THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."
Devotion 8 of 30
THE CENTRALITY OF FAITH
From this abbreviated survey, the centrality of faith is seen. It is not simply a "step" in a purported "plan of salvation." It is not the twin of "works," nor does it obtain its effectiveness from the well of human achievement. Here is the one thing that, when "mixed" with the Word of God, makes it profitable to the individual. As it is written, "For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it" (Heb 4:2). Until the word of God is believed, or until faith takes hold of it, it cannot profit the individual. No amount of religious activity can be offered as a substitute for faith. It is absolutely central in salvation.
It is no marvel that believers are told they "obtained" their precious faith (2 Pet 1:1), and that it "came" to them (Rom 10:17; Gal 3:23). Let me say it plainly, lest any fail to grasp it. Faith--your faith--was given to you by God. It came through the channel of hearing, and by means of the Gospel--but it "came." Here is something nature could not give you! It is true with you, even as it was for the Philippians, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him" (Phil 1:29, NIV).
The inability of people to take hold of the salvation God offers is directly traceable to their powerlessness to believe. While this does have some serious ramifications to some people's theology, God has spoken most precisely on the matter. "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: 'Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?' Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE, because Isaiah said again: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them'" (John 12:37-40). It made little difference how logical and disciplined in thought those people were, "they could not believe," and therefore could not see, understand, turn, or be healed!
It is possible to become so indifferent to the Gospel of Christ that Divine judgment will render believing impossible. That is precisely what happened to the people referenced in the twelfth chapter of John. Once that happens, it simply is not possible for grace to be received. Faith is that central!
It is not my purpose to provoke discouraging thoughts on this subject: i.e., that one has been so judged by God, and therefore cannot believe. Any person desiring to believe and longing to have faith is NOT in the category of not being able to believe. If you personally feel as though you want to believe, but are not satisfied with your ability to do so, take heart from the example of a father who asked Jesus to heal his afflicted son. Jesus told him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." The man's response confirms he saw the centrality of faith. "Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'" (Mk 9:24-25). Faith is central! Can you see it?
PRAYER POINT: Father, in Jesus' name, I do believe. Help my unbelief!
-- Tomorrow: A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD --