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Saving faith requires three things. First is conviction. One must be convinced in his heart that God exists - Hebrews 11:6. Yet, this conviction alone is not enough to save, since James 2:19 says that demons believe there is one God, but they are not saved. So, something more must be required in order for one to have saving faith.
Faith also requires trust in God. One must depend on God as the source of salvation. Daniel was saved from the lions, because he believed in God (Daniel 6:23). He did not just accept in his heart that God exists. He trusted God to deliver him from the lions.
Yet, one does not really trust God unless he has the last element of faith, and that is obedience. Now, many people will tell you that you are saved by faith without obedience. But the truth is that faith that does not obey is faith that does not save. James 2:14-26 shows that faith without obedience cannot justify, because it is dead and barren. Hebrews chapter 11 is the role call of Old Testament people of faith. But, when you study their lives you will see that every individual was rewarded by God only after his faith led him to obey God - never before that!
It is said that years ago a man was about to push a wheelbarrow across a tightrope over Niagara Falls. He asked the crowd how many believed he could make it. Many held up their hands. Then he asked them how many had faith enough to ride in the wheelbarrow! No, you do not need to cross Niagara Falls in a wheelbarrow to please God, but you do need the kind of faith that leads you to act in obedience to His revealed teachings.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 4/1996
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.