Church of Christ
Mission USA

Is One Saved Before Obeying The Savior?

by Perry Sexton

      You may be thinking what a foolish question, if so, you are right.  Yet, the conclusion of what multitudes of people have been taught and have done, have them being saved before obeying the Savior.  Surely, no right thinking person would make such a plain statement as that.  After all the Scripture plainly says: “And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrews 5:9).  Would anyone say Jesus is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that disobey Him?  However, this is the implication of “faith only salvation.” 

      Multitudes are taught by the false teachers that they are saved at the point of faith and before obedience.  They are told that they are saved by “faith alone” and then are to obey the Lord.  Men say this (Matthew 15:9), not God.  Men “wrest” (KJV) or “twist” the Bible and make people believe such as this (cp. 2 Peter 3:16).  Many “twist” Ephesians 2:8-10 in order to convince people of the above doctrine.  If you will study these verses carefully, you will see clearly that neither these nor any other verses teach one is saved before obedience to the gospel.  Please consider the following:

      First, no verse of the Bible teaches that one is saved by “faith alone.”  In fact the opposite is taught: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:24, 26).  This is God’s inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16).  Second, the grace by which we are saved teaches us what we must do and not do in order to be saved (Titus 2:11, 12).  These “do’s and don’ts” are seen throughout the New Testament by commands, statements, examples, and implications.  Third, the faith through which man is saved is to be obeyed (Romans 1:5; 16:26; Acts 6:7).  Just like Jesus said, faith is a work (John 6:29).  The New Testament is the faith by which man is to live and by which man will be saved.  It is the system of faith (Jude 3); the doctrine of Christ (2 John 1:9).  Paul gave this formula: “faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).  This is what is taught in James 2:14-26.  Fourth, every Judgment scene, of which I am aware, speaks of being saved by obeying the works God has given us to do (Matthew 7:21; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12, 13; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, etc.).

      If one is saved by “faith alone,” he is saved without obedience to the Savior.  Do you really believe that is possible?  Are you truly satisfied with man changing God’s Word on most every hand?  Let me issue this challenge to you: always write down the points made by the teacher/preacher and write down the verses he uses as proof.  Go home and study those verses very carefully in their context and prove for yourself if they really teach what he said.  Oh, don’t be surprised if the “preacher” does not give verses for what he says.  If this is the case ask him for the verse or verses.  Don’t be afraid to do this, after all, it is your soul!  If he still does not give verses, then by all means discard what he says and seek the New Testament church.

      The Bible says Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9).  Which will you believe, God or man (Matthew 15:9, 14)?  The Bible also teaches one must obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9; Mark 16:15, 16).  Of course this is the same as obeying the Savior: this is His gospel.  In Matthew 7:21-23, a Judgment scene, the only ones saved are those who do the Lord’s will.  Many “thought” they were saved but were not.  They believed in Jesus, they confessed His name, calling on Him for salvation, and even did works in His name, but they were lost.  In fact, we know that they had never been saved because Jesus said He “never knew” them.  They had never been saved because they had never obeyed the gospel (Romans 1:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9; Mark 16:15, 16).  Matthew 7:21-23 is a perfect picture of those who believe they are saved by “faith alone and then are to obey the Lord.”  Those the Lord spoke of had never been baptized scripturally.  It is like the many religions today that change God’s Word on baptism and do not baptize scripturally, therefore they never obey the gospel.  For space sake, looking at just part of the following Scriptures:

Let Us Note Just A Few Changes Men Make To God’s Word

1)   Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; ….”  Men change it to: He that believeth is saved and then should be baptized.

2)   Acts 2:38 “…, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, ….”  Men change it to: because your sins have already been forgiven.

3)   Romans 6:3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”  Men change it to: a spiritual baptism, not water.  Neither the context nor any verse in the whole Bible support this.  Try Ephesians 4:5; Acts 8:38; 1 Peter 3:21.

4)   1 Peter 3:21 “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us …:”  Men change it to: baptism doth also not save us. 

      Friends, changing God’s Word in anything has very serious consequences, as well as for those who follow the changers (Galatians 1:6-9).  Changing God’s Word is nothing but a lie and as you know one lie calls for another.  So it is when one changes God’s Word: one change calls for another, etc.  Not only have the false teachers changed God’s Word on baptism into a lie, so have they on practically every verse dealing with salvation.  They read into most such verses “salvation by faith only” (cp. John 3:16; Eph. 2:8, 9).

      Questions: 1.) If one is saved by “faith alone,” why were those in Matthew 7:21-23 never saved?  2.) Must one obey Christ in order to be saved (Hebrews 5:9)?  3.) Must one obey the gospel in order to be saved (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9)?  4.) What is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16)?  5.) Does the gospel save (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)?  6.) When is one free from sin (Romans 6:17, 18)?  7.) When is one born again, or free from sin (1 Peter 1:22, 23)?  8.) Will those who do not obey be saved (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 1:8)?  9.) Is one to obey “the faith” (Romans 1:5)?  10.) Is faith a work (John 6:29)?  11.) Are we saved by “faith alone” or “faith which worketh by love” (James 2:24, 26; Galatians 5:6)?  12.) Where does the Bible say one is saved by “faith alone”?  13.) Where does the Bible say one is saved before obedience to the gospel?  14.) Are you among the “few” who truly follow the Bible (Matthew 7:13, 14) or among the multitudes who follow the false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-3)?  15.) What kind of “faith” changes God’s Word???  You may send your answers in for further discussion.  ♥