THE GIFT IS YOURS THROUGH FAITH
NEED: TO PLACE OUR FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST FOR SALVATION.
PROPOSITION: THE GIFT OF SALVATION IS NOT YOURS UNTIL YOU RECEIVE IT THROUGH FAITH.
TO URGE PERSONS TO MAKE JESUS CHRIST ALONE THE OBJECT OF THEIR FAITH.
Salvation comes to us through faith. This is a truth that literally changed human history. Martin Luther was a
faithful German priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He was constantly and earnestly seeking peace with God.
He faithfully followed the prescriptions that were given to him by the Church. These prescriptions included
fasting, long periods of prayer, self-denial, afflicting the human body, pilgrimages to Rome, climbing up the
stairs in Roman on his knees, and a multitude of things. But some way this German priest could never come to
the assurance that he had been accepted by God and had peace with God.
One day as he was meditating upon the scriptures, a verse of scripture burst into his darkened heart with a
warm ray of light. It was the verse, "The just shall live by faith." For the first time he saw it! It was faith that
brought a person into a right relationship with God. His efforts were not
going to do it, but his faith would do it.
When he responded to that truth
with a wholehearted commitment of himself into the hands of Jesus Christ,
it so transformed his life that he could not be silent. He had to teach it
even when Roman said you must not teach it. He had to share it if it cost
him everything. His declaration of this truth and his testimony to its
reality literally changed the face of Europe. It resulted in what we refer to as the Great Reformation.
Have you understood this truth? Have you understood that God's gift of
salvation comes to those who believe. Paul calls our attention to it in
this pivotal passage by the phrase, "Through faith." I want us to explore ~
its implications for our lives.
I. Through faith that has Christ as its object.
The most important thing about faith is its object. Faith is no stronger
than its object. The apostle does not hold before us faith, but rather
faith in Jesus Christ. It is "through faith in Christ Jesus to all who
1. It is faith in Christ Jesus rather than faith in oneself.
Paul's background was one of Jewish legalism. There was a time when he had been filled with self-confidence.
He had been confident based upon his
diligence in observing the law. When he turns to this statement about faith
in Christ Jesus, he is turning away from faith in himself. There came that
day on the Damascus Road when Paul could at last admit to himself, "I
cannot save myself. My Jewish heritage is of no value. I put my faith in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation."
2. This faith is in the person of Christ Jesus.
It is not faith just in an imaginary figure called Christ. Rather, it is faith in the historical Jesus who became
identified as the Messiah of Israel.
This Jesus had become well known in Galilee and Judah in His day. So, when Paul talks about faith in Jesus
Christ, he is talking about faith in the
Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, who grew up in Nazareth, who was baptized in the Jordan, who healed the
sick in Galilee, who gave the beatitudes on the mountain top, who ministered in Jerusalem, who was crucified
by the Romans, who was raised from the dead on the third day, and who ascended to the Father after His
resurrection. It is faith in this Jesus who is the
To identify Jesus as the Christ, or Messiah, is to identify Him as the one promised by the Father, the one who
fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures, the one who is the rightful heir to the throne of David, the one who is
indeed the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. This saving faith is faith in a persn. It is faith in the
integrity and sufficiency of this person.
3. It is faith in the work of Jesus.
Paul makes this clear in his
statment, "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood." The reference to faith is
wedged between the two great statements about the work of Christ. On one side there is Christ as the
propitiatory sacrifice. On the other side there is Jesus in His sacrificial death. It is not only faith in Jesus the
person, but it is faith in what Jesus did in his death on Calvary's tree. It is faith in the adequacy and the
sufficiency of his death upon the cross for our sins.
II. Through faith that makes a grateful response to God.
What is faith? What is involved in a faith response to God? When you push all the fluff aside faith is a way of
responding to God Himself. It is not unlike any faith response that we have in life. You and I have a relationship
based on faith. What is the essence of that relationship?
1. Faith involves in a grateful attitude toward God.
Dr. F. F. Bruce writes, "Faith is that simple and open-hearted attitude to God which takes Him at His word." So,
faith in Jesus Christ is that simple and openhearted attitude toward Him that takes Him at His word. Faith says,
"I have considered him and have found him to be trustworthy. He does what He says He will do." The other side
of that is that unbelief is also an attitude toward God. Unbelief says that I have considered Jesus Christ and
have found Him to be untrustworthy. He does not do what He says He will do. He is not who He claims to be.
Attitude is so important.
One of the great evangelists of the past told about a personal encounter with a seeker. When this person had
heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and was given an opportunity to make a commitment to Him, the person said,
"But I can't believe." The wise evangelist said, "Whom?" The seeker again said,
"But I can't believe." The wise evangelist asked again, "Whom?" The seeker finally heard what the evangelist
was asking and it dawn upon them that it was not a matter of believing something but rather a matter of
believing someone. Saving faith is not as much a matter of "what" you believe as it is "whom" you believe. In
saving faith there is this openhearted and simply attitude that says, "I may not understand everything, but I
believe Him. I believe he can do and will do what He has said He will do."
2. The response involves a grateful action.
In his statement Dr. Bruce added, "And gratefully accepts His grace." There is more to the response than just
an attitude. There is an action. Saving faith receives, accepts, appropriates. When we talk about faith in Jesus
Christ, we are talking about receiving this gift from Jesus Christ.
You may have heard the popular story being circulated about a man whose house was in a low area
threatened by rising flood waters. As the waters rose right up to his door, the National Guard came by in a four-
wheel drive vehicle to pick him up, but he refused to go, saying, "God will take care of me." When the water
was three feet deep inside the house, the Red Cross motor boat came by to rescue him. He again refused
saying, "God will save me." Finally, the rising waters drove him to the roof of his house, where a military
helicopter hovered overhead and lowered a rope ladder to pluck him to safety. He refused saying, "God will
rescue. The man soon slipped from the roof and drowned and when he went through the pearly gates to
heaven, he complained to the Lord, "Why didn't you rescue me?" The Lord answered, "Who do you think sent
the jeep, the motor boat and the helicopter?"
I am afraid that some of us are waiting on God to do something more before we receive what God has already
done. God has already given His son at the cross. God has already raised him from the dead. Salvation is now
available in Jesus Christ. The faith is receiving what God has already done. The jeep is at the front door - why
don't you get in!
III. Through faith that glories in God alone.
This is the thing that the Apostle discusses in the last part of this chapter. He raises the question, "Where,
then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For
we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not
the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by
faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith." Since salvation is by faith, all of the glory comes to God.
There is no room for me or you to boast about what we have done when all we did was receive the priceless
gift from God.
1. Faith acknowledges that salvation is at God's expense.
If it is at God's expense, then there is no room for me to boast. All I can do is bow in His presence and express
my gratitude and praise to Him that He gave His Son.
2. Faith acknowledges that salvation is God's gift.
If God gave it, how can I boast? All I can do is to say to you is look!
“Look! I want you to see what God gave me. Look! I want you to see what
God has done." If you ask me about it, all I can say is, God offered me a
gift and I accepted it. Isn't God good. If you ask me, "What did you give
or what did you do to get that gift?" I will have to reply, "Nothing! He
did it all. To Him be the praise and the glory."
Do you understand that it is by faith? However, this has a dark side to
it. The dark side is this that it doesn't matter what God has done, it will
means nothing unto me until I receive it by faith. Christmas and Easter and
all of the events involved in the life of Jesus come to naught as far as I
am personally concerned if I do not receive the gift.
I can go out to Lubbock airport and see that 727 jet parked at the ramp. I
can believe in my heart that that airplane is able to lift me off the ground
and carry me to Dallas. I can even have a ticket in my hand that says that
it is my privilege to get on that plane and to be taken to Dallas. I can
staff. But unless
have confidence in the skills of the pilot and the
I trust enough to walk down that ramp, find my
even affirm that I
seat, sit down, and buckle myself in, that plane can never take me to
Dallas. Until I act upon what God has done in Jesus Christ by simply trust
in Him and Him alone that great gift of salvation will never be mine. This
is the moment for you to exercise your faith in Him.