Study 3 FAITH
GREAT WORDS OF THE GOSPEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Mark 5: 25-34)
The human race is divided into two classes of people – believers and unbelievers. God’s people are believers; they are characterised by faith and they live by faith (Romans 1:17); faith is the operative principle of the new life, the Christian life. There are many aspects of faith, as Hebrews 11 so wonderfully illustrates, but in this study we shall confine ourselves to what is called saving faith – the faith which brings us into the experience and enjoyment of God’s salvation.
1. WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? (Acts 16:30)
This is the question of questions, and it asks: What is the human responsibility in the matter of salvation? At infinite cost, salvation has been provided for every sinner (1 John 2:2). God’s only-begotten Son came down from Heaven and procured salvation by dying for us upon the cross (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Father accepted His finished work and raised Him up from the dead and exalted Him to His right hand in Heaven (Acts 2:32-33). Salvation is now offered to all men (Isaiah 45:22). On what terms? Acts 16:31 gives us the answer. “Salvation in all its limitless magnitude is secured, so far as human responsibility is concerned, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.” In the New Testament there are at least 150 different passages which condition salvation on believing and faith, (the one word here is the exact synonym of the other): e.g. John 3:16; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 1:16; 3:26; 4:5; 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8; 1 John 5:1.
2. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?
It means to place my whole confidence and trust in Him as my own personal Saviour.
3. FAITH IN CHRIST AS PERSONAL SAVIOUR INVOLVES THREE STEPS:-
- The first step is to HEAR. Look up Romans 10:17. Before I can believe the gospel I must hear it. Before I can believe that Christ is able and willing to save me, I must hear that He is able and willing to do so – look up John 5:24.
- The second step is to BELIEVE. Having heard who He is and what He is able to do for me, I believe what I hear – I assent. I believe about Him – that He died for me (Isaiah 53:5); that He is able to save me (Hebrews 7:25); and that He wants to save me (John 5:40). Notice that this intellectual assent is not saving faith, though it is an essential step towards saving faith.
- The third step is to TRUST. I hear…I believe…but now I must trust! That is, I place confidence in Him to do for me what I have heard and believe He can do. I commit myself to Him and trust Him to save me. Trusting excludes all effort and relies wholly upon the One being trusted.
4. NOW LOOK UP THREE INCIDENTS WHICH ILLUSTRATE SAVING FAITH:-
- Mark 5:25-34. Notice that the Woman heard (verse 27), and she came because she believed what she had heard (verse 28), and she touched (trusted) Him (verses 27 and 29).
- Acts 8:29-37. Notice that the Eunuch heard about Christ (verses 30-35), he believed on Him (verse 36), and he trusted Him as his own Saviour (verse 37).
- Acts 16:30-31. Notice that the Jailer took these three steps. He must have heard, in order to ask – verse 30; then he believed, and his immediate confession by baptism and his changed life proved that he trusted Christ to save him.
5. NOW CONSIDER TWO SIMPLE ILLUSTRATIONS OF SAVING FAITH.
- Faith in the BANK. Suppose you are left a fortune and you do not know where to place it for safety. Then a friend tells you about the “Absolutely Safe Bank”. You hear what he says, you believe his testimony, and you commit your fortune to the Bank.
- Faith in the DOCTOR. Suppose you suddenly collapse with appendicitis. Your friend tells you of a good surgeon who operated on her for appendicitis, relieved her of pain and made her perfectly well. You hear what your friend says, you believe her testimony, and you commit yourself to the surgeon and trust him completely to bring you through the operation.
6. CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING PROMISES OF CHRIST, ALL OF WHICH SHOW, UNDER DIFFERENT FIGURES, WHAT IT MEANS TO BELIEVE ON HIM, AND NOTICE THAT IN EACH CASE THE SAME THREE STEPS – HEARING, BELIEVING AND TRUSTING – ARE INVOLVED.
- To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to ACCEPT Him as God’s Gift. Look up John 3:16; 1:12 (where to “believe” = to “receive”), and compare Acts 16:14 and Revelation 3:20.
- To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to COME TO HIM. Look up Matthew 11:28, and compare John 5:40 and 6:37.
- To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to ENTER into the fold by Him. Look up John 10:9 and compare Luke 13:24-27.
- To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to come to Him and DRINK. Look up John 4:13-14 and 7:37.
- To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to CALL upon Him for salvation. Look up Romans 10:13. Then see how the Thief did it (Luke 23:42-43); how Peter did it (Matthew 14:30-31); how the Publican did it (Luke 18:13-14); how the Leper did it (Luke 5:12-13), and how the Gentile Woman did it (Matthew 15:22 and 28). Have you done it?
Thus, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to rely only upon Him for salvation. Do you believe like that? Are you saved?