The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3
+ The Great Body of Truth Revealed in the Gospel +
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible has much to say on the subject of faith. Without faith no one can be saved from eternal judgment or successfully live the Christian life. In a number of places there is reference to “The Faith” whether it be individual or personal faith. Individual or personal faith is based upon “The Faith”, which is the great body of truth revealed in the gospel.
“…One Lord, one faith, one baptism…” Ephesians 4:5
This article will focus on the understanding of the expression the Faith. It will also consider what it means to contend for the Faith and living according to the Faith.
Understanding the Faith
In the book of Jude we have what is spoken of as the Faith that was given to the saints in the first century, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3. Our individual or personal faith is based on this truth. Again, the expression, the faith is that great body of truth, revealed in the gospel, taught by Christ and the apostles. We could call it the Christian religion. The faith is used in the sense of “creed” or orthodox belief. It refers to the fundamentals of the faith. It speak of things believed or the system or religion received in the gospel.
In Acts 2:42, the apostles doctrine is the faith that was given to the early church in which they continued in, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” It is called the mystery of faith in I Timothy 3:9 in reference to the qualification of bishops and deacons, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” There were those in Acts 6:7 who were obedient to the faith, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Others were exhorted to continue in the faith in Acts 14:22, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” The Bible speaks of one faith in reference to Christianity in Ephesians 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” In the context, there is a seven-fold unity which the spirit has already made, in which we are to keep. In Galatians 1:23, the apostle Paul said that he now preached the faith in which he once destroyed, “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.” The scripture speak of continuing in the faith in Colossians 1:23, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” and being established in the faith in Colossians 2:7, “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” This faith, which was once delivered to the saints is as true and precious today as it was in the first century. It is the Christian religion belonging to all who will believe.
Contending for the Faith
In Jude 3, we are commanded to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. We see in vs. 4, the reason for doing so, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” There are ungodly men who were creeping in and perverting the faith. They were even turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. The word contend means to agonize, strive, stand, fight, and do warfare for the faith.
In Philippians 1:27, we are told to strive together for the faith for the gospel, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” It is called, “like precious faith” in II Peter 1:1, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Please consider the fact that many depart from the faith (I Tim. 4:1), deny the faith (I Tim. 5:8), and err from the faith (I Tim. 6:10). The Christian is to fight the good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:10) and keep the faith (II Tim. 4:7). In other words, the faith or body of truth the church received from Jesus Christ is worth contending for. He gave this truth to His apostles to give to us and according to Ephesians 2:20. We are built upon the foundation of the apostle and prophets, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”
Living According to the Faith
In Titus 2:1-15, the same grace that saves us also sanctifies us and teaches us to deny ungodliness and live a holy life unto the Lord. According to Romans six, the gospel frees us from sin to serve God. There is a purifying of the heart by faith in Acts 15:9, “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” We are to stand fast in the faith in I Corinthians 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
We will consider II Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Each person is called upon to examine themselves, or prove themselves, as to whether they be in the faith. To be in the faith is to have Christ in you, that is, to be converted. The apostle Paul required those who doubted his preaching to examine themselves. For, one cannot reject the doctrine of the apostles and be in the faith. May we examine ourselves to see whether we have truly been converted, believing every word of scripture and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior. Our individual or personal faith must be in the great body of truth referred to as the Faith. Amen.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523