• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • April 2008
    M T W T F S S
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A Humble Faith

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV)

One thing a Christian must never forget is that he was not saved from sin – and the consequences of sin – by his own efforts. Salvation is all of Jesus, who brings us to life in Him through faith in Him.

My human nature and arrogance often would lead me to think that my own good efforts will win the final approval of God. So, practically, I would base my salvation on “comparative” good works. I use the word “comparative” because we tend to compare ourselves to others and not to God’s Holy standards. This is the basis of pride, which is a root of sin.

This attitude leads us to think that God owes us something because we have accumulated more good deeds in our “self-confidence bank” than our next door neighbor. These self-righteous feelings about our own good works would have us look down on our neighbors even though Scripture clearly teaches, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Self-righteousness destroys the doctrine of faith as it is taught in the Scriptures.

We may also think that by accumulating great knowledge of the Scriptures we will be saved. This too, is a form of pride in works. Even demons know more about God than us, yet their punishment will be everlasting. We must be born again to enter into the kingdom of God. Faith and understanding are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit opens the Scriptures to the understanding of our minds. We must diligently study the Word of God because it contains the words of salvation. We should not make reading the Bible a goal by which we earn some kind of merit badge.

Should we boast in our belief in Christ as the grounds of our salvation? How often does such a thought cross your mind? “I am saved because I chose to believe and Jim is not because he has refused to believe.” This is only a simplistic display of pride seeking the credit for why you go to heaven and Jim does not. This is not trusting in Jesus as my Savior. It is trusting in my “trust” in Jesus. Again, my good deed of “trust” becomes the basis of my salvation. Saving faith is not a work that I conjure up by my own effort. It is the instrument and gift of the Holy Spirit through which the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to my life that I may be saved by His perfect obedience to God the Father.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV) We are sinners, and yet we have been saved by grace. We are not righteous, yet we have been freely given the righteousness of Christ. We have no grounds on which to boast in ourselves, yet we may boast in Christ. The mercy shown to us by God’s grace is as beautiful as it is wonderful. Therefore, let us boast in God. The Christian should be the most humble of God’s creatures.

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