“Saving Faith” – Just What is it?
Many of us have been exposed to the traditional “altar calls” of hot-gospelers and Pentecostal vocal yokels who, with strained vocal cords and heart-rending appeals, literally BEG those in attendance at church services or revival meetings to “Give your hearts to the Lord in saving faith, pray fervently to God, and tithe to us.” “Pray and pay,” in other words. Of course, we are putting it rather crudely, but this approach has been all too apparent to anyone who, by God’s mercy and very little exposure to television, still has a brain capable of thinking for itself.
What about it? Do YOU having “saving faith”? How do you know if you do?
Haven’t we been told many times over, that we must accept Yeshua the Messiah as our personal Saviour RIGHT NOW THIS INSTANT, as we may never have another opportunity to do so again? Haven’t we been verbally hammered almost senseless, even shouted at in sermon after sermon, about the imperative need to “believe in Jaysus Crust” and been invited to walk down to the altar (hopefully sobbing or crying our hearts out) where an earthly mediator can lay out “the essential steps to Christ”?
BUT WAIT JUST A MINUTE! If you are a Christian let us ask this question of you. WHEN were you saved? Did any of us who lay claim to the “name of Christ” exercise some “saving faith” (necessary for our salvation) in order to “accept” Him, and as an important prerequisite to that salvation experience?
True, salvation has been worked out for us in the perfect life, death and resurrection of Our Lord Yeshua. But the teaching of Rav Sha’ul (Paul) is clear. If we are genuine Messianic believers then we were saved (past tense) BEFORE any of us could exercise ANY works orANY faith for salvation — we were saved long prior to the beginning of the ages in God’s plan and purposes — long before the earth was created. See for yourselves:
“[T]he power of God WHO SAVED US, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works” — the exercise of our will or volition in making a “decision for Christ” is work and whether we want to believe it or not makes little difference to the truth of the matter — “but according to His own purpose and grace, WHICH WAS GIVEN US IN Messiah Yeshua BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN [before times age-abiding – Greek]” (2 Timothy 1.8-9).
We were saved by GRACE way back in eternity! The truth is if we really belong to God we had no say in accepting or rejecting Yeshua, as shocking as this first sounds. We were in reality CONSCRIPTED by the irresistible, sovereign, gracious, salvific will of God.
- We were purchased — redeemed — at the titanic cost of Another. The word “redemption” is a slave-market word, denoting that we were purchased with no say at all in the matter. Slaves make no decision as to who purchases them. No slave ever dictated the terms of purchase of his own freedom.
We once belonged to the Dark Lord, Satan. We were integrally part of his world system of philosophy, education, medicine, religion, politics. It is God who elects and selects. We do not elect ourselves to salvation. Our salvation is entirely Grace-operative (John 13.18; 15:16,19; Romans 11.5; 1 Thess 1.4; 1 Peter 5.13). Salvation is all of God.
- Not of Grace? Then not of God!
Was there ever a time (before we actually became a Christian) that we vocalised a positive need for Mashiach — when we “called on the name of the Lord” in a genuine way? Of course there was! But even that emotional or intellectual decision was a direct response to the inner workings of God’s Grace — a dynamic working of God’s will inside your already SAVED mind! Even our response came originally from the Lord. You had nothing really to do with it — that is, if your conversion was not merely sincere, but actually genuine. “For it is GOD who works in you BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2.13 cf 1 Corinthians 12.3b).
Frankly, there has been far too much emphasis on man’s role in salvation. As far as salvation is concerned, man is involved only as the recipient. It is God who has chosen us (John 15.16). The sovereignty of God in the game of salvation has been all but forgotten in modern popular, but devilishly twisted, theologies. The Messiah (Gk. christos, ‘the anointed one’) is LORD indeed. Our Lord Yeshua even chose a demon to ultimately betray Him (John 6.70).
As can be clearly illustrated in early BRI literature since 1981, we have been calling out for the emergence of a people in the Body of Mashiach (the corpus christi) with the determination, spiritual courage and intestinal fortitude willing to preach this Gospel of God’s Grace as it was originally understood and comprehended by the early Messianic Community of God.
We have waited long enough.
We have now revitalised a compelling and dynamic Spiritual Order under the banner of The International Messianic Community of Faith (IMCF) with its educational arm The Biblical Research Institute (BRI) and we are busy conforming to the loving standards of the Gracious Infinite Intelligence who sent His Son to both save a lost humankind and to reconcile the entire universe back to Deity. We are also busily researching and restoring the original TRUTH that was largely lost well over 1600 years ago during the Great Apostasy of the Constantinian period (4th century). BRI writings align closely with the literature of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.
- “Saving faith.” What exactly is it? We eagerly and enthusiastically confess we do not know.
How can anyone have “saving faith”? After all,
- it is Messiah who saves through faith.
And that faith is not wavering, unstable, inconsistent human faith. True faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2.8). The Gospel of God’s Grace can have it no other way. It is high time we who profess to be Messiah’s own possession begin to reject the fallacious, Satanic Gentile tampering of the holy Hebrew Scriptures (we refer to the ‘OT’ and the ‘NT’ — both misnomers to be sure) by so-called “coverings” and “spiritual shepherds” of the world’s second oldest profession, and place our allegiance where it should have been all along — centred squarely on the Gospel rather than on man’s feeble (mis)understanding of it.
Only then can we authentically claim to be free in Messiah (Galatians 5.1).