Volume. XXVIII, No. 2
Sunday, 14 July 2013


Three Types of Faith - Part 1


Introduction

 

In April 1988, one evening news in the U.S. reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes.  On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn't until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was free-falling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. This may sound tragic to man, but faith in anything but the all-sufficient Christ can be just as tragic spiritually as this skydiver without a parachute. Only with faith in Jesus Christ, dare we commit our whole being into the unforeseen future.

 

By the way, what is faith? Faith is an essential element in the Christian life. Without faith, the author of Hebrew says, “it is impossible to please God.” The Christian is saved by faith. The Christian is also called to walk and live by faith. Therefore, it is paramount to realize what saving faith is and what faith is not. There are different kinds of faith or three elements of saving faith: knowledge, conviction and commitment. True saving faith involves in all three elements. Without all three elements working together, faith is not faith, therefore it is dead or inoperative. Just as your car will only be operative when it has spark plugs, fuel, and the engine, without any one of which, the car is “dead.” My friends, do you have this saving faith?” Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:10: “…brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Yes, God must work all these graces in us, we cannot save ourselves. Yet, we are also called to make it “certain” to ourselves that we have been chosen, and are truly called into the kingdom of God. Therefore, let us make our calling and election sure as we consider the three types of faith and examine what saving faith truly is, based on the second chapter of the epistle of James, verses fourteen to twenty-six.

 

Dead Faith: Faith exclusively Intellectual” (vv. 14-18)

 

What is the Nature of Dead Faith? (verses 14-16)

 

According to James, “dead faith” substitutes words for deeds. James gives us an illustration in verses 14-16: 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” By the way, James is only giving us an illustration on how we can show our faith by our works. There is no need to feel guilty just because you had never given alms (i.e. giving to the poor). Moreover, I believe the context which James describes here refers to many religious people in his day who simply knew about the Lord but never had any real relationship with Him. Now, if you are a born again Christian, I shall not assume that you are merely a religious person—you are a child of God!

 

Nonetheless, the principle found in James 2:14-16 should be applicable to all of us. We should never substitute words with works. If a professing Christian always feels comfortable substituting his knowing with doing, then he must really examine his own salvation, James said – because such faith is dead. Bear in mind that I am not saying that one would lose his salvation if he does not show his faith with works. It is most likely that James is saying that those who never attest their faith with works were never saved in the first place. During the first century, perhaps James encountered many religious people sitting in the synagogues who knew how to use all the correct vocabulary for prayer and were well–versed in all Bible doctrines, but unfortunately, they never proved their faith with their works.

 

Dear readers, knowing about Jesus Christ is totally different from knowing Him personally.  The question I want to ask you is, “do you know Jesus Christ personally as your Lord and Saviour?” Or do you simply know about Him? Simply knowing about Him is good, but it is not going to save you.

 

Can This Type of Faith Save? (verses 17-18)

 

 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

 

James said, “Faith without works is dead” (verse 17). This verse has been grossly misused and misinterpreted by many cult and pseudo Christian groups, particularly from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). What is the orthodox Christians' interpretation of this verse? There have been three primary interpretations of this passage of Scripture. The first view is that it refers to a person who was a believer but has lost his salvation. He used to have saving faith but does not have it any longer. This is the Arminian view. The second view is that it refers to an unbeliever who professes to be a Christian but has never really exercised saving faith in Christ. His faith is only intellectual assent, not saving faith. This is the view of the Reformed Churches. The third view refers to a believer who is not living by faith. He is not behaving consistently with what he believes.

Naturally another question arises: “Can a genuine believer possess a dead faith?” I do not think so. Dead faith is dead and it does not and cannot bear fruit. Remember the parable of the sower? (Matthew 13, Luke 4) Some seeds fell by the wayside, some seeds fell upon stony places and some fell among thorns and some into good ground?

 

By the way, this parable is not talking about different kinds of Christians. Every Christian will bear fruit since every born again Christian has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, only the seeds which fell into the good ground describe born again Christians bearing fruits in different capacities (i.e. 30, 60 and 100 fold).

 

Now, can dead faith bear fruit? This is like asking, “Can a dead man talk?” Some years ago, it was reported in the news that two women were arrested after attempting to smuggle a dead man onto a flight by telling authorities he was asleep. The family had booked seats on a flight to Germany and had requested help for their apparently “disabled” relative, according to one of the newspaper agencies. The security staff said they became suspicious after helping the motionless man out of the taxi into a wheelchair — of course he was motionless because he was dead. A dead man is unable to talk or respond. Now, can a man who has dead faith produce any work? No, he cannot. In such a person’s mind, he knows the doctrine of salvation, but has never really submitted himself to God and trusted in Jesus for salvation because his faith is dead.

 

Therefore, dead faith cannot save a person, because dead faith is based exclusively on intellectual assent. We shall consider the second type of faith, called Intellectual and Emotional Faith next week.

Pastor David Weng

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Boong Atijatuporn. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm

*Session thanks Bro Kevin Currell, Sunday School teachers & helpers for the VBS

*Those who have completed their BBK & seek Baptism, Confirmation or Church Membership, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Lee ASAP.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class to start soon. Please see Ps Weng or Elder Lee if interested.

*ACM Reports: please submit your reports to Dn Colin Gan by 31 July (latest).

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bro Kevin Currell (Melb); Dns Joyce Gong; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Adl); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), Houston Li, Raphael Ng (Barossa/Adl), Pirun Pech (Europe), Lucas (Adl) & Luther Yiew (Adl/S’pore); Sisters  Amanda Tan, Mary Ting & family (Adl) & Emily Zheng (Fuzhou/Nanping); & others who are travelling.  

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. Vacation Bible School - Gospel preached; Bro Kevin Currell & Ministry, Sunday School teachers, assistants, helpers, food/drinks/hospitality/transport providers & children.

4. Healing: Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca)

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

6. Job: Sis Felicia Tan (S’pore)

7. Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward & Mrs Lehia Paauwe; Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Margaret Pearson, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi (Nursing Home) & Audrey Yeo; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Bro Len Pearson (Lobethal); Sis Sooi Chin Gong’s mother (serious illness).

3. Salvation: Mrs Chuilin Yap & family (Malacca).

4. Children’s Ministry: Bro Kevin Currell (Melb).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry

7. Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions & Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & Missionaries serving the Lord round the world.

8. Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki.

9. Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Ps & Sis Weng. 

10. Journey mercies: Bros Houston Li & Raphael Ng (Barossa/Adl); Sisters Megan Lim (Adl) & Felicia Tan (Melb/Adl); &  others who are travelling. 

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12. Full-time Job - Bros Timothy Ngoma & Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Corinne Teng & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.

13. Australian Visas - Sisters Clara Sim, Felicia Tan (work) & Sharon Ying (Perth - for PR).

14. God’s guidance & provision - Pastor for Hope BPC.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063