The message of salvation through faith has been maligned and attacked from all quarters. Religionists give a man-made definition of this biblical truth and one of the main areas of attack is to remove justification by faith from the equation. Faith is minimized and grace is over-emphasized so those who are saved are passive recipients of salvation; they are barely even required to believe what God has told us in His Word. Or faith is minimized and work centered grace is taught. One of my favorite examples of the difference between faith and unbelief, because of its clarity, is given in Numbers chapters 13 and 14 where only two faithful witnesses were found to encourage the Israelites that they could indeed go into the Promised land and possess it, for God was well able to give it to them.
25And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. 26Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittities, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” 30Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight. 1So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2And all the children complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? 4So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ 9“Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us.” 10And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.11Then the Lord said to Moses “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?” Numbers 13:25-14:11
So it is today within the visible church that is in gross rebellion against God establishing a bad report about the grace of God given to us in Christ Jesus by spreading lies about salvation, faith, justification, imputed righteousness, sanctification, eternal security, election, depravity, and every doctrine that undergirds salvation. The lack of faith in Christ Jesus and what He has accomplished for us finds its co-conspirators in the myriad of damnable doctrines given by satan to willing evil workers bent on deceiving and destroying God’s flock. The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and so the doctrine of justification by faith is railed against by those who can’t believe what God has told us in His Word, the Bible.
8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
1Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain.3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and the He was buried, 4and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me. 11Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:1-9
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, 26to demonstrate His righteousness because in His forbearance God had previously passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27Where is the boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31Do we then make void the law through? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. Romans 3:21-31
4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is not distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? 15And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:4-17
22But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.24Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:22-26
1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? 5Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?-6Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. 10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” 11But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:1-11
The children of Augustine, the Catholic church and the Calvinists do not like the doctrine of the justification by faith of the sinner taught in the Word of God, because this doctrine overthrows their false teaching. They both over-emphasize grace; one teaches grace plus our efforts, the other teaches grace that envelopes the sinner so faith is barely necessary. Without a doubt we are saved by the righteous work of Christ on our behalf, but just like the Israelites, we must believe what God says in His Word about His Son for that work to benefit us. Without belief in the gospel, faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we cannot be saved because we are still in our sins and trespasses and so condemned before our holy God. Any teaching originating in the hearts of fallen man is false and always attacks the gospel of our salvation. We are counted righteous and forgiven of our sins because of Christ’s righteous work of salvation on the cross and resurrection from the dead. His work saves us, our sins are covered and God receives us as His beloved children, when we put our faith in Jesus.
1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And who sins are covered; 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:1-8