True Faith

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Devotional Word for Tuesday, October 13, 2020

In the past week or so we have looked at how our sins result in a debt of righteousness which must be paid.  Thanks be to God that the He accepts the payment of righteousness from another.  That is to say that the Lord Jesus, by His life, death, and resurrection has fully paid for our sin and given to us His own righteousness.  What more can be said?  The Scriptures from beginning to end direct us to the wonderful work of Christ.  They also tell of the outworking of the work of Christ by His Holy Spirit in the lives of people.  Let me explain.  When the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave a great commission to His followers.  It says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  There is even a glimpse of the sort of worship this great commission would produce in the book of Revelation.  John sees in a vision peoples from all the tribes, nations, and tongues praising the Lord.  It is as though a large stone has been dropped into a calm water and ripples emanate from the initial splash and travel to ends of a pool.  In the same way the Word of God is going out in the power of the Holy Spirit (even right now) through to the ends of the earth.  

I guess this does then present a question.  Question 20 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks and answers what we should all be thinking when we hear this news.  It says, “Will all men, then, be saved through Christ as they became lost through Adam?”  This is easy to understand.  If Christ’s work takes away the sins of the world, then that means that everyone should be saved.  Listen to the answer.  It says, “No. Only those who, by true faith, are incorporated into Him and accept all His benefits.”  The catechism tells us that the saving character of Christ’s blood will only be applied to those who believe in Him.  The gospel of John communicates this in a slightly different way.  Chapter 1 verse 12 says, “But as many as received Him (that is Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”  This means that Christians need to cling to Christ and communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to those around them.  In this way the ripple of the gospel will continue to spread around the neighborhood and around the world.

If you are now thinking, “Hang on.  You said I had to have true faith.  What is it?” you are in good keeping.  Question 21 asks that very question.  The answer says, “It is not only a certain knowledge by which I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also a wholehearted trust which the Holy Spirit creates in me through the gospel, that not only to others, but to me also God has given the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation, out of sheer grace solely for the sake of Christ’s saving work.” There is a huge amount of significant information in this answer.  It all deserves to be unpacked.  We have time to consider it in three parts today.  Notice that the substance of faith is found in the certain knowledge that God’s revelation, which is the Old and New Testament, is true.  Second notice that faith is a Spirit wrought wholehearted trust that God has forgiven me my sins, has given me everlasting righteous ness, and saves me.  The third idea you must grasp from this definition of faith is that the benefits of faith are given for the sake of Christ’s saving work.  

When I am struggling and wrestling with the sin that remains in me, I can remember that the gifts of God are not given to me because of my great skill, charming wit, or heavenly good looks.  The gifts of God are given to me because Jesus has died for me.  My salvation then does not rest upon my ability to accomplish anything, but it does rest on the fact that Jesus has accomplished everything!  As I recognize God’s grace in Jesus’ righteousness to me, the Spirit working in me, and God who has revealed Himself in His Word, I stand in awe and rejoice.  May  you all do the same.  Let us pray.