The Wonderful Results of Saving Faith, pt.1
“Let There Be Light” - The Wonderful Results of Saving Faith
*This series was taught at North Christian Church, leading up to a marvelous series on "The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification". www.nccdighton.org
There is nothing quite as striking as the difference between darkness and light.
When God turns the light on, early every morning without fail, then everything around us becomes visible.
And all it took was a word from God, then the power of God went into action.
When a person chooses with his free will to have saving faith in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord turns the light on in his soul.
And from that day on, that person can see. Spiritual truths can become visible.
And the lives of believers, so long as they desire to learn Truth, that light becomes brighter and brighter, as the sun continues to rise in their life.
If the believer follows Christ and pursues His Word, he will really begin to see it all as truth, and the light that is in him will overpower the darkness in his soul, more and more.
Eph 5:13-14 "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."
But, this salvation is totally from God.
Without our gracious God turning the light on for us, we would remain in darkness.
But by His grace, at the moment of saving faith, He says “let there be light”, and it is so, and so we possess the wonderful results of His saving grace. And a good picture of this is seen in Eph 2:1-10
And we begin to shine the wonders of salvation, not only in our own souls, but for the whole world to see.
Eph 2:1-10 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
There we see a picture of man going from darkness to light, in his soul, and it's all because of the grace of God.
The Spirit has nudged me to be a bit more gentle in our approach in this study.
At first, He had me going over the evidences of true saving faith, and also the harsh evidences of false faith.
And while those still exist, and will be brought to light later in this study, by His grace, He wants me to focus on the positive.
He wants us to focus on the wonderful results of true faith, focusing on the LIGHT in the true believer.
Gen 1:1-5 (as we read the first few verses, just imagine that the earth is our soul. Now this is just an analogy, don’t make a doctrine out of this. Again, as we read, imagine the earth is our soul.)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day."
This is a picture of what happened in your soul when you became a believer in Christ.
Darkness was covering your soul, but the Spirit was moving over the waters, and when you made the decision to trust in Christ, you received His light, by His grace!
And God saw that it was good. He separated the light from the darkness in your soul.
He made them two totally distinct things.
As many of you know, God made you a completely new creature, not improving upon the old life, but giving you a new life in Christ.
2 Cor 5:17 "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come"
Rom 6:3-4 "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."
Eph 5:8 "for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light"
God said “let there be light”, and it was so, in the soul of the believer.
2 Cor 4:6 "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
Believing in Christ gives God permission to turn the light switch on in our lives. And we say "permission" because God honors our volition.
Once a person says YES to Christ, God can release His full power upon him. And He turns on the light switch for us.
But WE cannot turn the switch on, ourselves. God is the one standing with His finger on the light switch, asking us “would you like Me to turn on the lights for you?”
When we say ‘yes’ to Christ, He is then free to take over and make us new!
Let’s continue our analogy.
As we continue to read, imagine the fact that we are now the lights of the world. By His grace, we are now an extension of Christ. And He will use us to shine light on the earth.
And remember, star differs from star in glory, ultimately depending upon volition, and humility.
Again, imagine that we are now the lights of the world...
Gen 1:14-19 "Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
God has graciously granted us the opportunity to shine His light in this world.
First, His light shines in our souls, and then it pours out of us as a ray of hope in this dark world.
We’ve been seeing over the past year or two that the whole Bible is really about the Gospel in some way; either expounding on it, or defending it. It’s not as complicated as man likes to make it.
We’ve also seen the concept of saving faith; and that it involves not just a mental assent to the facts about Jesus, but a personal trust in Christ as one’s own God and Savior.
And we’ve seen that saving faith is of the heart! It is a heart issue, if one is to believe in Christ and receive the Light.
The act of believing comes from the inner man, his motivation, his will, and not just his intellect.
In Rom 10:9-10, we saw that it is actually with the heart that a person believes, resulting in righteousness!
This may or may not result in an emotional response, but believing with the heart refers to the core of an individual and his motivation, which is a supernatural thing that can’t be fully explained or rationalized by man.
And God looks at the heart, 1Sa 16:7.
