Saved by Many Things

It is widely taught in the religious world that we are saved by faith alone. I once heard a man preaching on the radio who declared that we are saved by grace alone. The Bible certainly teaches that we are saved by faith. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he should do to be saved, Paul told him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Paul wrote to Titus and said that the grace of God has appeared and brought salvation to all men (Titus 2:11). There is no contradiction here and neither verse says that we are saved by faith alone or by grace alone. The Holy Spirit declares through the apostle Paul that by faith we have access to God's grace (Romans 5:1,2). So we see there is no contradiction in the Scriptures when it says we are saved by grace and we are saved by faith.

The Scriptures teach that we are saved by obedience. We read: “...though he was a son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:8,9). Is there any contradiction here? No, there is never any contradiction in the word of God. Jesus, in His prayer to the Father, said: “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Truth never contradicts itself. That is an impossibility.

Obedient Faith

Let us show then that there is no contradiction between being saved by obedience and being saved by faith through grace. Let us read from the Word of God again: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). So we see that the faith that saves is an obedient faith. James, by the power of the Holy Spirit, put it this way: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).

One brother in India said to me: “It is hard to reconcile James and Romans.” I said, “It is not difficult to reconcile James and Romans. The problem is that you cannot reconcile James with what you think Romans teaches.”

It is a very common fallacy of the religious world to claim that Paul taught justification by faith alone in the book of Romans. He did not. Let us see what Paul said in the book of Romans. We read: “Who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all nations, for his name's sake” (Romans 1:4,5). So instead of Paul teaching justification by faith alone, he plainly stated by the power of the Holy Spirit that he was talking about an obedient faith. Lest the world should fail to grasp this great truth, he said in the very last chapter, referring to mystery of the gospel: “...but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26).

Love of the Truth

The Scriptures clearly point out that we are saved by these things. So as we study and learn more things by which we are saved we shall have no problem as long as we do not teach that we are saved by any one of them alone. If we are going to be saved, we must love the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10).

Jesus said that the word is truth (John 17:17). He said that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all the truth. “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” (John 14:26). Jesus further declared: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all the truth; for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall be speak; and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).

So the Holy Spirit gave the apostles the truth. He gave them all the truth. He guided them into all the truth. We are to love the truth. We would not take from it nor would we add to it. John now talks to us by the power of the Holy Spirit: “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (II John 9).

We have studied enough now that we can see the truth in God's Word when it says: “Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). How does the Word save? When we believe it. “So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

The Place of Baptism

If we have faithfully followed the teaching of the Scriptures we shall not have trouble in accepting the fact that we are saved by baptism (I Peter 3:21). Why do people reject this plain statement of Scripture? Because they have been taught that we are saved by faith alone. We are saved by receiving with meekness the implanted word. We are to abide in the teaching. Here is what Jesus said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15,16). No child of twelve years old could misunderstand what it says here. Why do men who profess to be Bible scholars reject this plain statement? Jesus gave us the reason: “And he said unto them, Full well do ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your traditions” (Mark 7:9). The tradition of man today is that we are justified by faith alone. In order to hold to that tradition they must reject the commandment of Jesus in Mark 16:15,16. If you, in times past, have held to that tradition of justification by faith alone, will you continue to hold to it and reject the commandment of God?

The day the gospel was first preached, after the sermon by Peter, the people asked the question: “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Now listen carefully to Peter's answer for it was the answer of the Holy Spirit: “Repent ye and be baptized every one in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Is there anything difficult to understand about this? No. Why does nearly the whole religious world reject this command? They want to maintain their doctrine of justification by faith alone.

The line is drawn. The issue is clear. If we teach justification by faith alone, we must reject the commandments of God, but if we accept the fact that we are saved by an obedient faith we can accept every Scripture we have used. We can accept all Scriptures. If we keep the human doctrine of justification by faith alone then we must reject the commandment of God as revealed in the New Testament.

The battle line is drawn up. Some day we are going to be judged by the Word of God (John 12:48). Why not live by it now!

J. C. Bailey, 1982, Dauphin, Manitoba

Published in The Old Paths Archive