From where does faith come and to whom does it belong?

by Mike Ratliff

2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain— if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2-5 NASB)

When it comes to Justification by God of His people, shouldn’t the clutter be removed and the rubbish swept away? All aspects of our salvation should be clarified and those things that are only meant to cause confusion or misdirection (showing those with discernment their true source) should be shown for what they really are and cast aside. Then, with a sharp focus, we must look at the truth, which means we go to the source; i.e. The Word of God not some emergent or missional guru. Therefore, in this post we will look at part of Romans 10, in which the Apostle Paul, showing that God has provided a way to justification in His eyes to both Jews and Gentiles, further nails down from where salvation comes, who possesses it, and how they got it. What could be more important than that?

5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows:“ DO not say in your heart, ‘ Who will ascend into heaven? ’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘ Who will descend into the abyss? ’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “ The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “ Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “ Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:5-13 NASB)

5 Μωϋσῆς γὰρ γράφει τὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ [τοῦ] νόμου ὅτι ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς. 6 ἡ δὲ ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοσύνη οὕτως λέγει· μὴ εἴπῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου· τίς ἀναβήσεται εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν; τοῦτʼ ἔστιν Χριστὸν καταγαγεῖν· 7 ἤ· τίς καταβήσεται εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον; τοῦτʼ ἔστιν Χριστὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναγαγεῖν. 8 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει; ἐγγύς σου τὸ ῥῆμά ἐστιν ἐν τῷ στόματί σου καὶ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου, τοῦτʼ ἔστιν τὸ ῥῆμα τῆς πίστεως ὃ κηρύσσομεν. 9 ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῷ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήσῃ· 10 καρδίᾳ γὰρ πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην, στόματι δὲ ὁμολογεῖται εἰς σωτηρίαν. 11 λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή· πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται. 12 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολὴ Ἰουδαίου τε καὶ Ἕλληνος, ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς κύριος πάντων, πλουτῶν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἐπικαλουμένους αὐτόν· 13 πᾶς γὰρ ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται. (Romans 10:5-13 NA28)

The word translated above as “righteousness,” δικαιοσύνην, pronounced dikaiosunē, speaks of a righteousness that is a fulfillment of God’s claims. Those who possess δικαιοσύνην according to God are so in conformity with His own claims. This is a declaration by Him that one is righteous in His eyes, that is, he justifies them. Paul says that this δικαιοσύνην is of faith, ἐκ πίστεως. This speaks of the source. For someone to be declared righteous by God, which is their justification, they must possess this πίστεως, which is a state of faith or belief. It assents to and has confidence in the Gospel. To say that someone can be saved or be declared a Christian without being persuaded by the Gospel is not biblical and, therefore, not Christian. Paul gives us a very good summary of this in Ephesians 2:1-10, below. Pay close attention to vv8-9, which is in bold.

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB)

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 10:8-10, “But what does it say? “ The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” The word translated here as “preaching,” κηρυσσομεν, speaks of making an announcement as a herald. To preach the message of the Gospel is to announce a message of vital importance. That message is conditional. For if you hear it then should confess, ομολογησης with your mouth, εν τω στοματι, Jesus as your Lord, σου οκυριος ιησους and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, και πιστευσης εν τη καρδια σου οτι ο θεος αυτον ηγειρεν εκ νεκρων, shall be saved, σωθηση.

There it is. This is how a person demonstrates what God has done within them by the gift of faith. Those with this faith believe a message from God about Jesus Christ and what He has done and that this cost Him His life, but God raised Him from the dead. Those who believe that this propititiation on their behalf is true, surrender to Christ as their Lord, and confess it with their mouths are saved. The word used here that is translated as “shall be saved” is in the grammatical form that literally states, “you shall be delivered.” This is a statement by Paul to us that if we will believe the Gospel then we shall be delivered, “For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth man confesses unto salvation” and in Romans 10:13, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Yes, the Gospel message is for everyone to hear, but those who are saved are those who hear it and respond to it by calling upon the name of the Lord as Paul shared in vv8-10.

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “ How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “ Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17 NASB)

It is a false claim to be “missional,” but then not verbally preach the Gospel to the lost. The Gospel is the good news that the evangelist heralds. It is a declaration of victory won at the Cross that there is victory over eternal judgment, death, and separation from God because of sin. That victory is for those who hear the Gospel, believe the Gospel, and profess it to all who will hear. The following note is from the 1560 Geneva Bible referring to v17, which is bold above. It says, “That is, by Gods commandment, of whome they are sent that preache the Gospel. It may be also taken for the very preaching it self.” I updated “some” of the spelling. In any case, do you see that the preaching of the Gospel is commanded by God to the Church and that to mute the message or deemphasize it by attempting to simply get people to join a church by ministering to them via good works is NOT the same thing?

