The title of this article is a phrase taken from Romans Chapter one and verse seventeen. Even though it stands alone it does stand alone. The phrase makes us aware that faith not only develops in stages, it also encompasses at least two areas:
Ephesians Chapter Two verses eight and nine tells us that faith is the gift of God. When a person believes the Gospel with the heart and accepts Jesus as personal saviour then eternal life is bestowed upon and into that person. Faith is also incorporated in that new life. Even though the word faith is used in several ways, there is a special use when it comes to believers. I will identify it in three phrases. Saving Faith, Living Faith and Doctrinal Faith.
It is obvious that they have to have a source and exist only by their inner connection. They make up what is the gift of God.
Saving Faith comes upon repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ. God sees the heart and hears the confession of the mouth. Saving Faith then causes the New Birth and instantly the person has received eternal life. That life will never be lost. That life will never be taken away. That life will never die.
Living Faith, found in the Biblical phrases, “The just shall live by faith.” and made necessary by Hebrews 11:6 which tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. This living faith becomes more precious when we understand that this never ending faith is what sustains us as believers in Christ. Without Living Faith, we would shortly forget our interest in God or the spiritual awareness that would only be temporary if we did not have Living Faith. This is the faith that we are commanded to add other attributes to in Peter. This Faith is made stronger as it is tested and tried. This faith is what sustained Paul when he stated that he knew whom he had believed and was persuaded that God was able to keep. Hebrews Chapter eleven verse one, tells us that faith is both an evidence and a substance of things hoped for. The rest of that chapter gives several instances of people who believed God and stepped out on their belief and understanding of God’s will.
Doctrinal Faith refers to the substance. Simply put, I am of the Baptist faith. Of course this statement is my way of telling you that I believe the Baptist Doctrines of the Bible are the correct doctrines. These doctrines are what I preach and teach. These doctrines are the base upon which I build my life. I would gladly lay down my life in defense of these doctrines, because these doctrines are personified in Jesus Christ. I trust that I can be seen as a defender of the “FAITH!” Jude tells us that we should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints. The Word of God does distinctly teach doctrine. That doctrine followed is faith. We believe it, we propagate it.
Some doctrine is so necessary, that if a person doesn’t believe it then the person cannot claim Heaven. Phillip told the Ethiopian in Acts 8 that we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Romans 10:9 tells us that we must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus tells us in John 8:24 that anyone who does not believe that Jesus is God is still in their sin. Jehovah Witnesses have no where to put their sin for they definitely reject the deity of Jesus. Jesus also said that, “no man cometh to the father, except by me.” This means that Moslems, Hindus and Buddhists are not going to make it to Heaven. That might also exclude some who are trying to reach the father through Mary (Diana).
Doctrinal Faith is the foundation of what we believe and can be used to identify us most of the time by name or denomination. If the doctrines are not scriptural then our faith is vain. Saturday worship, for instance is not a scriptural doctrine. Baptismal regeneration is not a scriptural doctrine. Falling from Grace is an absolute lie, because it does not understand where faith comes from. God’s Word is the source of faith. Romans 10