It is by faith that Christians are saved. But why is faith so necessary for Salvation? Why not just believe in God? Why is faith so vital to your salvation? Why is faith more important than righteousness?
God demands faith for salvation. But is there more than one kind of faith? What kind of faith actually saves you? On the road to salvation, is sin a problem? When do we sin? Why does God allow such a thing as sin even to exist?
If faith saves you, doesn’t that mean sin doesn’t count against you when it comes to your salvation? Can you have faith while sinning? If you have faith, whether you’re sinning or not, isn’t that enough?
We are to be holy and without blame before God (Ephesians l:4). So sinlessness is important to God. Faith, however, is necessary so God can give you a most precious gift. There seems to be a dilemma.
Mankind and Sin
Some of God’s saintliest humans have been horrible sinners. For example, King David was an adulterer and murderer. Yet God called him a man after His own heart. Jesus picked Peter as an apostle, yet Peter himself said he was a heinous sinner. The apostle Paul spent his career jailing Christians.
What a group! Why did God choose these people to be His saints? One day an employee walked into my office with one of my books and said, “You mean God will save the most evil people and I have to go through all this?” She immediately resigned and stormed out of my office in a fit.
Faith That Saves
I believe God looks on hypocrisy as more significant than goodness, as illustrated in the life of King David. And God sees faith as of utmost importance for salvation, not how good you are. Yet at the same time God demands holiness, sinlessness.
When reading these various passages, it can seem to the reader as if God is contradicting Himself. For some, these kinds of apparent contradictions can keep them from believing God. They have no faith because they are offended by what they see as God’s inconsistencies. Sometimes Gd allows His saints to suffer. There’s another apparent contradiction. Why would God do that?
Faith and Suffering
Paul, in Hebrews 11, wrote about people of faith who suffered greatly. They endured trials of “cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisoned: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented…And, these all, having obtained a good report through faith, never receive the promise”.
God allows His saints to suffer so their faith, during their suffering, can serve as witness to others. God, although our loving Father, must permit such misery for an important reason. These sinners are His chosen people. When they repent, God loves them, even though they were the vilest sinners in the past (Ephesians 1:4).
Does this seem contradictory? Since God wants everyone saved, why doesn’t He treat everyone the same? Abraham always obeyed God’s voice in faith by keeping His commandments and statues, along with the Torah (Genesis 6:5). Abraham did all this by faith. This is faith with works, godly works. That is why Abraham is called the father of the faithful.
When people repent of their sins, God always forgives them. If you sin but are sorry and truly repent from the depths of your heart, God will forgive you. Faith with works, such as Abraham had, God always blesses. Faith in God is vital for your Salvation.
What About Doctrine?
Doctrine, a set of required beliefs, cannot save you. Your righteousness, like Job’s cannot save you. Only faith will save you. When Job (who was perfect in all his ways) was experiencing the plagues from Satan, he wanted to go before God to plead his case. Why was Job in that desire?
When all of Job’s friends tried to make him see he was a sinner, God intervened. It wasn’t a matter of sin, for Job was perfect in all his ways. Even when his children frolicked at their birthday parties, Job would make a sacrifice. Job did not take a chance. The children may have sinned when they had a party. Job was guiltless before the law. So how could Job have sinned?
Job lacked true knowledge. Sin doesn’t keep you from salvation when you repent. When Job got the point that God knows right from wrong, a conclusion that required faith on Job’s part, he said to God: “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).
It looks like Job was self-righteous. He lacked faith. Unlike Abraham and King David, who had faith, Job’s self-righteousness revealed his lack of trust in God. Saving faith demands total trust in God. Jesus took all the pain or torture and still trusted His Father. That is why Christ’s suffering on the cross paid for your sins (even though others were crucified on a cross).
Jesus was different from other human beings. He endured His suffering, without committing any sin, because He knew in faith that God would resurrect Him. Faith is the greatest gift God gives you. Now you know how important it is. But you still need to learn from the Bible why God says faith is so necessary for salvation.
