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Some words used by Paul in the Pastoral Letters:
Sound doctrine: sound = correct, health giving; used to describe doctrine words, speech and faith (Pro.4:2; Tit.1:9; 2:11 Tim.1:10; 4:6; 6:3; 2 Tim.1:13; 4:3)
Wholesome words: (1 Tim.6:3)
Sound in faith: (Tit.1:13; 2:2; 2 Tim.1:13)
Sound speech: (Tit.2:8; 1 Pet.2:12,15,16)
Conscience: (Tit.1:15,19; 3; 4:2; 2 Tim.1:3)
Godliness: (Tit.1:1; 3:5; 1 Tim.2:2,10; 3:16; 4:7-8; 5:4; 6:3,5,6,11; 2 Tim.3:5)
Ungodliness: (Tit.2:12; 2 Tim.2:16)
Sober, sober minded: (Tit.1:8; 2:2,4,6; 1Tim.3:2,11)
Good conscience, pure conscience: (Tit.1:15; 1 Tim.1:5,19; 3:9; 2 Tim.1:3)
Good works: (Tit.1:6; 2:7,14; 3:1,8,14; 1 Tim.2:10; 3:1; 5:10,25)
Good thing: (Tit.2:3,7,10; 3:8; 1 Tim.4:6; 6:13)
Good people: (Tit.1:8; 2:5; 2 Tim.3:3)
Good fidelity, faithfulness: (Tit.2:10)
Faithful: (Tit.1:6,9; 3:8; 1 Tim.1:12,15; 3:11; 4:9; 6:2; 2 Tim.2:2,11,13)
Must be blameless (1 Tim.3:2,10; 5:7; Tit.1:6-7; Phil.2:15; 1 Thes,5:23; 2 Pet.3:14).
Living God (Mat.16:16; 26:63; Jn.6:69; Acts 14:15; Rom.9:26; 2 Cor.3:3; 6:16; 1 Tim.3:15; 4:10; 6:17; Heb.3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Rev.7:2)
Right Hand of God (Mk.16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1; Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22)
Faith is one of the countless gifts with which God has blessed us, and it is so often overlooked. Jesus said a lot about faith, because faith is something that we practice every day. Faith means to believe God and trust God completely.
There are three types of faith:
#1. Logical faith, with which we are born. This faith believes something is true without proof or commitment. A person can believe Jesus was a real Person, and that He did perform miracles . . . but they do not accept the Fact that He was God in Man.
#2. Faith in God, believes in God’s existence and His abilities. This kind of faith holds a confident belief that God will fulfill what He has promised.
#3. Saving Faith—Believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a living person, for the forgiveness of sin and trusting Him because He provides eternal life with God. It is NOT enough to simply believe in the actions of Jesus Christ or the abilities of God. True saving faith is more than that; it is a personal relationship with the Saviour. Saving faith is the key that determines our eternal destiny.
So many people are deceived. They think because they go to church, are baptized, and tithe regularly, they are saved. They DO know Jesus intellectually, but they do NOT have a personal relationship with Him.
There is a faith in Christ which IS saving, and there is a faith in Christ which IS NOT saving. You may say, "But I know that mine is saving faith. I have seen myself as a lost sinner, realize I can do nothing to gain acceptance with God, and have put my trust in the finished work of His Son." My friend, the heart is terribly deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and Satan misleads many (Rev. 12:9). So much is at stake that it benefits each of us to make sure. Only a fool is ready to give himself the "benefit of the doubt" in an matter as important as this.
You may say, "But I know that my faith in Christ is a real and saving one, because it rests upon the sure Word of God." Dear ones, others who were just as sure as you, are now in Hell! Let me ask you a question. Have you tested your faith by Scripture? Have you taken the time and trouble to determine IF your faith is accompanied by those proofs which go hand in hand with a saving faith? A saving faith is a supernatural thing, and therefore it brings forth supernatural fruit. Is this true for you? Does this puzzle you?
