This is part three of my five part column on the Great Reformation.
The first was Scripture Alone; the Holy Bible is the only reliable source to know God. The second was Grace Alone; salvation is only by the grace of God, not works, otherwise we would brag about that which cannot save anyone.
This month, let’s take a short examination of faith.
Over 500 years ago there was a need to reclaim what was established in the bible, Ephesians 2:8.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
As examined in my last column, when humanity is sufficiently saved from the punishment of our sins it is only by the grace of God. In Ephesians 2:8, the apostle Paul makes it clear that it is “by grace you have been saved,” and he qualifies that this grace is “through faith.”
Only through faith in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace and salvation is upon the merit of Christ alone. We are not and cannot be saved by our good deeds. Salvation is a “gift of God” not because of the good things we do.
As humans, we have inherited a sin nature, from Adam, that is owned by and enslaved to sin.
Because of our nature, we are naturally enemies of God and lovers of evil. We need to be made new. We need a new nature, not like the old one. This new nature is so that we can even have faith in Christ. God graciously chooses to give us a new nature so that we can trust in Christ and are saved through faith alone.
Then God graciously preserves us and keeps us. If we are faithless toward him, he is still faithful.
This new nature God gives us repents, or turns away from sin, and turns toward Holy God. We would never want to turn to God in our old nature because we are enemies of God and don’t want anything to do with holiness.
We can only stand before God by his grace as he mercifully puts righteousness in us, giving us this new nature that now wants God. There is now a sufficient righteousness that has been deposited into our lives that God is pleased with, that righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus Christ and then, because our sins have to be dealt with, Jesus takes the consequences of our sins and God is satisfied. Jesus’ righteousness is counted as ours, and our records of sin and failure were counted to Jesus when he died on the cross.
This is a great kindness of God toward those who are given the grace of God to believe and repent.
Is there any desire at all in you to live a holy life that is pleasing to God? If so it is present in your life because God has put it there. If a desire is present to believe, then repent and believe. It is the grace of God alone that gives you a desire to repent through faith.
Come, repent today, and believe. If your church or house of worship teaches another way it is not the way of the bible. There is no reliable source to know God than the Bible alone. Get to a church in the Magic Valley that preaches this quickly.