Salvation Comes By Faith in Christ
“We live in a culture that commends effort. From childhood we have been told, “Don’t give up. Don’t be a quitter. Keep trying until you accomplish your goal.” You’ve seen the Avis ad, “We try harder!” In the natural world, trying harder is commendable and often effective. But God’s ways aren’t our ways. Sometimes they seem to be opposite from ours. In the spiritual world, trying harder is detrimental. That’s right. Trying harder will defeat you every time.
If an unsaved person were to suggest to you that he was trying hard to become a Christian, what would you tell him? You would probably make it clear that he could not be saved by trying, but by trusting. You would tell him that there is absolutely nothing he could do to gain salvation. It has all already been done. Salvation is a gift to be received, not a reward to be earned. A person who tries even a little bit to gain salvation by works cannot become a Christian. As Paul said about salvation, “If by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work” (Romans 11:6). In other words, it has to be either grace or works. We are saved by grace, and trying hard has absolutely nothing to do with it.
But many Christians who understand that trying is detrimental to becoming a Christian somehow think that it is essential to living in victory after salvation. The truth is that victory is not a reward but a gift. A person does not experience victory in the Christian life by trying hard to live for God. It just won’t work! I know because that’s what I did. Have you tried to live for God? Did your efforts cause you to experience real victory? I rest my case”
Excerpt From: Steve McVey. “Grace Walk.” iBooks.
None of us ever became Christians through our human effort. God reached down. Salvation comes by faith in Christ. Believe in Jesus Christ, He died on the cross for you.
You became a Christian by faith in Christ and experienced a new birth. In Galatians 3:1-5 Paul asks them why switch to human effort to live the Christian life?
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
This passage of scripture contains a series of questions.
So why ask all these questions? It was to make them think. They were not thinking reasonably.
Paul asks them questions so they will really consider what they have done.
Verse one says who hypnotized you? What does a hypnotist say? Look into my eyes.
They got their eyes off Christ and put their eyes on the Judiazars who said the flesh is the way to live the Christian life.
If you are driving a car along and everything is fine it would be foolishness to get out and start pushing it around wherever you needed to go. If they could have kept their eyes fixed on Jesus they could have avoided all this foolishness.
How did you become a Christian? It is salvation by works verses salvation by faith. In verse 2
Paul gets to the central question. Tell me this one thing. How did you become a Christian? When did you receive the Holy Spirit?
When you accepted Jesus Christ in your life the Holy Spirit took up resident in your life.
In Romans 8:9 we read; that if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
So Paul was asking; how did you become a Christian? It is a multiple choice of two possible answers.
1. By obeying the law
2. By believing what you heard (what they heard Paul says in verse one is a clear presentation of Christ crucified.)
Paul forces the foolish Galatians to think. Do you remember the time you became a Christian?
Think back in your experience. It was not by observing the law. Christ did not come into your heart because you did enough good deeds. You do not earn your way to God’s favor.
None of us ever became Christians through our human effort. God reached down. It may be true that some people are better than others. But it is only a matter of one person’s total depravity being better than another’s total depravity. You were not saved by your good works.
It would be like trying to swim across the ocean. Some people with arthritis might not make it 100 yards. A good athlete might make it several miles. All would fall thousands of miles short and end up at the same place at the bottom of the ocean.
It is futile to attempt to reach God on our own efforts. It is foolish to credit yourself with adding to Christ’s work.
Paul portrayed Christ as crucified. God reached down, took on human nature, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and died on a cross. Salvation is a fee gift of God’s grace which we accept though faith. Think back, how did you become a Christian?
I remember for myself in August of 1989, acknowledging my sin before God, knowing there was nothing I could do, asking God to let Christ’s death on the cross count for me. Jesus Christ came into my heart and God forgave me.
Did you need human effort, good works to become a Christian? Did you merit your salvation by baptism or church membership? No! Paul asks questions with an obvious answer. They were meant to make the Galatians realize how foolish they were. It is not the law or good works that save it is faith in Jesus Christ.
How do you continue the Christian life?
There is a contrast of living by the flesh verses living by the Spirit. In verse 3 Paul really gets to the point. Are you so foolish?
In the Message version of Galatians 3:3 the verse reads:
Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?
We live by faith and must continue on to walk by faith. We don’t live out the Christian live in the flesh. We don’t accomplish God’s will by human effort. You were brought to where you are by spiritual birth. Why revert to human power?
Paul is telling the Galatians. Holy Spirit is sufficient. Don’t revert to striving in human effort.
In verse five Paul asks where is the power. Is it in faith or law? Are miracles the result of human striving? No! Miracles are the result of a life of faith. Christ in us and living through us. By faith we see the miraculous of the lost saved, broken families restored, people hungry for spiritual growth and answered prayer. It’s faith a spiritual dynamic.
These are questions that make us think. Is it faith or works that bring salvation? If you say works you have misunderstood salvation and the cross of Christ. Salvation comes by faith in Christ.
Believe in Jesus Christ, He died on the cross for you.
Don’t be foolish. Live by faith. Die daily to self and put Christ on the throne of your life. Christ at the center. That is where we find the power of the Christian life. Not in ourself but in Christ.