Christ followers globally know that we have been given the great gift of God’s forgiveness of our sins, salvation from our sin, and the joy of eternity in Heaven through faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone! Although many have deviated from the simple truth of the Gospel by seeking to add things that they profess salvation requires, the will of God is unmovable and does not change.
Various groups that serve under the banner of Christian faith have added various kinds of stipulations to the “grace through faith” basis for salvation. You know that some require baptism, good works, “progressive salvation from being christened at birth”, as well as a host of other requirements.
The late, great Dr. A. J. Gordon, while traveling on a train, engaged in a spirited conversation with a fellow passenger on the subject of “Faith.” “I differ with you,” said the man, “in that any person is admitted to Heaven because of a little bit of theological scrip called `Faith.’ I believe that when God receives one into Heaven He makes a searching inquiry as to his character rather than inspection of his faith.” Presently the conductor came along and examined the tickets. When he passed, Dr. Gordon said: “Did you ever notice how a conductor looks at the ticket and takes no pains to inspect the passenger? A railway ticket, if genuine, certifies that the person presenting it has complied with the company’s conditions and is entitled to transportation. So `faith’ alone, my friend, entitles one to that saving grace which produces a character well pleasing to God. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please him.’ “ (Copied).
God is not impressed by our acts of righteousness. Scripture tells us that “our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight.” That could not possibly impress our glorious Lord. Water baptism is the first step of obedience and the picture of what it means to be a Christian…burying our former life and sins and being raised up to a brand new life in Christ. The power is in the blood of Jesus. The water is right out of the city reservoir…nothing holy about the water! To be christened as an infant is found nowhere in the Bible. Salvation is given to those that repent and believe. No infant that is a few days old can fulfill that demand.
Salvation is given by God to those that admit they are sinners; those that acknowledge that they cannot save themselves; and to those that believe on Jesus…that He died for our sins, buried to take on death, raised to defeat death and to give eternal life to all that believe in Him. That is why it is called a “gift”. Nothing we did to get it but to trust Him!
There was once a good woman who was well-known among her circle for her simple faith and her great calmness in the midst of many trials. Another woman, living at a distance, hearing of her, said, “I must go and see that woman, and learn the secret of her calm, happy life.” She went, and, accosting the woman, said, “Are you the woman with the great faith?” “No,” was the answer, “I am not the woman with the great faith, but I am the woman with the little faith in the great God.” (Copied).