Faith is the key to salvation! Salvation cannot be bought - nor can it be earned. It comes by faith. Because mankind fell from grace through loss of faith they can only be saved and restored to grace through faith.
Faith is the confidence we have in what we believe. If we believe in God then we must also have confidence to trust Him. That confidence and trust, which is faith brings us into His grace, or favour, so we can receive eternal life.
Fall from Grace
Man’s fall from God’s grace occurred in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were confronted with a false accusation against God and believed the accuser rather than God. God had told them not to eat from a particular tree because, “… in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). But when the serpent said, “You shall not surly die” they believed him and through their actions demonstrated a tragic loss of faith in God.
Their loss of faith led them to disobey God’s instruction. This put them in the power of the one whom they chose to obey, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;” (Romans 6:16). By putting themselves in the power of the serpent who is Satan, the righteous (or good) nature with which they had been created became corrupted with Satan’s unrighteous (or evil) nature. The resulting mixture of good and evil prevented them from entering God’s Kingdom, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” (I Corinthians 5:9). In that state neither they, nor their descendents can inherit eternal life “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (I Corinthians 15:50).
Their loss of faith in God brought death upon all humanity, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;” (Romans 5:12). They lacked the faith to believe God and brought suffering, pain, sorrow and death upon billions of people yet to be born (Genesis 3:16-19). God warned that this would happen, but they still disobeyed His instruction. That is why they fell from grace! Until they are rescued from the power of Satan mankind will remain under the threat of eternal death.
The only way back into God’s grace is to believe and trust in God. That is why salvation comes through faith, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is a result of faith, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:9). It brings us back to the promise of eternal life, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” (I John 2:25). In His mercy and love for those whom He created God has provided this way of escape. It is His gift to mankind. Faith is the key to salvation.
The Way Back to Grace
The only way back to grace is through faith backed up by obedience. Everyone is faced with exactly the same dilemma that Adam and Eve faced - do we put our faith in God, or Satan. The choice we make is expressed in whom we obey, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;” (Romans 6:16). If obedience to God is not forthcoming then nothing has changed - we remain yielded to Satan. God does not want reluctant obedience, or obedience through fear. He wants obedience because the believer has absolute faith, trust and confidence in Him.
Faith is expressed by obedience to God’s word, i.e. the law. The law of God comprises ten basic commandments that govern human behaviour. They determine how to worship God and treat our fellow man. Obedience to the law does not justify man with God, “…by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20). The law is merely the instrument with which to gauge our lives. It is faith that justifies, “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16).
Faith Substantiated by Works
Faith must be substantiated by works, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)? It is established because we express our faith through works of the law. The law in itself is an expression of the divine nature of God in whose image we are being created, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (II Peter 1:4). That divine nature is described as love, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (I John 4:16).
Our faith is expressed by obedience to laws that epitomise the mind of God, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (I John 5:3). Faith is expressed by love toward God and to fellow man, “Jesus said… …Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40). The outcome of the law is love, “Now the end of the commandment is charity (love) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:” (I Timothy 1:5). The Apostle James who was adamant that faith without works is dead, “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20), said that his faith was substantiated by works, “… shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (verse 18). He also said that Abraham’s faith was made perfect by his works (James 2:21-11).
By expressing true faith through keeping the law we escape the corruption with which Satan has ensnared mankind, “That… ... ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world...” (II Peter 1:4). This brings us into the grace of God and salvation.
The relationship that man originally had with God was damaged by lack of faith which led to disobedience and consequently the fall from grace. We can only be restored to grace and salvation by faith substantiated by works that express the divine nature of the one in whose image we are being created. Faith is the key to that salvation.