“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:17
There is a kind of faith that does not save, and the only way for you or me to distinguish between the faith of Christ Jesus that saves, and a faith that may profess Christ but does not save, is by what that faith produces.
Jesus said, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew 7:20 NLT
Yes; it is possible to have a false assurance of salvation, meaning that we could think we are saved when in fact we are not. Jesus makes this point very clear in several passages. One such passage is Matthew 7. In verses 22 & 23 He said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
How horrifying would that be? God’s love should compell us to compassionately speak the entire truth to all. Yes, that’s right, when we do speak it, we’ll not be very popular with the world, and with many who have joined themselves to the church and yet are still of the world—they don’t know the real Jesus Christ.
“The faith that saves is that which actively produces the virtues of Christ within the believer.”
These virtues of godliness perform, they do stuff—they are active. The working of His Holy Spirit within is reproducing all the attributes of God in those who belong to Christ. It is called being sanctified—set apart from the world to become holy, just as He is holy. Our works of righteousness can never save us. But the reason God saved us is so that we can and will do good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Enjoy these beautiful lines from “The Book of Praise.”
Tis from the mercy of our God
That all our hopes begin;
His mercy saved our souls from death,
And washed our souls from sin.
His Spirit, through the Savior shed,
Its sacred fire imparts,
Refines our dross and love divine,
Rekindles in our hearts.
Thence raised from death, we live anew;
And justified by grace,
We hope in glory to appear,
And see our Father’s face.
Let all who hold this faith and hope
In holy deeds abound;
Thus faith approves itself sincere,
By active virtue crowned.