The Gospel Observer
and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe
all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
September 23, 2018
1) The Obedience of Faith (Steve Dewhirst)
2) Save Yourselves (Terry W. Benton)
3) News & Notes
The Obedience of Faith
How odd, that one of the Bible's most fundamental teachings should
have become so puzzling to folks. God is not the author of
confusion, but man is. And during the centuries since Jesus walked
the earth, the very nature of the faith that saves has been obscured
by an improper balance of principles.
Without controversy should be the straightforward declaration, "by
grace you have been saved through faith..." (Ephesians 2:8). To deny
the truth of the statement is to deny the gospel. But, as with other
subjects, to isolate this verse to the exclusion of all others is to
guarantee oneself the wrong perception. This verse surely tells us
of salvation through faith, itself. We should never question that we
are saved through faith, but we should certainly arrive toward a
better understanding of what faith is and how it is expressed.
Faith can be defined as a deep, abiding trust and confidence in God
-- but to stop there is to leave the picture incomplete. It is this
notion that faith is nothing more than the intellectual
acknowledgment that God exists, that has led many to think that He
makes no requirements of us. But that simply won't square with
Scripture. After all, Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus is "the Author of
eternal salvation to all who obey Him." Now faith, or belief, is not
the same as obedience. But obviously, weighing the principle of
faith beside that of obedience should cause us to dig a little
deeper into the nature of the faith that saves. Saving faith cannot
exist in a vacuum. In other words, faith doesn't exist as an
isolated concept, separate from the life of the believer. Faith is a
living, active ingredient of one's character. It effects the
believer's conduct for good. James 2:14 poses two critical
questions. "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has
faith but does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it?"
These are rhetorical questions; requiring no answer. A "faith" that
does nothing cannot save anyone. Even demons believe that God exists
(James 2:19), but no one believes they will be saved. No, faith
needs something else to make it complete. James cites the example of
Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God and asks, "Do you
see that faith was working together with his works, and by works
faith was made perfect?" (James 2:22).
So our earlier definition of faith needs to be amended. Faith is a
deep, abiding trust and confidence in God, that creates a
willingness to do what God says. Any definition of faith that
excludes an obedient heart has failed to consider God's Word
completely. But just a note of caution is in order. Just as some men
incorrectly deem faith to be a mental assent of God's goodness,
others ignore faith and believe that righteousness lies in
obedience. Both views are woefully wrong. No one will ever be
justified before God on the basis of his obedience, for no one's
obedience is perfect (Galatians 3:10,11; Romans 3:23). Obedience for
the sake of "scoring points" with God is an exercise in futility.
The only obedience God will accept is that which is born of our
faith in Him. The obedience of faith is that service which is
motivated by our trust that God knows best, and our desire to honor
His Will. It is this faith that Paul advocates in his great epistle
to the Romans. In introducing his theme, Paul says he has received
grace and apostleship "unto the obedience of faith among all the
nations" (Romans 1:5 ASV). Plainly put, Paul is working as an
apostle in order to bring about the obedience which rightly stems
from faith. Paul never taught "rote" obedience in keeping with a
ritualistic traditionalism. Instead, Paul taught that we can only be
saved by recognizing our sinfulness, seeking the grace and mercy of
God, and coming to Him through a faith in Christ that is willing to
meet His conditions of pardon.
Man's salvation through faith shouldn't be puzzling. The most
natural thing in the world ought to be our willingness to obey the
God in whom we have faith. If we have come to redemption through the
sacrifice of God's only Son, how can we fail to humble our spirits
before His Word? A faith that refuses to obey is really no faith at
— via Gospel Power, Vol. 12, No. 17, April 24, 2005
"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in
reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household..."
(Heb. 11:7, NASB).
Terry W. Benton
Only because of what Jesus did for us on the cross and only through
knowledge of what He did can we engage in the activity of faith that
will result in our salvation. There is a common expression these
days that "there is nothing you can do, Jesus did it all for you"
which is misleading. Jesus did not believe for you. He did not
repent for you, and He was not baptized for you. When Peter told the
Jews who asked "what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37) what they should do
(Acts 2:38), and then told them with many other words to "save
yourselves from this perverse generation" (Acts 2:40), he was not
denying that Jesus had paid the price for their sins, but he was
affirming that the benefit of what Jesus did is not automatically
applied to our account until and unless we meet these conditions. No
one is saved by the blood of Christ until and unless they truly
believe enough to meet these conditions: "Repent, and let every one
of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of
sins...." The gift is offered freely on those terms. Those who
believe will "gladly receive his word" (Acts 2:41) and be baptized
accordingly. Those who do not will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).
Now, let us also observe that baptism is to be "in the name of Jesus
Christ," which is by His authority. On our own authority we could
not be baptized and the act itself save us or give us remission of
sins. But, baptism that is done in the name of Jesus Christ will be
active faith that puts us in the position to have saved ourselves
from this perverse generation. It is a separating act that cuts out
sins and ties to a perverse generation of people and allows us to
cross the Red Sea of Jesus' blood to rise on the other side totally
free from the past sins and now totally committed to the leadership
of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior (I Corinthians 10:1-3; Romans
6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Acts 22:16; Acts 8:33ff). 3,000 gladly
received his word, were baptized, crossed over into the heavenly
land, the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3,7; Colossians
1:13), and were saved from sin and condemnation (Romans 8:1). They
were now risen to new life in Christ with Christ as their head. This
is what happens when a person gladly takes the exit route Jesus
offers. This is how they were able to "save themselves." This is how
we must cut the ties we have to a perverse generation and save
ourselves from the condemnation that is certain to come upon a world
of spiritually blind people (II Corinthians 4:2-4). Jesus wants you
to be saved (Matthew 11: 28ff; II Peter 3:9). Jesus died to pay for
your sins. He told you what to do now to save yourself. Have you
done it? If not, why not?
— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ
News & Notes
We were sorry to hear of the recent passing of Richard
Kristianson (Marie Pennock's youngest brother). Let us
be praying for all his family and friends.
Also, as mentioned recently, we want to continue to remember in
prayer the loved ones of Rick Hadley (Anita Young’s brother)
who passed away September 13.
Mary Aldrich (Danny Bartlett's mother) has been in rehab for
about a week now, where she continues to improve.
Roger Montgomery, who had a kidney & liver transplant
about 3 weeks ago, is still in the hospital. He is not doing well.
Danny Hutchinson still remains paralyzed in all but one
arm and with just slight movement in the other. The massive brain
bleed about 6 months ago has affected him like a stroke. He has also
not spoken in all this time.
Jim Lively has often fallen over the last several months and
still hasn’t found a good cure for his collagenous colitis.
Let us also continue to remember in prayer our shut-ins: Shirley
Davis and Mary Vandevander.
Others to also remember in prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie
& Deborah Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rex & Frankie
Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Hannah Laughlin, and Misty
“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter
Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John
2) Believe in the deity
of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke
13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for
the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38;
22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for
the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost
(Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards
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