Faith Only? Then Explain Noah
by Rick Martin
The Bible informs us that we must have faith in order to please God Hebrews 11:6 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. Because of examples we have been given, we do not have to wonder what is involved in a saving faith.
One of the examples of faith we are given is Noah. Those who believe in “faith only” have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to Noah. Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Faith involves works of obedience and the example of Noah makes that very clear.
When a person has faith in God he will obey without hesitation, even if the task involved seems demanding. When we look at the example of Noah we see that he had a demanding assignment given to him by God. He was told to build an ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. This task would take him 120 years and then, he still had the task of gathering up all the animals that were to be put on the ark. Noah could have questioned God about all he had to do and how enormous the job was. Instead, Noah did all that God commanded him. Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. We see that Noah was “warned by God” and this indicates that Noah received the word of God and by faith acted upon it. Faith involves works of obedience and, without a doubt, the building of an ark was a great work of faith.
Noah was saved by faith, but not by faith alone. James explains it this way; James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Faith involves more than just accepting the Lord as your personal Savior. Obedience puts on faith into action. These works are not works of merit by which one earns salvation, but are works of obedience from the standpoint of an unprofitable servant. Salvation comes by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8 through Ephesians 2:9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. A man cannot earn salvation by his works. Salvation by grace is obtained through faith and the example of Noah shows that faith involves works of obedience.
If the idea of “faith only” was true the demons would be saved. James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Jesus teaches that it takes more than faith alone to be pleasing unto Him. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things I say? There was no way that Noah could just believe there was a God and accept Him as the One who could save him, he had to act upon what God commanded by faith. Who would believe Noah would have been saved without building the ark?
Peter uses Noah’s obedient faith for an illustration; 1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Noah was commanded to build an ark and we are commanded to repent and be baptized. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We act upon our faith when we obey God’s commandments.
Did the work of building the ark saved Noah? No, God’s grace did that. However, the scriptures show plainly that Noah would not have been saved by the grace of God had he not put his faith in action by obeying the commands of God. Noah had to build that ark and get on it to be saved. When we submit to God’s commands to repent and be baptized, we are not doing works of merit by which God owes us salvation. These are works of faithful obedience. Like Noah we have to obey. For those teaching “faith only”, I would ask, can you please explain Noah?