One Deceitful Word Commonly Added to Scripture Exposed (Faith Alone Rebuke)
In this message we are analyzing the vast difference between Biblical justification by faith versus the demonic doctrine of justification by faith alone.
The Apostles preached baptism in preaching the Gospel of Christ. Neither the act of baptism itself nor the waters of baptism save. Yet if our heart is obedient to Christ, we will obey His command to be baptized because we are under His authority in truth. We cannot just receive Jesus as our Savior and despise His kingly authority. He is a Royal King, not an enabler of the disobedient to God to continue in their disobedience and get away with it (see esp. Romans chapter 6).
Consider the implications of Acts 8:35-38: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
To baptize someone outside of genuine repentance in laying down their arms of rebellion against Christ’s Lordship; or to baptize with a manipulated or shallow understanding of this, is irresponsible and wicked. Jesus is God as the 2nd person of the Trinity who represents the Godhead as the Judge of all mankind. God expects us to do whatever it takes to come into line with His authority and receive His grace as help to overcome sin, rather than as a license to enjoy the pleasures of sin. Scriptural baptism is actually a contract whereby one commits to learn and walk in God’s ways while shunning all the pleasures of sin in the hope of all the mercies, spiritual blessings, and exceedingly great promises which God has guaranteed to those who take hold of His covenant in Christ. Anyone who has been baptized with what they consider to be a valid Christian baptism has already essentially vowed, or you could say signed a contract through their baptism, that they would strive to walk within the boundaries of Christianity and to walk in all that God has commanded in His Word for a Christian to walk in.
Matthew 28:18-20a: “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Since Christian baptism is a declaration that one has come under Christ’s authority and is committed to keep all that He has commanded in His Word, from a Biblical lens there is no saving faith in Christ that does not submit to His authority and live by His Word. The grace of God in Christ is only actually given to those who do so. A proper Biblical Baptism is signing up to learn to observe whatsoever Christ has commanded. That is essentially the same as declaring oneself dead to sin and alive to God with Him.
It’s amazing to me then that so many professing Christians will contest the Christian’s obligation to keep God’s commandments (ironically, even many who are called Baptists). Yet the “justification by faith alone” heresy is often foundational to their spiritual insanity. See what adding just one word (alone) to one Biblical phrase (‘justification by faith”) has the potential to do!
Deuteronomy 4:2 says: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
And Proverbs 30:5-6 says: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
The phrase “justified by faith alone” is a protestant/evangelical sacred cow. Whenever anyone talks about forsaking sin, obeying God, being holy/worthy of God’s kingdom, etc. many times someone will often say “Hey, salvation is by justification by faith alone. You’re speaking heresy.”
Yet it can be boldly said that justification by faith alone is not only never mentioned positively in the Bible, it is even spoken of negatively and directly rebuked. There is a universe of difference between justification by faith versus justification by faith alone. The Bible teaches justification by faith, not justification by faith alone. A true, living faith in Christ is never alone. It is always obedient to His authority. It is dead faith which doesn’t produce obedience to Jesus Christ.
Let’s analyze then the vast difference between Biblical justification by faith versus this demonic doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Romans 4:1-5: “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
We have to consider what kind of works the Bible is talking about when it condemns justification by works. We will shortly see that in a sense we must indeed be justified by works, in the sense of the obedience to God that must characterize those who walk in the steps of Abraham’s faith. Imagine Abraham being regarded as the father of faith had he been unwilling to offer up Isaac his son at God’s request. Imagine if the thief on the cross had not publicly sided with Jesus like he did. Yet this man coming to an authentic faith which justifies indeed caused him to publicly side with Jesus like he did. There is no such thing as faith in the true God of the Bible which doesn’t cause a person to properly address the same issue which caused Adam and Eve to sin in the garden (they handled the issue improperly)- the issue of whether or not we will choose to suffer to glorify God’s authority and respond right to His commandments.
We should actually go back a little further to the closing verses of Romans chapter 3 (remember that the letters in the Bible were written as continuous letters, without chapter breaks). Romans 3:28-31 says: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
In the strongest language of “God forbid” the concept that faith makes (or could even potentially make) God’s law void is utterly destroyed. Real, living faith rather establishes God’s law. Abraham didn’t do anything apart from God to earn His favor. He didn’t seek justification by doing things independently to appease God, to pay him off, to bribe him, to make God his debtor who owed him salvation, etc. It is the mentality involved in such things which is the basis for many false religions. It is also the general approach that many take towards being justified with God (or getting right with God) that is completely wrong. Many Jews at that time sought justification from a strict adherence to the ceremonial law of Moses. Some try to get right with God on self-imposed terms, like “If I do X and Y, then God will surely be pleased with me.” Mentalities and approaches like this are what the Bible condemns when it condemns justification by works. But what do all these things overlook? The true faith of Abraham that abandons self to God in obedience and trusts in His promises in that abandonment. The point in Romans chapters 3 and 4 is that we must seek the Lord in that way and that we can’t get around that. Those who try to do so stumble at Christ’s righteous authority (see also Romans 9:31-33 with Romans 10:3-4 along the same lines). By faith the moral law of God is established, the fundamental requirement of man that we turn from living by what is right in our own eyes in order to be subject to God and do what is right in His eyes. The very moment one so turns to the Lord in faith, pleading for mercy through the atonement for sins that Christ has accomplished on the cross, they are justified. Working to earn one’s own justification contradicts how the Lord must be sought. On the other hand, a heart that is turned to the Lord in faith is willing and ready to obey Him. The mentality of those who seek to earn their salvation opposes this living, obedient faith.
