Truth Baptist Church
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God  (I Cor.1:18)
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The Law Of Faith In Salvation

Can the grace of salvation be received by "hope" in the promise of God, or must it be received by "faith"?

     Have you ever watched the evening sun set in the east?  Have you ever heard of an apple falling up from the ground into a tree?  Of course not!  The reason for this is that because of the earth's rotation, the sun always sets in the west.  Also, because of gravity, the direction of the fallen apple will always be downward.
     When God created the universe, He established certain principles that would help to keep things consistent and in order.  These principles are often referred to as the "laws of nature".
     Friend, the Bible records that there are also certain principles which can be found in the spiritual realm.  For example, it speaks of a law of sowing and reaping, the law of sin, the law of liberty, etc.  Please understand that these are not like traffic laws which state "do this" or "don't do that".  They are "operating principles of cause and effect".
     I would like to call your attention to one of these spiritual laws which is mentioned in Romans 3:27.  It is called the "law of faith".  This is a principle which pleases God and brings much glory to Him.  It allows one to show God that they are willing to believe what He says, regardless of the circumstances.  For the Bible says: "But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11 :6)
     I suppose that most people in our community would claim to have "faith that is pleasing to God" because of part of this verse.  They believe that "God is".  They acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.  However, according to the Bible, this kind of faith by itself is not enough to please God.  "Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble." (James 2:19)  You see, even though the devils believe in the existence of God, they are still condemned, because they haven't trusted in Him.
     In order for your faith to qualify as one that pleases God, you must also believe that "He is a rewarder to them that diligently seek Him".  In other words, when someone prays to God for something, they must be persuaded that He can and will do what He says He will do.  Otherwise their prayer is without faith and therefore not pleasing to God.
     Jesus emphasized the importance of this "faith principle" in Mark 11:24.  "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them."
     This is not to say that one never receives anything from God unless they have faith.  After all, even the staunchest atheist receives many wonderful things from God (physical life, health, etc.) in spite of his unbelief.  However, when it comes to certain things, God refuses to give them to us unless we truly have faith that He will.  This way, He is not forcing them on us, but giving us a choice as to whether we want to receive them or not.
     A Scriptural example of how this "faith principle" works can be found in the book of James, chapter 1:5-7.  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But LET HIM ASK IN FAITH, NOTHING WAVERING.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  FOR LET NOT THAT MAN THINK THAT HE SHALL RECEIVE ANY THING OF THE LORD."  From this verse we can understand that if a man would ask God for wisdom, but does not have the faith to believe that God will give him wisdom, then he will not get wisdom.  He may claim that he hopes that God will give him wisdom, but "hope" IS NOT "faith".  "Hope" always has a tinge of doubt mixed with it.  Whereas faith is positively "knowing" that one's prayer will be answered, based on the promise of God's Word.
     Let me briefly illustrate the difference between "hope" and "faith" by asking you a question: Do you know that there is a God, or do you hope that there is a God?  You see, if someone only hopes that there is a God, then there must be some doubt as to whether they really believe in His existence or not.  Merely "hoping" that God exists fails to qualify as real "faith" compared to "knowing" that He exists.
     Now that we have established that there is a difference between "hope" and "faith", I would like to ask you another question: If you were to die five years from now, do you KNOW absolutely for sure that you would go to Heaven?
     Unfortunately, there are many sincere, religious people who answer: "I hope so, but nobody can really know that for sure".
     According to the "law of faith", this reply proves that they actually lack what is necessary for the salvation of their soul.  They might have "hope" but THEY LACK FAITH!  I repeat; HOPE IS NOT FAITH!  They have never really trusted in the power of God's grace to save them from Hell.  They are really still trying to make themselves worthy of going to Heaven by living a "good" life.  They are really still trusting in their own "self righteousness" instead of receiving "God's righteousness".  They cannot claim to have God's gift of everlasting life, because they don't believe that He will really give it to them until the day they die.
     However, the Bible says: "For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8,9)  Listen, because of God's wonderful grace, He freely offers "everlasting life" as a gift to those who will receive it by FAITH alone in the one, perfect sacrifice of His Son on the cross at Calvary.  This way, the "law of faith" guarantees that there can be no chance of anyone boasting that they deserve to go to Heaven because of their "good" life.  For the Bible says: "Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law?  Of works?  Nay: but by THE LAW OF FAITH." (Rom. 3:27)  "Therefore it is of FAITH, that it might be by grace... And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace..." (Rom. 4:16; 11:16)
     Friend, if you have believed a "gospel" that claims you can lose your salvation, you did not have FAITH to believe that God offers "everlasting life" as a free gift.  You may profess to be saved for now: but if you can do something which would cause you to be lost in the future, you can only "hope" to be saved for eternity.  You may say that you have everlasting life now, but if it can be ended, then it isn't really "everlasting" to begin with.  It is only probationary , dependent upon your behavior.  Because of this, God's promise was made of none effect, and your "faith" was made void (see Rom. 4:14).  According to the LAW OF FAITH, since you did not believe that God would give you "everlasting" life when you prayed to be saved, you did not receive it.
     You are just like that man who asked God for wisdom, but didn't really believe that God would give it to him.
     As a matter of fact, the Scriptures even state that because of your refusal to believe the written record of God, you are really insinuating that He is a liar.  "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT GOD HATH MADE HIM A LIAR: BECAUSE HE BELIEVETH NOT THE RECORD THAT GOD GAVE OF HIS SON.  AND THIS IS THE RECORD, THAT GOD HATH GIVEN TO US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON.  HE THAT HATH THE SON HATH LIFE; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE;..." (John 5: 10-13)
     What about you?  Are you willing to believe the record of God?  That He will give you "eternal (everlasting) life" through faith in His Son?  
     If you are, then... right now... why don't you pray and ask Him to, believing that He will?  For it is then that the "LAW OF FAITH" will go into effect.
     Remember, the very moment that you call upon God with a believing heart to save your soul from Hell, that VERY MOMENT ... you have "EVERLASTING LIFE"... AND ARE SAFE FROM HELL FOREVER!