Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Grace and Faith II

Saving faith is a gift of God. It is a trust that God gives to man that always has God as the object of the preposition “in.” What am I talking about? Trust in God, faith in God.

The faith that man has in spirits, idols, demons, and false gods is not a gift of God. Faith that is a gift of God is recognized 1) by the object, 2) by its unwavering quality, 3) by its saving results. This faith is given, caused by God in a certain way clearly described in the Bible.

Look at Romans 10:17:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (NIV)

Preaching of the word causes faith. When someone says “Do not use the Bible,” or “Don’t preach to me, I don’t believe that stuff.” Of course he doesn’t believe; he has not heard it.

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (NIV)

Preaching is the cause of faith. Let’s preach to the people who do not have faith.

The miracle in Acts 2:1-13 did not get saving results. It did get an audience. The preaching in Acts 2:22-41 got 3,000 converts.

The miracle in Acts 3:1-10 did not get saving results. It did get an audience. The preaching in Acts 3:11-26 got 2,000 more converts.

The miracle in Acts 14:8-13 did not get any converts. It got the wrong kind of faith in the wrong object, Zeus. The preaching did get converts.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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