“Want to be saved? Just believe! That’s all you have to do…well, maybe say the sinner’s prayer too; but other than that there’s nothing else to do…well, maybe repent, but that’s a work of the Holy Spirit and not you – so yeah, just believe because that’s all you have to do to be saved.”
I’m not trying to be hateful or even funny when I say the above “quote” is a summation of the comments and thoughts that one will hear from those in religion today who propose the avenue of faith only when it comes to salvation.
It’s unfortunate, but the doctrine of faith only has confused many people when it comes to their understanding of what faith is and does, and what a person must to do in response to the gospel of Jesus to be saved, and yet the doctrine of faith only is actually a very easy doctrine to correct when a person reads just a verse or two from John’s gospel.
In John 12:42 you’ll find a tricky situation for faith only advocates. There the Bible says, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;”
Now if a person is saved by faith alone then we must ask if these people were saved according to the gospel preached by Jesus himself. For according to the gospel preached by some men and women today they were indeed saved. Unfortunately for those who teach the doctrine of faith only and for those who failed to confess Jesus, the answer to the first question is an obvious no (Matthew 10:32-33).
But they believed! They had faith! They had faith alone! And that’s the problem! They had faith that was alone!
And faith alone is a dead faith – “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
Don’t get tricked by those who teach that all you have to do to be saved is believe, for I believe John had something to say about that when he wrote John 12:42.
“Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:29-33)