We are told that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11 :6), and that “he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Paul and Silas said to the jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31 ). Does it, then, follow that one can be saved by faith? Most assuredly. The New Testament teaches that the man who possesses the right kind of faith, has saving faith. Saving faith, however, is the faith taught by Jesus, and affirmed by the apostles. We dare not say “faith alone,” for the faith endorsed by the Word of God is never alone. It is invariably accompanied by the duties for which faith calls. The devils had faith–just that arid no more. It merely made them tremble, and that is about as much as may be said of “the faith alone” doctrine.
Saving faith takes in all that has been enjoined by Christ and the apostles. Faith standing alone counts for nothing in the process of conversion. James says: “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). No one cares knowingly to run the risk of a dead faith, and yet that is just what one has when he bases his hope on faith alone. Genuine faith leads up to duties, and as we advance we shall see what these duties are. God can and will save the man who wills to be saved, for we read that “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). So it will be seen that one’s will has a part to play in attaining unto eternal life.
The New Testament Doctrines
Brethren Publishing House
Elgin, Illinois, 1914