Summary: The Stipulation.
THE STIPULATION OF MAN
1. The Bar-tailed Godwit is a medium sized bird, about the size of a seagull. It has a long, skinny beak, and as it feeds on the Mud flats of New Zealand, it becomes inordinately fat. Now these birds make the longest non-stop flights of any bird. Satellites have tracked females with transmitters taking non-stop flights from Alaska to New Zealand. This return route of their annual migration is nearly 8,000 miles long, from the northern reaches of the North Pacific to the southern extremes of the South Pacific. It’s the equivalent of flying from London to Los Angeles and overshooting LA by 1,000 miles. The bar-tailed godwit makes this amazing journey in eight days, without ever stopping to eat, drink, or rest along the way.
I read where someone said this is physically impossible! That is what faith does! It places its full confidence in God to do what we could never do. Salvation is impossible!
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:25-26
2. Faith in the Lord Jesus brings about what is humanly impossible – salvation by the power of God.
3. Therefore it is extremely important that we understand what faith is, and what it is not. Let’s look at the one stipulation for salvation.
Trans: Let’s review where we have been:
I. The Situation.
A. God’s Perfection.
B. God’s Creation.
C. God’s Demonstration.
II. The Separation.
A. Standard of Deity.
B. Sin Debt.
C. Satanic Dominion.
D. Spiritual Death.
III. The Solution.
IV. The Salvation.
V. The Stipulation.
Salvation is always through faith, not because of faith (Eph. 2: 8). Faith is the channel through which we receive God’s gift of eternal life; it is not the cause. This is so man can never boast, even of his faith. But faith is the necessary and only channel (John 5: 24; 17: 3). Normally the New Testament word for believe (pisteuo) is used with the preposition eis (John 3: 16), indicating reliance or confident trust in the object. Sometimes it is followed by epi, emphasizing the trust as laying hold on the object of faith (Rom. 9: 33; 10: 11). Sometimes it is followed by a clause that introduces the content of the faith (10: 9). The verb is used with a dative in Romans 4: 3. But whatever the form, it indicates reliance on something or someone.
This is extremely important! Because if we get what faith means wrong, say add to it, we turn the gospel of grace into a works salvation, which is really NO salvation at all!
A. The Meaning of Faith.
The Substance of believing.
We have made faith too complicated, some have so many strings attached to faith that it could choke a large elephant! But it is compared with such simple things like:
• Receiving (Jn. 1: 12).
• Drinking (Jn. 4: 14).
• Eating (Jn. 6: 40 with v. 54), and
• Looking (Jn. 3: 14-15).
Some try to make faith a synonym for “commit” but those examples of drinking, eating, looking are not related to commitment but of appropriating or taking what is there.
It involves three basic concepts:
• Intelligence. We have to understand the gospel and that can only be done through the illumination of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2: 14). He alone can convince us that we are sinners under God’s just and holy wrath (Rom. 3: 23; 6: 23); that the Lord Jesus Christ is the God/man who died in our place (Rom. 5: 8); and then rose from the dead (Rom. 10: 9-10/1 Cor. 15: 3-6). Moreover, that He is the only way of salvation. It all begins with intelligence, we must first hear the gospel as the Holy Spirit gives us understanding of what we hear (Ac. 18: 8/ Rom. 10: 14/ Eph. 1: 13/ 1 Cor. 15: 3-4).
If you go to a doctor and he examines you and then tells you that you have a fatal disease – you now know you have a problem.
• Intelligence has to lead to Acceptance. When one hears the gospel, they have to accept it as the truth.
Again if you go to the doctor and he tells you, you have a tumor that will kill you if it is not removed, you have to make a choice. Do you believe him or not? Some are simply unwilling to believe (Mt. 23: 37). Refusing to accept that we are sinners and that Jesus is the only way of salvation will ultimately lead to eternal judgment.