Tag Archives: Faith Only

Your Faith Cannot Stand On Its Own!

May 22, 2014

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Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees - between 1886 and 1894 - James Tissot (1836–1902)

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees – between 1886 and 1894 – James Tissot (1836–1902)

“Faith Only” is doctrine that is easy to accept. What’s not to like? It is safe and there is no work to do.

But it is wrong.

There are many verses in the Bible that contradict “Faith Only” as the way to salvation. John 12:42-43 is a great single passage example. I love it because it makes the point in so few words:

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Here is why this verse shows us there is more to salvation than faith:

  • They would not confess Jesus – Jesus told us how he feels about that (Matthew 10:32-33)
  • They failed due to social pressures – They were more interested in what other men thought than what God wants
  • They did not want to repent – They wanted things to stay like they were.

Is there any way to argue that these people were in a saved state?

Faith simply cannot exist alone. Love and obedience are functionally synonymous with faith and give it life (John 14:15, James 2:17-19)

Complete and total faith is a requirement to be sure, but it is not the end of the road.

Here is a list of other posts I have written to dispute the faith only plan.

Here is the Gospel Plan of Salvation the way my Bible lays it out.

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Faith is a Work

May 9, 2014

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Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834–1890) - The Sermon On the Mount

Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834–1890) – The Sermon On the Mount

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. – John 6:29

This is a key verse to debate those who teach the “faith only” doctrine. Those who have allowed themselves to believe that there is nothing one can do to be saved have overlooked this verse.

There is also a difference in believing “in him” and “believing him.” If we are to believe in Christ, we have to trust that what he said is the way of salvation. Finding ways around his teaching is contrary to the spirit of what Jesus was about. A number of the followers turned away in John 6 when they started figuring this out.

Jesus marveled at man’s disbelief. (Mark 6:6) His villagers even used the fact that he was born among them and therefore could not possibly be worthy of his claims.

  • Not believing in God makes us equal to the animals
  • Not believing is contrary to human nature
  • Not believing leaves man without hope
  • Not believing closes the mind to the evidence of God

Faith takes a lot of work. It is how we separate ourselves from the world. It is how we decide to set priorities for “spiritual bread” over the physical bread.

As we make our daily choices – let’s pay more attention to which bread we are working for by choosing to enrich our faith.

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Hebrews 11 – Faith is an Action Word

February 15, 2014

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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?

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The Man in the Mirror

October 28, 2013

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I don’t know whether or not it is officially a cliché, but I occasionally hear someone wonder aloud if another person has a mirror in their house. Of course, they are referring to the way the person is dressed, or the way their hair looks.

James says the one who stares deeply into the perfect law and acts on it it will be blessed.

The last time you looked in the mirror and saw that your hair was a mess, did you just shrug and walk away?

Why not?

In James 1:22-24, this is the exact comparison James is making about those who hear the word, but keep doing something else. How many folks are walking around out there with Spiritual bed-head? How many are actively deceiving themselves out of salvation? (James 1:22)

The solution is to keep looking into the word. Just like we wouldn’t turn away from the mirror before combing our hair, we cannot turn away from the word without correcting what we see about ourselves. (James 1:25)

What do you see in the mirror?

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Obedience of Faith

October 25, 2013

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Romans ends the same way it started – the description of faith as something to be obeyed. (Romans 1:5, 16:26) Almost like bookends, Paul defines the faith he says is needed to get salvation.

I wonder if the convenient chapter headings make it difficult to see these verses. In my Bible, Romans 1:5 is in a section called Greeting and Romans 16:26 is  in a section called Doxology. While these handy subheadings are great for helping us find stuff in the Bible, they are not part of the Bible and should not be trusted as if they are.

Since these are essentially sections called “hello” and “goodbye,” it seems like it is ok to skim them. Those who do miss the two verses describing the faith needed for salvation. Take a look at Romans 1:5:

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations

This verse is chock full of information:

  • The Gospel is from the Christ (The “through whom” is continued from v4)
  • An apostle empowered to preach it is delivering it
  • The requirement of faith in Jesus
  • Obedience, the consequence of faith
  • The gospel is for all nations

Absolute, unwavering faith is required for salvation. We see Paul discuss it throughout the book of Romans (and his other letters for that matter.) The faith of Jesus Christ is a lot more than just making a statement of belief – it requires action. It requires response. It requires obedience. To get a sense of the extent we might have to go, take a look at the people in Hebrews 11. Now answer this: What if one of those people said to God, “I believe you can, but I’m not going to do that”?

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