It is long overdue, but I have began to delve into A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. I was not far into the first chapter until I had to pause in prayerful meditation coupled with remembering one of my past posts. The truth was revealed to me, but Tozer’s verbiage cast it more powerful to my affectations.
Salvation through faith has done well in its purposed design to debunk dangerous legalism. Unfortunately, as Tozer states, it has fallen into “bad company”, whereby shallow and spirit-less religion has formed salvation into a single mechanical experience. I am afraid that our pursuit of defrauding one extreme has thrust us in the other direction and caused us to arrive at the same destination. The Christian permissibly stalls, and his pursuit of God is quenched in a frame of mind rather than a way of life.
It is most necessary to realize that God is always previous to our response. We do not affect God with our effort anymore than He has inspired us to effort. His prevenient grace has brought us to our belief. We cannot afford this misdirection, because it will cost Christianity’s eternal security, assurance of salvation, and the sealing continuance of the Holy Spirit. Without viewing God as the author of grace, one will not be inclined to surrender to His perfecting power. It will cost Christianity its Biblical view of God’s workings.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I did not save myself. I will say it again, I did not save myself.
Stop. Think about that.
For the longest time I was under the impression it was by faith, but in reality it was through faith. My faith only manifests my salvation, it is not the power of my salvation. Before you pass this off, realize my aim in this: we need to redirect salvation back to God and off ourselves. It was by grace alone that I was saved. God saved me, not my faith. Faith is only the efficient cause of God’s grace in my life. This weight has now suddenly been released off my shoulders. No longer does my redemption hinge on my work or perspective – it is God’s work in me.
The same principle is seen in Romans 1:
[Jesus Christ our Lord] through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations
One must see that Grace is the primitive action, and faith is the byproduct and the first act of obedience whereby all obedience thenceforth flows. Obedience following salvation is an item of sanctification, and therefore faith ought be placed within that categorization – our sanctification not salvation.
Why is this so important? It is so that no one may boast. For if it was by my faith that I was saved, I have room to boast. I am afraid that in our pursuit towards Protestantism, fleeing past Catholic soteriology, we have come full circle. We are quick to say that salvation is not by our works, but yet we are also quick to attribute our faith as the means of our reconciliation to God. Our faith is our work. It is certainly the right path – to say our faith led to salvation – but we have stopped short. Yes, faith is absolutely necessary to please God, but we must see that faith is the proof to ourselves of God’s already working of grace in us! Salvation is not merely a procession of my own realization or a change in God’s attitude towards the called. It is active, not passive; it is the grace given by God that led to my transformation.