Not By Faith Only

by Terry Wane Benton

When the Bible says, “not by faith only” (James 2:14-24), why is it that you hear major denominations claiming that salvation is “by faith alone”? I would be embarrassed to hold to a doctrine that directly contradicts the word of God. If the Bible actually taught both things, it would be a real contradiction, for both things cannot be true at the same time. We must remember that the Bible says only one of those things, “not by faith alone,” and humans imposed the other view, “by faith alone.” Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4) when there is conflict.

Some have imagined that Paul and James contradict each other. I don’t think so! Paul is in full agreement with James. Paul speaks of “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6) and never puts the word “faith alone” in any passage. Therefore, he agrees to a working faith, not faith alone. Even in the book of Romans, he speaks of “obedience of faith” and never a passive, disobedient faith. Romans has three major references to “obeying” or “obedience of faith” at the start, middle, and end of Romans. (Romans 1:5; 6:3-6, 16-18; 16:26). So, no part of his book claims that faith is without action and obedience.

Even in chapter 4, faith is active, encouraging a faith that “walks in the steps of Abraham.” A "walking" obedient faith! Abraham had an obedient faith that moved him to obedient action, leaving his homeland and going to a place God would show him (Hebrews 11:8). “By faith Abraham obeyed.” To fail to obey is a lack of faith. There is no such thing as saving faith that does not obey. They are synonymous! Faith without works is dead and useless. Such faith does not save. It is like the devils believe with only mental assent, but it does them no good whatsoever.

The Hebrews writer expounds that Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). Obedience is faith. Disobedience is unbelief. In Hebrews 3:18- 19, “lack of obedience” is the equivalent of “lack of faith.” In Hebrews 4:2, he shows that the children of Israel fell in the wilderness because they did not mix the word into their faith. This failure to mix the word into their faith resulted in their disobedience, but mixing the word into your faith results in obedience (Hebrews 4:6,11). So, we should mix the word of God daily into our faith till it brings about “obedience of faith,” which is an open denial of that modern false doctrine of salvation by faith alone.

If you are in a church that affirms that doctrine, you need to openly disavow it and help others leave such misguided doctrines. I am speaking the truth in love for your soul. Please check out what I have demonstrated to be true from God’s word (Acts 17:11). Look up the scriptures and see for yourself!

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