Daily Bible Reading for Wednesday, January 24th:

Hebrews 11 – Faith is an Action Word

Here is an exhaustive listing of the places in the Bible that mention “faith only” (Or “faith alone” depending on your version)

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. – James 2:24 KJV

Yes that’s it. The complete and unabridged list.

Belief is a Milestone

While faith is definitely a foundational step in salvation, it does not end there. God has never once in the Bible accepted a man at his word. Faith has been seen outwardly or demonstrated through an action each and every time God required it.

Sacrifice of Isaac - 1635 - Rembrandt (1606–1669)

Sacrifice of Isaac – 1635 – Rembrandt (1606–1669)

We can see that God requires the same kind of demonstration from us on our path to salvation:

  • We must hear and believe God’s word – Romans 10:17
  • We must repent of (turn our back on) our sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30
  • We must be willing to confess Jesus name – Mathew 10:32, Romans 10:9-10
  • We must be baptized for the remission of our sins – Acts 2:37-38, Galatians 3:36-27
  • We must live a Christian life – Revelation 2:10

When discussing the “faith only” doctrine with those who teach it, we can make some very solid points to show that it contradicts the rest of the Bible:

  • In Ephesians, the works Paul said wouldn’t save us were works of the Law of Moses.
  • In James’ letter, he is talking about works of obedience without which, our faith is dead.
  • John 6:29 shows us that faith is a work
  • Romans 2:6 is very clear that the judgment will include an account of our deeds.
  • In Mark 2:1-12, Jesus saw the faith of the friends of the man with palsy
  • In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus told the sinful woman that her faith saved her even though she never vocalized it.
  • In Hebrews 11, a list of faithful men had to act on their faith to please God.

Faith is a necessity of salvation, to be sure. What is also a necessity is to teach and follow the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:26-27)

The “Heroes of Faith” Didn’t Get Away With Faith Only

The Hebrews writer wanted us to understand that salvation does not come from some mental acknowledgement of God and Christ. If the world cannot see our faith, then it is not the kind of faith the Bible is talking about.

When we read through Hebrews 11, we can examine each and every hero and see that they had to go do something before God’s promise applied to them:

  • Faith led Abel to make the correct sacrifice – Hebrews 11:4
  • Enoch lived so that God was pleased with what he saw – Hebrews 11:5-6
  • Noah built an ark from believing that God would do something he had never seen – Hebrews 11:7
  • Abraham packed his family up and moved at God’s bidding – Hebrews 11:8-10
  • Abraham and Sarah had innumerable descendants through the faith that overcame doubt – Hebrews 11:11-12
  • Abraham was not afraid to give because he knew God could raise Isaac if he sacrificed him – Hebrews 11:17-19

….the list keeps going. We absolutely need faith to please God, (Hebrews 11:6) but we can also see that if any of these Hebrews 11 folks had failed to obey God, the outcome would be very different. (A great example is from the account of Moses striking the rock: Numbers 20:8-12)

If faith comes from hearing the word of God, and what we practice is different from his word, how can we say we have faith?


About Butch Adams

In addition to writing this blog and contributing elsewhere, I have served as elder and deacon in the various places I have worshiped. In these duties, I have concentrated my attention on the area of education - both in outreach to seekers through the Internet and inside the congregations for ongoing Bible scholarship. Comments and thoughts about referenced material in the article above are Copyright 2018 by Butch Adams . Any referenced material belongs to its owners and every attempt has been made to use it according to their wishes.

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