Saving faith is the product of God’s grace

by Mike Ratliff

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23 ESV)

Saving faith, the product of God’s grace (Romans 4:16; Ephesians 2:8,9) is possessed only by the regenerate. This faith is alive whereas before God’s grace quickened it, it was completely incapable and unwilling to believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour. This dead faith is inherited from Adam and the product of the fall. (Genesis 3) Without God’s grace according with man’s faith, there is no possibility of belief and, therefore, no possibility of salvation. However, when God quickens a sinner (we are all sinners) his or her faith comes alive. The spiritual blindness that marked them before regeneration is washed away.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7 ESV)

With this cleansing and renewal of the Holy Spirit believers are made one with the Father. They have come to the Father through the Son. This faith is supernatural. It is cleansed and because of that it can see and understand spiritual truth. As Christian’s mature they will find that their spiritual walks become more and more lined up with God’s will. With this regenerated faith and the work of the Holy Spirit within them they have the ability to not sin, that is, to resist temptation, to be dominated by their flesh. They can obey God. They can walk in repentance. On the other hand, before this none of this is possible because the unregenerate person’s righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord. What is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

The night our Lord was arrested to be tried and executed, He poured Himself into His disciples. The discourses recorded for us in the Gospel of John chapters 13-17 are gold mines for those seeking to abide in Christ as they run the race set before them by God. I have heard believers who, when speaking of Christ’s crucifixion and death on the cross, seem to be comprehending or understanding it as if it is a tragedy. I am sure that if I had been among the 12 or in the group of disciples who followed Jesus that I would have thought the same as those events transpired. However, we must not look at it that way. Why?

It was through our Lord’s willing sacrifice that He purchased His sheep. Those who are of His flock should rejoice that their sin is completely under the shed blood of Christ. Their unrighteousness was completely imputed to His body on the cross. God poured His wrath out on His Lamb as the propitiation on their behalf. However, Christ’s righteousness is perfect. When a sinner is saved by grace through faith, God the Father imputes Christ’s perfect righteousness to them.  This imputation includes both our Lord’s active and passive obedience.  This is their justification by faith. He declares them righteous in His eyes. They are made one with Him when He begins the sanctification process in them and adopts them into His family.

This regenerated faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can hear God’s truth and believe it even though this truth is hated by the world and attacked from every corner. This faith enables believers to endure all sorts of persecution and not fall if they stand in God’s armor instead of their own strength. (Ephesians 6:10-20) This faith is alive because God, by His grace, has made it alive and given it unquestioned revelation.

UNQUESTIONED REVELATION

by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest

“And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing.” John 16:23

When is “that day”? When the Ascended Lord makes you one with the Father. In that day you will be one with the Father as Jesus is, and “in that day,” Jesus says, “ye shall ask Me nothing.” Until the resurrection life of Jesus is manifested in you, you want to ask this and that; then after a while you find all questions gone, you do not seem to have any left to ask. You have come to the place of entire reliance on the resurrection life of Jesus which brings you into perfect contact with the purpose of God. Are you living that life now? If not, why shouldn’t you?

There may be any number of things dark to your understanding, but they do not come in between your heart and God. “And in that day ye shall ask Me no question” – you do not need to, you are so certain that God will bring things out in accordance with His will. John 14:1 has become the real state of your heart, and there are no more questions to be asked. If anything is a mystery to you and it is coming in between you and God, never look for the explanation in your intellect, look for it in your disposition, it is that which is wrong. When once your disposition is willing to submit to the life of Jesus, the understanding will be perfectly clear, and you will get to the place where there is no distance between the Father and His child because the Lord has made you one, and “in that day ye shall ask Me no question.”

The following is a note from John 16:23 from my 1560 Edition Geneva Bible. This note is stated as an answer to a question by a reader about the word “nothing” in Jesus statement. “For ye shall have perfect knowledge, & shall no more doubt as you were wont.” In other words, when our faith is quickened and we are made one with God, He writes His truth on our hearts and we know the truth. This is made real for us when we study God’s Word and hear godly expositional preaching and Bible teaching. The Holy Spirit is working in our hearts to see and understand the truth. This is why we are so taken aback by the attacks against our faith and also why we can recognize the false teaching of wolves in sheep’s clothing that are so prevalent in our time. We can see the truth clearly, but there is a great chasm fixed between those who believe and those who don’t.

This is not to say that all believers are walking in God’s truth as they should. As Oswald Chambers said, when we have doubts about God’s revelation then the problem isn’t with the truth, it is with our disposition. Way too many believers are enslaved to their flesh and, therefore, are spiritually blind. We must pray for them, that God will awaken them, strengthen their faith and draw them into the light. Those whom God has do this for should rejoice as they continue this walk by faith according to God’s unquestioned revelation and pray for all those who are still stumbling around in their blind complacency and/or their self-reliance.

Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “Saving faith is the product of God’s grace

  1. Isn’t it amazing that “free will” advocates can agree on mankind’s fall into depravity in the garden and that it covers every aspect of man except his “free will?!” Yes we do have a free will, and it is perhaps the most corrupted part of man thanks to the fall. Certainly it is only capable of choosing freely by the flesh desires alone, and can never make a decision for Jesus that binds Him to accept them.

    In retrospect, every free will decision I ever made was as an enemy of my Lord and the cross.

    Jesus lived His entire life here on earth by, “Not my will but Your Will be done Father!” And we think for a moment our will is more privileged?

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