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Video Script: Are We Saved by Faith Only? (6)

One of the only creed books I have in my library is J.M. Pendleton’s Baptist Church Manual. On page 47 of that little book, Pendleton states: “We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace.” Only one page later, he likewise affirms that justification is “solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood.”

So, we are told that we are saved “wholly” by the grace of God, then in the next breath that we are justified (a word that indicates the very same thing), “solely” through faith in Christ.

Even a small child can understand that salvation can’t be wholly of one thing and solely of another.

We are indeed saved by the grace of God. It is right to say that without the free gift of God, given through the sacrifice of His Son, no man could be saved. Our salvation is completely dependent upon the grace of God. But it is another thing to say that it is “wholly” of grace, because that would indicate that man has no responsibility to respond to that gift of grace.

We are indeed justified, or saved by faith. The Bible clearly affirms such to be so. One of the most famous passages in all of God’s word states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We can say that our salvation is completely dependent upon our belief in Jesus. We can’t be saved if we do not believe. However, it is again incorrect to say that we are saved by faith alone. That is, that nothing more is required of us to gain that gift of salvation.

This is evident, first of all, because the Bible declares it in just those words. James writes, in the second chapter of his epistle, verse 24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” It is amazing how clearly James contradicts the words we read from Pendleton’s Baptist Manual. It said that justification is solely by faith. James said that faith alone can’t save. Which will you believe?

We can also see that salvation is not by faith only because the Bible clearly states that other things are required of man. For example, Jesus requires repentance. He told a multitude, recorded in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no: but unless your repent you will all likewise perish.” Repentance is not the same thing as faith. Since repentance is required for one to escape condemnation, it logically follows that faith alone can not save.

We might add here, that repentance is something a person must do! It is an act of obedience to God. Therefore James is right in saying that a man is “justified by works, and not by faith only.”

Another act or work that is required to be saved is a confession of Jesus. Paul wrote in Romans 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

You may notice that Paul wrote believe and confess. That’s two things. Therefore, it is not right to say we are saved by faith alone. Also, confession with the mouth is something that a man does, therefore again we see that James got it right. Man is “justified by works, and not by faith only.”

We do not intend to dismiss the importance of faith. It is necessary to salvation. But, it is wrong for so many to say, “That’s all you need to do!”

Check back, in future videos we will be examining in turn everything God requires of us to be justified, or saved.