And that brings us to where true faith naturally produces works of obedience, and why the doctrine of “justification by faith alone” is a devilish doctrine that is a slap in the face to God’s Word. A woman who has committed adultery cannot righteously buy her way back into her husband’s favor. Yet if she is genuine in returning to him, upon his free offer of pardon, she will prove it by her contrition and turning back to be faithful to him. In such a sense we must be justified by works. Those who claim faith in Jesus Christ but are disobedient to Him and don’t keep His Word prove themselves unbelievers without a faith any better than the devils have.
James 2:19-24: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
Ephesians 5:23-24: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (It’s clear then that to be among Christ’s people we must be subject to Him in all things. A proper baptism is declaring the intent to be subject to Him in all things).
Titus 1:16: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
So much confusion on this topic comes because people don’t see (and often don’t want to see) “how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” like we see from the example of Abraham given in James chapter 2. Abraham heard God’s Word and acted on it. He truly believed God. He didn’t set boundaries on his life regarding how far he would go to obey God. Since he honored God’s authority and believed God would be faithful to him, he therefore did what God commanded him without rationalizing that away (as people normally do). Abraham was ruled by the Word of God and not by his own plans and his own desires. His attitude was basically, “Whatever God commands, He has a right to command, and if I do what He says it will ultimately be well with me- otherwise, it won’t be.”
Isaiah 66:1-2 says along these lines: “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Those who take on this attitude, and follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith, will prove it by their obedient works. Those who are disobedient to the will of God revealed in Scripture, along with those who neglect to know it altogether, can justly be reproved for their unbelief.
John 8:39: “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.”
Some will point out here the times in the Bible where Abraham didn’t obey God. Yes, and in his disobedience he was unbelieving. It is clear however that Abraham repented and got back on the right track after he sinned. He did not rely on a one-time exercise of faith like people wrongly assume one ought to do (and also commonly wrongly read this assumption into the lives of the people in the Bible). Nor did Abraham sin with the presumption that God would have mercy on him and bring him back automatically, as some do. He did wrong in difficult moments and afterwards he humbled himself before God, didn’t make any excuses for himself, and returned to walking in obedience to God.
We can know that Abraham truly humbled himself and repented when he went astray by the fact that in Genesis chapter 22 the Lord told Abraham that he had demonstrated his fear of God and his obedience by his proven willingness to offer up his son Isaac. This was after the moments recorded in Scripture where Abraham had gone astray. Unless God lied, Abraham always turned back to keeping the Lord’s way and didn’t harbor or hold onto any disobedience.
God had also already said this about Abraham in Genesis 18:17-19: “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
In addition, to confirm God’s verdict about the genuine quality of Abraham’s faith, listen to this summary of Abraham’s life which God gave to his son Isaac after Abraham had died, regarding Abraham’s faithful and obedient way.
Genesis 26:3-5: “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
Abraham is proof that truly believing God (having genuine faith in the true God which actually saves) means keeping the way of the Lord/fearing God/obeying God’s voice, etc. as these passages show. Such synonymous things are what characterized Abraham’s faith.
Hebrews 11:8-10: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
And since Abraham is given as the model of true faith for Christians, the man whose footsteps of faith that any who would be a faithful Christian must walk in, then this proves that those who seek to be justified in Christ “by faith alone” are presumptuous, don’t actually believe God’s Word, and their hope in Christ is vain or futile.
Romans 1:16-17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
The just shall live by faith. What could be plainer? And that is why it is possible to draw back from living by faith even after one has authentically begun to do so.
Hebrews 10:37-38: “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
Otherwise, the many Scriptures like the following passage would make no sense and have no meaning. Yet with these things in mind, the many Scriptures like this make absolute sense.
Matthew 24:9–13: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
God’s love in sending Christ to seek and to save the lost won’t avail those who won’t yield control of their lives to Christ’s Lordship and give up the disobedient attitude and evil deeds that caused them to be lost to begin with. We have to be agreed with Christ (Amos 3:3) in order to be joined to Him by faith, and to thus be on His side. Many offer easier ways to be saved, but they are counterfeits of the genuine salvation that Christ actually offers and calls us to. The real Jesus is the Captain of the Lord’s host, not a humanistic sissy whose compassion towards people overrides His honor for the truth of God and zeal that the truth of God be glorified and obeyed by people. He therefore has the severest punishment in store for those who won’t turn and obey the truth, while He offers mercy on the condition that we turn and obey the truth (and not turn back). Therefore, we should do whatever we need to in order to get in line with the Lord. Peter thus testified to and exhorted the crowd that he preached to on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:40, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” The Apostolic truth is that there is no true repentance, and thus no true faith in Jesus Christ, in those who do not save themselves from this wayward generation by forsaking the disobedient attitude towards God which put Christ on the cross; and which will be the cause of God’s coming wrath upon the world. This has been the condition to be on the Lord’s side since the beginning of time- and that truth will never change. We can afford to suffer here and even die for Christ’s sake- yet we can’t afford to deny Christ to preserve ourselves here and end up in hell.
Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
John 14:21-24: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
Jude 21: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]