It has long been debated how it is that salvation comes about. There are some who would assert that God has made possible the way of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and all that remains is for us to embrace it by faith. Others have asserted that God actually saved some through the death and resurrection of Christ and all that remains is for God to act in that persons to bring them to faith.

No God fearing Christian would ever assert that faithwas not a necessary condition of salvation. The questions that have long driven debate among theologians was how does faith come about and what relationship does faith have with works. Can a person believe the gospel and then later loose their salvation? Does knowledge of the gospel and believing that is true equal faith? Is faith a work of man or of God? How does a person come to faith? What must one believe? As time permits over the next few months I hope to answer some of these questions faithfully from scripture.

For now let me leave you to consider Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” I would like to make three quick observations:

  1. “I am confident” – Paul states that he is confident about the future of the believers in Philippi. Why is that Paul is confident? Isn’t there the possibility that they might stop believing at some point?
  2. “He who began a good work” – Paul is not concerned about them giving up the faith, because He does not see it as something that they have done in the first place, but rather a work of God in their lives. Paul seems to understand that they came to faith not because they were somehow smarter or better than other people but rather because God did something in their lives to bring them into the faith.
  3. “will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” – Since Paul sees their salvation as having been a work of God, he can be confident that what God has begun, He will also finish. God will continue to grow and strengthen the faith of those in whom He has begun to do a good work.

I would draw one final conclusion from this verse about the nature of the faith of those who have “suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith” (1 Tim. 1:19). If a person’s “faith” does not last until the “day of Christ Jesus,” it is evidence that their faith was not a “work of God,” but rather “work of man.” It seems fair to conclude that there is a faith then that springs forth from men that will not save and there is a faith that springs forth from God that results in salvation. We must endeavor then to distinguish that faith which is a genuine work of God from that faith which is born out of the hypocrisy of the human heart.

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