The Torah, the first five books of The Bible, including Deuteronomy, became the law. Some believe the Torah is the law. But The Torah didn’t contain The Law until God added the law to it 430 years after Abraham (Galatians 3:17).
The Torah existed for thousands of years before The law. In fact, the Torah began at the time of creation. The Torah became the Law when transgressions occurred. Sin happened, and the Law then became the Torah. As Israel began its journey to the Promised and, the Israelites sinned, and God had to add the Law.
Why was the Law necessary as an added part of the Torah? Israel lacked faith. The Israelites could not enter the Promised Land because they lacked faith. Sin didn’t keep the Israelites out of God’s property; their lack of faith did (Hebrews 4:3). Why did they lack faith? Because they had a wrong heart. They didn’t have God’s heart. They didn’t understand the way God thinks.
The Real Issue
Faith is the real issue, not the transgression. God recognized the Israelites’ weakness, which was a lack of faith. So God gave Israel another chance by giving a law that allowed them to become citizens on God’s property.
God, from this point, decided He could not permit Israel onto His property unless the Israelites kept the Torah law. If they had had a right heart and had faith in God, no law would have been necessary. As Abraham they would have, in faith, obeyed God’s voice when they heard it without there being a need for a law (Genesis 6:5).
A law by definition is a court matter, which includes judgements and curses. The Law is not a law unless penalties exist to support it. Abraham obeyed God’s voice in keeping the Commandments because of his faith, without the necessity of a law. Abraham had a right heart, whereas while Israel did not. This is what God said about Israel when He gave the nation His Commandments:
“O that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever” (Deuteronomy 5:29). Another way to describe God’s law is “love”, a deep, caring love for His children, even when they have a wrong heart, whether they know better or not (John 3:16).
God gave His law as a command to the Israelites because their hearts were unconverted. This law had curses, or penalties, so the Israelites could catch the vision of what God expected of them. The Old Covenant Law of Moses had severe penalties to keep God’s people from sin or, worse, being a transgressor on God’s property. They had a wrong heart, or desire, but strict adherence to the law made them legally righteous. The law was their righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:25).
Love – godly love – fulfills, or completes, the Law (Romans 13:10). God’s law is holy, just and good, because God’s love generated His laws. Love and God’s laws are one and the same. God writes His laws into your heart and mind through His Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
A true Christian does not need to have God’s laws written down to remind him what sin is. God’s love miraculously writes His laws into your very thoughts and desires. A true Christian who has the Law written in his heart would never think of lying, stealing or murdering. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
God’s Seven Earthly Houses
Seven times God gave mankind an opportunity to dwell with Him on earth. On seven separate occasions God built a house as a place where individuals could prepare to live with Him. What were those seven houses, and why did it take so many times before God gave man a chance to live with Him?
No.1: The House of Rest
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and everything in God’s first earthly house was very good (Genesis 1:31). Adam and Eve lived with God in the Garden of Eden and could have lived in paradise forever had they eaten of the tree of live.
There was no law (Adam and Eve had total liberty) because they were in the first house, the House of Rest. What was their sin? Their sin was that the missed the mark of life. They lacked faith in God. Because Adam and Eve lacked faith, God would no longer dwell with them.
No.2: The Tabernacle
God gave His great property to Abraham, who had proven his faith. Abraham had Isaac by a miracle. When Jacob became Israel, the 12 tribes grew to become many nations. God allowed Israel to become slaves in Egypt. Why was that necessary? Like Adam and Eve, the Israelites sinned. They were afraid to enter God’s property (Canaan) because of the people who lived there. Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith.
Not only were the Israelites faithless, they continued to sin. God gave them His Ten Commandments, and within 40 days they built the golden calf and then worshipped it. God would not dwell with them because they lacked faith and sinned. The second house was a tent, the tabernacle in the wilderness.
No.3: Solomon’s Temple
Solomon built God’s third house on earth. It had to wait for Solomon because David had sinned with Bathsheba, causing her husband to be assassinated in battle. David was a bloody man of war. Solomon, a man of peace, built the third house of God.
