Chapter 9: Other questions about faith

In this chapter, we will answer some other questions about faith. Specifically, we will answer the following questions:

  • Why was faith made a requirement for salvation?
  • Can my faith save another person?
  • Is faith a gift from God, or a work of man, or part of both?

Why is faith a requirement for salvation?

It is interesting to think about why God made faith a requirement for salvation because it gives us insight into the nature of God. He could have made anything he wanted to be a requirement. Why did He choose to make faith a requirement? Why not something else?

Rom 4:2 and Eph 2:8-9 tell us that God did not want us to be justified by works so that no man may boast before Him.

Rom 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Instead of choosing the rich, God choose the poor for the same reason – so that no man can boast before Him. Paul explains this in 1 Cor 1:26-29.

1 Cor 1:26-29 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.

Now realize that ‘the poor’ are not necessarily those who are poor, but those who consider themselves poor. It is possible to have little and think you are rich, and thereby have pride before God. It is also possible to be rich and have much, and yet be humble before God. That is why there are poor people (that is, people who don’t have much) who are not saved, and rich people (that is, people who have much) who are saved. It is not what you have, but your attitude, or spirit, before God that determines whether you are poor or rich in the eyes of God. That is why Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit (Mt 5:3). That is why the publican went home justified while the Pharisee remained in his sins (Lk 18:14). People who are poor in spirit are people who do not boast about the gifts they have or the great things that they have done.

It is this poverty of spirit that enables people to believe God. That is why James tells us that God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom of God.

Jas 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world {to be} rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

If you examine the things that we must believe to be saved, you will find that they all are geared towards placing the glory of man’s salvation on God. We saw in an earlier chapter that you must believe that man cannot save himself; that God kept His promise to save man; that the plan for man’s salvation came from God; that the payment for man’s salvation came from God; that God’s payment was valid; that God’s plan was successful; that there is no other plan to save man. All of these are such that man cannot boast.

Everyone has equal opportunity to be poor in spirit and rich in faith. It doesn’t matter whether you are Jew or Gentile. Rom 4:16 explains that that is why God made faith a requirement for salvation.

Rom 4:16 For this reason {it is} by faith, in order that {it may be} in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

So we see that God made faith a requirement for salvation so that all may be saved; not just those who were physical descendants of Abraham, but anyone who is willing to be poor in spirit. The gift of faith is available to all that seek it. This is in accordance with the just nature of God.

Satan was kicked out of heaven because of his pride (Is 14:12-14). God now chooses humble folks to be with Him in heaven – folks who have nothing to boast about. It is to these humble folks that God gives the grace (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5) that saves them.

Jas 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore {it} says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."

1 Pet 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to {your} elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

That is why Eph 2:8,9 (which we examined earlier) says that we are saved by grace through faith. Specifically, the humble (or poor in spirit) receive the grace to believe and be saved.

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