Consider the following:
A saving faith in Jesus Christ means that we believe God, accept Jesus as the Son of God, the ONLY sacrifice that could atone (pay) for our sins. When we have this kind of faith, we earnestly desire to repent and to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him. He will then transform us and conform us to His image (Rom.8:29). As we then walk with God, He will bless each of us all the more with perfect assurance regarding our salvation and our relationship with Him. We MUST have a personal relationship with Jesus! Without that, there is NO saving faith!
There are millions who are already a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. But intellectually, being a believer in Jesus is NO proof someone has been born again and is on his way to Heaven. The New Testament tells us: John 2:23-24 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, (KJV) As He spake these words many believed on Him (John 8:30), yet in verse 59, a little later they sought to stone Him! Among the chief rulers also many believed (not simply 'about', but) on Him. BUT . . . see what immediately follows: but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43). Dear one, this is proof that they were utter strangers to a saving work of God in their souls . . . yet they were "believers" in the Lord Jesus!
In Acts 15:9 we read, purifying their hearts by faith . . . also see (Mat.5:8; 1 Pet.1:22). WHAT is a purified heart? It is one that has been purged of all idols and impurities and turned to a pure object (1 Thess.1:9). A purified heart hates all that is sinful, and loves all that is holy. A pure heart is one that has been cleansed from the love of all that is evil.
Another characteristic of saving faith is that it "worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6). Faith is a mighty standard of operation by which the Christian lives unto God. He walks the narrow path of obedience (Mat.7:14), by which he submits to God and resists the devil (Jam.4:7) and denies the flesh (Gal.5:16-17). And this is done, not because of fear, but because of love!
"Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). God has opened the eyes of His children (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8) to see how hollow and worthless the best that this poor world has to offer is! He has weaned their hearts from the world by satisfying them with spiritual and heavenly things.
Saving faith saves you from hating God's commands and a dislike of His holiness! Saving faith saves you from pride, covetousness and murmuring! Christ Jesus did not die to obtain the pardon of our sins and His taking us to Heaven, while our hearts still remain clinging to the things of earth. No way my friend! He lived and died so that His Spirit might quicken His people into newness of life, making them "new creatures" (2 Cor.5:17), and causing them to be pilgrims in this world (1 Pet.2:11; Heb.11:13), as those who are not of it, but as those whose hearts have already departed from it. Saving faith truly is a marvelous thing. And it certainly is supernatural!
But what about, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31)? The apostles did not tell the jailor to "rest on the finished work of Christ"; instead, they set before him a Person. They did not say "Believe on the Saviour", BUT "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" a PERSON! Saving faith includes the renouncing of our own sinful, "lordship", the throwing down of the weapons of our warfare against Him, and the submitting to His yoke and rule. Saving faith consists of the complete surrender of my whole being and life to the lordship of Christ! "They first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:5). Have you done this?
It should be quite clear that not all faith is saving faith! WHY? James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (KJV) . . . Even the Satan and all his demons BELIEVE there is a God! Are they saved? NO way! The value of saving faith CANNOT be over emphasized. John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV) It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6). We must believe that God exists, and we must believe He is a Rewarder of them who diligently seek Him. The importance of faith or belief is seen in the fact that the saved were called "believers" (I Tim. 4: 12). The need of biblical faith is also observed in the accomplishments of faith. The scriptures teach that the saved are justified, purified and sanctified by faith (Rom. 3: 28; Acts 15: 9; 26: 18). Paul stated that men become children of God by faith. Hear him: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal.3:26-27). And so dear one, our time and energy is well justified by carefully examining the faith that saves.
An examination of all pertinent verses relative to teaching about faith and the recorded examples in Acts of people having saving faith sweetly teach and exhibit faith as being necessarily and always consists of acceptance, confidence, knowledge and obedience.
Having saving faith is the key because it determines our eternal destiny. Many people are deceived. They think because they go to church, are baptized, and tithe regularly, they are saved. They know Jesus intellectually, but they do NOT have a personal relationship with Him.
#1. A person who has saving faith, BOTH knows the truth of Scripture and practices it (Rom. 1:32).
#2. Even demons and the devil have intellectual faith. We must BOTH believe and bear fruit (James 2:18-20).