That in itself should humble us all, especially those of us that think we have the spiritual life all figured out.
Forget the spiritual life, how about salvation?! How about we keep seeking and learning about THAT?!
And maybe, just maybe, LIVING in the Gospel reality is what brings us to maturity.
Who did Jesus say was the "greatest"? The one with the faith and humility of a child. Mat 18:1-4
Pastor Collins said something recently that rang true to me:
Abiding in Christ: "You have NO idea the depths of His love until you continue to learn about all that He is and all that He faced and all that's He's already done for you!!!"
And that’s something we will be appreciating in this series, in hopes that we grasp more of the depths of His love for us.
Now back to Romans 10; it’s about what we say in our heart that counts with God.
Rom 10:5-13 "For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)."
In other words, you don’t need to have Christ with you here physically to be made righteous. The righteousness of faith doesn’t say “I need to see Him to believe”, or “I need to touch Him to be saved”.
8 But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART" — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
In context, a person who calls on the Lord does so from the heart.
Saving faith is not a casual acknowledgment that a man named Jesus is part of our religion, or that we were even ‘born a Christian’, so we are 'saved'. Saving faith is a decision of the heart, from the inner man, to trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
This is personal! It's between you and the Lord God Almighty, who gave up His only Son for you!
This is not about belonging to a certain religion, it's about personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.
God is after our hearts.
He desires that we surrender to Him as Lord and Savior, admitting our need for His grace and mercy.
We also see the Lord Himself indicate that the heart is involved in saving faith, when He explained the parable of the seed and the sower.
Luke 8:11-12 "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
“the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”, Rom 10.
"Trusting" is a heart issue: The Word must first be in the heart before man can believe. And it is with the heart that a man trusts in the Lord to be saved. Luk 8:12
Once a man has believed in Christ from the heart, the wonders of salvation that he receives are astonishing; including blessings we see and do not see.
They pierce the darkness, not only in a man’s soul, but in the dark world around them.
The "position" that God gives the believer "in Christ", and the promotion that comes with that, is beyond human understanding.
In this message on "The Wonderful Results of Saving Faith", we will see and enjoy the full wonders of God, which He joyously bestows on the person who believes in His Son.
And this is all by God's grace.
In Eph 2:8-9, even our faith is not of ourselves, but a gift from God!
We simply must turn to Him with our free will, in humility, but He is the One who turns the lights on, even giving us the faith to believe!
Eph 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
In this series, we will first look at the wonderful, INVISIBLE results of saving faith, then the visible results.
In other words, we will look at the light created in us, and all its wonder in the inner man. Then, we will see the light that inevitably shines out from us, and what it looks like; its manifestations.
This is all in the word of God, as we read our Bibles in context. Context is key!
God has led me to approach this from a different angle, and part of that is starting with reminders of who we are in Christ.
For those of you who are newer in the Word of God, this will be an invaluable series, to strengthen your faith and your appreciation for what God has done in you, by grace.
By the end you will be truly overwhelmed, and amazed at how He has made you flawless in His eyes, totally 100% by His grace.
Let’s start with a visual aid of the dramatic results in the life of a person who is changed by the Lord.
Go to Zech 3.
And this is an Old Testament example, BEFORE all the wonderful results given to the believer who is placed in union with Christ, our risen Lord and Savior.
If this is true before Christ came, how much more now?
Zech 3:1-7 "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. 4 He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, "Remove the filthy garments from him." Again he said to him, "See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes." 5 Then I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by.
(There we see how sin is removed from the believer, by God’s grace, right in front of Satan’s face, and he can do nothing about it, because the Lord is standing by. What an awesome picture of our spiritual reality!)
(Now, notice AFTER being made clean by the Lord, Joshua is given the opportunity to serve the Lord and be rewarded, for star will differ from star in glory, 1Cor 15)
6 And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.
So, the believer is first made clean, and then is encouraged to NOT waste his time in the world's system, and instead to walk with and serve the Lord, because his treasure is in heaven.
Here we see the guilty sinner, whom Satan accuses day and night, is made clean by the grace and power of God, and NOT by his own power or goodness.
