Faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Also, “What is faith? It is simply taking God at his word; it is believing that God will do just as he has promised” (Signs of the Times September 9, 1889, par. 2).
(Matthew 8:5-10 and how the centurion said “speak the word only”)
Works are defined as actions, choices made and acted upon—whether good or evil. We will be judged by our works during our probationary time of life. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
Our human inheritance is what we are born with: sinful flesh without a divine nature. Christ was born in sinful flesh WITH a divine nature. (Luke 1:35, John 6:27) “Him has God the Father sealed…”
Age of accountability. (Isaiah 7:14-16, Deuteronomy 1:39, Romans 9:11)
Where there is no law, there is no transgression. Romans 4:15, James 4:17.
We cannot be saved by our works, but we cannot be saved without them, 2 Corinthians 5:10.
Obedience is a “faith that works by love.” As it reads, “God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” (Faith and Works 100.1).
Matthew 7:17 Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
Matthew 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Luke 6:43 A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (Notice the response…)
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish (Gr. “abide in/with, continue on/in, hold/stand up”) the law.
We must recall how Christ looked at belief/faith: John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.”
“There are two errors against which the children of God—particularly those who have just come to trust in His grace—especially need to guard. The first, already dwelt upon, is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with God. He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy. SC 59.4
The opposite and no less dangerous error is that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption.” SC 60.1
Romans 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
(See Steps to Christ 52.2 for a definition of grace. We will be saved by grace and the faith of Christ, the Hope of glory, Colossians 1:27.)
Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
Romans 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Romans 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.
Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Galatians 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
James 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
“Before obtaining freedom, the bondmen must show their faith in the great deliverance about to be accomplished. The token of blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must separate themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and gather within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb, but failed to strike the doorpost with blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their first-born by the hand of the destroyer. PP 278.2
By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, He has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the helps that God has provided—believe and obey all the divine requirements.” Patriarchs and Prophets 279.1
“Many young men are sent forth to labor who do not understand the plan of salvation and what true conversion is; in fact, they need to be converted. We need to be enlightened on this point, and the ministers need to be educated to dwell more particularly upon the subjects which explain true conversion. All who are baptized are to give evidence that they have been converted. There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.” Faith and Works 18.3
“If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.” Faith and Works 19.3
“If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason.” Faith and Works 24.1
“There are many in the Christian world who claim that all that is necessary to salvation is to have faith; works are nothing, faith is the only essential. But God’s Word tells us that faith without works is dead, being alone. Many refuse to obey God’s commandments, yet they make a great deal of faith. But faith must have a foundation.” Faith and Works 47
“We are to do all that we can do on our part to fight the good fight of faith. We are to wrestle, to labor, to strive, to agonize to enter in at the strait gate. We are to set the Lord ever before us. With clean hands, with pure hearts, we are to seek to honor God in all our ways. Help has been provided for us in Him who is mighty to save. The spirit of truth and light will quicken and renew us by its mysterious workings; for all our spiritual improvement comes from God, not from ourselves. The true worker will have divine power to aid him, but the idler will not be sustained by the Spirit of God.” Faith and Works 48.1
“We hear a great deal about faith, but we need to hear a great deal more about works.” Faith and Works 50.1 (written in 1885. Yes, it can go both ways—we can talk too much about law, and too much about faith… but we want both! =)
“God requires at this time just what He required of the holy pair in Eden—perfect obedience to His requirements. His law remains the same in all ages. The great standard of righteousness presented in the Old Testament is not lowered in the New. It is not the work of the gospel to weaken the claims of God’s holy law but to bring men up where they can keep its precepts.” Faith and Works 52.1
“The faith in Christ that saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. “Believe, believe,” is their cry; “only believe in Christ, and you will be saved. It is all you have to do.” While true faith trusts wholly in Christ for salvation, it will lead to perfect conformity to the law of God. Faith is manifested by works. And the apostle John declares, “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).” Faith and Works 52.2
“While God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” Faith and Works 100.1
“In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect.” Faith and Works 100.2
(A. T. Jones) “You repeated several times that works amounted to nothing, that there were no conditions. The matter was presented in that light that I knew minds would be confused and would not receive the correct impression in reference to faith and works, and I decided to write to you.
You state this matter too strongly. There are conditions to our receiving justification and sanctification, and the righteousness of Christ. I know your meaning, but you leave a wrong impression upon many minds. While good works will not save even one soul, yet it is impossible for even one soul to be saved without good works.” Faith and Works 111.1 (written 1893)
“Many think that repentance is a work which devolves wholly upon man, but this is an error. The Bible does not teach that man must repent before he comes to Christ. Repentance must precede forgiveness; but the sinner does not repent till he has faith in Christ as his mediator.” ST, March 18, 1903 par. 1
“I saw that Jesus did not come to abolish his Father’s law. The ten commandments were to stand fast forever. Adam and Eve broke God’s law and fell, and the family of Adam must perish. God could not alter or abolish his law to save lost man, who had by his transgression fallen so low that God could not accept any effort he might make to keep that holy, just and good law. Jesus saw the degradation of man, and pitied his hopeless condition. All heaven knew that God could not change or abolish his law to save man. Jesus pitied the fallen race and offered to take the wrath of God upon himself that was due to man, and to suffer in his stead. Said an angel, “Did Jesus come to make void the law of God, and by his death abolish it? No, no. If God’s law could have been changed; if it could have been abolished, God would not have given his Son to die a cruel, shameful death.” But the fact of Jesus’ giving his life for man shows the immutability of God’s law. Jesus gave his life to save lost man from the curse or penalty he merited by transgression. He by humbling himself exalted man. He became the stepping-stone to elevate man, that he might lay hold of the virtue of his blood, keep God’s law, and be brought back to eat of the fruit of the tree of life to which Adam and Eve forfeited all right. Said the Angel, “Poor, foolish man knows not what he is doing. He has lifted his puny arm against Omnipotence. He has defied God’s law. The law of God is the golden link to unite finite man to the infinite God. It links earth to heaven, and man to God.” The transgressor is about to meet the great Law-giver over his broken law. The wrath of God has long slumbered, but soon, with terrible justice and crushing weight will his wrath fall upon the transgressor. And that arm that has been stretched forth in rebellion against God’s law, and would sever the golden link binding earth to heaven and man to God, will wither while the transgressor shall stand upon his feet. That tongue that has boastingly and proudly spoken against God’s law, and has made the fourth commandment of none effect, will consume in his mouth while he stands upon his feet. Terrible will be the fate of those who transgress God’s law, and lead others in the same heaven-daring path of rebellion.” 2 Spiritual Gifts 274.2
“The gospel points to Christ as the only one able to remove the stains of sin by his blood. Though the law has no pardoning power, it is the only means by which to explain to the sinner what sin really is. By the law is the knowledge of sin. Without the law, Paul tells us sin is dead.” Signs of the Times July 18, 1878, par. 9
“God’s principles of righteousness must be maintained. Love, compassion, and tenderness are proffered to all who will be obedient. But God says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” This is the test, the proof, of our love. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself unto him.” “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Manuscript 143-1898.26