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 Does "faith alone" makes man worthy to merit the Lord’s grace of salvation?
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"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus … you will be saved"


Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, October 2008, p.4

MY OFFICEMATE who is a member of your Church handed me a copy of your magazine and courteously asked me to read the articles, especially the one which tackles about salvation. Frankly,  I find it strange, for what I expected to read, considering that the article promises to talk about salvation, was not given the proper emphasis. From my readings of the Bible, especially the significant verses my church taught us, I’ve learned that what the Lord essentially requires of us is to have faith in Him. In fact, it is faith alone which  makes us worthy to merit the Lord’s grace of salvation. As Romans 10:9-11 teaches us: “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. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame’.”

Charles Ostling
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Editor's reply:

There is no question that Romans 10:9-11 underscores the importance of having faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and confessing Him with our mouth to receive His gift of salvation. In fact, the Church of Christ professes, among others, not only that God has raised Jesus from the dead’ but also that anyone who does not believe in Christ is “condemned already” (John 3:18). However, we wish to emphasize that true faith in Christ entails much more than just confessing Him with our mouths:

“So Jesus said to those who believed him, ‘If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples” (John  8:31,  Today’s   English Version)

True faith is not just a matter of believing but of obeying as well. It is no wonder therefore that the futility of merely professing to have faith was clarified by Christ’s apostles. This is what Apostle James emphasized when he wrote: 

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? … See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:14, 24, New American Bible)

One’s so-called faith without actions or deeds is dead (James 2:17). For, even demons     believe and even tremble with fear (James 2:19)—but surely, they will not be saved.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17, NKJV)

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble! (James 2:19, NKJV)

Regarding Romans 10:9-11, verse 17 of the same chapter explains how one obtains faith:

’So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   (New King James Version)

Faith, which is certainly necessary for salvation, can be obtained through hearing or receiving the words of God or the gospel. But, do listening to the gospel and having faith suffice for one to be entitled of salvation? Notice what the Savior Himself expects of us, aside from receiving the gospel and possessing faith, in order to be saved:

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’/’ (Mark 16:13A 6, Ibid.)

Receiving the baptism taught by Christ is therefore also necessary for people to be saved. Those who have received this baptism, the Bible teaches, are found in “one body” (Cor. 12:13), which is “the church’’ headed by Christ (Col. 1:18). This Church  is none other the Church of Christ which the Savior- purchased with His precious blood;

“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with  his blood” (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)  

Hence, confirming the indispensability of membership in the true church for people to be saved, which also disproves the widespread belief that faith alone guarantees us salvation, the Holy Scriptures further states:  

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47, King James Version)

* NOTE: All emphases ours.   

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