(Article for publication week of 12-26- AD 2013)
"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:39). That none can be saved apart from faith is evident from even a cursory reading of the scriptures. In our text today Paul (I realize some have questioned the Pauline authorship of the Book of Hebrews, but we hold with the old school who believed he was the inspired writer of the epistle in which we find this week's text; ultimately, we don't have to argue about it much, for the Holy Spirit is the true author of all scripture) numbers himself among those who believe to the saving of the soul. He recognizes that some who had once professed to believe had drawn away unto perdition, and proven themselves to be apostate, but he trusts that his hearers and readers will not draw back, but prove to be true believers.
The doctrine of saving faith is so simple a little child can understand it. We know a few who were converted and believed to the saving of their souls from a tender age. Saving faith is so simple that those with very limited intellect may exercise it. We have known a few who were what we call retarded who have believed to the saving of their souls. Saving faith is so simple that people with no education can believe in Christ and be saved. We have known of a few who could not read or write that believed the gospel they heard and were saved. The fact is, God has chosen the simple and the foolish and by-passed the wise and prudent (Matthew 11: 25). Saving faith is simple, but in spite of its simplicity, many get it mixed up and are not saved. In the coming months we will be addressing this eternally important subject of saving faith. I hope you will be reading and telling others to be reading the Narrow Way, and that some will believe to the saving of their souls.
Now, the very first thing I wish to point out is that there is a vast and eternal difference between saving faith and "believism." There are multitudes all around us who suppose all is well because they "believe", but they are not believing to the salvation of their souls. James 2:19 tells us that the devils have a sort of faith, but they are not saved, and cannot be saved. Our text here in Hebrews 10:39 plainly says that some who profess to believe draw back unto perdition. I fear that many of my readers have a "faith" no better than that of devils. I want you to pay close attention now, for it is vital for the salvation of your soul to know and understand what true saving faith is, and whether you have it or not.
I want to emphasize that saving faith is NOT a sinner's contribution to his own salvation. This is popularly believed in these parts. People are urged to believe in Christ, or to "accept Christ", but they do not know what they are believing, nor do they know the Christ they think they have "accepted". I heard a popular preacher at a funeral awhile back who urged us to get our "card punched." He said he had gotten his " card punched”, and therefore he was going to heaven, and if we got our "card punched", we could go to heaven also. Dear readers, this is not even a distant cousin to saving faith. Saving faith is a gift of God whereby an elect sinner, broken by the terror of the law, repents of his sins and flees to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of sinners. Saving faith is in no sense meritorious, but relies wholly on the merits of Christ for salvation. Saving faith is not man -centered, but Christ-centered. Dear reader, will you believe to the saving of your soul?