(Article for publication week of 1-16- AD 2014)
"Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;" (Titus 1:1).
There is a faith which is peculiar to the elect of God. The devils have a sort of faith (James 2:19), but they are not saved, nor can they ever be saved. There are temporary believers who have a sort of faith (Luke 8:13), but they are not saved. There are many who have a natural or historical faith but neither are they saved. We read of such an one as Simon Magus in Acts 8:13 who "believed," but was not saved. Dear reader, please understand that having a natural faith will not save you. Just saying that you believe in God, or even to say that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is not necessarily saving faith.
First of all, the faith of God's elect is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). God has chosen whom He will save from all eternity and He sovereignly and graciously bestows the gift of faith upon all those that He chose for salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). No one has saving faith by nature, and no man may just decide by his "free" will that he will exercise saving faith. A sinner must be given the gift of faith by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Thus the scriptures speak of the faith of God's elect as being the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). So Ephesians 1:19 tells us that elect sinners believe to the saving of their souls by the working of God's mighty power in them.
Secondly, the faith of God's elect is in the saving work of Christ, and in His glorious Person. True saving faith renounces all human merit and trusts in Christ Alone for righteousness. The believer who is saved by grace alone has seen his lost and ruined state and flees to Christ for his whole and sole righteousness. Faith boasts not of itself, but boasts only in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ who worked out a perfect righteousness for His people by His life and by His death and resurrection. Note well, true saving faith, that is the faith of God's elect, is not a sinner's contribution to his salvation. Here is where so many miss salvation. They have been told that Christ has done His part, and now they must do their part by believing in Christ. Poor sinner, you have no part as far as having a righteous standing before God. Your best righteousness is only filthy rags before a Thrice Holy God. I tell you, you must renounce not only your sins, but also your pretended self righteousness if you will ever be saved. I beseech you neighbours, do not trust in anything in yourself for salvation. Don't even trust in your faith. Trust in Christ Alone.
The third thing I will notice about the faith of God's elect (which is the only faith that will connect you with Christ) is that it is always accompanied by all other spiritual graces. Thus James warns us that faith alone is dead (James 2:17). God's elect are justified by faith alone, but saving faith is never alone. Saving faith is always accompanied by repentance, humility, a broken and contrite spirit, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, mourning for sin, and all other graces.
My dear readers, I urge you to examine yourselves if you have the faith of God's elect, and if you are believing to the saving of your souls.