When God Adopts YouHE “RESCUES” YOU!
The word faith has two different and opposing definitions. The secular world uses one definition of faith. God defines faith in a completely differen way, especially when He explains to you His gift of baptism and adoption. If you are a Christian, be absolutely sure you understand God’s definition of faith. If you do not use God’s definition of faith, as Luther says in his preface to his commentary on Romans, you cannot understand what God is telling you about His miracle of baptism and adoption. The devil will then push from your heart God’s certainty and fill you with Satan’s uncertainty and anxiety.
A SIMPLE EXPLANATION OF FAITH FOR YOU
In a simple way, the two drawings in this page（略）will help you understand God’s definition of faith.
The secular world defines faith as a strong internal（self）determination to be religious or Christian. It is popularly believed that this inner-generated determination enables you to overcome trials and temptations in life. People who live with this twisted and secular definition of faith believe they must “make a decision” for Christ. These people are often taught to cling to Christ with all their might by following certain spiritual laws, rules, principles, or guidelines. If they do not follow these Christian principles, they could drop away from God, and potentially be lost forever.
This heretical understanding of faith is illustrated here in a story based on an actual event. A woman is being rescued from a flood.. God’s helicopter of salvation hovers over the drowning woman in a turbulent waters.and trials of life. Those in the helicopter drop a rope down to her. They command her to grap it and hang on. The woman obeys the command. However, because she is already tired from swimming and has lost much strength, she can cling to the rope only so long. When she is nearly into the helicopter, she can no longer hold on. Her hands give up. She falls back into the raging water and is never seen again! In othsr words, when the helicopter’s crew came to save her, they dangled God’s salvation rope in front of her. It was up to her to “make a decision” to grasp the rope and hang on with enough strenghth（faith）to save herself. But, spiritually, God says, through his own effort, no person will be justified or saved（Galatians3:11）。
GOD INITIANS AND COMPLETES THE RESCUE
WITH NO HELP OR COOPERATION FROM YOU
The Second picture shows God’s definition of faith. Here, another helicopter has just picked up a man who had almost completely drowned. He was already unconscious. One of the men in the helicopter rappelled down the rope, put the unconscious man in a rescue sling, and brought him all the way to safety. God works very much the same way when He adopts you through His miracle of baptism. In His grace God does everything, and you don’t do anything. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”（Philippians2:13）. Through the apostle Paul, God graciously reminds us that we have not saved ourselves, but rather “(God) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son”（Colossians1:13）.Yes, when God rescued you from the raging water of sin and death, there was no way you could have made a decisions to save yourself. Why？God says: “You were dead in your trepasses and sins”（Ephesians2:1）.
GOD RESCUES YOU AND KEEPS YOU STRONG BY HIS LIVING WORD
Many today have been misled by televangelists to believe that God dangles His rescue plan of salvation in front of them, expecting the sinner, the unconscious and drowning person, through his own ability, to cling to the rope as his lifeline of salvation. Read in Ephesians2:1-3 God’s description of you before He rescues you. You were spiritually dead in your trespasses and sin. A sipiritually dead person cannot grasp the rope of salvation.Is there any way you could cling to a rope of salvation?（Galatians3:11）
God says His rescue plan to save you from your sin does not work as evangelical and fundamentalist televangelists teach. Rather, when you are baptized, God brings His lifeline to you, to adopt you. He does it all. God is in you “Both to will and to work” your salvationin baptism and adoption（Philippians2:13）. God says He attaches you to Christ（Romans6:3）. He “rescues you”（Colossians1:13）. He does not simply dangle salvation before you and then say: “make a decision, hang on as best you can!” Instead, God begins and also completes your rescue, because “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus”（1Corinthians1:30）.
Once God rescues you and begins a new life in you, He urges you to feed on His living and life-giving Word. Just as no one becomes strong by asking his earthly father or mother: “Make me stronger,” so also a person desiring a stronger faith does not simply say: “God, make my faith stronger.” God expects His adopted children（those within whom He has placed the gift of faith and life）to be strengthened by the food He privides them. Therefore, you will not ignore the offered spiritual food and demand of God: “Strenghen my faith.” Remember Jesus ’ words: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”（Matthew4:4）. Make sure you hear Christ-centered sermons and Bible studies as often as you can. Go to Holy Communion regularly, especiallly when you fell you need strength to face each new day. Also, feed faithfully in the Word of Absolution spoken by your pastor.
IT ALL CENTERS ON GOD’S GIFT OF FAITH TO YOU
Now, rethink what you have read on the previous pages about the secular world’s explanation of faith. Compare it with God’s definition of His gift of faith for you as His adopted child. “ For he rescues us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to kingdom of His beloved Son”（Colossians1:13）; “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me fafely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”（2 Timothy 4:18）; “For when we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”（Romans5:6,8,10）.Most people, perhaps also you, struggle because the devil wants you to live a secular idea of faith, and idea which makes your responsible for your salvation, thereby dangling you over the turbulent waters of doubt. Reject the secular, popular, and widely-held wrong belief that faith is something you are expected to do. Instead, cling to the Word of God which says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, ABD THAT…IS THE GIFT OF GOD…that no one should boast”（Ephesians2:8-9）
A SHOCKING SURVEY
Do a simple survey. Ask as many people as you can speak to in one day this question: Do you believe your faith is something you do, or is it a gift you receive? Be prepared! Most, if not all, people will tell you faith is something they do. Many believe they have connected themselves to God by “making a decision” or “deciding” for Him. Even many Lutherans will argue that, in their relationship with God, faith is their part of the deal, a religious commitment the must accomplish! They frequently give in to the devil’s temptation to ignore God’s clear teaching that their faith is His gift to them. Acts3:16, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” Colossians2:12, “having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead”. You have not saved yourself. God has rescued you（Colossians1:13）