Faith in God is one of the greatest blessings on this earth! Faith in Jesus Christ will change your life forever! God longs for us to believe in Him! “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Faith is essential in order to be “saved” (Acts 16:31), to be “justified” (Rom. 5:1), to have “everlasting life” (John 3:16), to “become children of God” (John 1:12) and to avoid “the lake [of] fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8). We must never, ever discount the importance of and essentiality of faith!
At the same time, we must be equally passionate to speak “the whole counsel of God” (cf. Acts 20:27) on the matter of salvation! We must be willing to accept whatever the Scripture teaches, including that faith alone will not save. As we conclude this series of articles, consider for a moment some clear Biblical examples of those who believed in Jesus but were clearly not saved.
In John 8, Jesus was teaching in the treasury of the temple (8:20). “As He spoke” plainly about who He was and about His relationship with His Father, “many believed in Him” (8:30). Underscore that—“many believed.” “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him…” What will He say to these believers? In verse 42, “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father…’” IF? Does that mean that God was NOT the Father of these believers? Read verse 44. “You are of your father the devil.” Here were believers in Jesus who were clearly not saved. True, Biblical faith involves obedience.
In John 12, Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem just days before His crucifixion. Verses 37-40 show how many of the Jews, although witnesses of His miraculous signs, “did not believe in Him.” But then read the contrast in verse 42. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him.” Wonderful! So these believers must have been saved! Right? Keep reading. “…But because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (12:42-43). Here were believers in Jesus who were clearly not saved. True, Biblical faith involves obedience.
In James 2, we read about another group who “believe” and even “tremble” in the depth of their faith. Are they saved? No! Not at all! These are “demons” (2:19).
It is clear that faith alone will not save, for all of these examples in John 8, John 12 and James 2 would have been saved. But true, Biblical faith does save because it is only satisfied when it has obeyed the fullness of the will of God. Thank God for the clarity of truth and the ability to follow it!