And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.Luke 7:48-50
I want to use the term “saving faith” here because it fits and because I think it is a Biblical principle. However, I think the term has been misused or improperly defined. So, I want to take a moment and look at this scene in Luke’s gospel to see what saving faith truly is.
First of all, Jesus clearly teaches that our love toward Him is in response to something He has already done. We do not love and show devotion to God in order to get forgiveness. Our love and devotion is because we have already had our sin debt paid. In verse 48, Jesus declares that the woman’s sins are forgiven. Yet, He has shown that she was already forgiven. Her love and devotion were evidence of this fact. So, why does Jesus say this to her? Because she needed to know that her sins were forgiven. This is the purpose of the gospel. It helps us to know what Jesus has already done for us.
Keep these things in mind as you look at verse 50. When Jesus speaks the words, “Thy faith hath saved thee,” she had already been forgiven, and Jesus had already declared to her that she had been forgiven. Therefore, her faith could not have been the cause of her eternal salvation.
Jesus is telling one of two things, or possibly both.
- The object of her faith, Jesus, has saved her.
- Her faith allowed her to see forgiveness in Jesus and was saved from despair.
Whatever the case may be, Jesus adds to His statement and says, “go in peace.” In Matthew 11, Jesus promised that if we come to Him, we will find rest. He has saved us eternally, but we only find rest and peace when we come to Him believing that He is our Savior.
We have been given faith in the new birth so that we can understand what Jesus has done for us. Jesus deserves our response of love. We should come to Him in faith so that we can save ourselves from the worries and cares of our generation. We should come to Him in faith because He loved us so. We should love Him and go on in service to Him in peace.