Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Serving Leftover Faith

They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." (Acts 16:31 NIV)

In the modern church, we have reformed our understanding of God's grace to focus in on our faith.  This is good, because we can never repair our falling-out with God by bringing Him gifts.  The only solution to our broken-relationship problem is the solution He offers through His Son, Jesus.

[We]...know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we... have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16 NIV)

When someone wants to be saved, then, we simply tell them to believe in the Lord Jesus as it says in Acts 16:31 and they will be saved.  Perhaps we will have them say a prayer with us because we should confess our faith as well.

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)

While these Scriptures are all true, stopping here is dangerous.  Believing and being saved can lead to "cheap Grace" where we go on with our lives "knowing we are saved" and continue doing what we did before.  The apostle Paul responds to such a thought process saying, "May it never be!" (Romans 6:2a NASB)  

God paid an unimaginably high price for our sin.  Continuing to run up the tab is dangerous.  Simply believing doesn't guarantee that we stay together with Him.  We can declare that we believe and still not go with Him into paradise:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23 NIV)

Is there really such a thing as a Christian with a lukewarm faith? Or, are they not really a Christian at all?  Can we serve leftover faith to a Holy God?