher (any proclaimer of the gospel? (Romans 10:12-14)