Like the Manna that fell in the wilderness, the Word of God is from heaven above, and in this time of the end, God has pulled back the veil over the Scriptures to reveal some glorious facts, like the fact that we are saved by the faith of Christ and not by our own faith. Surprisingly, some so-called Reformed people fight against this idea: they say, “Oh, that is not so,” even though the Bible does say so in Galatians chapter 2. I will turn there to read it because it is such a wonderful verse:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The elect of God are justified by the faith of Christ, that is, the faith belonging to Him. And yes, it is correctly translated “of” and not ‘in’ because the word Christ is in the genitive case and the genitive case shows possession. Again, we have some so-called Reformed people who will say, “Oh, no, you are not understanding that correctly.” Then they will try to “spin it” and change it to “in Christ” because the idea of saving faith without any contribution from man will not align properly with their doctrinal agenda. And yet the Bible flatly tells us in Ephesians 2:8 that saving faith is not our own:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
It is not your faith. Literally, Ephesians 2:8 says that ‘faith is not out of you’. It is through the gift of God, and Christ Himself is that unspeakable gift of God – salvation is through faith belonging to Him, it is His faith, as it says in the book of Habakkuk. You know, in the New Testament, Habakkuk is quoted and the statement is made that we “live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38). But, you see, the Lord wrote the Bible this way in order to test the reader, so He did not quote it in the New Testament exactly as it was worded in the Old Testament.
Habakkuk 2:3-4 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
I suppose people could even misinterpret this verse and misapply it to themselves since they see themselves as being basically just. And, yet, the Bible will have none of that because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: “There is none good, no not one.” And that would include the fact that none are just. None are righteous. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” the Bible tells us. It is not our faith in any way – it is His faith, the faith of (belonging to) Christ that justifies. It is His faith by which a man lives and, yet, that is fought and argued against by many who have always claimed to be “Calvinists.” I do not like using the term Calvinist because we do not need these kinds of identification – we are Bible believers and we trust the Bible and the things the Bible says. But I am speaking of Reformed men, and this is the claim they make as they take a Biblical doctrine like election and tie it to a man such as John Calvin; doing this helps their natural minds in perceiving it and holding onto it. So, they say they are Calvinists and they believe in election and, yet, all through the history of the church age they would say things like this: “Oh, God saves us. It is the doctrine of election. He predestinated us.”
Then in the next breath, they would say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” When someone says, “But I thought it was all of God and that He does this,” then they respond, “Yes – but He commands us to believe, so we have to play our part.” They twist the Bible’s teaching on faith and they turn it, and they confuse people about it to no end. And when it came to faith, this was the typical situation throughout the entire church age for almost two thousand years. It wasn’t until only recently that the Lord showed His elect people Galatians 2:16 and opened up their understanding to it.
If you don’t think the church has been greatly confused about saving faith all you have to do is read the writings of the early church or the medieval church or the churches during the Reformation, or you can read the church fathers and theologians right up until today…and by the way, personally, I have read them. I will just mention this because I’m sure some people will say, “How do you know? Have you actually read the testimony of the church regarding faith?” Well, I will not say I have read everything, but, yes, I have read a great deal of church literature on the subject. For several years I worked at Family Radio in the lead up to May 21, 2011. Part of my task was to compile the things the announcers would read on air; that is, I had to go on the internet or to whatever books I could find, and I searched for faithful material that would be in agreement with the many new doctrines the Lord was opening up through Mr. Camping’s teachings. Since I was looking for things that might be in agreement with the doctrines we were newly learning I kept a special watch out for anything having to do with faith that might come close to the truth that Christ saved His people by His own faith and not the faith of man. I would the articles I found in a nice, neat little package for FR’s various programs, like “Music to Live by,” or for “Rise, and Rejoice,” and practically all the Family Radio programs in which the announcer would read articles on air. I did this for several years. That means I had to find everything I could. I did not care if it was from the 3rd century A. D. or the 15th century A. D., I was looking for anything and everything that was true and faithful (to the Bible). And, of course, it helped if it was older because it was “public domain” and I could work with it a little bit and even modify certain portions to make sure it was true to the Bible as we understand it at this time of the end.
Of course, having the task of providing material for all the announcers on a weekly basis caused me to read an enormous amount of material from the writings of the churches. Week after week I read what had been written about saving faith down through the centuries of the Church Age, and rarely, very rarely…I might come across a statement that seemed to fit in with the doctrine that we’re saved by the faith “of” Jesus and not our own faith. Typically, I really cannot remember a single writer…I would not come across anyone that had a proper understanding of the faith of Christ. Truly, for the first time, the elect people of God began to understand this in the 1990’s – I think it was about 1994 – when we first began to understand that we are justified by the faith of Christ, it was a definitely a “new thing.” It was a brand new doctrine. This information was something that our church forefathers knew nothing of, and, you see, as this teaching came to light it settled things and cleared up the mass confusion caused by the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Catholics and the Independent churches. All the many churches had different takes on how you could become saved and what the Bible meant by faith. They all had their own particular variations, like so many of their doctrines.
And, yet, God clarified it with one beautiful unearthing of a Scripture as He brought it to the surface of understanding in the minds of His elect people – it was the faith of Christ, not man’s faith. There it was staring at the reader of the Bible all along. Just as the salvation of the Gentiles was plainly declared in numerous Old Testament verses and yet not understood for hundreds and even thousands of years. Not too long after, we were able to identify the faith of man as a “work of the law,” and we saw that it was not just a problem for the Armenian churches or free-will churches, but it was the Reformed churches as well that were perverting the pure Gospel of grace and turning it to a “works gospel” by deceitfully adding just a little bit of man’s work to the grace of God, by “sleight of hand.” You know, that might make the Reformed churches even worse offenders than the Armenians because it is one thing when someone is doing something in full public view, so to speak: “Oh, we believe in a free-will gospel in this church.” That is one thing, and it’s wrong; but it is even more deceptive and more underhanded for those that claim to be God’s people and claim to give God the glory when it comes to all matters related to salvation as those in the reformed community tend to do: “We are the people of God – we believe in election. We are Calvinists. We are Reformers.” Yes, they say these things, but then they add their one little twist and turn. It was taught in the seminaries, and I also did attend a Reformed Episcopal seminary, and in that seminary (as well as many other Reformed seminaries), they teach: “Believe like a Calvinist. Preach like an Armenian.” Is it any wonder that confusion results? Of course not, but God clarified it when He opened the Scriptures which had been sealed up till the time of the end and began to rain down manna from heaven – “new bread” no one had ever heard before. None had ever seen it before.