Saved By Faith

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:11-13)”

This text shows us some important things about baptism that most religious groups do not teach. This text says that baptism is the point in which we are buried WITH Him (cf. Romans 6:3-7).Paul compares Old Testament circumcision to baptism, showing that just as the flesh is cut away when a circumcision is done, God himself “cuts” away our sins with a spiritual circumcision at baptism (v11). We are made alive together with Christ when we are baptized (v13), and most importantly, we are forgiven of all our trespasses (sins)(v13).

Our faith in the work of God is what saves us. We are saved by our FAITH. In Colossians 2:11-13, which we just looked at, we see that we are forgiven of all our trespasses when we by faith in the working of God are baptized (v12). We have our sins cut away from us because of our faith in the promise of God.

This is exactly the way it was with animal sacrifice in the Old Testament. It was the faith of the one who brought the sacrifice that saved the sinner. They believed what God said when he said that the blood of the sacrifice would atone for their souls. They could not just believe that animal sacrifice atones for sin; they actually had to act on their faith and take an animal to have it sacrificed for them. Just a mental belief was not good enough. There had to have been a belief based action to perfect their faith.

James 2:17-22 (NKJV) “17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”

An active faith in God’s word is what saves. This is how faith is portrayed in Hebrews 11. All of the heroes of faith acted on what they believed. By faith Abel offered (v4). By faith Noah prepared (v7). By faith Abraham obeyed by going (v8). By faith Isaac blessed (v21). By faith Moses refused (v24). We could go on and on showing from the Old Testament characters that faith is active.

Faith in the Old Testament is the same as faith in the New Testament. John 3:16 is a very misapplied verse that is usually taken out of its context to try to prove that faith alone saves. The context of this verse teaches otherwise.

John 3:14-17 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

The belief that Jesus expects from us is the same as was expected from the children of Israel when Moses lifted up the serpent on a pole in the wilderness. This takes place in Numbers 21:4-9. Israel in their disobedience and complaint against God, were dying. Because of their sin, God sent snakes among the people to punish them. The people realizing their sin, asked Moses to intercede to the Lord for them. The Lord gave them the way to be saved. All who looked at the bronze snake that was lifted up by Moses was saved. They had to believe that what God said was true; that looking upon the snake would save them, and then they had to go and look upon it in obedience to God’s word to be saved. If they did not go to look at it, they did not believe. John the Baptist in John 3:36 says that belief and disobedience are opposites. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” If we do not have a faith that acts and does the will of God, we cannot be saved.

Hebrews 5:9, speaking of Christ, says “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

Romans 6:17-18 (NKJV) 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Remember that the context of this verse is speaking of how the Romans were baptized to be set free from their sin)

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Posted on June 22, 2012, in Responding to the Gospel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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