16th January 2011


Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man [speaking of Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [referring to Jesus] the many will be made righteous.
1 Corinthians 15:18-19 (NIV) 

Why do we need faith if Jesus has already made us right with God?

The Bible tells us, as we read in the passage quoted above, that in Christ, God has already done everything necessary for every person’s salvation. What Jesus did, he did for all humanity, and he didn’t wait for anyone to change their ways or improve their behaviour before he acted. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

1 John 2, verse 2, tells us that no one is left out of Jesus’ atoning work for humanity: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” Since every person’s sins are already forgiven, what is the need for faith?

Simply this: We cannot participate in something we either don’t know about or don’t believe is true. It would be like having a million pounds in the bank but never knowing about it. Or maybe knowing about it, but not caring. In either case, the million pounds would do us no good, even though it is sitting in our account. In a similar way, our salvation means nothing to us unless we believe it.

Faith does not save us. God has already done that in Christ. Faith does not change God’s mind about us. He loves us and always has loved us—before we believe and after we believe. There is nothing we can add to, or take away from, the salvation that is already ours in Christ. That’s good news. We don’t make it happen; all we can do is believe it. And the funny thing about believing it is that it changes you. When you have fellowship with God, he rubs off on you.

Sadly, it seems from certain passages in the Bible that some people don’t want God’s salvation, even though in Christ it’s already theirs. Maybe they love evil so much that they want nothing to do with good. Yet Jesus died and rose again for them as certainly as he did for the most devoted of his saints. Refusal of God’s love cannot diminish his love; Jesus died for us even while we were sinners, while we were his enemies, as we’re told in Romans 5, verses 8 and 10.

That’s good news, because it means that God’s gift of salvation doesn’t depend on you or me in any way. It doesn’t even depend on how strong our faith is. We don’t trust in our faith; we trust in Jesus. As we’re told in Hebrews 12:2, he is both the Author and the Perfecter of our faith, and that’s exactly why we can trust him.

Faithful Father, we can scarcely accept the wonder of what Jesus has done and is doing for us daily. Help us in understanding this, perhaps for the first time, to let it make the difference in our Christian lives that you desire through faith. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach 

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