IF FAITH ALONE IS ENOUGH TO BE SAVED, WHAT ABOUT LOVE?
By ROMMEL V. SAN PEDRO
PROTESTANTS PROCLAIM that faith alone is enough to be saved, but is this teaching really biblical? If they would only truly examine the Scriptures, they would learn that though faith is extremely important and absolutely necessary, love is greater.
The importance of love
Love is greater than faith:
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13:13, New International Version)
If love is greater than faith, then how can anyone believe that salvation is by faith alone? Loving God, moreover, is not merely an emotion, but is shown by following God’s commands:
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” (I John 5:3, Ibid.)
This is why our Lord Jesus Christ taught that the greatest command is to love God (Matt. 22:36-39) and only those who love God will receive the crown of life:
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV)
If loving God, as our Lord Jesus Christ taught, is the greatest command, and only those who love God will receive the crown of life, then how could Protestants say faith alone is enough to be saved? Does that mean then that a person does not have to love God? And that all he has to do is believe in God to be saved?
Faith by itself is
Dead and barren
Further proof that faith alone is not enough to be saved is the biblical teaching that faith without works is dead:
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:17, New Revised Standard Version)
It is also barren (James 2:20). If something is both dead and barren, then how could anyone expect that this would lead to salvation? How could anyone be of value to God? God expects us to do good things or works:
“My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn’t do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him?” (James 2:14, God’s Word)
This rhetorical questions shows that faith without works can not save. A person can not be justified before God by faith only:
“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24, New King James Version)
In this verse, the words “by faith only” are preceded by the word “not.” In other words, the doctrine that a person is saved by just believing in God or in Jesus as Lord and personal Savior and not by obeying the commands of Christ and God contradicts the Bible.
No one will expect demons to be saved, yet they believe (James 2:19). So those who profess this kind of faith are not wise, but fools whose faith is useless (James 2:20)
The good required
What about if man does something good? Doing good does not mean just anything that people regard as good. The law or command of God is what is good (Rom. 7:12). God’s commands are found in the Bible (II Tim. 3:15-17). The Bible, therefore, is the source of the true teachings which equip God’s people to do good works. Even though God wants people to be saved, but they have to know the truth:
“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (I Tim. 2:3-4, New Living Translation)
The truth is the word of God (John 17:17).
The truth that Christ taught
Christ did not teach that faith alone is needed for man to be saved. He even criticized those who called Him Lord but did not obey Him and did not really believe in Him:
“What good is it to mouth the words, ‘Lord! Lord! If you don’t live by My teachings?” (Luke 6:46, The Voice)
If someone really accepts Jesus as his Lord, then he ought to obey the teachings or commands of Christ. Christ commanded those who want to be saved not just to believe in Him but to enter Him:
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” (John 10:9, NKJV)
Those who entered are found in the one flock (John 10:16). The flock is the Church Of Christ:
“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)
Therefore, the command to enter the Church Of Christ is from Christ.
Not enough to be in the
When Christ was asked the question: “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” he answered, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:16-17, NKJV). The apostles also reiterated the importance of obedience:
“My friends, I want you to remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. But if you don’t, your faith was all for nothing.” (I Cor. 15:1-2, Contemporary English Version)
By obeying Christ’s commandments, members of the true Church remain in His love:
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (John 15:9-10, NLT)
Why would God inspire His words to be written in the Bible, send our Lord Jesus to preach His words, and teach people about salvation, and yet not expect people to obey? From the very beginning God gave a choice:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:19-20, NKJV, emphasis ours)
God gave mankind a choice between life and death, between blessing and cursing, but told them to choose life by loving Him through obedience and clinging or trusting in Him. If they did that, then they would dwell in the land. It is mankind’s hope that one day they will live forever with God and Christ. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6). Faith is absolutely necessary to be saved. But just like what Apostle Paul declared:
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (I Cor. 13:2, NIV) *
Copied from PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE/October 2014/Pages 33-35/Volume 66/Number 10/ISSN 0116-1636