Genuine faith always produces authentic obedience. Pastor John MacArthur
(All Bible verses are from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.(
Believing in Jesus doesn’t mean you are saved. Even Satan and the demons believed in Jesus and acknowledged that He was the Son of God. (Matthew8:28-29; Mark 1:23-24; Luke 4:34; James 2:19)
Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is real.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (1 John 2:3).
The following are just a few of the many quotes on this subject.
A.W. Tozer (1897 to 1963) was an American Christian pastor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._W._Tozer
The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are at opposite sides of the same coin.
It is altogether doubtful whether any man can be saved who comes to Christ for His help with no intention to obey Him.
Salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures… Apart from obedience there can be no salvation, for salvation without obedience is a self-contradictory impossibility.
Our Lord told His disciples that love and obedience were organically united. The final test of love is obedience.
Adam Clarke (1760’s to 1832) was a British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar whose commentary on the Bible may be the most comprehensive commentary ever prepared by one man. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Clarke
Let it ever be remembered that genuine faith in Christ will ever be productive of good works; for this faith worketh by love, as the apostle says, and love to God always produces obedience to his holy laws.
C.H. Spurgeon (1834 to 1892) was an English Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the “Prince of Preachers”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Spurgeon
We have been clear upon the fact that good works are not the cause of salvation; let us be equally clear upon the truth that they are the necessary fruit of it.
John MacArthur – Pastor-Teacher, Grace Community Church Had This To Say In His Sermon On Lordship Salvation
Whenever Jesus’ talked about eternal life He always followed it with a warning to not take salvation lightly (Matthew7:13-23).
True saving grace always produces obedience and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:5). Genuine faith always produces authentic obedience (John14:21-24). True faith will demonstrate itself in action. True faith is not a single event, but a way of life – it endures (Romans 1:17).
Repentance is a turning from sin (Acts 3:19 NLT). It is a change of heart, but genuine repentance will effect a change of behavior as well (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:18-20).
Scripture teaches that real faith inevitably produces a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation includes a transformation of the inner person (Galatians 2:20). The nature of the Christian is new and different (Romans 6:6). The unbroken pattern of sin and enmity with God will not continue when a person is born again (1 John 3:9-10). Those with genuine faith (truly believe) will love Christ (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 1 Peter 1:8-9), follow Christ (John 10:27), love their brothers (1 John 3:14), obey God’s commandments (John 14:15, 23; John 15:14; 1 John 2:3), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in God’s Word (John 8:31), keep God’s Word (John 17:6), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and continue in the faith (Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 3:14).
In His Sermon On Obedience: Love Or Legalism? John MacArthur Said This
Those who remain obstinately unwilling to obey Him are actually guilty of rejecting the Christ who is offered in the gospel.
Our obedience does not merit salvation, of course. But genuine conversion to Christ inevitably produces obedience. Therefore, while obedience is never a condition for salvation, it is nonetheless always salvation’s fruit. That is why
“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 KJV).
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God” (1 John3:10 KJV).
“He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God” (3 John 11b KJV).
Pastor Steven J. Cole, Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, Said This In His Sermon On Obedient Faith
True saving faith produces good works.
Since eternity is riding on the matter, it’s crucial to understand what true biblical faith is.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21‑23)
To make sure we don’t hear those words when we stand before the Lord, we must be clear on what the Bible teaches about saving faith, namely, that saving faith is obedient faith. Obedient faith hears God’s Word and acts upon it.
In His Sermon On Salvation And Good Works, Pastor Steven J. Cole, Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, Said This
Good works are the evidence of salvation, not the cause of it.
Jesus taught this very plainly. In warning about false prophets said,
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17)
Paul makes the same point in Titus 1:16 (NASB), in a warning about false teachers. He says,
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
The Book of James (especially 2:14-26) makes the same point, that genuine saving faith manifests itself in good deeds. If a person claims to have faith but has no resulting works, his claim is suspect.
Guy M. Richard, Senior Minister at First Presbyterian Church of Gulfport, MS, writing on Picture of Saving Faith, Intellectual, Rational, and Trusting Had This To Say
Martin Luther and John Calvin taught that while good works could not in any way merit salvation, they did prove the genuineness of the individual’s faith.
Repentance, prayer, Bible study, and love for other Christians are some of the good works that must accompany saving faith. Genuine faith will never be without them. They are as necessary to faith as breathing is to life. An unrepentant faith is a contradiction in terms, as is a prayerless faith. Saving faith is repentant and prayerful and loves the Bible and God’s people. These works — and others, flowing from faith as well — do not in any way merit salvation. But they are necessary because saving faith will not be without them.
Faith is not self-reliance or inactive but always leads to obedience and the bearing of much fruit. Faith knows; faith loves; faith trusts; faith acts; and faith grows. This is the kind of faith that receives God’s free gift of eternal life. Without it none of us will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Got Questions Ministries Refers To I John To Answer The Question — What Are Some Of The Signs Of Genuine Saving Faith?
There is a series of tests in 1 John that we can use to examine ourselves and our faith. As we look at them, remember that no one will perfectly fulfill all of them all the time, but they should reveal a consistent trend that characterizes our lives as we grow in grace.
- Do you enjoy having fellowship with Christ and His redeemed people? (1 John 1:3)
- Would people say you walk in the light, or walk in the darkness? (1 John 1:6-7)
- Do you admit and confess your sin? (1 John 1:8)
- Are you obedient to God’s Word? (1 John 2:3-5)
- Does your life indicate you love God rather than the world? (1 John 2:15)
- Is your life characterized by “doing what is right”? (1 John 2:29)
- Do you seek to maintain a pure life? (1 John 3:3)
- Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life? (1 John 3:5-6) [Note: this refers to not continuing in sin as a way of life, not a total absence of sin.]
- Do you demonstrate love for other Christians? (1 John 3:14)
- Do you “walk the walk,” versus just “talking the talk”? (1 John 3:18‑19)
- Do you maintain a clear conscience? (1 John 3:21)
- Do you experience victory in your Christian walk? (1 John 5:4)
Jesus said that it is by our fruits that we are known as His disciples (Matthew 7:20). Fruitless branches—professing believers who do not display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are cut off and thrown into the fire (John 15:6).
Remember, we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but our works should display the reality of our salvation (James 2:17-18). Genuine saving faith will always produce works; a faith that is perpetually without works is no faith at all and saves no one.
Pastor Steven J. Cole, Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, In His Sermon On Saving Faith: Genuine Or False? Said This
If my faith or the faith of my loved ones is not genuine, saving faith, I could be deceiving myself in the worst possible way. I might think that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and even be active in serving Him, but be sadly mistaken. Jesus spoke some of the most frightening words in the Bible when He said,
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
So it is vital—both for our own salvation and for those with whom we share the gospel—to be clear on this crucial matter, “what is genuine saving faith?” And, “what is false faith that does not save?”
Paul wrote Galatians to deal with the error of adding some outward work, such as circumcision, to faith alone for salvation. James wrote this text to confront the problem of those who profess to believe in Christ, but do not have any fruit to show for it. If we lose sight of this, we will err.
C. E. B. Cranfield (cited by John MacArthur, Faith Works [Word], p. 148) correctly observes, “The burden of this section is not (as is often supposed) that we are saved through faith plus works, but that we are saved through genuine, as opposed to counterfeit, faith.” Satan is the master deceiver. Since salvation is through faith, it is not surprising that he works overtime to lead people astray on the matter of saving faith. If Satan can get someone to think that he will get into heaven because of his many good deeds, apart from faith in Christ, he is perfectly content to watch that person devote his entire life to good deeds. Or, if a person who was born and raised in the church thinks, “I’m going to heaven because I believe in Jesus as my Savior”—but, his faith is merely intellectual and it doesn’t affect his daily life—Satan is happy with such false “faith.”
A key word in James 2:14 is says. This person says that he has faith, but talk is cheap. James contends that such a claim must be tested. James does not refer to someone who has genuine faith, but no works, because genuine faith necessarily results in a life of good works.
Those who merely say that they have saving faith, but who live for themselves, are deceived. Such false “faith” does not save anyone. The apostle John deals with this kind of false profession throughout First John. For example, 1 John 1:6 NASB states,
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
Or, 1 John 2:4 NASB,
“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Again (1 John 2:5b-6 NASB),
“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
The point is the same throughout Scripture: Saving faith results in a changed life of good deeds. False faith is empty profession, lacking good deeds.
In James 2:28, James retorts that
James’ point is probably that you cannot separate true faith from good deeds. If someone claims to have faith but has no good deeds, his claim proves nothing. Just as seeing fruit on a tree tells you that the tree is alive, so seeing good deeds is one sign that the person has new life in Christ.
There are many people who have trusted in their good works to get them into heaven. From a human standpoint, they were good people who spent their lives serving others. But if they never turned from their sin and trusted in Christ and His shed blood, their good works did not get them into heaven.
So, James’ point in 2:19 is that believing sound doctrine alone is insufficient for salvation. Genuine saving faith is always connected with the new birth. New life in Christ necessarily results in a life of good deeds. To sum up, James is saying — Genuine saving faith necessarily results in a life of good works, whereas false faith does not.
When God changes a person’s heart, when He raises that dead sinner to new life, He imparts saving faith. That new life and genuine faith will result in a new direction in life. Just as a seed when planted grows into a fruit tree, so the seed of new life in Christ produces the fruit of godly character and good deeds.
Genuine saving faith necessarily results in a life of good works. False faith does not.