Justification By Faith, Part 4

Faith and Works

Are we saved by faith alone? Are there other prerequisites?

Many verses explicitly state that salvation requires belief—faith. Some explicitly state that works do not save. Some are directly out of the mouth of Jesus.

Let’s imagine that faith is required, but not sufficient, for salvation. Then, every scripture that states that salvation is by faith must implicitly include works even without saying it. Let’s look at some examples.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

This must mean that salvation is by faith and your own works.

Matthew 12:37
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

This must mean that salvation is by your words—belief—and by the works you do.

Romans 3:28
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

This must mean that a man is justified by faith alongside works of the Law.

Colossians 2:12
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

This must mean that you are saved by faith in the power of God and your own works.

Acts 16:31
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

This must mean that the whole household would eventually be saved by their faith and their future works.

Mark 1:15
The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

This must mean that to receive the kingdom of God, one must believe and then do a lifetime of good works.

Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

This must mean that whoever believes, is baptized, and lives a life of good works will not be condemned.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This means that whoever believes and does good works will have eternal life.

John 5:24
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

This means that whoever hears Jesus, believes in the Father, and does good works will have eternal life and be spared from judgment.

Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

This means that the gospel is the Word of God, faith, and good works. For the righteous will live by faith and good works.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

The gospel you are saved by is the word you received and the good works you did.

1 Peter 1:9
For you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The salvation of your souls is the end result of your faith and your good works.

Galatians 2:16
Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

We are justified by faith in Christ and also by the works of the law.

Galatians 5:1-4
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

You are justified by your faith through grace and you are justified by doing good works of the law.

Ephesians 1:13
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

You were included with Christ in salvation when you heard the gospel and subsequently did good works.

Hebrews 10:14
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

By Christ’s one sacrifice—and your many good works—you have been made perfect forever.

There are others I could cite: Romans 3:24-31, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:1, and Romans 11:6, Philippians 3, James 2, 1 John 2, and others, but you get the point.

The presumption that every reference to salvation by faith must refer to salvation by faith and works is a type of the ‘Argument from Silence’, a logical fallacy.[1] By Occam’s Razor, we should conclude that only faith is required (because it is the only requirement given). If someone wants to claim that each scripture actually requires both faith and works for salvation, then the burden of proof is on them to show it. To this end, James 2 is usually cited.

Per James 2, if you claim to have faith, but have no works, then your claim is empty: you are not saved. You still have faith, but that faith does not save. Similarly, demons have faith, but their faith does not save either. Faith not accompanied by deed is proof of faith that does not save.

In James 2:18, someone challenges James saying that they have deeds. James challenges them to show their faith without showing deeds. They can’t. Actions are the only way to show faith. Actions divide faiths that do (sheep) or do not (goats) save.

Works are obedience to God. One cannot be obedient to God until one is saved. The first act of obedience is faith, which saves. The second is baptism, when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell on a person. The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a dirty, unredeemed person and it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that produces works, so they must be saved prior to works! You know a person has the Holy Spirit (that is, faith/salvation) by their works.

James cannot be saying that works are required for salvation because faith and works are separated by baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit. You can’t collapse works into faith. James never mentions merit for salvation, which is required to satisfy the burden of proof.


[1] So too, in the Roman Eucharist, is it an ‘Argument from Silence’ to assume that every patristic writer who mentions the word ‘eucharist’ has implicitly combined the thanksgiving oblation (eucharist) with the consecration (epiclesis), even though he says nothing of the sort. Failure to confirm the Roman Catholic liturgy is not proof of the Roman Catholic liturgy.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Justification By Faith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *