Certainly faith is necessary for “without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Jesus said, “...if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Truly, no Bible believing person would question the fact that we are saved by faith since that is clearly what the Bible teaches. But many honest and sincere people contend that we are saved by faith alone. Since God’s Word is the standard, let us turn to it for the answer.
Just as surely as the Bible teaches that we are saved by faith, it also teaches that we are saved by works. However, let it be understood that man cannot earn or merit his salvation nor can he claim that he is deserving of salvation (Luke 17:10). In Ephesians 2:8,9 Paul discusses a type of works which have nothing to do with salvation: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” The works under consideration here are works of merit, and one is not saved by works of merit.
However, the Bible does say something about works of obedience. These are works or commands God has given us in order for us to demonstrate our faith and love for Him. James writes, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James 2:14; literally, “can that faith save him,” JF). He then points out in verse 21 that Abraham was justified by works when he offered Isaac upon the alter and then states, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (v. 22). Thus, Abraham was justified by works; that is, works of obedience. However, he was not justified by works alone any more than he was justified by faith alone. Faith coupled with obedience brought about his justification.
Our works of obedience will be the basis of our judgment: “...and they were judged every man according to their works” (Rev. 20:13). Man is saved from sin and its consequences when his faith in the Lord leads him to act upon that faith by obeying the gospel and living by the gospel. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Friend, if you have not obeyed the gospel, will you not do so today? “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
By Jimmy Ferguson
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