Is Faith Enough to Save? Part 1 -- By: William Walden Howard

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 098:391 (Jul 1941)
Article: Is Faith Enough to Save? Part 1
Author: William Walden Howard


Is Faith Enough to Save?
Part 1

William Walden Howard

O! how unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven’s easy, artless, unexcumberd plan!

No meretricious graces to beguile,
No clustering ornaments to cloy the pile;

From ostentation as from weakness free,
It stands like the cerulean arch we see,
Majestic in its own simplicity.

Inscrib’d above the portal, from afar
Conspicuous of the brightness of a star,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the soul-quickening words-“BELIEVE AND LIVE.”
Cowper.

The Scriptural Prominence of Faith

A vital necessity prompts the defence of the proposition which forms this question, Is faith enough to save? Everywhere today the simplicity of the Gospel is being submerged in a confusion of the Scriptural injunction, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” The great standard of the Reformation, “Justification by faith,” is once more being lost sight of in our reversion to the Middle Ages of ignorance and loose thinking.

We cite but one of hundreds of examples that could be paraded across these pages to substantiate the claim that a fresh declaration of the unique simplicity of the Way of Life is imperative. In a catechism issued by one of the Protestant denominations there appears this declaration: “Question 2. How does one become a Christian? Answer. There are five steps that anyone takes to become a Christian. These are Hearing, Faith, Repentance, Confession, Baptism.”1 This is but indicative of the ignorance that exists among many Protestants today who have nominally broken away from the legalism of Roman Catholicism, but who confuse the simplicity of the Gospel message behind all manner of human meritorious works. Against every such voice we cry,

“There is but one divine condition for salvation; it is by faith and faith alone.”

This proposition becomes apparent from two considerations of the text of the New Testament: the prominence of faith in the text as a whole, and its exclusive use in the Johannine Gospel.

I. In the New Testament in General.

In approximately one hundred and fifty instances the sinner is enjoined to faith alone in order to be saved. These passages introduce no other condition that could be confused with the simple act of believing.2 The passages which seem to relate salvation to some other condition, or which seem to add some condition to faith are in the minority.3...

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