By Leslie Diestelkamp
Instead of arguing my case and then stating a conclusion, I shall first of all state my premise and then make the arguments. The New Testament clearly teaches salvation by faith, but we must recognize that faith does not save because of what it is but because of what it does in the heart of the believer.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (He 11:1). In other words, faith may be defined as belief that is based upon substantial evidence which produces this conviction (or assurance) without absolutely proven fact. To illustrate: I know there is a city of Sydney, Australia for I have been there. It is not a matter of faith with me. I believe there is a city of Rome, Italy, for I have received much evidence – but since I have not been there, I can only say I know there is such a city, using the word “know” accommodatively. So, in spiritual matters, accommodatively we say we know there is a God and that Jesus lived, died, and is resurrected. But, actually, we are not saved by what we know – but that which we have experienced and proved for ourselves – but we are saved by what we believe!
It is not merely the facts and acceptance of those facts that save us, but it is our response to that faith which brings us to the saving grace of God. One may believe with all his heart that God is, and that Jesus is His Son, but he may still live in rebellion. Thus we see that mere acceptance of the fact does not save.
But when our faith matures so much that it becomes trust, then by that faith we may be moved to submission of our hearts, our bodies, and our lives to the will of that One in whom we believe. Thus faith will save us. Faith may bring our stubborn wills into subjection, and there, at the very point of obedience, we then receive pardon from God.
Paul wrote, “You were servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered you, being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness (Ro 6:17-18).
Some readers of this may believe in God and in Christ, but they may be depending upon faith for salvation. Not until your faith motivates you to sincere obedience will your faith save you. As a consequence of your faith, repent of your sins (Ac 17:30), confess your faith in Christ (Ro 10:10), and be baptized into Christ (Ga 3:26-27). Then your faith will have availed for salvation, and then you can continue in that active faith and finally receive the eternal reward of such belief (Mt 10:22)