18 May 2012

The Wrong Type of 'Faith Alone'

Antinomianism is the heretical teaching that a sinner can be justified before God by barren, solitary faith. That is the kind of “faith alone” that evangelical Christians like myself strongly repudiate

The Bride of Christ, redeemed by the blood of her Saviour, is adorned with many precious jewels: faith, hope, love, patience, kindness, holiness, good works and other spiritual virtues.

Thus if we ask “who” will be saved, the unequivocal answer is, “Only believers whose life is characterized by love and good works.”

But if we ask “how” we are saved, the Bible points to faith alone as the hand that receives the gift of salvation; it also excludes our works as the meritorious cause. “To him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

Of course the Bible does not here exclude works altogether in the life of the believer. On the contrary, elsewhere the Bible emphatically speaks on the necessity of godliness in the life of justified.

Deeds are the fruit of faith, but their purpose is not to merit justification. It all about motives: some perform works to merit grace; Christians do them out of love and grateful obedience to their Saviour.