The Faith that Obeys

Jesus said: If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matt 19:17). Was He talking about nine of them? Definitely not! James 2:10 says: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

A mere profession of discipleship is of no value. The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. Believe, believe, they say, and you need not keep the law. But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption. The apostle John says: He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 Jn 2:4). Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuiness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. When persons speak lightly of the word of God and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them. Obedience is the test of discipleship. It is the keeping of the commandments that proves the sincerity of our profession of love. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. Thoughts  From the Mount of Blessing, 146.

Hereby we do know that we  know Him, if we keep His commandments (1 Jn 2:3). This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness. He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with Gods great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgement. There are many who claim that by the death of Christ the law was abrogated; but in this they contradict Christ's own words, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets . . Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Matt 5:17-18).

Are not religious teachers turning men away from the plain requirements of the word of God? Instead of educating them in obedience to Gods law, are they not educating them in transgression? From many of the pulpits of the churches, the people are taught that the law of God is not binding upon them. Human traditions, ordinances, and customs are exalted. Pride and self-satisfaction are cherished because the gifts of God are fostered while the claims of God are ignored.

In setting aside the law of God, men know not what they are doing. Gods law in the transcript of His character. It embodies the principles of His kingdom. He who refuses to accept these principles is placing himself outside the channel where Gods blessing flows.

The glorious possibilities set before Israel could be realized only through obedience to Gods commandments. The same elevation of character, the same fullness of blessingthe blessing on mind and soul and body, blessing on house and field, blessing for this life and for the life to come,  is possible for us only through obedience.

The words of God to ancient Israel have a solemn warning to the church and its leaders today. Of Israel, the Lord said, I have written to him the great things of my law; but they were counted as a strange thing (Hosea 8:12). And to the priests and teachers He declared, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee; . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy  children (Hosea 4:6).

Shall the warnings from God be passed by unheeded? Shall the opportunities for service be unimproved? Shall human customs and traditions prevail over Gods holy commandments? Jesus said, in Mark 7:7,  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Will they reject Gods Word as the Jewish leaders rejected Christ? The result of Israel's sin is before us. Will the church of today take warning?

If some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, boast not . . Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee (Rom 11:17-18, 20-21).   


It was stated last week that Mrs. E.G. White had a whole lot of statements on how a man is justified by faith alone. This is very true, and we would like to bring you just a few of those statements. They speak for themselves.

1.   Great Controversy, 472: The desire for an easy religion, that requires no striving, no self-denial, no divorce from the follies of the world, has made the doctrine of faith, and faith only, a popular doctrine; but what saith the word of God? Says the apostle James What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man says he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? . . Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works,   and by works was faith made perfect? . . Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

The testimony of the word of God is against this ensnaring doctrine of faith without works. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions upon which mercy is to be granted; it is presumption.

2.   2 Testimonies, 657: That which is eating out the vitals of Gods people is the love of money and friendship with the world. It is the privilege of Gods people to be bright and shining lights in the world, to increase in the knowledge of God, and to have a clear understanding of His will. But the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the seed sown in their hearts, and they bear no fruit to his glory. They profess faith, but it is not a living faith because it is not sustained by works. Faith without works is dead, being alone. Those who profess great faith, yet have not works, will not be saved by their faith. Satan believes the truth and trembles, yet this kind of faith possesses no virtue.

3.   1 Selected Messages, 397: Those who are justified by faith must have a heart to keep the way of the Lord. It is an evidence that a man is not justified by faith when his works do not correspond to his profession. James says, Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by his works was his faith made perfect? (James 2:22).

The faith that does not produce good works does not justify the soul. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24). Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Rom 4:3).

4.   5 Testimonies, 168:  No matter how high his profession, he whose heart is not imbued with love for God and his fellow men is not a disciple of Christ. Though he should possess great faith, and even have power to work miracles, yet without love his faith would be worthless.

5.   Story of Redemption, 288-289:  They should advance with the light that is given them. If God brings them in connection with His servants who have received new truth, substantiated by the Word of God, they should accept it with joy. Truth is onward. Truth is upward. On the other hand, those who claim that their faith alone will save them are trusting to a rope of sand, for faith is strengthened and made perfect by works only.

6.   My Life Today, 96:  Faith is the first round in the ladder of advancement. Without faith it  is impossible to please God. But many stop on this round and never ascend higher. They seem to think that when they have professed Christ, when their names are on the church record, their work is completed. Faith is essential; but the inspired Word says, Add to your faith virtue. Those who are seeking for eternal life and a home in the kingdom of God must lay for their character building the foundation of virtue. Jesus must be the chief cornerstone. The things that defile the soul must be banished from  the mind and life. When temptations are presented, they must be resisted in the strength of Christ. The virtue of the spotless Lamb of God must be woven into the character till the soul can stand in its integrity . . Joseph is an example of how the youth may stand unspotted, amid the evil of the world, and add to their faith virtue .  

Every moment of our lives is intensely real, and charged with solemn responsibilities. Ignorance will be no excuse for lack of spiritual understanding and attainment; for we are exhorted to add to virtue, knowledge . . The uncultured fishermen became men  of refinement and ability; and the lessons that they were privileged to learn are written for our admonition and instruction. We are invited to become learners in the school of Christ. We need to acquire all the knowledge possible.

7.   7 Bible Commentary, 936: The apostle James saw that dangers would arise in presenting the subject of justification by faith, and he labored to show that genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works. The experience of Abraham is presented. Seest thou, he says, how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? Thus genuine faith does a genuine work in the believer. Faith and obedience bring a solid, valuable experience.

There is a belief that is not a saving faith. The word declares that the devils believe and tremble. The so-called faith that does not work by love and purify the soul will not justify any man . . Abraham believed God. How do we know that he believed? His works testified to the character of his faith, and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness.

We need the faith of Abraham in our day, to enlighten the darkness that gathers around us, shutting out the sweet sunlight of Gods love and dwarfing spiritual growth. Our faith should be prolific of good works; for faith without works is dead. Every duty performed, every sacrifice made in the name of Jesus, brings  exceeding great reward. In the very act of duty, God speaks and gives His blessing. (Signs of the Times, May 19, 1888).

Further References

Desire of Ages, 126

1 Selected Messages, 397, 139, 374, 377, 381-382, 389, 391-398

2 Selected Messages, 20

2 Testimonies, 161

4 Testimonies 250, 386

5 Testimonies 153, 226, 644

6 Testimonies 441

Testimonies to Ministers, 92

Evangelism, 395-396

Patriarchs and Prophets, 153, 279

   Prophets and Kings, 633-634