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An Illustration of Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
–Ephesians 2:8

Paul is clear we’re not saved by faith; we are saved through faith. To help you understand that, I want to use this illustration to demonstrate this important truth that we are not saved by our faith, but through our faith.

You probably have a television cable in your home somewhere. One end of it is attached to your television receiver, and the other end is attached to a cable box. The cable simply connects your receiver to a transmitter. Now, imagine I come home one night from work, and I sit down in my favorite chair, and I see this piece of cable just sitting on my ottoman. I stare at it, and I think, “Where’s my television program?” I can look at my television cable all night long, and it’s not going to produce a television picture, is it? No, it has to be connected to something. It has to be connected to a transmitter, and it also has to be connected to the receiver–my television set–for me to see a picture.

It’s the same way with salvation. Think of salvation as that television cable connector. It’s connected to the transmitter, the cross of Jesus Christ that transmits salvation into my life. Without this cable, there is no connection between the cross and me. This is the connection point. That’s why Paul said in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace”–God’s work on the cross that we had nothing to do with–“you have been saved through faith.” Does that make sense? Faith is the connection between God’s offer and my acceptance.

Now, let me make another important point. Let’s go back to the television illustration for a moment. Let’s say your television cable is screwed into the back of your television set, but the other end of the cable, instead of being attached to the cable box, it’s attached to your toaster. Now I don’t care how long the cable is, I don’t care how reliable the cable is, you aren’t going to be watching any television tonight if that’s the case, because your toaster is completely incapable of transmitting a picture. And it’s the same way with salvation. It doesn’t matter how much faith I have; if I attach the other end of this cable to Hinduism, to Islam, to Buddhism, to Judaism, or even worse, if I just connect it to myself and say, “I’m going to transmit salvation through my good works,” then there is no salvation. Our faith is only as reliable as the object of our faith.

In Romans 4:5, Paul said, “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” The moment I come to the point when I realize I can’t save myself, I refuse to work for my salvation, and instead I believe in the one who declares me not guilty–Jesus Christ–God takes my faith no matter how small it is, and He counts it as righteousness. We are not saved by faith; we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The World’s Most Famous Jew Who Found Jesus” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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