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Saving Faith – Part 1

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

We are told in Hebrews 11:6, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Such was the case of a man named Cornelius. We read the story about this man in chapter 10 of the book of Acts. This is an important story for everyone who professes to be a Christian, because it clearly lets us know that being a Christian is much more than knowing about Jesus, or even agreeing with the Gospel message — it is about faith — and not just any type of faith, but a saving faith.

We are told within Scripture about Cornelius being a remarkable man — a devout man who feared God, as did his family. He was faithful in giving his money generously to the poor who were in need, and he prayed to God. But there was just one small problem — Cornelius was lost in his sin. But God was faithful to Cornelius because he knew Cornelius desired to know Him, and so God spoke to Cornelius in a vision (Acts 10:5-6).  

We then see Peter sharing the Gospel message with Cornelius and others who were there with him. He shared about Jesus, His death, resurrection, and how He would judge the living and the dead. They were then told whoever believes in Jesus will receive remission of their sins (Acts 10:43). The Holy Spirit then descended upon all who heard and they believed and were publically baptized, declaring themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ.

So we learn from this story that even though a person knows of God, believes God exists, and even prays to Him, they are not saved until they put their faith (believe) in Jesus. It is only by God’s grace through faith we are saved, and the faith to believe is a gift from God, not works lest anyone boast (Eph. 2:8-9). And as the Holy Spirit descended upon all those hearing the Gospel message, they were given faith to believe and to be saved. 

Unfortunately, I believe there are many people who believe they are saved, but they don’t have a relationship with Jesus — they have never really known Jesus, nor do they desire to. Their lifestyle doesn’t change and they still do the same things they did before they made their profession of faith. There is no fruit in the lives of these people revealing true regeneration. James speaks of these people and says what they possess is a “dead faith.”

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? James 2:14-20 (NKJV)

In Part 2 we will begin to look at three characteristics of dead faith.

STUDY QUESTION: What assurance can we get from the story or Cornelius in Acts chapter 10, and by Hebrews 11:6?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: What does it mean to you to believe in Jesus?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: If we claim to believe in Jesus then let’s choose to abide in His teachings and submit to His will for our life – to know Him, to follow Him, and to imitate Him (Eph. 5:1).

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for allowing Your Son to die upon the cross of Calvary for the world. Thank You Jesus for being our Lord and our Savior. Help me to share the Gospel message with others and to continue to seek to live as Jesus did – having a servant's heart. In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000