5. Some Believers Will Burn In Hell
Not all believers are saved; shocking, but true.
The easy and obvious example is the demons. They believe in Jesus as the Holy One of God, but are doomed to eternal torment (Mk. 1:23, 24). Their failing is lack of submission to the Lord.
Other lost believers include those who work iniquity. Jesus said,
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. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (Matt. 7:21-23).
This means some who are religious, diligent in their labors, and believe in Jesus as Lord will not go to heaven. The Lord will reject them. Why? Because they worked “lawlessness.” That is, they did not do the will of the Father in heaven. They did not listen to Him. They did not follow His Word, where His will is found (1 Cor. 2:7-13). This includes people who use instrumental music in worship, practice the social gospel, or pervert the plan of salvation. The typical denominational pastor will not say a peep about this.
Other believers are identified by the Holy Spirit as falling short of the glory of God.
Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (Jn. 12:42, 43).
To place the praise of men above the praise of God is sinful. Paul said if we seek to please men above pleasing Christ, we are not His servants (Gal. 1:10). If you are not a servant of Christ, you are not going to heaven. It is that simple. Still, pastors will not tell you this.
Another category of believers who will burn in hell include the immoral. Paul gives various lists of sins throughout his inspired writings. One such list is found in Galatians 5:19-21. Among the sins he enumerates are fornication, idolatry, sorcery, jealousies, envy, drunkenness and so on. Remember, he is writing the “churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2). He is not writing heathens. Thus, he said saints involved in the works of the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). In other words, they will burn in hell.
Why will many denominational pastors not tell you this? One reason may be they are afraid of running people off. After all, it is a nice, easy message to teach people just to believe and everything will be all right. If their numbers fall, so will their popularity, prestige, and, often, pay check.
What can we learn from all of this?
First, we must not think that belief alone saves. It doesn’t. We are also to confess that believe before men (Rom. 10:9-13). We are to repent and be baptized to have the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
Second, once we are saved, we are not always saved. We can believe for a while and then fall away (Lk. 8:13). We may still believe Jesus is the Christ, but be lost.
Third, whether it is the demons or other believers, those who will burn in hell are those who do not submit to the will of God. They follow their own desires. They chafe under the gospel of Christ and want to live in the ways of the world.
The average denominational pastor will not deal with these issues. He is blinded by tradition and the doctrines of men. He is more of a hindrance than help.
It is up to each of us to examine what men say in light of the inspired, inerrant Word of God (Acts 17:11). If we do not, any faith we have is really not our own, but that borrowed from another. Therefore, let us diligently study God’s Word.
Checking the news today I saw this story about a huge find of bones in western Colorado. The article began with this paragraph.
Diggers at an excavation in west-central Colorado turned up almost 5,000 large bones in seven weeks from mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, bison, horses, deer and camels. They also uncovered thousands and thousands of smaller remains, like rodent teeth and salamander vertebrae. (Full story at: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/08/colorado-mastodon-dig-so-big-scientists-call-in-reinforcements).
One of the teachers mentioned in the story is going to take her students to the site and ask them to come up with theories as to how all the different animals ended up in an ancient lake.
It is amazing to me that men spend countless hours, untold sums of money, and a tremendous amount of effort trying to figure out something that is plainly spelled out in God’s word (Gen. 7:17-24). May God help us to maintain our faith in the reliability of His word; knowing that not only is the judgment in the flood true, but also the coming Judgment of all humanity (2 Pet. 3:9-12).
Some people are under the impression that God did not hold people in the Old Testament accountable for their sins and will not in the Day of Judgment. This thinking is sometimes based on Acts 17:30, “Truly, the times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” Is this saying God excused those who lacked knowledge of right and wrong?
We can know this is not true because of what Paul wrote in Romans 1. He said the Gentiles were under the wrath of God because they rejected Him (Rom. 1:18-22). When this happened they went into idolatry and all forms of immorality (Rom. 1:23-32). Will all this be overlooked in Judgment?
One example should suffice: Sodom & Gomorrah. “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). The “similar manner to these” has reference to angels who sinned and are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). The wicked people of Sodom and the surrounding area are going to hell; God has not and will not overlook their sin.
So, what “ignorance” did God overlook? It was the ignorance of His plan for redeeming man. The nations had not known God because they rejected Him (Rom. 1:18-32). The Jewish nation received the Law of Moses as a special people to God; entered a covenant with Him. This covenant, however, was not an evangelistic one. The Jews were not told to go and convert the heathen. Rather, they were told to destroy them (Deut. 7:1-5).
Now, under the covenant of Christ, the people of God are to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19, 20). This covenant is an evangelistic one. God wants His messaged dispersed throughout the world.
Did God not care about the nations in the Old Testament? Yes. There are glimpses of Old Testament of God dealing with them. There was a law He expected them to abide by, otherwise not one member of those nations would ever have been guilty of sin (cf. Rom. 4:15). He simply did not deal with them like He did the Jews.
“The lazy man will not plow because of winter;
He will beg during harvest and have nothing.”
What do you think of a lazy man? Me too.
Laziness really troubles me deep down. It is hard for me to have any manner of respect for the person who simply will not work: man, woman, child.
