Shelby G. Floyd
Man is Not Saved by Faith Alone
“Man is saved by faith alone,” is one of the most popular doctrines of the religious world, but it false to the core. Baptism is a condition of salvation, but the religious world largely rejects it because they say it is based on “works,” even though the plain command of Jesus before he left the earth was, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Faith and baptism stand or fall together!
Is Faith the Work of God or the Work of Man?
The question one must ask is this: Is baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), the good confession unto salvation (Romans 10:10, repentance unto life (Acts 11:18), and believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, unto righteousness (Romans 10:9)—the work of God or the work of man?
Believing is “the Work of God”
Faith or believing is an act of man and it is also “the work of God.” People from the area of the Galilean lake asked Jesus about the works of God,
“What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29).
Jesus explicitly said that when a person believes in Christ that person is working “the work of God.” Therefore, faith or the act of believing is a work that man does, yet it is “the work of God.”
Faith is Conviction Conjoined with Obedience
In John 6:29 believe is a verb from pisteuo and is used here “to believe, to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit, place confidence in; of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of his soul; a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah—the divinely appointed author of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God, conjoined with obedience to Christ.”—Thayer, page 511.
Where there is no obedience, there is no saving faith. According to Thayer’s definition, believing must be conjoined with obedience to Christ (Hebrews 5:8-9). Faith or believing without works is a “dead faith”—the faith of devils (James 2:19-20).
“The faith that saves is the faith that obeys.”
Just as faith is “the work of God,” so are repentance, confession and baptism. We are saved by all these works, for they are not the works of man, but “the work of God.” For example, Paul declared to Titus that we are saved by the “washing of regeneration,” which clearly is a reference to water baptism for the forgiveness of sins:
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7 NKJV).
Take note, that even though Paul affirms that God “saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” in the same context he emphatically declares that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Faith, repentance, the good confession and baptism are all mental and physical actions of man, but they are “the work of God.” And since all of the conditions of salvation are the work of God, our salvation originates out of “the kindness and love of God our Savior,” “His mercy,” and “His grace” (Titus 3:4-7).
When we have done all of these things, let us be “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Amen.
Copyright © 2014 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd