One of the most common mantra’s in all of Christianity is this, “Faith Alone.” One verse is isolated and used to dismiss the rest of the teaching of Jesus and the apostles down to a bumper sticker verse that summarizes anything and everything. To point to any other scripture in the context of Christians’ responsibility is dismissed out of hand.
“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.” Ephesians 2:8-9
I believe this scripture is absolutely true. It is a summarization and explanation of the whole. We are saved by grace through faith. However, it is not an itemization but rather an overarching conclusion. We are saved by grace, through faith.
The question we might ask is, what is this amazing truth saying?
We know that this was not specifically what Paul declared or directions on his first meeting with meeting them. The Bible records what Paul preached to the Ephesians during his meeting with them in Acts 19.
This verse, Ephesians 2:8-9 does not invalidate what Paul instructed or told them.
I could declare I drove to Dallas. That does not mean I did not use my truck, get gas, change a flat tire, avoid an accident, and drive via I-20.
Though all that is true, I drove to Dallas, which required me to do all the details I did not tell you.
Paul rebaptized the Ephesians. Paul prayed for them, and they received the Holy Ghost. When he writes the letter to them, he summarizes, “You were saved by grace through faith. One does not disagree with the other, rather one explains what happened to them in the whole letter of the epistle to the Ephesians.
Read Acts 19:1-20
In summary, we read Paul was there for two years; however, it describes his first interactions and directions in great specificity. What happened to them in those directions can be summarized and, in fact, summarized in the letter he wrote to the church in Ephesus.
We are saved by grace through faith! Absolutely.
Everything we are commanded in scripture is only possible by grace through faith.
Not faith alone. Faith Everything.
Is this not faith manifested?
If one says they have faith and then do not obey, it speaks to doubt manifested in disobedience.
If one truly believes, nothing will stop them from obedience. Nothing will prompt one to obey from the heart if one does not believe.
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” “Romans 6:17
Jesus declared, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” Romans 1:5
Only in the traditions of men will you find this teaching of only believe. The mantra declaration, “Saved by faith alone.” is on its face in direct contradiction to the teachings of scripture.
“But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:8-11
Paul was commissioned to preach the gospel. Read Pauls personal mission in his preaching.
“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Romans 15:19-20
Why do modern preachers seem to think they only need to get people to believe and declare obedience has nothing to do with Biblical faith?
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” Romans 16:25-27
Paul states over and over that obedience of faith was his purpose. Not faith alone, but rather obedient faith.
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” Hebrews 5:9
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8
You see this throughout the teachings of Jesus. You see this throughout the epistles of the Apostles.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” 1Peter 1:22
Why is it obedience is not a topic emphasized in modern theology? Tradition. Traditions of men love their effort to streamline and simplify everything down to the lowest common denominator.
Faith! Is absolutely required. 100%. It is not faith alone but rather a faith motivation in everything we do for Jesus.
Everything, whatsoever we do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1Peter 4:17
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 2 Thessalonians 1:8
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:” Luke 6:46-47
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Moved with Fear
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Faith, real faith, can be judged by one’s actions.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Obedience is glorious by the grace and Spirit of God. It is not about my goodness but His goodness flowing through us.
A diligent pursuit of God is a pivotal portion of genuine faith.
“But 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.” Hebrews 11:6