Several times on this website, I have written about the two parts of the gospel. The first part of the good news is the gospel for unbelievers. It centers around the transaction; the move from death to life (Rom 6:23); the transfer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13); joining God’s family (Gal 3:26); all brought about by believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life (Jn 6:40). The second part of the gospel – equally good news – is the gospel for believers. It is all about how we live the life; how we live the Christian life; how we live the supernatural Christian life.
Both parts of the gospel, the transaction and living the life, are grasped by faith. The gospel is believed, embraced, attained, and laid hold of by faith. The initial move from “wages of sin is death” to “free gift of God is eternal life” is by faith. “For by grace you have been saved though faith” (Eph 2:8). This universal verse applies to all people who believe; to all who exercise faith in Christ for their salvation.
But Jesus also highlighted the need for faith in His individual encounters as well. In the last section of Luke chapter 7, Jesus visits the home of Simon, a Pharisee. While reclining at the table, a woman known to be a sinner crashes the party and begins to anoint Jesus’ feet. After engaging Simon in a parable about two debtors, Jesus turns to the woman and says, “Your sins have been forgiven…your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Lk 7:48,50).
Just as faith is required to enter the kingdom, faith is also a necessity for kingdom living; the life we live after the transaction. This is the theme of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. He keeps asking his readers, “Having been justified by faith rather than by works of the Law, why are you now returning to the Law to live the life? It doesn’t make sense. Just as your initial salvation was by faith, even so your new life is lived by faith.”
The first step to living by faith is to believe that your old man, the man with the sin propensity, has been crucified with Christ. “For I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20). The experience of living the exchanged life, that is, Christ living His life through me is embraced by faith.
So living by faith essentially comes down to this. Faith is how we take the promises of the unseen world – Christ living in me by His Spirit and all the newness that entails – and bring them to pass in the seen world where we live each day. We will start exploring the “how to’s” next post.