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Thursday, July 10, 2014

‘Sola Fide’: Can It Be Enough Just To Believe?

Many denominations and sects teach that putting faith in Christ is not enough to save.

They claim that in order to gain or to keep one’s salvation it is necessary to try and keep at least part of the Old Testament Law. 

So what does Scripture say?

Since the beginning man’s pride has driven him to try and please God by his own efforts. The Bible says that man must cease wanting to boast of his own righteousness and recognize that he can do nothing to merit God’s favor: salvation is by God’s grace alone.

The book of Galatians was written to contradict the error that it is necessary to try and keep Old Testament laws. The Gentile churches in the province of Galatia were under attack by false Jewish teachers who insisted that the Gentile believers must be circumcised and made to keep the Law before they could be saved. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians to insist that this was not the case: “A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ” and “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”.

Salvation cannot be gained through keeping the law. Even the Old Testament says that “the righteous will live by faith”, not by works. The law was given to show man how holy God is. Because it was impossible for man to keep, it would teach him an important lesson — that he could never live up to God’s perfect standard by his own efforts. Then he would realize his helplessness and cry out to God to wash his sins away, as He had promised.

Our sins are washed away when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we then need to maintain our salvation through good works? Did Christ suffer and die to purchase for us an incomplete and uncertain redemption? No, for “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”. The believer in Christ lives by the Holy Spirit, not by the works of the Law. Paul states with the strongest possible emphasis in the Greek that if one lives by the Spirit, one will absolutely not, never, and in no way gratify the desires of the sinful nature:
“... if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law”.
Nothing can separate the believer from the love of God. He must not allow false teachers to persuade him that his salvation depends upon trying to keep the Law, for God gave the Law only in order to point man to Christ:
“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes”.
RJA

Republished with permission

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