Faith Renewed by Grace

Why Does Our Faith Need to Be Renewed?

In Genesis 12, God calls Abram from Ur of the  Chaldees in Mesopotamia and provides a covenant  of great promise to him, but just three chapters later  (Gen. 15), we see God renewing his covenant and his  promises to him. Thus, he serves as one of many, many  examples of one whose faith needed renewing, since we  find God saying at the very beginning of the chapter,  “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding  great reward” (Gen. 15:1). In other words, since fear is  the opposite of faith, evidently Abram needed his faith  renewed.

The apostle Paul points out the need for faith  being renewed in Galatians 6:1:  “Brethren, if a man  be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore  such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself,  lest thou also be tempted.” Since Christianity demands  giving God our heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke  10:27), then from time to time, our faith needs renewing.  We are prone to falter along the way. Thus, as we consider  the overall theme of “Renewing our Faith,” let us seek  to answer the question, “Why does our faith need to be  renewed?”

Our faith needs to be renewed because of the  continual need for the grace of God. Paul denotes the  conditional nature of grace when he declared, “ Not  by works of righteousness which we have done, but  according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of  regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which  He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our  Savior; That being justified by His grace, we should  be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life ”  (Titus 3:5-7). In such, he connects our salvation by  “ the washing of regeneration ” with our justification  by grace. Naturally, “ the washing of regeneration ” is  an allusion to our faithful response of obedience to  God by submitting to the act of baptism. While God  supplies grace void of any merit on our part (Eph. 2:8- 9), “ the washing of regeneration ” is a condition of our  redemption. Again, Paul clearly gave both the divine  offer for salvation (“ For by grace are ye saved …”), as  well as the human responsive condition for acceptance  (“… through faith …”), which he later links with the fact  that we were “ cleansed by the washing of water with the  word ” (Eph. 5:26). While scholars almost universally  acknowledge the washing to be an allusion to baptism,  we can clearly see the condition of our reception of His  grace includes baptism.

However, add to this the fact that certain conditions  exist for one to continue in His grace. Far too many  believe that once God demonstrated grace in their lives,  God would never allow them to fall away (perseverance  of the saints). Yet, the Bible is clear that a child of God  can fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). It is possible to deny our  Lord who bought us to the point of destruction (2 Pet.  2:1). If one cannot fall from grace, then why did Paul and  Barnabas urge their brethren to “ continue in the grace  of God ” (Acts 13:43). Therefore, God has established  parameters for his children to keep ourselves in the  love of God (Jude 1:21) and to give diligence to make  our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10) so that our  reception of the amazing grace of God is not in vain (2  Cor. 6:1). If so, it surely would be our fault and not His!

Our faith needs to be renewed because we often  falter along the way as those who are prone to the  temptations of the world. Consider the case study of  Simon the sorcerer from Samaria in Acts 8. He heard  the same gospel preached by Philip and submitted to  its conditions as did others. In fact, Luke describes his  conversion in precisely the same language as he did  the other believers (Acts 8:12-13). However, shortly  thereafter, Simon succumbed to the temptation before  him when he was fascinated at the ability of the apostles  to convey miraculous gifts through the process of laying  of hands. Thus, he attempted to bribe Peter and John  with money to purchase this unique ability. As a result,  his faith needed be renewed:  “But Peter said unto him,  Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought  that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou  hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is  not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy  wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine  heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in  the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts  8:20-23). In other words, he needed his faith renewed  because he was in danger of “perishing” with his money.  One author defined the term and declared that Simon was  on the road to destruction unless he repented!

James declares frankly when he wrote,  “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one  convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth  the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul  from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins”  (James  5:19-20). Thus, speaking of brethren, one can “err” in  such a way that he needs “converting,” which would  indeed save his soul and avert his destiny. May we all  caution ourselves from those things that would destroy  our faith, avail ourselves of the resources to renew our  faith when we falter, and appreciate the love and grace  of God every day of our lives!

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