But over time Israel again began to lose faith in God and sought her “lovers” (the nations and businesses around her) instead of God (Isaiah 1).After Assyria took the 10 tribes captive, God had Nebuchadnezzar take Judah captive. Now Israel’s lovers took over God’s property. This period was known as the times of the gentiles.
No.4: The Second Temple
After 70 years, God, because of Daniel’s prayers, allowed Judah (the Jews in Babylon) to return to Jerusalem to build God’s fourth earthly house. King Herod completed this house of God – the temple – when Jesus lived on earth as a human.
The Jews rejected their Savior, the Messiah. They corrupted the temple, the house of God, by making a business of it. God cursed Judah and this fourth house (Malachi 4:6).
No.5: Minds and Hearts
The fifth house was to be a spiritual construction. Now, rather than dwelling in a physical house, God would dwell in the minds and hearts of those who repented and received God’s Spirit. God desired spiritual worship because God is a Spirit (John 4).
Christians became God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:17). This temple was to be holy by faith through God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit was to lead God’s temple (Christians) to all truth (John 1:17). But by the end of the 1st century God’s temple, the Church of God, has lost its faith.
By 325 A.D., at The Counsel of Nicea; Emperor Constantine took over God’s church, Christianity. At this time the Churches of God were under gentile control. That was why Jesus tells His people in Babylon to “come out of her” (Revelation 18:4).
No.6: Millennial Temple
The sixth house, from our perspective, is yet future. It will be built of stone. The temple will be reinstituted during the Millennium to announce the wedding feast of the Groom and Bride (Ezekiel 40-48).
The Law of Moses, the Old Covenant, will again be in force to bring the world to Christ. The final battle, with Gog and Magog, will take place at the end of the Millennial engagement period. This will be a test to see who is worthy.
Jesus will destroy His enemies, and the Great White Throne Judgement will take place. All will be invited to the wedding feast, both good and bad (Matthew 22). Thus will end God’s sixth house.
No.7: The New Jerusalem
You are ready for God’s seventh earthly house: a new earth on which God will make all things new. It will be the time of the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. What began in the Garden of Eden will be restored to all the world (Isaiah 46:10).
It won’t be doctrine or how good you are that allows you to enter God’s seventh house, the New Jerusalem. It will be a point of faith: how faithful you have remained to allow God’s Holy Spirit to grow in you spiritually. His Spirit is the only way for you to become holy and guiltless like Christ. God, by His Spirit, will be All in All (1 Corinthians 15:28; Romans 5:5).
You cannot earn righteousness by keeping the Law of Moses. Trying to please God doesn’t give you His righteousness, either. Nothing that you as a human can d, none of your works, allows you to dwell in paradise. Only by faith in God and receiving His Spirit are you made holy. Then, as a gift, God will allow you to dwell in His temple.
Spiritual and Physical
This final temple of The Church of God is a spiritual place. Of the seven temples on earth, three have been spiritual and four physical. The three spiritual temples all come through God’s Spirit and are the tree of life.
The four physical temples are physical dwellings that require man’s works. Every time one sinned by transgressing the Law of Moses, some guilty person had to make a sacrifice. These human works were to lead the Israelites to Christ, they couldn’t change the sinner to make him perfect (Hebrews 7). Only faith in Christ could make the sinner perfect, through God’s Spirit.
God will make all things new, a new heaven and a new earth, where there is no death, pain, sorrow or crying. This will be paradise restored, as in the beginning, the alpha and omega.
In all of God’s seven houses, only faith in Him can save. Each of the first six could not continue because the people lacked faith. It is obvious throughout The Bible that all God wants is to have Christians have faith in Him, even to their death. God has planned it so He can be absolutely assured that His will be a government of continual paradise based on faith.
God’s love completes the law, so all can be holy like Him. Faith saves! Faith is the proof of your love. It is the only way to guarantee peace. Most children love their parents. Most parents love their children. Most husbands and wives love each other. God loves you. But he has the power and ability to give you life in paradise, eternally. You don’t have to be a gambler to realize that if ever there was a sure thing, this is it!