Saved by Grace through Faith!
There are 2 kinds of believers in Jesus, those who say that they believe but will not do anything about it for fear of what might happen, and those who say that they believe and prove it by what they do.
A tight-rope walker standing on a rope with a wheelbarrow asks if anyone believes that he can cross Niagara Falls with someone in the wheelbarrow. Almost everyone says that they believe that he can, but when he asks for a volunteer to go with him, only one person actually volunteers. Who really has the faith?
Real belief, real faith, real trust takes action. If we say we believe that God is good and full of love, and that He can do anything then we must act on that belief. If He asks us to do something, even if we don't understand how it's possible, we do it. “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions?...”James 2:14 (NLT)
But faith is not something we work at to build up like building a house or a car. Our faith in God actually comes from God Himself. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Faith in God comes from the stories we hear about Him. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing … the good news about Christ.” As we hear about and see for ourselves that Jesus Christ is good and trustworthy, our faith in Him is made full. And the more faith we have the more we will show it by what we do.
This is grace through faith in Christ. It is God's grace that saves us. It's His gift to us if we believe, if we trust, if we have faith in Him, but remember, this faith, this trust, this belief is not something we have created in ourselves. So not just grace is from God, but faith is from God too.
Keep in mind also that our faith in God gets stronger as we use it. The first time the man gets into the wheelbarrow with the tight-rope walker and crosses the falls in the story above he might be a tiny bit fearful, but the more often he repeats this the stronger his trust in the one who pushes him across the falls will become. And so it is with our faith in God, the more we exercise faith the stronger it becomes. So trust God and then act like you do.
Do you trust in God? Do you believe in Him, trusting Him to save you? His willingness to give you the good that you do not deserve is His amazing grace.
Jesus once said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Unfortunately we cannot even begin to believe and trust in Jesus without Him first making us willing. All we can do it to "be willing to be made willing".
But at first glance it seems as if we are still doing something by “being willing”, but being willing to let God do something in us is actually us allowing Him to do His will in us. The opposite of “submitting” is “resisting”, and resisting God is like putting on the brakes, it's something we do to keep from letting Him have His way in our lives. Resisting God is our attempt to keep Him from doing something good with our lives. Submitting to Him is NOT resisting but yielding to His desire to make us happy and healthy, and to give us a life that will never end.
Another example of this can be seen in how a magnet draws steel filings. The filings cannot do anything on their own, but when the magnet comes close to them then they are naturally drawn to it. But sometimes a filing with get hung up on something (like humans get hung up on money or power) and they can be seen as resisting the power of the magnet. Something holds them and they resist.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (KJV)
So going back to our “tight-rope walker” story above, if Jesus was the tight-rope walker, the wheelbarrow and the rope, then we would be like a little child who cannot even walk or talk yet who loves Jesus because he has been with Him and knows Him. Jesus picks us up, put us into the wheelbarrow and pushes us all the way across the abyss taking us right into Heaven. If we do not resist by climbing out of the wheelbarrow, if we listen when He tells us to “sit still”, then we will have been saved by His grace through faith (trusting) in Him.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.