Confessing Christ is not faith alone

I thought I was done with my recent series of posts, but then I stumbled upon this and decided to add one more. The theme of these posts is that the Protestant doctrine of sola fide (justification by faith alone) contradicts the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. We have examined passages which teach us that repentance, baptism, love, and forgiving others are all necessary for salvation in addition to faith. In this post we learn that confessing Christ is also necessary.

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father (Matthew 10:32-33)

And:

Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (ibid., verse 38)

Suffering for Christ is a form of confessing Him as well. But Jesus says that if we do not take up our crosses for Him, we are not worthy of Him. The implication is that (like verse 33 says) he will deny us before the Father if we refuse our crosses. I do not see how suffering can be said to be the same as faith, and so once again it appears that faith must not be alone in us. Of course, this is a bit situational. It does not seem that everyone is asked to suffer. Nevertheless, woe is me if I refuse to suffer for Jesus on the day that I am called to it whether I have faith or not!

There is also this:

For, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

St. Paul — to whom Protestants most often appeal in order to support the doctrine of sola fide — says here that we must not only believe but that we must also confess Jesus to be Lord. I do not have the luxury to sit in my chair, believing I am saved while keeping silent about Him. This is exactly the same thing that Jesus said, as we saw above. So once again we see that faith, while necessary, must be accompanied by something more. Sola fide is mistaken to the extent that it denies these other essentials for our salvation.

I hope that this series has been helpful to you, gentle reader. If these posts help us not only to understand the truth better but to live in accordance with it better out of love for God, then they will have achieved their purpose.

[Update 25 March 2016]

St. Luke reports much the same thing as St. Matthew:

Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

Faith that is ashamed of Christ will find Christ to be ashamed in return.

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Posted in Faith, gospel, Sola Fide
2 comments on “Confessing Christ is not faith alone
  1. Have you considered that it is our faith that saves us and these other conditions come out of our faith? Faith without works is dead. God bless.

    • aquinasetc says:

      Hello Dwaine,

      Thank you for reading, and thank you for commenting.

      Yes, I have considered what you propose. With all due respect I do not think that the problem is soluble.

      In the first place, repentance must precede trust (the Protestant understanding of what faith is). I will not trust if I see no need to do so, and without a repentant heart I won’t see the need.

      Second, baptism is necessary as the means by which God washes us of our sins. Faith is needed, but St. Peter says we must (repent and) be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.

      Third, if these things I have written about *must* be done in order to be saved — like baptism or loving God and our brother — then there is something *additional* to faith which is necessary for salvation. Protestants do not say I must love God in order to be saved; they say I must trust in Jesus. But that is only half true, according to St. John.

      Peace be with you,

      Fred

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