Is the doctrine of ‘salvation by faith only’ hurting Christianity? October 3, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
I believe the concept of works being irrelevant in a Christian’s “salvation” has had a negative impact on Christianity. This belief many times results in Christian passivity or even an unsympathetic attitude towards how our actions may negatively impact others. After all, it is our “faith in Christ” that is important, so why should we worry about our deeds?
Many other religions focus on “good works” and, as a result, their followers demonstrate acts of kindness. A Christian will be quick to denounce those “good works” as irrelevant and damn them to hell anyway. In the typical Christian view, a person like Bob Tilton ,who has stood on television and milked the masses out of their money BUT trusts in Christ for salvation, is bound for heaven. However, Ghandi, who gave his life in service of his people, is bound for hell. Does this make sense?
Here’s what James says on the subject:
James 2: 14-25
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
I firmly believe that we need to start a campaign for Christians to engage in good works, to show kindness, love, mercy, compassion, and tolerance. What a difference we could make in this world.