Roy J. Hearn
Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Everyone interested in salvation should understand how this is accomplished. Due to false teaching, it is often shrouded in darkness, and people fail to investigate Gods word and are thus deceived.
The church of Christ is often misrepresented. Opponents say God must do the converting and accuse us of denying that. They also say one must be converted by the Spirit and power of God and imply that we also deny that. Some say the heart is changed by faith and that faith is a gift from God and accuse of denying that. But we believe all these things to be true. There is no difference on what God does, but how He does it. To the law and the testimony (Isa. 8:20), and let that decide.
Faith is Produced by the Word of God
Jesus prayed for a certain class of people—those who believe on Him through the words of the apostles, His personal representatives on earth (John 14:26; 16:13-15; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). John 20:30-31 shows that saving faith comes through the written word of God. Peter said that the Gentiles believed by hearing the word from his mouth (Acts 15:8).
The apostle Paul testifies that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17), but that one must hear before faith can be produced (Rom. 10:14). There is no belief without first hearing the word. All these witnesses agree. The only difference is that now the word that produces faith is written in the New Testament.
Paul told Timothy to preach the things that he had heard from him with many witnesses (2 Tim. 2:2). Further, he said we should stand fast in the word he had taught whether by word or letter (2 Thess. 2:15), and that any who would teach a different doctrine would be accursed (Gal. 1:6-9).
How the Holy Spirit Gives Faith
As shown above, in reference to John 16:13-15, the Spirit was sent to the apostles to guide them into all truth. First Peter 1:12 says they preached the gospel with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. Acts 2:1-4 reveals the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that the apostles began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. In Revelation 2:1, Christ says, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus, write…” And verse seven says, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. So the Spirit speaks through the written word.
Where is all this found? In the New Testament. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says that the Scripture furnishes all one needs for perfection. Second Peter 1:3 says that everything that pertains to life and godliness comes through knowledge, and for that reason one should study (2 Tim. 2:15).
How People are Converted by the Power of God
Romans 1:16 says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone who believes it, and faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17). This word was given to the apostles by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13).
Paul said the gospel came to him by revelation (Gal. 1:11-12), and Peter affirmed that the Gentiles were purified by faith which was produced by his preaching (Acts 15:7-9). Furthermore, Peter says one purifies his soul in obeying the Truth (1 Pet. 1:22).
Without doubt, therefore, the Scripture teaches that faith is a gift of God, but that it comes from a study of God’s word, not in some mysterious, direct means.
This is Demonstrated by Divine Example
Acts two reveals that the Holy Spirit spoke to the multitude through the apostles (Acts 2:1-4, 22). When they heard the word preached they were pricked in their hearts—made believers. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) which was wielded by the apostles and other preachers (Acts 2:1-4, 22-27; 8:4-5, 12). When the people on that Pentecost day heard the word preached by the apostles, they were pricked in their hearts—convicted of sin.
The Pentecostians Led by The Spirit
Their change, or purification, was begun, and the effect was produced by the Holy Spirit. They were led by the words spoken by the apostles. But where? They were led to cry out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter answered and said, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” Acts 2:37-38).
With this example, it clear that to be led by the Spirit, to receive faith, and be saved by the power of God is accomplished by the written word now. Please observe that the whole process of conversion was begun in preaching the gospel, and hearing the gospel which produced faith and repentance, and obeying the gospel which in baptism which consummated salvation.
Is Something Besides the Word of God Needed?
How do you know Christ is the Son of God? The Bible says so. Don’t you need some other proof? No, for the Bible says so. How do you know there is a heaven to be gained and a hell to be avoided? The Bible says so. Do you not need other testimony? No, the Bible is enough.
If one were to hear Christ say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” how would he know he was pardoned? Christ said so. Would you need other proof? No, for Christ said so.
The same Christ says that in order to be saved one must:
Believe in Him as God’s Son (John 8:24).
Repent of sins (Luke 13:3); Acts 3:19).
Confess Him before men (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37).
Be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38; 10:48; Rom. 6:3-6).
Christ promises to save one who obeys His word. Why fight it?