I once read in a book this statement: “I regret that the word ‘Do’ appears in the Bible.” The writer was advocating salvation by faith alone. His point was that there is nothing that man must do in order to be saved. Unfortunately for the writer the word “Do” is in the Bible.
Jesus made it clear that there is something we must do if we are to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Yes, we must do the will of God. Then Jesus went on to say, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22-23) People claim to do a lot of things in the name of the Lord but if it is not according to God’s instructions, it is worthless and vain. In still another passage Jesus asked this question: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Jesus is pointing out the obvious inconsistence of people who call Him Lord and at the same time fail to do what he says.
Of course, salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) but this does not mean that there is nothing that man must do in order to be saved. Jesus made it clear that in order to enter in to the kingdom of heaven one must “Do” the will of God.
From Our Bulletin – August 14, 2011
It is ironic that those who talk the most about faith and salvation by faith oftentimes reject what the Bible actually says about faith. The faith only about which they speak might appropriately be called a pseudo-faith. It certainly is not the full faith in Christ described in God’s word.
The faith of which Paul writes in the Book of Romans and by which he says we are justified is not faith alone but rather an obedient faith. He both opens and closes that book speaking of the “obedience of faith.” (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26) In the heart of the book he makes it clear that we are made free from sin and become the servants of righteousness when we obey from the heart that form of doctrine. (Romans 6:17-18)
In the Book of Galatians Paul writes, “Ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26) But this is not faith without baptism as the next verse clearly shows. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Does anyone really believe that a person can be a child of God without being in Christ? But it is through baptism that we come into Christ. Later in this same book we learn that the faith which avails in Christ is not faith alone but rather “faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6)
There is one book in the Bible that discusses “faith only” – the Book of James. And it makes it clear that man’s justification is “not by faith only.” (James 2:24) Earlier in the same chapter the question is raised: “What doeth it profit, my brethren, though a man says he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? ” (James 2:14) Then the rest of the chapter is spent saying that he cannot be saved by faith alone. Three times he says: “Faith without works is dead.” (See James 2:17, 20, 26)
There are a number of passages of scripture which connect faith with salvation from sin. For example, the gospel “Is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16) And again, “By grace are ye saved through faith”
(Ephesians 2:8). There are also a number of passages which connect baptism with salvation from sin. For example, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16) And again, “Repent, and be baptized…for the remission of sins.” (Acts 2:38) Also, “Baptism doth also now save us.” (1 Peter 3:21)
Which are we to believe? It’s not an either or question – we are to believe both. It is pointless to talk about being saved by faith, if one does not believe what God, in His word, has to say about baptism. As for me, I accept all the Bible has to say and reject any man-made theology which would pit one passage against another. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16) And that settles it for me.