There are some in the religious world who believe and teach that we are saved by faith alone. That is a false and incorrect view and teaching. The Bible does not teach that we are saved by faith alone. A review of James chapter 2 shows that. It is the power of God that saves us, not our own; so we can’t boast about our salvation. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 5:8-9) but, as we examined in 3 earlier posts, salvation does not only require belief or faith in Christ.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?” (James 2:14). Simply believing in Christ is not enough to get us to heaven. “You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe – and they shudder (James 2:19). The devil believes in Christ; anyone can have faith and believe and not do anything with that faith.”In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself” (James 2:17).
“Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:20). “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). So we are made right with God by faith and works together, because faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
There are examples in the Bible of those who believed in Christ, but did not become His disciples and were not saved. John 12:42-43 reads, “Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” That passage also shows that confessing Christ is necessary, as well as Matthew 10:32-33.
What really matters is faith working through love (Galatians 5:6). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (John 14:15). If a person believes in Christ and they truly love Him, they will keep His commandments and do what He says. We’ve seen what He has said we must do in order to be saved. Jesus said in Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Jesus clearly stated that it’s not only belief that saves you. He said we have to believe and be baptized. We’ve also seen where Jesus said we must confess Him (Matthew 10:32) and repent (Luke 13:3).
Our faith has to have works behind it, otherwise it’s pointless. “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Abraham believed God and offered up Isaac. We can see in Hebrews chapter 11 that everyone who had faith did something because of their faith. Faith requires obedience, and obedience is a work. “After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). Faith without obedience is useless. If we say we believe in God but do not do what He says, what good is that?
The one who fears God and does what is righteous is acceptable to God (Acts 10:34-35). Our faith requires action. I don’t understand why people just want to take one piece of what Jesus said and not take the whole of His teachings about salvation. Is it really that much harder to, after you believe, confess Him, repent of your sins, and be baptized? If we love Him, let’s do exactly what He says and teach exactly what He teaches. “For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden” (1 John 5:3).
“So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).