"FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD"
Because we insist, according to the Holy Scriptures, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, we are constantly accused of being antinomians, promoters of licentiousness, and enemies to good works. I do not mind being accused of these things. Every faithful gospel preacher in history has been accused of licentiousness.
The Pharisees called our Lord a "glutton", a "wine bibber", and a "devil". The Judaizers of Paul's day said that Paul preached, "Let us do evil that good may come." I count it an honor to be ranked in such company by those who despise the gospel.
A Baseless Charge
When natural, spiritually dead, self-righteous men hear the gospel of unconditional salvation by the perfect righteousness and finished atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, received by faith alone, I fully expect them to say, "That is evil doctrine! That opens the flood-gates to licentiousness! That destroys the necessity for good works!" I expect nothing more from spiritually blind and ignorant men.
The charge, however, is altogether without foundation. I affirm, as plainly as I am able that true, saving faith in Christ does, most assuredly, produce good works in regenerate men and women. Good works are not the cause of salvation, the condition of God's favor, the basis of assurance, or a means of sanctification. But good works are the sure, inevitable result of God's saving grace and an evidence to the world of our faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-10).
A mere naked assent to the truths of the gospel is not saving faith. Orthodoxy is not a proof of grace. Embracing the doctrine of Christ is not the same thing as embracing Christ. Did not Judas, Ananias, Demas, and Diotrephes embrace the doctrine of Christ? Yet, they were lost, unregenerate men, who now suffer the wrath of God in hell! Any faith that does not produce a changed life, that does not produce good works, is a false faith. You may change your life without having true faith. But you cannot have true faith without a change of life.
††††††††††† The fact is, the only people in the world who imagine that free grace will promote vile behavior are those who are strangers to grace. Only lost religious people, people deluded by their own imaginary righteousness are so perverse in their thinking. Believers find the greatest possible motive to obedience in the fact that God will never impute sin to them. Knowing that we are bought with the price of Christís precious blood, we are constrained by love and gratitude to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #861
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 859-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org