By What Is A Person
by Tom Edwards
Often, on the radio, on television, and from the pulpits of
many denominations across our land, the sincere cry is made that ``man is saved
by faith only.'' This phrase is heard so frequently that it would seem that it
is the central focus on every other page in the Scriptures. However, this is
not so. Actually, there is only one verse in the entire Bible in which the
expression ``faith only'' or ``faith alone'' is used (James 2:24); but here the
exact opposite is taught: ``by works a man is justified, and not by faith
Never does God's word speak of one thing by which man is saved
and then follow that one thing with the word ``only.'' For to do so,
automatically excludes any other necessity. For example, to say the Christian
has been saved by faith, by the blood of Christ, by grace, or by baptism is all
very scriptural; but man violates God's word when he says that one can be saved
by ``faith only,'' by ``the blood of Jesus only,'' by ``grace only,'' or by
``baptism only.'' For by adding that little word ``only'' after any of the
various factors by which the Bible shows one is saved, it will automatically
exclude all the rest. Therefore, if one were saved by ``grace only,'' believing
and repenting would not be necessary; but a further investigation into God's
word shows that one is saved ``by grace through faith'' (Ephesians 2:8) and
that one must repent (Luke 13:5); and looking further reveals that ``faith
without works is dead'' (James 2:26). We need to each have a comprehensive view
of the gospel, lest we become guilty of omitting that which God intended for us
to include as part of the plan in His scheme of redemption.
Though a person could never ``merit'' or ``earn'' his salvation by works, this is not to say that salvation is a passive thing in which no necessary response is required of the one who would be saved. There are conditions that must be met; and when they are, our faith has been ``made complete'' by obedient action (James 2:21-23). Jesus is the ``author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him'' (Heb. 5:9); and as He Himself states in Luke 6:46, ``But why do you call Me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?'' Note that Jesus said ``THINGS which I say'' -- plural, not just ``one thing,'' such as "believe in My deity". If we want to have a saving faith then we must comply with God's righteous demands by doing that which He commands us in order to become a Christian and in order to continue in the faith as one.
It is God's desire for none to perish, but rather for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). This is why He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross and pay the penalty of sin for every transgressor; but if we want to benefit from the blood of Christ in that sacrifice He made, we must meet His necessary conditions.
These lessons will show that which pertains to God and that which pertains to man in the Lord's plan of salvation. Yes, there are many factors the Bible proclaims by which one is ultimately saved. Let us now consider them.
Go back to the Salvation Index
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