There is only one place in the Bible where the expression “faith only” is used. It is much more than significant that the word “not” is right before this expression. James writes, “Ye see that by works a man is justified and not by faith only” (James 2:24). James answers the question whether one is saved at the point of faith alone, clearly and plainly. It is, “not by faith only.” What part of “not” do people misunderstand?
“When were you saved?” Here is the question that all who claim to be saved need to answer. I would wager that at least 90% (maybe more) of the people with whom we make contact with on a daily basis would answer the question in the following way, “I was saved when I accepted Jesus into my heart believing on his name.” James forever states to these individuals, “You are not saved.” “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
“What must I do to be saved?” By the thousands denominational preachers and T.V. evangelists say “just accept Jesus into your heart by praying a prayer of faith only.” James forever rebukes them as false teachers. He stands as a testament that those who teach such are teaching error. James says, “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
Multitudes claim that the thief on the cross is the ultimate example of a person who was saved by faith only. “I want to be saved in the same way the thief on the cross was saved.” The implication is that the thief was saved by faith only. James forever stands in the gap here. In essence James states that however the thief on the cross was saved, it was NOT by faith only because, “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
By the countless millions people look to and quote John 3:16 as a verse that teaches one is saved by faith only. But it does it say that and it cannot say that because James clearly says, “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
The same people point to Romans 10:9 and state that faith only is all that is necessary to be saved. However, James stands against such thinking to state that while faith is necessary, “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
Countless hundreds of scriptures from the New Testament could be quoted left and right. But none of can teach that salvation is by faith only. None of them CAN teach salvation by faith only. Why? Because the Holy Spirit, through James plain says, “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
There is only one of two possibilities in regard to the doctrine of salvation by faith only. Either a person is justified by faith only or a person is not justified by faith only. One of these two possibilities is stated clearly in the Bible. The other possibility is not taught within the Bible. Which one is taught and which is not taught? James forever answers the question. “You can’t be justified by faith only.”
Dear reader, what will you do with James statement? Will you ignore it and continue to believe that a person IS justified by faith only? Or will you humbly submit to the teaching of the Holy Spirit and understand that a person can’t be justified by faith only? One can’t have it both ways. A person can’t be justified both by faith only and not by faith only. It must be one of the two.
Do you now wonder whether you are saved? What is the Bible’s answer to the question of what a person must do to be saved? In simple words the Bible teaches that we must hear the gospel (Rom.10:17), believe the gospel (John 3:16) repent of our sins (Acts 17:30) confess Jesus as the Christ (Rom.10:10) and be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). Here is a plan that is consistent with James statement that a person is not justified by faith only. Her is a plan that involves what James calls a living faith–a faith that is inclusive of works. These are not he works of man, but the works of God that we do. This is the kind of faith that Jesus taught man should have (John 6:29). Will you be obedient to the heavenly calling today and be saved by faith, but not by faith only?