Blondin Crossing Niagra Falls

Saving Faith

Many think that just because they give a mental assent to truth, they have faith; but there is a vast difference between a casual belief and a living faith. James talked about this when he said, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:19–20

It is not uncommon to find those who say that they have faith in Jesus, and who feel certain they are saved; but the faith that takes God at His word and which works by love to purify the heart from all unrighteousness is very rare. Why is it rare? Largely because professed Christians neglect a study of God’s Word. As a result, they speak lightly of Bible truths about which they really have very little understanding. They even try to make a difference between what they say they believe and how they act, as though there were no relationship between the two. When, however, it is in our hearts to serve Jesus, we will be seeking to glorify Him in the way that we live. This involves such practical things as what we eat, what we wear, what we do with our money, and even the way we spend our time. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

We do not do right things as a means of earning salvation; but if Jesus is abiding in our hearts, we will be constantly searching for ways to please Him and show Him our love.

Often love and good will are spoken of as the all-important governing factors in our relationships, not only with others, but also with Jesus Christ. And, while there is much truth to this concept, too often we fail to remember that outside of the context of law, love becomes merely a feeling. Under such circumstances, right and wrong are determined by our emotions; and quickly we forget how easily we can deceive ourselves and justify doing just about anything we really want to do, for “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. People can get good feelings about almost anything, and false faith as well as true faith will give peacefulness for a time.

A number of years ago, there was a French stunt man, Jean Francois Gravelet, who performed under the name, Great Blondin. He became quite famous when in June of 1859, he announced that he would cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands gathered to watch the death-defying act. The incredulous onlookers saw the diminutive Frenchman delicately walk out onto the middle of the gorge where, some 300 feet above the water, he lowered a rope to the Maid of the Mist, raised up a bottle, and then sat down on the thin wire for a quiet drink. On his way back to the Canadian shore, he suddenly steadied himself and executed a back somersault. The crowd went wild.

This immense success was followed by a series of ever more challenging stunts. The story is told that upon one occasion, after having completed a crossing of the falls pushing a wheelbarrow, he announced that he would return, this time with a passenger in the wheelbarrow. Looking around, he inquired of the crowd as to how many believed he would be successful in such an endeavor. The crowd wildly shouted their confidence, whereupon he asked for a volunteer. Suddenly, the crowd was silent. They all believed, so long as it was not a matter of life and death.

How often those who claim to be God’s children are like the careless crowd that gathered to watch Blondin cross the tightrope. With their mouths they claim to have faith, speaking of their confidence in Him and their assurance of salvation; but when it comes to a matter that is really important to them, they are ready to compromise principle for personal profit or comfort.

Faith, we are told, “comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. If, however, you are not spending time in the Word every day, cultivating that faith, its importance will gradually lose its place in your mind and heart.

How is it with you? Have you considered what it will mean to you if in the end your soul should be lost? If your life consists of planning merely for selfish good, though you may be very successful in this life, of what value will it be in the day of final reckoning? You may even succeed in raising yourself to the highest social and economic levels, but the day will come when you would willingly trade it all just to know that your life is right with your Creator. How many there are who, mistaking the Christian name for the reality of a Christian life that is governed by the principles of God’s Word. Sadly, they are only fooling themselves with the belief that they have the assurance of salvation. Their interests and concerns are centered in the things of this world, while eternal realities are of secondary importance.

Indecision is Truly a Decision

We are on test and trial, and it must never be forgotten that Satan is playing the game of life for every soul. The Scriptures declare, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. A person who tries to serve God and the world is unstable in all his ways. His words may be fair, he may profess righteousness, but in heart he is in rebellion against God and cannot be trusted.

In contrast, God calls us to a life of holiness. “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15–16

Never forget that indecision in choosing right inevitably becomes decision for the wrong. Many decide to serve themselves and the world, not by actively choosing to reject God’s offer of mercy, but by failing to make determined efforts to bring their lives into harmony with God’s will, as revealed in His Law. Their time is so occupied with immediate concerns of life that they have no time for spiritual interests. They expect that at some future time circumstances will be more favorable to a spiritual life and they will then make the change that will result in the saving of their souls. In reality, they are deciding for eternal loss.

We cannot expect to leave eternal interests out of our everyday thinking, living lives that are out of harmony with the principles of God’s Word, and yet think that at life’s close, we will receive a welcome into a heavenly home. James speaks very clearly when he says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4