God told Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood.” (Genesis 6:14). God also gave Noah instructions as to how He was to build the ark, a part of which is found in verses 14-16. The number of rooms he was to build in the ark is not stated anywhere in the word of God. Noah was also told who and what he was to bring into the ark. (Verses 18-21). We do not have a record of where he was to put what he brought inside. Perhaps God told Noah where to put each thing, or maybe God left it up to Noah. Whatever, verse 22 says, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Noah was not a hearer only, but a doer of the word. Cf. James 1:22. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Notice, and do not miss the fact that doing what God says shows one’s faith. Cf. James 2:18. Read the full chapter of Hebrews 11, and notice how faith led each one to do what God said.
QUESTION: What if Noah and those in Hebrews 11 had believed God, but did nothing about what God said, would any of them have survived the flood? Would Hebrews 11 have mentioned Noah so favorably? Would those of Hebrews 11 have received the blessings they did had they believed only, and not “offered” (Verse 4), ”pleased” (Verse 5), “obeyed…went…sojourned…looked” (Verses 8-10), “judged him faithful” (Verse 11), “offered” (Verse 17), and such like? Their actions showed their faith.
1 Corinthians 10 speaks of some with whom “God was not well pleased” (Verse 5), people who lusted (Verse 6), were idolaters (Verse 7), fornicators (Verse 8), tempters (Verse 9), and murmurers. (Verse 10). This is a striking contrast to the obedient believers of Hebrews 11. Hebrews 3:19 says some “could not enter in because of unbelief” Cf. 4:6. The problem was not that God had not clearly revealed His word. (Book of Deuteronomy).
In the land of Edom, people were bitten with fiery serpents because of their speaking against God and Moses. Many died. (Numbers 21:4-6). When the people repented, that is, changed their directions, the Lord told Moses, “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” (Verse 8). Verse 9 says, “Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” When did anyone bitten live, before looking upon the serpent on the pole, or by believing only, but residing in his tent, or after one’s faith moved one to do what God had said?
QUESTION: Would anyone live who believed what God said, but did not go look upon the serpent on the pole?
Was Naaman cleansed of his leprosy by faith only, when he departed to do it his own way, or when he did exactly what God said? (2 Kings 5:10-14).
There are many Bible stories that show that “faith only” is not a most wholesome doctrine and full of comfort. James 2:24, 17, 20, 26, asserts that “faith only” is not God’s way. The inspired writer, John, penned these words, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” God requires faith, but He also demands actions.
The same is true of any who would become Christians, be saved. First, one should take heed how and what one hears. (Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18). Mark 12:29 calls upon all to hear, “The Lord our God is one Lord.” “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). One develops faith by hearing what God says, thus the need for study. (2 Timothy 2:15). An active, vibrant faith in God (Hebrews 11:6) and Jesus (John 8:24) is necessary to being saved. Those who truly believe in God and His only begotten Son (John 3:16), will genuinely repent of sin, that is, turn from sin to righteousness. (Acts 17:30, 31; Luke 13:3, 5; Romans 6:11-14). The repentant must then confess his/her faith in God and Jesus, which is done when one says, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9, 10). Having confessed one’s faith, it is time for the believer to be baptized by burial (Romans 6:1-5) in water (Acts 8:38) to be saved (1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16), to enter Christ (Galatians 3:26, 27) and His church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:18), by addition. (Acts 2:41, 47). In spite of God’s word about how to be saved, one hears Bible teachers telling the lost to “say the sinner’s prayer”, or “believe only.” These things are nowhere recorded in the scriptures.
QUESTION: Remembering Noah, the people of God fleeing Egypt to their new promised land, Naaman, and others, which of these could have been saved by “faith only?” Could Moses have obediently put a dog on a pole, or a fiery serpent on a wagon? What makes modern people think they may eliminate and/or change God’s plan for redeeming man. Read the paragraph immediately above, and see what God says. Which one may one eliminate and follow God? Why do people remove repentance, confession and baptism, but leave faith. Some say repentance, confession and baptism are not mentioned in some verses that tell us, “being justified by faith.” (Romans 5:1; John 3:16). By the same reasoning one could teach that salvation is by baptism only, since faith, repentance and confession are not mentioned in 1 Peter 3:20, 21. The same would be true of verses that speak only of repentance or confession.
Dear reader, the only time “faith only” is found in the word of God, it is preceded by the word “not.” Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9). Do not be misled by “the doctrines and commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:7-9). Do what Jesus says, as He says do it, and you will be saved.
Churches of Christ teach the things written herein. Call someone from one of these churches to discuss these things further with you. Obey God. Reject man. If you cannot get in touch with someone to discuss these things with you, feel free to write the one whose name and address appears hereon.