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By Curtis Pugh


            Division exists over this question. Many professing Christians say that certain outward acts result in salvation: “be baptized,” or “be baptized and take communion and you will be saved.” Others say sprinkling can be substituted for baptism and that will do. Many say “make a decision for Christ.” Do this! Do that! Work! Work! Work!   

            A jailer once asked Paul and Silas, “...Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” (Acts 16:30-31). Both the jailer and every individual in his household would be saved if each one believed.

            The meaning of “believe” here does not mean just to believe about the Lord Jesus. James makes that clear. He wrote: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble,” (James 2:19). That kind of “faith” is just  head-belief: the same kind of faith demons have. It does not save. This is the kind of faith that natural or unregenerate people are able to produce. Saving faith is different from that.

            The kind of faith Paul and Silas told the jailer about is called, “the faith of God’s elect” in Titus 1:1. This the kind of faith he wrote about when he said that sinners are saved “...through faith; and that [faith is] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation by grace (undeserved love and favor) means that God does all and provides all in saving those whom He has chosen for salvation. Even the faith which connects a sinner to Christ is a gift worked in people by God.

            Generally, when a preacher mentions “the elect” and similar words that point to the fact that it is God that does the choosing rather than man choosing God, people object. They disagree. But the Bible says: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love,” (Ephesians 1:4). So if you believe the Bible you must believe that those who are given saving faith were “chosen” “before the foundation of the world.” This is a humbling doctrine hated by the flesh. People want to believe that their salvation is in their hands.

            The Bible says, “Salvation is of the LORD,” (Jonah 2:9). God determined to save some. He does it according to His plan. He provided all necessary to it. He initiates it in the sinner. And He completes it in each one whom He regenerates by His Spirit. In Philippians 1:6 Paul said so to the church in Philippi. He wrote: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God finishes everything He starts in those in whom He saves. The Lord Jesus is called both “the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2). Have you “the faith of God's elect?”

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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