Obedient Faith Brings Forth Salvation
There are a number of philosophies and ideologies that have permeated throughout the religious world for centuries, especially beliefs on the type of faith that brings forth salvation. 500 years of Protestantism has led to numerous false teachings being spread throughout society as we know it today. The general consensus by many who are within different denominations or faith groups is that faith only is what saves a person--there is nothing you have to do to be saved other than believe in the Lord Jesus. When examining the scriptures, an honest Bible student must ask this one question: What type of faith saves? God’s word tells us that obedient faith is that which saves a person and that there is only one type of faith that we are to observe today if we want to be found right in God’s eyes.
ONE TYPE OF FAITH
In Ephesians 4:5, the apostle Paul wrote that there’s “one faith” (KJV). It is interesting to note that the word “faith” is used at least 34 times in his letter to the church in Rome. In every instance that it appears the term is translated to a Greek word which means “persuasion of moral conviction” (Strong’s #402). How does this word’s meaning fit within a religious sense? As stated before, the general view in the denominational world is that all a person has to do is believe in Jesus Christ and he or she is saved. Employing this type of teaching totally takes what Paul was trying to relay to the brethren at Rome out of context. Notice Romans 1:5 and Romans 16:26. It’s important to examine the word Paul used alongside faith--obedience. One surely can’t miss it because he used the term at the beginning of the letter and at the end. The significance is we find that it takes more than just faith alone to be found right in God’s eyes. It’s the type of faith that compels someone to move because of their complete submission to the almighty Father. This kind of faith that is to be obeyed is the topic of Romans. The letter is not about justification by faith alone but, rather, a faith that produces obedience. Paul made this distinction when he dictated, “We have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for HIS namesake” (Rom. 1:5). The term “obedience” is translated to the Greek word that means “compliance” or “submission” (Strong’s #5218). Therefore, in order for Paul to have been made an apostle, there must have been an act of complete submission to the Father’s will.
OBEDIENT FAITH PRODUCES SALVATION
The denominational world says all one must do in order to be saved is have faith in Jesus Christ. Some even believe all you have to do is say a prayer, let the Lord enter into your heart, and you’re saved. But where in the Bible do we read that faith alone saves a person, or saying a prayer is a sure-fire way to get someone to heaven? This false theology is exactly what John warned about. He said in 2 John 9, “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” The doctrine does not tell us that faith alone saves or we need to say a prayer in order to be justified by God. We are saved through our obedience to the gospel. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” This same Paul tells us that the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The alien sinner obeys the gospel when he/she is baptized into Jesus’ death and raised to the newness of life (Rom. 6:3-6). Before Jesus’ ascension into heaven, he gave some powerful directives to his disciples known as “The Great Commission.” In Mark 16:15, our Lord said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Jesus gave his disciples their marching orders and it’s the same commandment Christians must follow today in order to help bring people to Christ. He went on to say, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Those who believe the word and are baptized can know that they have obeyed the gospel!
There are those in the religious world who have argued for centuries that there is no type of work we can do to inherit eternal life. But James, the Lord’s brother, wrote that “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20). The works that God has called us to do must align with our faith (i.e., worship, visiting the sick, feeding the poor, preaching, and teaching). If our faith does not align with our works then faith alone will not save us nor will works alone (Jas. 2:17). As stated before, God desires all of mankind to obey him. Imagine the peace that would be in the world if we all would just submit to his will. It’s not the type of submission where we act like programmed robots. We are human-we are going to mess up from time to time; that’s why we have grace (Eph. 2:8). But we freely submit as individuals who understand the awesome price Jesus paid on our behalf when he died on the cross (Matt. 27:35-50). Because of the faith we have in HIM we should be moved to obey our Lord.
Strong, James: “hupakoe.” In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Edited by Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN. 2010.
Strong, James: “pistis.” In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Edited by Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN. 2010.
Wacaster, Tom. “Studies in Romans.” In A Commentary On Paul’s Letter To the Church At
Rome. Fort Worth, TX. 2013.