The Good News is: We Are Not Saved by Faith Alone

The Biblical argument against being saved by faith alone, is clearly presented in the letter of James (2:14-26). James gives evidence that faith without deeds is useless and dead. He also states that we are justified or saved (judged righteous and worthy of heaven by God) because of our works and not by faith alone (James 2:24). The book of James tells you how to live what you believe. All Biblical passages can be easily viewed in over 50 Bible versions at I chose the NIV because it is clearly written and is the middle ground between a word-for-word literal translation and a one that captures the intent of the original writings.

Some may fear that not being saved by faith alone is really bad news, because that means that God holds us personally responsible for our sins and lack of righteousness. Having our sins and works judged by God is consistent with the New and Old Testaments, as verified in: Psalm 58:11, 62:12 and 98:9; Proverbs 11:18-20 and 19:16-18; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Isaiah 59:1-20; Jeremiah 11:20 and 17:10; Ezekiel 7:3, 7:27, 18:30-32, 20:36, and 34:16-22; Matthew 7:1-2, 12:36-37 and 16:27; Luke 12:5 and 13:3-5;  Romans 2:5-13 and 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 6:7-10; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6; Hebrews 10:26-30; James 2:10-13, 3:1 and 4:12; 1 Peter 1:15-17 and Revelation 22:12.

People may panic at the thought that we are not saved by faith in Jesus, God’s grace (a freely given gift), the blood of Christ, or His crucifixion. Not having these work-free passes into heaven means that we will be judged by our perfect and holy God for our sins and our good works, just as James explains in 2:14-26. Having someone else be responsible for our sins is also contrary to what is taught in Ezekiel 18. The sinner is the one who will die (go to hell) and neither are children guilty for the sins of the parents nor parents take on the guilt of their children. The righteousness will be credited to the individual and the wickedness will be charged solely against the sinner. In a like manner, our Father is not responsible for our sins, like Adam trying to blame God for giving him Eve (Genesis 3:12).

This panic is stoked because we are told we are all sinners and no one is righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10). We are conditioned to believe we are not worthy of heaven but truly deserve hell instead. This is folly, because Job was righteous (Job 1:1,  1:8 and 2:3) and Elijah was righteous and went to heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Matthew Kelly in, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, tells us that we can become righteous, one step at a time.

Why is it great to not be saved by faith or grace alone and ultimately be judged by God? Simply knowing we are personally responsible for our sins and righteousness is an extraordinarily strong incentive to try our best and grow every day to be a better person in God’s eyes. Even if we slip and fall back into a sin, we can learn from our mistakes, gain in wisdom (James 1:5-8) and do better each day. We can be forgiven our sins, provided we truly repent, confess our sins to each other, forgive others, and sin no more (Isaiah 59:20, Jeremiah 15:19, Matthew 6:14-15, John 8:11, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9).

Imagine if everyone conscientiously strived every waking moment to be more righteous, knowing that God knows our every thought and sees and remembers every sin and good work in our life. Nothing can be hidden from an omnipotent God, so for heaven’s sake go forth become more righteous and teach others this truth. Remember, if you turn a sinner from their errors, it will help save them and cover over a multitude of your own sins (James 5:19-20). You can discover more priceless lessons that you need to become more worthy of  salvation in my book, The Bible’s Hidden Treasure: James: The Precious Pearl: John Hageman: 9781973692850: Books or

4 Comments on “The Good News is: We Are Not Saved by Faith Alone”

  1. You discussed an important issue, and clarified and supported it with many references from old and New Testament.
    Thanks John for the good research

  2. You discussed an important issue, and clarified and supported it with many references from old and New Testament.
    Thanks John for the good research

  3. I love your article on whether we are saved by faith alone or not, and have shared it with friends. Very well thought through and written. In the logic of the Holy Spirit, the concept of God’s love for us, and accountability (and divine justice), it makes perfect sense. The topic has sparked much debate among Christians, and I firmly adhere to your interpretation. Thank you and God bless you.

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