Are we saved by Faith alone?
Although many believe that we are saved by Grace alone, regardless, Christ leaves no doubt that such a belief is a dangerous concept. What exactly does being save by Grace really mean?
It means that first and foremost we must have faith, a belief, that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and that He came to live amongst His creation in order to save them from their sins and that He suffered for our sake an excruciatingly painful Roman scourging followed by the most agonizing and humiliating death on the cross and was then raised from death to eternal life.
We must then live a life whereby we not only love God but we love our fellow human beings as well. In Matthew 25: 40 Jesus makes it abundantly clear that good works are equally necessary for salvation when He said, 'And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have not done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have not done it unto me.'
Also in Matthew's Gospel 25:41. we have another of Jesus' warnings, 'Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels', for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.'
If that is not enough, James in his letter 2: 19 reinforces that which is meant by a true Faith when he wrote, 'You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.' and thereby telling us that we must not only have faith but be a true follower of Christ. Believing in the existence of God in itself doesn't mean that we are automatically saved because that would mean that even demons who believed God existed would be saved.
We have to make every effort to become Christ-like in our earthly living and when Christ was asked how we do that He told His hearer, Matthew 22: 36-50 'Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'
Ask yourself! How can we love someone in need without offering them practical help? What do we say to those in need? Have a nice day? Take care of yourself? I weep for you? Elsewhere on this site are the words of John Chrysostom, c. 349 – 407 a.d. who was Archbishop of Constantinople, and a well known and outspoken early Church Father, on the theology of giving.... They explain much.
Such faith as one which helps not others is a dead faith and a faith totally without meaning. A useless faith. It's like a pear tree that gives no fruit; fit only to be dug up and burnt.
Let us be warned! To those who offer no help to those who need help Christ will say at Judgement, as outlined in Matthew 7: 23 'And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'
Those are truly fearful words which we ignore at our peril.