The Precise Object of Saving Faith
by Dave Breese
“What must I do to be saved?” This question became the door to life to a jailor at Philippi.
As we know, Paul answered him and said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” We are, therefore, sure that salvation is by believing, by faith. As the Bible makes very clear, we are saved “not by works of righteousness,” but we are saved by faith alone. Salvation solely by faith is the primary doctrine of the Christian faith.
But the question persists on the part of many, “What exactly must I believe to be saved? Faith, yes, but faith in precisely what?” For want of the answer to this vital question, many lack the assurance of salvation and many who fondly hope may not be in fact Christian at all. “Am I truly a Christian?” is a question that must be faced by every person who fancies himself to be religious. He must ask the question, “Is my faith saving faith?”
The faith that saves, what exactly is it? In order to answer that question, we must consider what the Bible says in that book which was specifically written to explain the nature of justification by faith—Romans.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:23-25).
In this passage of Scripture, we are told of the precise object of saving faith. It is “faith in His blood.” Here God tells us exactly what it is we must believe when we say we have faith.
Notice now—saving faith is not simply faith in the Person of Christ as such. We may believe that Christ lived, that He was the Son of God, and even that He is able to save us if we receive Him, and yet still not be Christians. Saving faith is faith in His sacrificial act on the cross. To be sure, to be saved we must believe in the deity of Christ. If Christ is not the very Son of God, His death saves nobody. But notice carefully, Christ does not save us simply because of Who He is. Our salvation is possible only because He as God died on the cross. We are not saved by assenting to His deity. We are saved only by trusting in His blood, His atoning death. Why is this the case? What is there about His blood that by faith brings salvation to my heart? Consider the following reasons:
We, therefore, being sinners, must be covered by something more than the rags of our own works or the fetid robes of human goodness. We must be covered, shielded from divine justice by the blood of the Lamb of God. With this covering, however, we (oh, the wonder of it all!) are invited into the very throne room of God. No wonder Fanny Crosby wrote,
“Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
What then is faith in the blood of Christ? It means placing my soul in complete confidence for my hope of eternal life in His, Christ’s, sacrifice of Himself on my behalf. It means that I turn from all other confidences, all other hopes, and depend alone on the finished work of Calvary.
This sole confidence in Calvary is utterly vital! If I trust my own goodness to merit salvation, I cannot be saved. The person who has faith in the blood of Christ, by that precise confidence, is declaring that he does not trust for salvation in religious heritage, church membership, spiritual rites of any kind—he trusts nothing else. He acknowledges no other foundation but the work of Christ on Calvary. Faith in the blood of Christ is at the same time and by its very nature a vote of “no confidence” in any and all other possible hopes. “It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me,” says the true Christian.
So here we have the Gospel: “Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.” That precise formula and no other is the Gospel, the way of salvation and life. The Christian believes in nothing else as his hope for heaven—this Gospel is his sole and basis for salvation. “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). All other formulations are human, satanic, cursed of God—there is no other Gospel (Gal. 1:7). The person who believes any other message, however so slightly altered, is lost. Worse yet, the one who preaches another gospel than this message of divine grace is anathema—damned of God!
Saving faith, what a gift from God! But beware, this wonderful gift, this glorious message is a precise and exact thing. It is confidence alone in the blood of the cross. Believe this message and you have eternal life—you will never perish. Believe even the slightest variation of this message and you have closed the door to heaven—you are lost. To be sure, such a precise faith is held in contempt by the fuzzy intelligentsia of our modern age, which age is soon to come under divine judgment. Understandably, the Apostle Paul said, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). This then would be a good time to check—is your faith saving faith?
Make this the day when you trust alone in the shed blood of Christ, receiving the gift of God—salvation. Eternal life can be yours today.