Nowhere in the bible does it state faith “alone” justifies, and this new doctrine was not heard of before the 16th century. Why did the Protestant reformers propose it and what authority gave it to them?
Consider the verse, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in. Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.” Matthew 25:34-36. Are these not examples of good works?
Why would Our Lord give them so much emphasis if only faith was of importance?
Consider the verses, “And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? Who said to him: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith to him: All these I have kept from my youth, what is yet wanting to me? Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me.” Matt 19:16-21. Are the above verses not filled with good works?
How much more proof from Scripture do we need to show that Our Lord commanded us to do good works for our salvation?
Consider the verse, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27. Again here we have more proof that good works are required of us.
Consider the verse, “And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:8. Again this clearly does NOT refer to faith alone, but to labor, which is works.
Consider the verse, “And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 (St Paul). What is charity other than helping the needy? Charity is clearly considered among good works. And in the same Chapter we also see the verse, “And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). This clearly puts charity BEFORE faith, so to say “faith alone” is all that is required of us is clearly contrary to Scripture.
Consider the verse, “Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?” James 2:24. How much more plain can it be said that faith alone is not enough for our salvation?
Consider the verse, “What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?” James 2:14. And we see several verses later that the answer to this question is NO.
Consider the verse, “So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.” James 2:17. No explanation is needed for this verse!
Consider the verse, “But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.” James 2:18. Another extremely obvious verse that proves our point on the subject.
Consider the verses, “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar?” James 2:20-21. No explanation is needed for these verses.
Consider the verse, “For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.” James 2:26. How can the Protestant reformers claim faith is sufficient when we read a verse like this with such obvious meaning?
And finally consider the verse, “Wherefore, brethren, labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election.” 2 Peter 1:10
In summary, justification by faith alone has overwhelming opposition in Scripture. Some Protestants have been known to reference other verses from Scripture in an attempt to show that works are NOT required for our salvation. However if one looks at verses that appear to speak negatively about works, they are clearly referring to works that glorify men and not God. Here we agree; works done to please men do not help with attaining our salvation.
God Bless BJS!!