Living Faith and God’s Grace

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Living Faith and God’s Grace

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Ephesians 2:8 Ephesians 2:8For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
American King James Version×
tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” We’re not saved without some action on our part, including repentance and believing, having faith in the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ and God’s ongoing work in us.

Colossians 2:11-12 Colossians 2:11-12 [11] In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.
American King James Version×
(NIV) tells Christians regarding Christ: “You were . . . buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

Just as we have faith that Christ rose from the dead so we could be saved and likewise raised from death in the resurrection, we also must have faith that this plan is going to work. We must have faith that Christ really lived and died for us and that He will change us now and ultimately at the resurrection.

Paul continues in Colossians 2:13 Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
American King James Version×
(NIV): “When you were dead in your sins . . . God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” And so we believe through faith in this working of God in our lives. We believe that we are forgiven and that we will be resurrected to eternal life just as Jesus Christ was resurrected to eternal life. And though obedience is necessary for continued spiritual understanding, this does not mean that obedience entitles us to this salvation. God alone, through His grace and mercy, forgives sin, grants us help to overcome and offers salvation as a gift. But He also expects us to do our part while He fulfills the rest.

The apostle James emphasized this principle in James 2:21-22 James 2:21-22 [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? [22] See you how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
American King James Version×
, where he described Abraham’s faith in obeying God, up to the point of sacrificing his son before God stopped him from going through with it: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works and by works faith was made perfect?”

We see here how faith is involved in accepting the grace of God. Anyone who carefully studies James 2 can see that James teaches that Christian faith is more than just good thoughts; it demands that a Christian believer prove his faith by his actions. We prove we have faith by how we live after we accept Jesus Christ! This living and active faith involves effort to obey and trusting God to empower us and help us succeed—resulting in works of obedience being produced. Or else, as James concludes, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26 James 2:26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
American King James Version×
). It is useless because it accomplishes nothing.

This is why Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 [11] Why also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: [12] That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
(NIV): “We constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This all works together in the same equation—faith, works, God’s grace, His forgiveness, His purpose and Jesus Christ being glorified in us. Our faith and subsequent obedience is a necessary part of receiving God’s grace and continuing in it!

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