#3. Jesus is addressed as “Lord” 185 times in the Gospels. This is VERY important because it shows that the disciples recognized and accepted His Lordship. This Truth is the foundation of our faith, the bedrock upon which everything else is built. Jesus MUST be Lord in your heart and life. And you must have a personal relationship with Him, to have saving faith!
#4. Those who believe must also SINCERELY express repentance for sin if they truly acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (Luke 24:45-48; Acts 2:36-38). Faith and repentance go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other!
Faith: (1 Tim.1:19; 4:1; 5:8,12; 6:10,21).
Twenty Facts about Faith
1. Faith can be shipwrecked (1Tim. 1:19).
2. Faith can be put away or thrown away (1Tim. 1:19)
3. Faith can be turned away from (Acts 13:8)
4. Faith can be made void (Rom. 4:14)
5. Faith can be in vain (1Cor. 15:17)
6. Faith can be held on to or let go (1Tim. 1:19)
7. Faith can be departed from (1Tim. 4:1)
8. Faith can be denied (1Tim. 5:8; Rev. 2:13)
9. Faith can be cast off (1Tim. 5:12)
10. Faith can be erred from (1Tim. 6:10,21)
11. Faith can be overthrown (2Tim. 2:18)
12. Faith can be abandoned (2Tim. 3:8)
13. Faith can be kept or lost (2Tim. 4:7)
14. Faith can be found missing (Mk. 4:40; Lk. 8:25)
15. Faith can be adequate or fail (Lk. 22:32)
16. Faith can be made without effect (Rom. 3:3)
17. Faith can be dead (Jas. 2:17,20,26)
18. Faith can be obeyed or disobeyed (Acts 6:7)
19. Faith can be built up or destroyed (Jude 1:20)
20. Faith can be continued in or discontinued in (Acts 14:22; Col. 1:23; Heb. 10:39)
The vast majority of people do not understand what hope is. Most think of it as Wishful thinking. That is NOT what the Bible means by hope. The Biblical Definition of hope is "confident expectation." Hope is a strong assurance about things that are unclear and unknown (Rom.8:24-25; Heb.11:1,7). Hope is a basic and important part of the life of the righteous. Without hope, life loses its meaning, and in death there is absolutely no hope (Isa.38:18). All the righteous who trust God, or put their hope in Him will be helped (Ps.28:7), and they will not be confused, put to shame, or disappointed (Isa.49:23). The righteous, who have this trusting hope in God, have complete confidence in God's protection and help (Jer.29:11-13), and are free from fear and anxiety (Ps.46:2-3).
In the New Testament, the idea of hope is the recognizing the fact that in Christ is found the fulfillment of the Old Testament Promises (Mat.12:21; 1 Pet.1:3). Our Christian hope is rooted in faith in the salvation in Christ (Gal.5:5). Hope of TRUE Christians is brought into being through the Presence of the Promised Holy Spirit (Rom.8:24-25). It is our future hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), the Promises given to Israel (Acts 26:6-7), the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Rom.8:23-25), eternal glory (Col.1:27), eternal life and the inheritance of the saints (Tit.3:5-7), the return of Christ (Tit.2:13), transformation into the likeness of Christ (1 Jn.3:2-3), the salvation of God (1 Tim.4:10) or Hope is simply Christ Jesus Himself.
The confident assurance of this blessed future is guaranteed through the indwelling of the Spirit (Rom.8:23-25), Christ in us (Col.1:27), and the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:26-27). Hope is produced by patient endurance through suffering (Rom.5:2-5), and is the inspiration behind endurance (1 Thes.1:3; Heb.6:11). Those who hope in Christ will see Christ exalted in life and in death (Phil.1:20). Dependable and reliable Promises from God give us hope (Heb.6:18-19), and we can boast in this hope (Heb.3:6), and show great boldness in our faith (2 Cor.3:12). On the other hand, those who do NOT place their trust in God are said to be without hope (Eph.2:12; 1 Thes.4:13).
