At What Point Does Faith Save?
by Richie Thetford
Many denominations will have us believe that we are saved by faith before we do the action in accordance with God’s command. No doubt you have seen those on television attending a huge denominational service that are invited to come forward at the conclusion of the service and to simply say that they believe in Jesus Christ. By admitting to this, they have “let Jesus come into their heart” and are saved at that point in their life. What we see then is that many denominations that are made by man will try to get us to believe that we are justified by faith before we obey God! But I ask “where in the Bible does it tell of any person that was saved by belief or faith only?” We know that salvation must depend on something more than belief in Christ only because in James 2:19 it says: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-- and tremble!” We see from this passage of scripture that long ago James wrote to those of his day and to all generations to follow that belief alone will not cut it. Everyone can believe in Jesus but only a few will allow their belief in Him to live through obedient works. The very next verse says: “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”
Bible Examples of Obedient Faith
Man is justified in God’s sight only when they are obedient to His word. This has been proved throughout the Old Testament which we have for our learning (Romans 15:4), but are recorded in the New Testament showing that it is just as valid today. In each one of these Bible examples ask yourself this question: “At what point were these individuals justified in the sight of God, before or after their works?”
- Abel: Hebrews 11:4 "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
- Noah: Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
- Abraham: Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:17 “ By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.”
- Walls of Jericho: Hebrews 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”
Obedience to the Faith
We know that each and every one of these individuals had a deep faith in God, a total belief in God, but they were justified in God’s sight only after they did the action in which they were asked to do by God. Paul wrote in Romans 16:26: “but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.” In closing let’s let James tie it all together for us: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? ... You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. ... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:21,24,26). Won’t you be determined to be justified by God’s law and not man’s (Acts 5:29)?