8 - BECAUSE OF ITS OPPOSITION TO INNOVATIONS IN DOCTRINE
It would be impossible in the course of one lesson to notice all the innovations that have been introduced into the doctrine of Christ. However, we do want to notice at least two of the most frequently taught. They deal with the subjects of faith and grace. First of all, let us look at the subject of faith.
THE NECESSITY OF FAITH. To begin with, let us prove the necessity of faith, lest someone get the idea that we doubt it. In Heb. 11:6 it reads, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” In Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” And finally, 2 Cor 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” We can clearly see that faith is a necessary part of our salvation. But the question is, “Can faith only, by itself, save a person from sin?” The only way to answer that question is to go to the scriptures and see if they teach such a doctrine.
DOES FAITH ALONE SAVE? It is noteworthy that many leading churches and church creeds teach that faith alone saves. Some even state that “The doctrine of faith only is a wholesome doctrine and full of comfort. But let us see: James 2:24, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” How, then, can man justify his erroneous teachings of faith only? Let us see more of the inconsistencies into which this doctrine leads us. James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Now if one is saved by merely believing, the devils will be saved too. And we know this could not be. Again, we read in John 1:11-12, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The Bible teaches here that the believer is not a son of God, but merely has the right to become a son of God. If faith only saved, then the believer would indeed be a child of the Father. But this passage teaches that as a believer, he only has the right or permission to become a child of God if he so chooses or desires. Notice further in John 8:31, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed...” Remember these Jews “believed on him.” If faith alone saves they are saved, because they believed. However, verse 44 tells us more, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” So we see from this verse that the very Jews who believed on Jesus were of the devil. Their faith did not save them. Again in John 12:42-43, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” This just re-emphasizes the truth that believing only will not save.
NEXT, CONSIDER GRACE AND SALVATION. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God...” - Eph. 2:8. This passage from the New Testament proves that we are saved by grace. It does not prove that we are saved by grace only, but definitely teaches that the grace of God plays a role in our salvation. However, we are interested in whether or not after one is saved, he can ever fall from grace and be lost. Man says, “No, he cannot.” WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING QUOTE AS PROOF THAT SOME PEOPLE TEACH THAT WE CANNOT FALL FROM GRACE: “Does a Christian's sins damn his soul? We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul. All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform, will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit, from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger. The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul” (THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS BY SAM MORRIS, AT THE TIME, PASTOR OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, STAMFORD, TEXAS). Surely you can see the implications of such a doctrine as this.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Even though man says “No”, the Bible says a definite “Yes”. The doctrine that man cannot fall from God's grace is an old one. The devil preached it to mother Eve in the garden of Eden. He said, “Thou shalt not surely die.” She believed him, and the result is still with us today. Let us notice the following very carefully:
1. THE BIBLE WARNS AGAINST IT. In I Cor. 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” The word of God recognizes the possibility of falling. Would it not be foolish for the Bible to warn us of something that is not possible?
2. A BIBLE EXAMPLE. In I Cor. 10:8 we are given a Bible example of some people who fell from grace. “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.” A great multitude of people sinned. They committed an immoral act. The result: they fell.
3. THE BIBLE SAYS WE CAN FALL. In plain, unmistakable terms. Listen--”Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace,” Gal. 5:4. Can anyone deny such plain language as that? How can a man stand before an audience of intelligent people and tell them that they cannot so sin and be lost because of it, when the Bible says, “ye are fallen from grace”?
We believe the above evidence from the Scriptures to be irrefutable. We are not boasting that one can fall from grace, just recognizing what the Bible says about it. We have no desire to make that mistake ourselves, or to see others make it. For that reason we would like to notice the: BIBLE FORMULA FOR PREVENTION. This is found in 2 Peter I :5-9, and John 15:5. In that order let us notice them. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” The formula for remaining faithful is to abide in Christ and add to our lives those things mentioned by Peter and Jesus. A failure to do these things leads to falling from Grace. Man says you cannot fall from God's grace, the Bible says you can. WHICH WILL YOU BELIEVE?