Along with faith and love, hope is an permanent virtue of the Christian life (1 Cor.13;13), and love produces hope (Col.1:5,23,27), then hope goes on to produce joy and peace in believers through the power of the Spirit (Rom.12:12; 15:13). Paul attributes his apostolic calling to the hope of eternal glory (Tit.1:1-2). Hope in the return of Christ is the foundation for believers to purify themselves in this life (Tit.1:2; 2:11-14; 1 Jn.3:3).
WHAT IS HOPE?
Hope is one of the three main elements of Christian character.
1 Cor. 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (KJV) Only 3 things will endure: faith, hope and love! And the greatest of these is love. Hope is joined to faith and love, and is opposite of seeing or possessing.
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [KJV]
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. [KJV]
Hope is very essential and fundamental to the believer’s life; and like faith and love, it is the heart of Christianity.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: [KJV] Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (KJV) We can hold tightly to our hope, because God can be trusted to keep His Promises.
The Christian profession is centered on hope.
Ephes. 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, [KJV] Ephes. 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; [KJV]
Unbelievers do not have this hope.
Ephes. 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [KJV]
1 Thes. 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [KJV]
Christ is the Object of the believer's hope, because it is in His second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [KJV]
Col. 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (KJV) It is God’s purpose and plan to let His people know that the riches and glory of Christ are for ALL people, Jews and Gentiles! For Christ lives in us, and this is our assurance that we will share in His glory one day.
Hope is spoken of as “lively,” not frail and perishable.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [KJV]
Hope without the Saviour is a false hope indeed! And false hope is like a dreaded disease, because there is no guarantee of fulfillment without God. Looking forward to a bright tomorrow is in vain, for there may not even be a tomorrow. And even if tomorrow does come, it may bring only trouble, bitterness, and great despair. Without hope, life would be unbearable. The millions that commit suicide have no hope at all in their lives.
Life on Earth is endurable because there is hope. Heaven is an eternal blessing and because of hope there will be brilliant fulfillment.
John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (KJV)
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (KJV)
Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (KJV)
1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (KJV)
Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (KJV)
2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (KJV)
Hell, on the other hand, will be a place of never ending agony, there will be NO hope in sight.
2 Thes. 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV)
Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV) On Jesus’ left Hand are the “goats” (unbelievers). If people insist on following the devil, they will follow him right into the eternal agony of Hell.
The word ‘hope’ is used about 140 times in the Bible. In the New Testament, it is like music to a believing sinner’s ears! A TRUE Christian’s hope is not vague or uncertain, it is absolutely valid!
Hope is one of those priceless spiritual treasures! Hope is looking forward to the wonderful Promises God has made to us in His Book. A believer’s hope is based on very character of Almighty God and the redeeming Work of His precious Son. Our hope rests on the reality of God’s Truth, not fantasy! Our hope is like a refuge in a savage storm. It is an active expectation with the power of the Almighty Creator behind it, not wistful daydreaming that will never come true.
Only God’s children have the right to hope; for only they have the power and Truth of God behind them to give substance to their hope. If we have hope in Christ, we have a right to look up and patiently wait, for we know that every Promise of God will be fulfilled.
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. [KJV]
In the New Testament, HOPE is like music to a believing sinner’s ears.
Ten Things Christians Hope for:
- Hope of salvation (Rom.8:20-25; 15:4,13; 1 Thes.5:8; 2 Thes.2:16; 1 Pet.1)
- Hope of pardon (Ps.103:12; Isa.43:25; Mic.7:18-19; Heb.8:12; 10:17; Jam.5:15; 1 Jn.1:9)
- Hope of righteousness (Rom.4:6; 5:19,21; 1 Cor.1:30; Gal.5:5).
- Hope of His calling (Eph.1:18; 4:4).
- Hope of our eternal inheritance (Jn.14:2-4; Col.1:5; Eph.1:11-18; Heb.9:15; 1 Pet.1:4-5).
- Hope of God's glory (Rom.5:1-5; Col.1:27).
- Hope of our resurrection (Acts 23:6; 24:15; 1 Thes.4:13; Tit.2:13; 1 Jn.3:3).
