By Dennis C. Abernathy
That faith is the principle by which man is saved is a fact beyond dispute (Acts 15:7-9; 26:15-18; Gal. 3:26; Jno. 3:16; Rom. 3:30; 5:1). But many in the religious world teach that a person is saved by “faith only.” To show this to be untrue all we need to do is turn to James 2:14-26. This deals the death blow and shows the fallacy of the false doctrine of faith only.
When we argue, debate, and discuss this point with denominational people, we use it with telling force. We make the proper application – “faith without works is dead” – But I am afraid we have missed the point in the every day living for the Lord. Let us notice!
1. Too often one’s faith in the Lord’s Supper is faith only: The Bible teaches we are to observe the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (1 Cor. 11:26). “As often” here is explained in Acts 20:7. Since every week has a first day we conclude that we are to observe the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s day. My question then is, “Do you believe it?” Oh “Yes,” you say. But do you practice it? I am sure that most Christians believe it, and will argue for its observance, but many times their faith is void of action or works.-IS THIS NOT FAITH ONLY?
2. What about our faith in attending the assembly of the Church? Even a casual reading of Hebrews 10:25 and following verses convinces one of the necessity of regular attendance and the grave danger of neglecting such assemblies. Deep down, most believe this to be so-but is your faith void of action or works? What about attending classes and meetings? Do you believe, them to be scriptural? Or, do you believe them to be scriptural for somebody else? But what about the person who believes in “not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together,” and then comes half of the time-IS THIS NOT FAITH ONLY?
3. What about prayer? Do you have faith in prayer and in Him who hears our prayers? Do you pray regularly or “every now and then?” Do you pray in times of, trouble and distress ONLY? Do you blame God when you think your prayer is not answered? I fear many of our prayers are with FAITH ONLY-ALL FAITH AND NO ACTION. This is illustrated well, I think, by the following: D. L. Moody was crossing the Atlantic when the ship he was traveling on caught fire. A friend suggested to Moody that they retire to the other end of the ship and pray. Moody replied, “Not so, sir; we stand right here and pass buckets and pray hard all the time.” Yes, prayer and work go together. They are the two hands of one person.
4. What about the Gospel as God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16)? Surely we believe that it is. Did not the Lord tell us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature?” Is our faith along this line faith only? How many really do get out and try to teach the Gospel to others? Many cry, “I don’t know how,” and when personal work classes are set up these same ones do not try to learn how. The word is God’s power to save, only to those who “believe” it, and this involves teaching (Matt. 28:19-20).
5. What about loving brethren and doing benevolent work? The Bible teaches us to love our brethren. Do you do it? Do you treat them like you would like to be treated? Do you seek their best interests. Is your love genuine or is it by FAITH ONLY? We get after our liberal brethren because of their looseness in handling the Word of God. “They are not walking by faith,” we say. But what about us? That passage says “we walk by faith. . .” – This implies action-“WE WALK”-This cannot be done by faith only. People are not loved, fed, nor comforted by FAITH ONLY.
6. What about our children? I well know that the Bible does not place the young people in a special group as far as the church is concerned. We see “Youth Retreats,” “Timothy and Dorcus Clubs” and church-sponsored recreation on every hand and we know these things are not the work of the church. We know that recreation belongs in the realm of home work. But, I ask, where is our faith? Where is your faith, parents? What are you doing for your children? Are you going places and doing things with them? Or, are you putting the liberals down for doing the right thing in the wrong way and then neglecting to do anything in any way. Why not provide recreation and places to go for our young so that they can have that association with other Christians that they so badly need? Can this not be done by concerned parents who love their children? If there is a prom or school dance, to which our children cannot attend, why not provide some good, clean, and wholesome recreation to which they can go, with which to fill the void. I ask again – are we acting by faith only in this area?
On and on we could go, but I am sure that you get the pont. It is still true that “faith without works is dead” – this is the reason we have so many sick and “nigh unto death” Christians. Remember, “. . . be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Truth Magazine, XX:4, p. 9-10
January 22, 1976