It’s Not “Faith Alone” So Why Call It That?
May 26, 2016
God is sovereign and can therefore require whatever He wants of the humans He has created. His Word reveals that He has ordered us humans to respond with obedience to the revelations and commands He has given and that this is the way to abide in Eternal Life. (Mt. 19:17 // 1 John 3:24) In other words, God, being the sovereign ruler of the universe, has decreed a law that humans participate, thus act upon, all that He has told them to do, and to do so with willing and eager fervency. (Mark 12:30 w/ John 14:15)
This being the case, let’s think through the misleading doctrine of “Faith Alone” that teaches that salvation is all a work of God and that we humans have no ability to take part in our salvation. Let’s ask: If this gospel message states that salvation is “by faith alone”, then is faith not something we do? Moreover, why is it also stated that salvation is “by grace alone” and “by Scripture alone” and “by Christ alone”, if it is only “by faith alone”? Is this not contradictory and nonsensical talk?
Is faith necessary for a person to be saved? Yes, but one’s faith must be in Christ. And is it necessary that one’s faith be in the true Christ –the One who is revealed in the Scriptures? Yes. So if salvation requires that we have faith, have faith in Christ, and have faith in the Christ whom Scripture reveals, is this all it takes? Or is the grace of God also necessary? Of course –God’s grace (His mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and pardon) is also necessary.
Then what about obedience? What about holding to Christ’s teaching so that we can know the Truth that sets us free? What about following Him, putting His words into practice, and walking in the will of the Father? Doesn’t Scripture tell us over and over that these things are necessary as well? It does. And what about our effort in doing so? How can anyone teach that effort is not necessary when Jesus warned us to “make every effort to enter” salvation (Luke 13:24) and Peter taught the same? (2 Pe. 1:5-11 & 3:14-18) Shouldn’t the mantra then be, “Grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, Truth alone, effort alone, obedience alone, and the Father’s will alone”? Oh, and shouldn’t, “…and perseverance till the end alone” be added also? For Jesus says, “The person who endures till the end will be saved.” (Mt. 24:13) However, if all these things are necessary, then why even use the word “alone”?!
Let’s ask this: Does salvation require that a person walk in the will of the Father? Yes. Jesus affirms in Mt. 7:21 that it does. There He says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who is doing the will of My Father who is in Heaven.” So rather than saying, “Salvation is by faith alone”, wouldn’t it be more correct to say, “Salvation is by living, and continuing to live, in the will of the Lord alone”? To live in the will of the Lord means that one must believe in Christ and the Gospel, and believe it enough to obey it, follow it, abide in it, and thus be walking the path of eternal life. To teach that one must live in the Father’s will (which means to be consistently obeying Christ’s teaching) in order to be saved, certainly implies faith, for without faith no one could do it. Indeed, to live in the Father’s will, a person must be walking in the Spirit’s power, and in order to do that, a person must have faith. Consequently, to teach “Faith Alone” is terribly misleading, for as Ja. 2:24 also informs us, we are justified by what we do and not by faith alone. Even the demons have a type of faith. They know who Jesus is and what He has done.
So what about the doctrine we keep hearing that teaches that salvation is all of God and humans are completely passive recipients? Is such doctrine true? It is not. It is a doctrinal system made up by men. They use the Word of God, but they twist it as they incorporate the teachings of men. Therefore, by promoting a counterfeit, their listeners are not set free. Rather, it is by adhering to the True Doctrine as revealed in God’s Word, that we are set free, enabled to keep walking in freedom, and are thus eternally saved.
God ordered that humans be co-participants with Him in their salvation. Being that He is sovereign, God was fully entitled to pronounce this binding law, and, as a result, with a whole Bible revealing what God expects of us, we humans are left without excuse.