Faith and Salvation
In “Living and Developing Faith” we saw some references to faith resulting in salvation. There is more than one type of salvation in the Bible (see also the studies on Baptism). Faith is crucial in each type of salvation.
Faith and Salvation from Sins
First, there is our salvation from sins; our eternal salvation. The following scriptures show the importance of faith in our salvation from our sins through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus.
“Where then is boasting? It has been excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by law of faith” (Romans 3:27). We have been saved by faith and that alone.
“Testifying to both Jews and Greeks repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
“Whom God has set forth a mercy-seat, through faith in his blood, for the shewing forth of his righteousness, in respect of the passing by the sins that had taken place before, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:25).
“For we reckon that a man is justified by faith, without works of law” (Romans 3:28).
“Since indeed it is one God who shall justify the circumcision on the principle of faith, and uncircumcision by faith” (Romans 3:30).
Abraham is often mentioned in connection with faith. He believed God’s promises to Him and it was reckoned as righteousness in God’s sight. “Does this blessedness then rest on the circumcision, or also on the uncircumcision? For we say that faith has been reckoned to Abraham as righteousness” (Romans 4:9). The Jews made much of the fact that they were circumcised and therefore symbolically identified as God’s people. Yet, they had not realised that they were only God’s people because of Abraham’s faith and the sign of circumcision did not impute righteousness to Abraham but rather it was his faith that imputed righteousness to him. “And he received the sign of circumcision as seal of the righteousness of faith which he had being in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all them that believe being in uncircumcision, that righteousness might be reckoned to them also” (Romans 4:11). Paul goes on to say that if our salvation was not on the basis of faith alone then God’s promises would mean nothing because we are unable to keep the law that He gave and so would be unable to gain anything from Him. There would be no point in God making promises to us if we were never going to be able to enjoy them. “For it was not by law that the promise was to Abraham, or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world, but by righteousness of faith. For if they which are of law be heirs, faith is made vain, and the promise made of no effect” (Romans 4:14). It is in faith alone that God removes our sins and we have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified on the principle of faith, we have peace towards God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom we have also access by faith into this favour in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2). We believe the gospel on the basis of faith having heard God’s word and trusted in Jesus Christ. “So faith then is by a report, but the report by God's word” (Romans 10:17).
“But that by law no one is justified with God is evident, because The just shall live on the principle of faith; but the law is not on the principle of faith; but, He that shall have done these things shall live by them” (Galatians 3:11-12).
“But the scripture has shut up all things under sin, that the promise, on the principle of faith of Jesus Christ, should be given to those that believe. But before faith came, we were guarded under law, shut up to faith which was about to be revealed. So that the law has been our tutor up to Christ, that we might be justified on the principle of faith” (Galatians 3:22-24).
“That I may be found in him, not having my righteousness, which would be on the principle of law, but that which is by faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God through faith” (Philippians 3:9).
“For indeed we have had glad tidings presented to us, even as they also; but the word of the report did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard” (Hebrews 4:2). Faith is needed to respond to the gospel. These people heard the gospel but because they had no faith the gospel was of no benefit to them.
Faith for present salvation
Secondly, there is our present salvation from the influences and pressures of this world. The Bible often refers to us being saved from this “present, evil world”. Faith needs to be a constant way of life to enable us to be saved from the corrupting influence of the world in which we live.
“But the just shall live by faith; and, if he draw back, my soul does not take pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38, see also Romans 1:17).
“But to him who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Romans 4:5).
“Therefore, having been justified on the principle of faith, we have peace towards God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom we have also access by faith into this favour in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2). Not only are we saved eternally by faith but we have access into God’s presence as we approach Him daily in faith.
“Besides all these, having taken the shield of faith with which ye will be able to quench all the inflamed darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16). Faith enables us to meet all that the world and Satan would try and throw at us to discourage us. Therefore, it is like a spiritual shield to a Christian.
Faith and Future Salvation
Finally, there is our future salvation when we are taken out of this world altogether and we are with the Lord forever; free from sin, evil and temptation.
“For the shewing forth of his righteousness in the present time, so that he should be just, and justify him that is of the faith of Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
“Who are kept guarded by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
So, we need faith, most importantly, for our salvation, but it has a permanent effect on our present everyday lives and it gives us our hope for the future knowing that we can trust in God’s promises.