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Christian beliefs that the bible doesn’t teach: We are saved by faith alone

In this category “Christian beliefs that the bible doesn’t teach” we will be looking at some of the widely accepted christian doctrines that are not found in the bible. Beginning with the most  accepted mainstream christian belief  on salvation – FAITH ALONE.

Faith alone is simply the idea that the only thing that saves a man is when the man accept Jesus . Nothing the man does ( the way he lives his life) has any effect on his salvation. If the man had once, wholeheartedly professed or proclaimed faith in Jesus, he has been saved and all his acting evil and living in sins cannot destroy the eternal salvation purchased by the precious blood of Jesus.

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However, this is not what the bible teaches concerning salvation. In fact, all the apostles and teachers in the bible did not teach sola fide ” salvation by faith alone”.  Actually, the first time the word “faith alone” appeared in the bible, it was accompanied by  “You see that a person is justified by works and not by “faith alone”” (James 2:24).

In other words, a man is not saved by faith alone. How the man lives his life (His obedience to the commandment ), which ultimately are the works that he produces in his life, have a role in his salvation. In the scripture above, James’ point was that it is works ( the life of faith in Christ and obedience to His commandments) that justifies or saves the man.So where from the idea that a man is saved by faith alone? The bible never teaches this doctrine and none of the apostle did.

I have encountered many Christians and preachers who use the words of Paul to justify this doctrine. But there is no place in the bible where Paul taught faith alone. When Paul said, “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the Law” (Romans 3:28), he did not mean doing good works  have no role to play in our salvation. What Paul meant to say  was that being saved by the lord does not necessarily rest in following the laws or instructions binding external acts of worship, such as animal sacrifice, circumcision and other ceremonial codes in the Torah.  In the scriptures the term ” Law”  is sometimes used interchangeably to represent the Ten commandments and also the ceremonial instructions regarding worship.

Here , Paul is not saying that obedience to the Ten commandments does not matter so far as our salvation is concerned. If according to Romans 3:28 Paul is saying  that in being saved our works or what we do in life does not matter, and all we need to do is to just accept Jesus, he would not have also established in  Romans 2:5-15 that we ought to do good or live right by obeying the  commandments of God because it has a role to play in our being saved by the lord.

Read: Romans 2:5 -16

5-But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; {Gentile: Gr. Greek}
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: {Gentile: Gr. Greek}
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Again, if Paul had been preaching that  our works or what we do in life does not matter to our salvation and that all we need to do is to just accept Jesus, he would not have warned the believers of his time as he did in 1 Corinthians 6:9

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God”

And also in Ephesians 5:5 saying

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God”

Maybe I am being myopic, but honestly, if there is a place in the scriptures for the doctrine of  SOLA FIDE , I am willing to know about it.

In the next article we shall look at what faith is and isn’t, and also look at “why faith alone” is not faith and why it does not save.

God bless you for reading and have a beautiful life

 

 

 

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WHY “FAITH ALONE” IS NOT FAITH AND WHY IT DOES NOT SAVE.

In the previous post , we looked at the meaning of faith alone in mainstream Christianity. We understood that   Faith Alone  is simply the idea that the only thing that saves a man is his hearing and acceptance of the message of the gospel. Anything the man does contribute nothing to his salvation. As long as the man had wholeheartedly professed or proclaimed faith in Jesus or accepted Jesus, all his acting evil and living in sins cannot destroy the eternal salvation purchased by the precious blood of Jesus.

In this post, my aim is to elaborate on why faith alone in Jesus is not faith and therefore cannot save a man. To begin with, we will first look at what the church today calls faith, then look at what faith really is and then finally look at why faith alone cannot save a man.

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What today the church calls faith but is not faith

If you search for the meaning of the word faith in any dictionary you can lay your hands on , these are some of the possible meanings you can get.

  • Complete confidence in a person or plan
  • A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers
  • complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

Putting these ideas together, , we can deduce  that  Faith is agreeing or accepting or having confidence in something with our mind or heart and saying it with our lips that it is true and being confident that it is true” Hence if someone agrees with or accept the message of the gospel ( that Jesus died on the cross for you) with his mind and heart and make it his daily confession that Jesus is his saviour , today’s christian church says the person has got faith in Jesus. Faith means to agree or to accept and nothing else.

Since the church calls agreeing, accepting and confessing faith, what the Christian church considers as the means to salvation is faith alone. That is, to be saved, just agree and undoubtedly accept what Jesus has done on the cross. This alone is enough for ones instantaneous salvation

But is this what the bible teaches about faith?

What faith really is

Sorry, none of the definitions above is faith.  That is not what the bible teaches about faith. The word faith in the bible does not only mean

  • Complete confidence in a person or plan
  • A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers
  • complete trust or confidence in someone or something
  • Believing something to be true

The biblical definition of faith is not agreeing that something is true alone, but rather agreeing and living by what one agrees. It is not only complete confidence in someone or a plan, but more importantly having the confidence in and living based on the instruction of the person and following the plan. Therefore if we say we have faith in God but do not live according to what God says it means we do not have faith in God.

James put this in a nice way  ” Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”  James 219-20.

In other words, knowing or affirming or agreeing that there is God is not all that there is. Devils (  the people outside the church) also know of the existence of God. What is important is a life according to the leading and  instruction of God. This is what actually shows that we have faith in God.

If we say we have faith in Jesus it is not in only knowing Jesus or what he has done before. Faith in Jesus according to the biblical meaning of what faith is to live according to his commandments. Faith is what we live by. If we say we have faith in Jesus but do not live according to his commandments we have no faith in Jesus. This is what Jesus meant by If ye love me, keep my commandments John 14:15 . If you have faith in me live the way I instruct you to live because Faith is what we live by

  • If we say that we believe in or have faith in honesty, but we’re always lying to people, what do we really believe in, honesty or dishonesty?
    Ans:
  • If we say that we believe in being faithful to our partner, but we sleep around whenever we get the chance, what do we really believe in, faithfulness or adultery?Ans:
  • If we say that we believe in eating healthfully, but we regularly pig out on junk food, what do we really believe in, eating healthfully or eating unhealthfully?

Faith is not merely thinking or saying that we believe something. Faith is being so convinced of something in our mind and heart that we live by it.

why “faith alone” does not save?

Faith alone” as it has been previously defined does not save because what actually saves a man is not only about an agreement to a message or to what  happened century ago.  In addition to this, the man must live in a certain way that will position him such that he can be saved by the lord.  This is the means to salvation. The man must approach the lord, hear truth from him and live his life according to the truths he or she has heard.

The means to salvation according to the doctrine of faith alone  says otherwise. Faith alone says the man must hear the gospel message and agree with it and that is it.  He is saved even in the absence of a life after the message he or she has heard. He is saved even when he is living a sinful life after making such confession.  According to ” faith alone”  if I have confessed or accepted Jesus and going forward in my life I resort to a life that contradicts the very words or instructions of Jesus, this does not spoil anything.

But Jesus after his resurrection said this in Rev 22:11-16

 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

 Jesus did not say  blessed are those  who have confessed faith alone in him. He didn’t say blessed are those who accept and agree that I died on the cross for them. Rather He said blessed are those who live according to my commandments for they shall have the right into the city through the gate.

If it is faith alone that saves, if it is a man’s agreement to the gospel message devoid of a life according to the commandments  that saves,  then either Jesus does not know what he is talking about or the christian church is preaching falsehood.

If we say that we believe in Jesus, but we do not live the way Jesus taught us to live, but instead lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, and generally mistreat our neighbor instead of loving our neighbor, who do we really believe in, Jesus or the Devil?