- Hope of eternal life (1 Cor.15:19; Ep.2:12; Col.1:23; Tit.1:2; 3:7; Heb.3:6; 6:11,18.19; 7:19; 1 Pet.1:3-13).
- Hope God’s children are safe in Heaven (2 Cor.5:6,8; 1 Thes.2:19).
- Hope of a reward (Mat.5:12; 10:41-42; 16:27; Lk.6:35; 1 Cor.3:8,14; Col.3:24; Heb.10:35; Rev.22:12).
Covenant of Grace
So what is the Covenant of Grace? The Covenant of Grace is a covenant made between God and sinful man with Jesus Christ serving as the Mediator of this covenant. In this covenant, God promises to freely and graciously give sinful mankind salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ. The only thing God requires in return is FAITH in Jesus for salvation. This faith trusts in the Person and Work of Christ Jesus for their salvation, knowing that NO effort of their own can ever save their soul. It is called a Covenant of Grace (Heb.10:29). Salvation is found! Salvation is NOT earned or deserved.
WHY do we need a Covenant of Grace? Because Adam failed to live up to the requirement of the Covenant of Works. Adam's failure in the Garden brought sin, misery and death into the world and made it impossible for us to earn of merit eternal life thorough obedience to the law.
Does God’s Law oppose the Promises of God? No way! If a law had been given that could give eternal life, then righteousness would be by the Law. Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. (KJV)
Can the works of the Law justify anyone? NO! No human being will be justified in God’s sight, because it is through the Law comes knowledge of sin. Galatians 3:24 -25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (KJV)
The righteousness of God (Rom.1:17; 3:5,21,22), is to be found apart from the Law.
Romans 3:20-21 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (KJV)
The righteousness of God comes only by FAITH in Jesus!
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (KJV)
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (KJV)
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (KJV)
Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. (KJV)
Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (KJV)
Phil. 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (KJV)
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (KJV)
God has done what the Law could not do. He sent Jesus to die on the cross, and pay sin’s penalty for us. When we accept what Jesus did for us, we believe in FAITH and are saved. Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (KJV)
God was NOT obligated to come up with another covenant with mankind. Man's failure to live up to the terms of the Covenant of Works, which was obey God’s Laws, ALL of them, placed mankind under the yoke of condemnation. Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (KJV)
God would be perfectly right to leave things as they were, where we would be doomed to Hell, but He enters into a new covenant; a covenant of grace. Faith in Jesus justifies us in God’s Eyes. Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (KJV)
Who are the parties to the Covenant of Grace? The parties are God as the offended party, and mankind as the offending party. Because of SIN, a Mediator is necessary to bring the two parties together, and that Mediator is Christ Jesus (1 Tim.2:5-6). Jesus Christ took our place on cross and fulfilled the requirements of the Covenant of Works that Adam and his descendants (us) were unable to fulfill. Christ Jesus paid the penalty for our covenant failure by suffering the judgment of God's wrath for sin on the cross (Lk.23:44).
What must we do to make the Covenant of Grace effective in our lives? Since the Grace of God is free and unconditional, the only thing we must do is to believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13). Believing God is FAITH! God requires faith. God demands FAITH! The Scripture states that those who have faith in the Person and Work of Christ are those who will inherit eternal life (Jn.3:16; Rom.10:9). FAITH is absolutely necessary for salvation. There is no way we can get around that! But, the Bible also teaches that God enables those whom He has chosen to believe in Christ (Jn.6:44; Eph.1:4-7). SO . . . in other words, the FAITH that is necessary for salvation is itself a gracious gift.
Consider the following:
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (KJV)
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (KJV)
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (KJV)
Eph. 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. (KJV)
Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (KJV)
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (KJV)
People who are dead in sin CANNOT respond in faith to the Gospel unless God, by His grace enables them to respond in faith and repentance. So, it seems the Covenant of Grace does have a condition, but it is a situation that God kindly meets in His elect (Jn.15:16; 17:6; Eph.1:4-5; 2:10; 2 Thes.2:13).