The emphasis on being “missional” is often made in such a way so as to insinuate that all they are really doing is removing the Gospel message from cultural constraints. Okay, I can see that, if that is the case, but I have not been part of a church in a long time that operated the way they insinuate is the problem. I have had a lot more experience with fellow church members who were not evangelical in any of their relationships nor do they ever share their faith with anyone. Also, I could give here many examples of being approached by a coworker or friend about a lost friend or relative, but then panic and not allow me to share the Gospel with them when I had the perfect opportunity to do so. It is perplexing to say the least. What am I describing? These are symptoms of being ashamed of the Gospel. This is what professing Christians do when they are more concerned about the temporal than the eternal. The Gospel and evangelism are not high on their priority list for it is embarrassing and inconvenient. You can sure make some enemies in a hurry if you herald the Good News as we are commanded to do.

Now, if there is resistance to this message with a “yeah but” that states that Justification by Faith, the Gospel message, and Salvation are not the real focus of Christianity, but that it is rather on some form of planetary reclamation project, then I have something to say to those of you who believe that. What you are holding to is not of God, but is a product of man’s fallenness in collusion with our enemy, Satan. Therefore, to those of you who believe Brian McLaren when he says that the doctrines I have shared above are “cosmic child abuse,” you have been deceived and are not in a state of grace. You are not in Christ and unless you repent and believe the Gospel, you will spend eternity separated from God in a place referred to by our Lord as “Outer Darkness” and the “Lake of Fire.”

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “From where does faith come and to whom does it belong?

  1. Very good, Mike. We have problems down here in the Bible Belt south, convincing people that merely making a mental consent to the scriptures above and continuing in sin is not salvation. The verse of believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth for salvation is used by practically everyone who has been ‘evangelized’ by our easy-believism preachers. They believed it to be true, they confessed it with their mouth, therefore, salvation became theirs, but no change in their life. They are told they have salvation because they followed the formula.

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  2. Thanks Terry. Yes, I’m from Oklahoma and as I put this piece together last night that part of the post really struck me as well. I have heard that countless times as I grew up. I served as a Deacon in two SBC churches and saw evangelists use the very words you said to youth would come forward during their scare tactics revivals. What I found so telling was that as soon as that fellow would leave town we never saw those kids again either… Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone not by works, but the genuine Christian will be changed and be conformed according to the image of Christ and walk through this life doing good works (Ephesians 2:10).

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  3. Amen!!!

    Yes, this is another part of the apostasy, the changing of “missionary” to “missional” in an emergent sense. They essentially don’t believe in the gospel message anymore, thus they don’t talk about or preach it. The gospel in a nutshell:

    1. All have sinned and need to repent. (fallen nature, separated from God)
    2. We need to come to Jesus and be born again (saved, cleansed, etc.)
    3. This is only possible by accepting His atoning work on the cross for our sins and believing that He was raised from the dead. Only Jesus can reconcile us to God through His intercession on our behalf, and thus provide the one and only way of salvation.
    4. We are thus also raised to a new life in Christ now (growth in sanctification, holiness, obedience, and the good works as a result of salvation and by His new nature in us).
    5. We are saved from sin, hell, and the 2nd death, the wrath of God and will be raised at the resurrection of the righteous on that day.
    6. Salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone and not of works.

    Jesus came to save our souls and lead us to repentance and offer us salvation, that is what the gospel message is. It’s spiritual. It’s not a social gospel.

    Good works follow a true conversion, as does growth in discipleship by following the Lord. The kingdom is ‘among us,’ but He brings in the full kingdom at His return. We don’t do that as only He can.

    One of the biggest heresies of the apostasy is watering down the gospel or totally abandoning it (as those like Brian McLaren and Rick Warren do), and acting as though the ‘mission’ is to reclaim the earth in true dominionist fashion by ‘doing good’. In so doing, they align themselves with the goals of Satan all the way for the end times deception (new world order and one world religion as a time of utopia and revival, etc.). Jesus brings the kingdom, not us. The end will involve more apostasy leading to the acceptance of antichrist. We see more and more of this even in popular contemporary Christian music lyrics being promoted. About all the religions hold to the goal of a one world dominionist utopia, from New Age to Zionists,
    A to Z.

    You can just hear the hiss of the serpent whispering; “hath God really said? hath Jesus really said that He will return and establish His kingdom? You don’t have to have faith and wait, you can do it yourself! Hath God really said that this is a sin, and that you will go to hell for it?… hell isn’t real, you don’t believe that, do you?” and so on and so forth. Satan operates through his ministers that appear as angels of light, just as he does, to deceive MANY.

    Keep up the good work here brother!
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