What Saves - A Faith That Will Work, Or A Faith That Is Working?
I was asked recently by someone I was studying with - What saves, (1) faith that will work or (2) faith that is working? Though I obviously think the former is a very good thing, I answered that the latter is the correct answer. Let me provide some evidence for you to consider ...First notice Gal 5:6 - "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." Doesn't that verse answer our question directly? Here is how the ESV translates that - "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love." So it is not just faith that avails (in regards to salvation); it is a faith that is working. Not only that, but it must be a working faith that has "love" as its motivation.Next consider an illustration. Here is Heb 11:30 "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." Of course this is not talking about salvation, but notice how the Israelites' faith did not avail (in regard to war victory) until their faith worked.Thirdly notice Gal 3:26-27 which actually touches on our question as it specifically relates to baptism - "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Verse 26 is letting us know that our salvation is conditioned upon our faith. All certainly agree on that. But verse 27 pinpoints as to when we are saved by faith. As you know, the word "For" that begins verse 27 means "to introduce the reason." So verse 27 is saying - the reason a person is a child of God by faith is because he has been baptized into Christ. See my point here? - it takes a faith that is working to become a child of God / get into Christ.Question: Didn't Saul have the kind of faith that would work when he said to Jesus in Acts 9:6 - "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Then why were his sins not washed away at that moment? You will remember that at least three days later, he was told to do something so that his sins would be washed away (Acts 22:16). So Paul was not saved when he first had the kind of faith that will work; instead Paul was saved when his faith did work.