Whatever Happened To Faith AND Obedience?
There is so much teaching in religious circles about faith and salvation by faith alone, one would think that God has said nothing about obedience having a part. What is often said about obedience in these circles is of a negative nature. It goes like this: obedience is not necessary and has nothing to do with salvation.
What does the Scriptures teach? Should this not be where we go to find the answer? "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:" (Romans 1:5). "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made know to all nations for the obedience of faith: " (Romans 16:26) [Emphasis mine, E.R.H.]. From these and other Scriptures, it becomes clear that faith and obedience cannot be separated. "But without faith it is impossible to please" God (Hebrews 11:6) and without works, our faith is dead. (James 2:26).
What is the conclusion to be drawn from these verses, as well as others? Those who teach and believe that a person is saved by faith, separate and apart from works, are teaching we are saved by a "DEAD" faith. If this is not the conclusion, please tell me what it is! They say, "You are saved the moment you believe and works don't save you!". The Bible says, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). The conclusion? We are saved by a dead faith!
Let us understand that we are saved by obedient faith. Faith that has not and does not obey is dead. It is only when our faith, which comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), moves us to repent of our sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38), confess Christ with our mouth (Matthew 10:32; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10) and be buried with Christ in baptism (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12) that we are forgiven of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). While man teaches salvation by dead faith, God teaches that our faith must be obedient to save us.
---E.R. Hall, Jr.