Is the Covenant of Grace different in the OT than it is in the NT? Not really. People were saved the same way in the OT as they are in the NT . . . by FAITH. In the OT, they had the Promise, whereas the NT fulfilled that Promise. The Covenant of Grace in the OT is seen in the promise made to Abraham and his descendants. God promised to bless Abraham and to make his name great and that all the families of the earth will be blessed through him (Gen.12). The Covenant of Grace is also seen in the covenant made with the Israelites at the foot of Sinai when God set up an elaborate sacrificial system to atone for their sins. All of these sacrifices anticipate the Coming of Christ and His work (Book of Hebrews). All of the OT points forward to and foreshadows Christ. In the NT, all of the types and shadows of the OT are fulfilled in Christ. He did not come to eliminate the law, He came to fulfill it (Mat.5:17). The great contrast between the old covenant and the new covenant, of which both are parts of the Covenant of Grace, is perfectly detailed in Hebrews 7 – 10.
The Covenant of Grace is a fulfillment of the Covenant of Works. What Adam could not do, Christ Jesus did. And since Jesus fulfilled ALL of the conditions of the Covenant of Works, God is now able to enter into a Covenant of Grace with His people . . . forgiving them of their sins and counting them righteous in Christ (Rom.5:1-2).
*** WHY the Roman Empire Fell ***
Gibbon, the historian concluded that there were five reasons for the decline and fall of Rome. Gibbon was not a Christian, but this is what he states was the cause of why Rome fell:
- The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
- Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
- The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral.
- The building of great armaments when the great enemy was within; the decay of individual responsibility.
- The decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people.
When any nation departs from the true and living God, when it gives up great moral principles which were based on the Holy Word of God, when it goes into idolatry, these causes eventually lead it into gross immorality and into political disorder. SOUND FAMILIAR?
- Riches of His grace (Eph.1:7)
- Riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints (Eph.1:18)
- Unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph.3:8)
- Riches of glory (Eph.3:16; Rom.9:23)
- Riches of His goodness (Rom.2:4)
- Riches of wisdom, knowledge Rom.11:33)
- Riches in glory (Phil.4:19)
- Riches of the glory of the mystery of Christ in you (Col.1:27)
- Riches of the full assurance of understanding of God's mystery (Col.2:2)
- Reproach of Christ greater riches than in Egypt (Heb.11:26)
Ten Dangers of Coveting Riches
1. Many temptations of the devil (1 Tim.6:9)
2. Many snares of the devil (1 Tim.6:9)
3. Many foolish lusts (1 Tim.6:9)
4. Many hurtful lusts (1 Tim.6:9)
5. Destruction and perdition (1Tim.6:9)
6. The root of evil to grow (1 Tim.6:10)
7. One to err from the faith (1 Tim.6:10)
8. Many sorrows (1 Tim.6:10)
9. Highmindedness (1 Tim.6:17)
10. Wrong trust (1 Tim.6:17)
Riches in Scripture are considered the cause of much sin and rebellion against God; and so there are many warnings to men, especially converted men, to shun all covetousness: (Deut.6:10-17; Ps.52:1-7; 73:1-22; Pro.23:4-5; 28:20-22; 30:8-9; Jer.9:23; Eze.28:5; Mat.6:19; Lk.6:24; 12:15-20; 16:13-31; 1 Tim.6:4-9; Jam.1:9-11;5;1-3).
Riches is a trap, a snare, a pit dug in the ground, filled with sharp stakes, and covered over so that any man or animal who stumbles into it will be killed: (1 Tim.3:7; 6:9; Lk.21:35; Rom.11:9; 2 Tim.2:26).
Far too often, heaping up riches debases the mind, destroys godly traits, and causes selfishness, pride, and avarice which end in "destruction and perdition" (1 Tim.6:9-10).
Four Things Riches Cannot Buy
- Redemption for a brother's soul (Ps.49:7)
- Ransom for one's own soul
- Eternal life for the soul (Ps.40:8-9)
- Immortality of the body (Ps.49:9)
Riches CANNOT pay a redemption price that will satisfy the claim; CANNOT buy atonement: (Ex.30:12; Ps.49:7; Pro.6:35; 13:8; 21:18; Job 33:24; 36:18; Isa.43:3). Here it is not redemption of property, but of the soul (Ps.49:8).
