Faith Versus Works, Part 2 | Religion


In the denominational world, there is confusion and division on this doctrine of salvation by faith alone. It has been debated, but it remains a divisive doctrine.

The Bible never teaches that we are saved by faith alone. It is a false doctrine. I know scriptures that teach that we are saved by faith, saved by hope, and the grace of God saves, and baptism saves. These are all direct quotes from the Bible and we need to take them all together in order to harmonize them into an understanding of truth. Our primary focus should be to know, understand, and teach the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it was to be taught and understood. My last article on James 2:14-26 should have provided plenty of evidence to convince anyone that “faith without works is dead,” James 2:26. We will now look at other passages.

“For we have been saved in this hope, but the hope that is seen is not hope, for why do we still hope for what we see? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it,” Romans 8:24-25.

Hope saves! However, we understand that hope alone is not taught here. In fact, hope requires that we wait with perseverance. Perseverance means that we endure, like Job in the Old Testament. We maintain our integrity. We remain faithful to God in all things. We continue to worship God. We continue to live a holy life. We continue to live as God commanded us to live. It is said of Job that in all this he did not sin. Job persevered even though he had lost his wealth, his 10 children, and his health. Hope prompts us to remain faithful to God even if we have a terminal illness or suffer from intense pain and discomfort.

“For by grace you were saved through faith, and it was not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand for us to do,” Ephesians 2:8-10.

This passage teaches that we are saved by the grace of God. We do not deserve this salvation, but God has saved us by his grace. This grace requires faith. So faith saves but not faith alone. This faith depends on the grace of God because of the hope we possess. So we see that all of these things work together for the same purpose – our salvation. Faith alone does not save, neither grace alone nor hope alone saves. Will we keep adding to our list? But notice in the verse that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works. Are we going to deny it?

“Likewise you, after having done all the things commanded of you, say, ‘We are useless servants. We did what it was our duty to do,” Luke 17:10.

We cannot earn our salvation by the works we do. However, “faith alone” theology tries to completely deny works. In this passage, would anyone deny the requirements of obeying the commandments of God? We must obey his commands. His commandments to worship him, his commandments to live a holy life, his commandments to be ready for every good work, his commandments to abstain from sinning.

There is also an antitype that saves us now – baptism (not the removal of the defilement of the flesh, but the response of a good conscience to God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I Peter 3:21 . We refer to water baptism when you read the previous verses. Here we have an addition to all the scriptures above. Baptism saves, the Bible says so. Can anyone deny this passage? Baptism saves, but not baptism alone. Baptism is not a work, it is a requirement of faith, a demonstration of faith. Baptism is an act of humility in submission to the will of Christ. It is in response to a good conscience towards God. We obeyed his will. Baptism is also for the remission of sin, Acts 2:38, washing away your sins, Acts 22:16; and represents the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Romans 6:1-4. Some say baptism is a work. There is a whole article that could be written on baptism, but that will suffice.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not only as in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”, Philippians 2:12.

You are responsible for how you receive the truth of God’s message. You achieve your own salvation by how you believe, accept and obey the word of God.

“For the saving grace of God has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying the ungodliness and the lust of the world, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world, looking forward to the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:11-13.

This is another passage about God’s wonderful saving grace.

But note that the grace of God teaches us: 1. To deny the ungodliness and lust of the world, to cease living a sinful life. 2. Live soberly — in sincerity. 3. Live righteously — do the right things morally and ethically in all circumstances. Love your neighbour. 4. To live a godly life – to honor God in all we do and say. Respect for the Word of God. Worship God as the Almighty Creator.

All of these things need to be emphasized. We cannot elevate one of the things above the others, nor eliminate any of these elements. All are necessary in our relationship with the Good Lord. Do we dare neglect or suppress any part of the word of God.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm, steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labors are not in vain in the Lord,” I Corinthians 15:57-58.

We must be ready for all good work and work for Master. We conclude with a list of things that affect our relationship with our Creator. We are saved by our hope, by faith, by baptism, by the grace of God, by our works. We don’t deserve salvation, nor can we earn salvation. Thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Larry Graves is pastor at Riceville Church of Christ. He can be reached at 865-300-0642.

Larry Graves is pastor at Riceville Church of Christ. He can be reached at 865-300-0642.


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