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New City Catechism - Question 35
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Posted by Ed Fedor, Associate Pastor

 

New City Catechism - Question 35

 

Q35: Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?

 

A: All the gifts we receive from Christ we receive through the Holy Spirit, including faith itself.

KIDS’ ANSWER: From the Holy Spirit.

 

SCRIPTURE TO MEMORIZE:

Titus 3:5

"he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

 

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES TO READ:

Romans 3:10-18, Ephesians 2:8-9

 

LIFE APPLICATION:

We all love receiving gifts. Children anticipate Christmas for a whole host of reasons, but one reason children get excited at Christmas time is they receive gifts! Gifts are wonderful expressions of the love and thoughtfulness of the giver toward the one receiving the gifts. And the grander the gift, the more emotionally moving it is to receive it.

 

Beyond any doubt, the grandest gift one could ever receive is the gift of eternal life. In the end, no matter how many other gifts we receive in our lifetime, if we don’t receive the gift of salvation, all the other gifts amount to nothing. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).

 

The forgiveness of our sin and the gaining of the righteousness of Christ can be received by faith alone. No number of good works, no matter how sincerely done they may be, can gain us a right relationship with God because our sin has earned us only judgment.

 

In our own strength we could never be saved. The apostle Paul declared that “no one understands, no one seeks for God” (Rom. 3:11). We “were dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Just as dead people can’t make themselves alive, spiritually dead people (those without faith in Christ) can’t make themselves spiritually alive. We need God to save us.

 

Every aspect of our salvation is a gracious gift of a lavishly gracious God. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” This verse teaches that the whole saving work of God is a gift from God. Even the repentance and faith to believe! (See also Acts 5:31, 11:18, 13:48). We see a dramatic example of this in the book of Acts where the apostle Paul preaches the gospel to a woman named Lydia in Thyatira. It says that “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” The Lord opened her heart to believe! Paul says in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.”

 

Yes, we must hear the gospel. Yes, we must understand the gospel. Yes, we must repent and believe the gospel. But it’s all a marvelous gift of God as an overflow of his unfathomable love toward sinners! What greater gift can we receive? And what great love and gratitude then flows to God, the gracious giver of those gifts!

 

CONNECTION TO CORNERSTONE’S STATEMENT OF FAITH:

 

MANKIND
We believe that man was created in the image of God, but fell into sin, and is therefore lost, and that only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.  (Gen. 1:26272:7223:1-6Rom. 3:9-12,235:12,186:23;  Jn. 3:35-7)

 

JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of  the Virgin Mary.  He who knew no sin died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures.  Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into Heaven, where at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Advocate.  (Is. 7:14Mt. 1:18-25;  Lk. 1:26-36;  Col. 2:9;  1 Jn. 5:20;  Mk. 10:45;  Heb. 2:9;  Lk. 24:23-40;  1 Cor. 15;  Acts 1:1-111 Pet. 3:221 Jn. 2:2Heb. 4:167:25)

 

SALVATION
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus by faith are born of the Holy Spirit, become children of God, and are saved for eternity.  (Heb. 9:22;  Mt. 26:281 Pet. 1:18,19Rom. 3:2425Rom. 5:1,  918Jn. 1:123:16Eph. 2:8,9)



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