The person who humbly turns to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation is changed by God, and made clean in His eyes, as a living testament to God’s grace for all eternity, to Satan’s great frustration.
What an awesome God we have!
We might say darkness is turned into light, forever.
And the darkness cannot bear the light; light always defeats the darkness, by its very nature!
Now let’s look at the wonderful, invisible results of saving faith.
These are the results of God "turning the light on" in the soul of one who believes, by His grace alone.
And we will focus on the Church Age believer; what is done for the one who trusts in Christ, AFTER the cross and the resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ.
The Invisible Results of Saving Faith: The believer in Christ has been made into a new creature/new man. Eph 2:15,4:24, 2Co 5:17, Gal 6:15, Col 3:10, Joh 3:3
God doesn’t improve the darkness in man’s soul; instead He pierces the darkness by giving man the light, by giving man a piece of Himself, making him NEW.
The Bible doesn't say God fixes the old man, but instead He makes him brand new.
Eph 2:13-15 "But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man (the man ‘in Christ’), thus establishing peace,"
Eph 4:22-24 "that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
You have to possess a "new self" before you can put on the new self, amen?
2 Cor 5:17 "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Gal 6:15 "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Rituals are not what's important, it's that God, by grace, has made the believer into a new creation.
Jesus Christ is also known as "The Light", and we have been made in His likeness, in our spirit. We have been given a "new self".
In Genesis, the first man was made in God’s likeness. But after the fall of man, man was corrupted and disoriented.
But, man can now be re-created in God’s likeness by a new birth. Joh 3
By faith in Christ, he is made into a new creature. He is made into the light of the world. Joh 8:12, Mat 5:14-16
In John 8, Jesus said HE is the light of the world…
John 8:12 "Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."
But in Mat 5, Jesus also said WE believers are the light of the world.
How can that be? It's only possible by a divine undertaking… and that is part of the wonderful results of saving faith.
The "new man" is Christ in us. Therefore we possess His light, and share in His glory.
Matt 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
As the new man, we are an extension of Jesus Christ. He is the light of the world, and He has made believers like the lights in the expanse of the heavens, that shine light on the earth. (Gen 1)
Col 3:9-10 "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him"
Every day we have a choice, to live in our new creation.
God will always honor our free will.
But the point is, if you are now a believer, you have the power and light of Christ in you!
John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Jesus goes on to say, this is the man who is "born of the Spirit", by faith in Him as Lord and Savior.
The "old self" has not been "fixed", he has been replaced!
As a believer, you have been given His light in your soul, and that new, perfect light overcomes the darkness. Praise be to God!
Another wonderful result of saving faith is that the believer now has peace with God, forever.
The Invisible Results of Saving Faith: The believer in Christ has been Reconciled. 2Cor 5:18-19, Rom 5:1,10-11, Eph 2:15c-18, Col 1:20, 1Jo 4:10. This means he has been given peace with Almighty God.
2 Cor 5:17-19 "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."
God in His grace figured out a way to make peace with sinful manking.
And notice how all these invisible results and accomplishments in our souls are intermingled.
And all of these 'fruits' of salvation are intertwined. (just as the fruit of the Spirit is all one fruit, in Gal 5:22-23)
Rom 5:1 "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Rom 5:10-11 "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
Again, Almighty God has offered us peace with Him, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 2:15b-18 "so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man (the man ‘in Christ’), thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father."
Col 1:19-23 "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach — 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister."
Because God is fully satisfied by His Son’s sacrifice, we who believe now have peace with God forever.
1 John 4:10 "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
The Invisible Results of Saving Faith: The believer in Christ has been Justified. Acts 13:38-39, Rom 3:21-4:8, 5:1, Gal 2:11-21, 3:23-26, Tit 3:4-8
Acts 13:38-39 "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
Rom 3:21-4:8 "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT." (quote from David in Psa 32)
As we just read our Bibles in context, we make more and more connections about things like our Justification.
Gal 2:11-21 "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
15 "We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. 17 "But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 "For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
There we have another wonderful explanation of our Justification.
It is not by the Law, but by grace through faith in Christ.
Gal 3:23-26 "But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
Titus 3:4-8 "But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.