Saving Faith
Lesson 12

Many assume that 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.

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 small Frenchman delicately walk out onto the middle of the gorge where, some 300 feet above the water, he lowered a rope to the ship, the Maid of the Mist, drew up a bottle. He 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 backward somersault. The crowd went wild.

This tremendous 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, there was absolute silence. They all believed, so long as it was not a matter of life and death.

How often God’s professed people are like the careless crowd that gathered to watch Blondin cross the tightrope. With their mouths they proclaim their faith, speaking of their confidence in Christ and their assurance of salvation; but when it comes to a matter that really concerns them, they are ready to compromise principle.

1. Upon His return to Galilee, who came to find Jesus?

John 4:46-47

2. What did he request of Jesus?

John 4:47

Note: This Jewish nobleman, like many of his countrymen, came to Jesus from selfish motives. They hoped to receive some special benefit and they staked their faith and acceptance of Jesus upon the granting of these favors.

3. Reading his thoughts, how did Jesus respond to his request?

John 4:48

Note: In a flash the nobleman realized that his motives were selfish and saw his wavering faith in its true character. He knew that he was in the presence of One who could read his thoughts and to Whom all things were possible. In that moment, his faith took hold upon Jesus and in an agony of soul he cried, “Sir, come down ere my child die.”

4. What was Jesus response to the man’s desperate plea?

John 4:50

5. What is the basic essential in order for us to be pleasing to God?

Hebrews 11:6

6. How do we obtain faith?

Romans 10:17

Note: It is not uncommon to find those who have very little knowledge of God’s Word, professing to have faith in Jesus, counting themselves assured of salvation. However, it is impossible to have saving faith without an understanding of the Word. As a result, many professed Christians, who neglect a study of God’s Word, speak lightly of Bible truths about which they have very little, if any, real understanding.

In contrast with the Jewish nobleman, a Roman centurion came to Jesus with the request that He come and heal his servant.

7. What was Jesus response to the centurion’s request to come?

Matthew 8:7

8. How did the centurion respond?

Matthew 8:8

9. How did Jesus compare this faith to that of His own people?

Matthew 8:10

Note: The centurion came to Jesus wanting a certain thing done. He wanted the Lord to do it but when the Lord said that He would come and do it, the centurion objected saying, “Speak the word only.” On what was he depending for the healing of his servant? Upon the word only. Jesus identified this not only as faith, but as great faith. Faith, then, is taking God at His word and depending fully on that word.

10. What can that word accomplish in our lives?

Psalm 119:11

11. How does it do this in the believer?

1 Thessalonians 2:13

Note: When a person says they will do something, there is then something they must do to accomplish that thing. Unlike men’s words, when God speaks there is the power in those very words to accomplish the thing spoken. Thus, unlike the words of men, the word of God to us, when accepted, has the power within itself to effectually accomplish His will in us.

12. How do we become partakers of the divine nature?

2 Peter 1:4

Note: It is through a knowledge of His Word that we receive faith. It is through the promises in His Word that we become partakers of the divine nature and thus are set free from the lusts of this world. In short, all that heaven has to give us comes to us through God’s word.

13. As we partake of the divine nature, what will we do?

Philippians 2:13

Note: Many seek to place a distinction between profession and behavior as though there were no relationship between the two. But, when we have been separated from worldly lusts, having been partakers of the divine nature, it will be in our hearts to serve Jesus, seeking to glorify Him in the way that we live.

14. In what practical ways will we then glorify God?

1 Corinthians 10:31

Note: We do not do these 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. This involves such practical matters as eating, dressing, stewardship of our money, and even the way we spend our time.

15. In Jesus, what do we have working in our lives?

Galatians 5:6

16. How is love defined in God’s Word?

Romans 13:10

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 an emotion. Under such circumstances, right and wrong are determined by our feelings; and how quickly we forget that our ability to deceive and justify ourselves is virtually without limit.

17. Does our faith take the place of obedience to the Law?

Romans 3:31

18. How do we reveal that we have truly accepted Christ?

Romans 6:16

Note: If we accept Christ as a Redeemer, we must accept Him as a Ruler. We cannot have the assurance, the perfect confiding trust in Him as our Saviour, until we acknowledge Him by our obedience to His commandments. By faith we may place ourselves in His hands to work in us His good pleasure. In His hands we become an instrument to work wickedness no more, but works of righteousness. In Christ, God has provided means for overcoming every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong.

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