Psalm 49:11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. (KJV)
Three-fold Inward Thought of the Rich:
1. Their families shall continue forever.
2. Their dwelling places shall continue to all generations.
3. Their lands will be a memorial of their names.
Psalm 49:16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; (KJV)
Two Things Not to Fear:
1. Man when he is made rich.
2. One whose glory of his house is increased.
Psalm 49:17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. (KJV)
Five Reasons Not to Fear Wicked Rich Men:
1. They can carry no more to the grave than the poor man-nothing.
2. Their glory will vanish with them.
3. They shall go in death like others (Ps.49:19).
4. They shall never see light.
5. Their bodies perish like the beasts (Ps.49:20). This could only refer to the body going back to dust again (Ps.49:9,12; Ecc.3:19-20; Jam.2:26).
Nine-fold Charge to Rich Men
1. Be not highminded (1 Tim.6:17).
2. Do not trust in riches (1 Tim.6:17).
3. Trust in the living God (1 Tim.6:17).
4. Do good (1 Tim.6:18).
5. Be rich in good works (1 Tim.6:18).
6. Be ready to distribute goods to help others (1 Tim.6:18).
7. Be willing to communicate or have fellowship with all men, even the poor.
8. Lay up treasures in heaven (1 Tim.6:19).
9. Lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim.6:19).
Six Predictions Concerning Evil Rich Men:
1. Miseries will come upon them (Jam.5:1)
2. Riches will become corrupted (Jam.5:2)
3. Garments to become moth eaten (Jam.5:2)
4. Gold and silver to canker (Jam.5:3)
5. The rust or poison of their riches will witness or testify of their many sins (Jam.5:3)
6. The rust or poison of their riches will eat their flesh as it were fire (Jam.5:3)
Ten Reasons Why it is VERY Hard for Some Rich to Inherit Eternal Life:
1. They oppress the poor to make themselves rich (Neh.5:1-13; Pro.18:23; Jer.22:13-19; Jam.2:6-7; 5:1-7).
2. Their lack of trust in God (Ps.52:1-6; Job 21:7-15)
3. Their trust in riches (Ps.52:1-6; Pro.18:11; Job 31:24-28; 1 Tim.6:17)
4. Their pride over success (Ps.52:1-6; 73:3-9; Pro.28:11; Eze.28:5; 1 Tim.6:4-19)
5. Their sinful pleasures (Jer.5:7-9; Amos 6:1-6)
6. Their boastings (Deut.8:17-18; Jer.9:23; 1 Tim.6:4-19)
7. Their unwillingness to share with the destitute (Mat.6:19-21; Mk.10:17-27; Lk.18:22-26; 1 Tim.6:17-19; 1 Jn.3:17)
8. Their covetousness for more riches (Lk.12:15-21; 16:13-31)
9. Their highmindedness (Deut.8:17; 1 Tim.6:17-18; Jam.1:10)
10. They refuse to obey God (Pro.23:4; Mat.6:19-21; Mk.10:21; Lk.12:15; 1 Tim.6:17-18)
God gives riches to men, but He can also take them away: (Gen.24:1; Deut.8:17-18; 1 Sam.2:7; 1 Ki.3:12-14; Job 42:10; 1 Tim.6:17-18).
He also gives many warnings to the rich (Deut.6:10-12; 8:10-18; 31:20; Pro.23:4;27:23-24; 28:8,20-22; 30:8-9; Ecc.6:1-2; Isa.5:8; Mat.6:19-21; 13:22; Mk.4:19; Lk.12:15; 1 Tim.6:4-19).
Luke 18:26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? (KJV)
Rich men do NOT get salvation the same way that they get most everything else, because salvation is on a completely different basis. God does NOT respect them any more than the poor. They have to meet the exact same conditions as any other who desires to access Heaven one day, and that is believing God (1 Jn.5:10-3), and accepting what Jesus did on the cross for us (Jn.3:15-18,36; 14:6; Acts 4:12).
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