For by grace you have been saved through faith.
–Ephesians 2:8

In Romans 3, Paul demonstrated that God’s righteousness is offered as a gift, and it is based on Christ’s work. In verses 22 though 30, he showed that God’s righteousness is received through faith. Notice how many times in this passage we find the word “faith.” Verse 22: “Through faith in Jesus Christ.” Verse 25: “God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.” Verse 26: “He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Verse 28: “A man is justified by faith.” Verse 30: “God . . . will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” If faith is the way we receive God’s forgiveness, then what is saving faith?

Faith is not the basis of our salvation; it is the channel through which we receive salvation. We are saved by grace that is received through faith.

Let me illustrate that for you. Usually, a television set is connected to a cable. Suppose tonight I sit down in my favorite chair, and the cable is lying on my ottoman. I look at the cable and say, “Where is the evening news?” It does not matter how long I stare at the cable, the news is not going to appear. The cable is simply the channel through which a television program is received. For me to see the news, one end of the cable has to be connected to a transmitter (the cable box), and the other end has to be plugged into a receiver (the television set). Saving faith is the same way. It does not matter how much faith you have, faith alone saves no one. Instead, faith is the channel through which we receive God’s salvation. On one end, faith has to be attached to God. On the other end, faith has to be plugged into our hearts. Only when we have saving faith is Christ’s salvation poured into our lives.

What does it mean to have saving faith? First of all, saving faith demands truth. Just as that cable is only as effective as the object to which it is attached, so our faith is only as good as the object to which it is attached. Second, saving faith demands trust. Suppose a parachutist is standing on the edge of the open door of a plane. Is the parachute saving him at that point? No. If he dangles one foot out of the plane, is the parachute saving him? No. Only when he takes the plunge into the air and pulls the ripcord does the parachute actually save him.

You can believe intellectually that Jesus Christ is your Savior, but He does not save you until you throw yourself completely on Him and say, “I know I cannot save myself. I believe that only Jesus is capable of saving me. I am trusting in His righteousness alone.” Only when you throw yourself completely on Christ’s redemptive work are you saved. It is not having one foot out and one foot in. It is not saying, “I believe Christ died for me, but I am also trusting in my good works.” No. Only when you trust completely in the finished work of Christ are you saved.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “And Now for the Gospel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.