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December 14 Today’s Reading: Titus 1-Philemon
“The Faith of God’s Elect”
There are many who have faith who do not have “the faith of God’s elect.” Theirs’ is a faith like what James describes as the faith of devils, a mere factual, mental faith, a faith which will only increase their guilt at the bar of God. In the light of that fact, we ought to constantly bring our faith to the touchstone of Holy Scripture and prove it. We ought to ask ourselves, as we read the Book of God, “Do I have the faith of God’s elect?”
The Gift of God
True faith is the gift of God. It is not merely a logical or emotional decision, though it is both logical and emotional. It is much more. Saving faith is created in the heart by the power of God the Holy Spirit. It is the gift of almighty grace. We “believe according to the working of his mighty power” (Ephesians 1: 19). We are united to Christ “through the faith of the operation of God” (Colossians 2:12). God alone can create faith in the heart of a sinner. God alone gives men faith. And he does it through the preaching of the gospel, by which Christ is revealed in the heart (Romans 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
True saving faith is concerned with but one thing, the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you believe on the Son of God? That is the one issue which is of eternal importance. “What think ye of Christ?” Nothing else really matters. True faith is taking God at his Word. It is believing what God says about his Son. It is submitting to the revelation of God in the Scriptures. It is trusting, believing, receiving Christ as he is revealed in Holy Scripture. — “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God ... He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:1, 12). Yet, saving faith is much more than mental assent to the truth of divine revelation. The Puritan, John Owen, wrote, “Of all the poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men, corrupting them from the mystery of the gospel, there is no part that is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to believe in Christ is nothing at all but to believe the doctrine of the gospel!”
Saving faith is a work of the heart (Romans 10:9-10). True faith is the willful, deliberate, voluntary confidence of my heart in the power and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is trusting the merits of his blood and righteousness as my only basis of acceptance before God. This faith in Christ involves the surrender of my heart to him as my Lord. True faith is the bowing and submission of my very life to the Son of God as my Lord (Luke 14:25-33).
True faith, the faith of God’s elect is persevering faith (Hebrews 3:6, 14). That is to say, if a person truly believes on Christ, he will continue to believe on Christ. Faith is not an event in life. It is the believer’s way of life. — “The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). The true believer never ceases to live by faith in Christ. God’s elect begin in faith, live in faith, and die in faith (Hebrews 11:13). True faith never quits. It is not the man who begins the race who wins the prize, but the one who finishes the race.