The Proverb writer points out the lazy man will have a problem. He will not get out and “plow because of winter;” the conditions are not just right. When it comes time to reap the benefits of hard labor, he will get none. He may even go to his neighbors seeking help, but they will extend none. He is starving and no compassion is extended.
Is this right?
Yes. The Bible teaches that if a man “will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thes. 3:10). What does this mean? He should be allowed to starve to death. Shocking? It shouldn’t be.
This does not apply to the person who cannot work (age, infirmity, illness, etc.). It does not apply to one who has repented of his laziness and is now willing to work. Rather, the point is the person who can work, but will not, does not have the right to expect others to care for him. The pain and suffering he experiences due to lack of food, clothing, shelter, ought to prod him to change his ways. It does not do a sinner, in this case the lazy man, any good to coddle him in his sin. Tough love is in order.
Is there another application to this Proverb?
What about the one who is spiritually lazy? The person who has little interest or motivation spiritually is not to be coddled.
For example, the man who will not read his Bible, pray to God, or attend services, either all together or some combination thereof, does not deserve our pity. He knows better, he just won’t do it. Do we feel sorry for him and his problems with his wife (his problems not hers)? Do we tell him we understand and wish he was not having so many difficulties in life? Or, do we rebuke him for his laziness and tell him to stop sinning by being luke warm (cf. Rev. 3:16, 17)?
For the indifferent man or woman, there is coming a time when they will “beg for bread.” If they truly turn from their sinfulness and apply themselves to growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, then we need to help them (Gal. 6:1, 2). We would even give the benefit of the doubt and strive to help them. However, if there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness. If they intend on remaining in their laziness, then it is a waste of time to deal with them.
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt. 7:6).
For the spiritually lethargic, the time to sow and harvest will come to an end. When the Lord returns their true condition will be known by one and all. They will stand before the Judge of the universe and “beg for bread,” but receive none. Remember what Jesus told us about the “wicked and lazy servant”? “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30). This man was given an opportunity to serve the Lord but was too lazy to take advantage of it. He said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed” (Matt. 25:24). Yet, he was “afraid” (Matt. 25:25). Again, His Master said he was “wicked and lazy,” and during the reckoning showed no mercy to this man.
Let us not waste our opportunities. Get to the work, even though it is “winter.” If we do not, there will be no harvest for us, no rejoicing in the fruit of our labor, no “bread of life.”
“If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psa. 130:3, 4).
We Are Guilty
It is a manifest fact that we all sin (Rom. 3:9-23). None of us is righteous in-and-of ourselves. We rebel against God at some point in time and cross that barrier from being innocent to being guilty…and there is nothing that we can do purely by our own power to get out of it. This is abundantly clear from the life of Abraham, as Paul argues in Romans 4:1-4.
We cannot do enough “good works,” even religious ones, to have our sins overlooked by the Lord. Many people do things for the Lord, but will be turned away by Him (Matt. 7:21-23).
Too, our physical and spiritual heritage cannot justify us (Rom. 2:28, 29). The Jews could not claim the blood of Abraham nor the centuries of Judaism as their grounds for righteousness.
The cold, hard fact is that if God “marks” our iniquities, we are doomed (Rom. 6:23).
God Makes Us Innocent
Thankfully, we need not remain in a guilty condition. God is merciful. Right after the Spirit convicted all men of sin, He revealed the compassion of God (Rom. 3:24-26). It is extended through His Son, our Savior (Eph. 1:7). His blood is the basis for forgiveness. And, take note, the only basis of forgiveness; all other ways are false (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Forgiveness in the Son is extended to us through the Word of God. The gospel leads us to know and understand God’s mercy in Jesus (2 Thes. 2:13, 14). It is His power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Without the Word, we remain in darkness and ignorance; without faith or hope.
When we receive the Word, we have faith in Christ. This faith is submissive, not self-willed. It is obedient faith (Heb. 11). Peter said, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (1 Pet. 1:22). The Spirit revealed all truth, and when we obey it, our souls are purified; they are pardoned (Jn. 16:13).
Let us rejoice that though we are guilty of sin, we can appeal to God for pardon and peace (1 Pet. 3:21; Phil. 4:6, 7).
There are some things for which we need not show up, though others may want us there—weddings, funerals, business meetings, outings, etc. We may or may not attend services of the church. However, there is one appearance we will all make, whether we want to or not—the judgment. Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
God committed all judgment to Jesus as a part of the scheme of redemption (Jn. 5:22). Some will be found guilty, while others will be innocent (Jn. 5:28-29). None who are guilty will be able to claim a prejudice judge or faulty law. No innocent person will be found guilty. The judge will be righteous in all He declares and, thus, there will be no appeals (2 Tim. 4:8).
We are assured of the judgment by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31). His resurrection guarantees ours (1 Cor. 15). Holding this conviction will help us abstain from sin, knowing we will live again to give an account (Heb. 9:27). Those who reject or suppress knowledge of the resurrection will enter into all manner of sin (1 Cor. 15:33). Therefore, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the coming resurrection.
Our judgment will be based on two things. First, our thoughts, words, and deeds will be brought out in the open. If we have harbored anger, lust, bitterness, or greed in our heart, it will come out (Matt. 5:21-32; Eph. 4:31; 5:5). That which we speak and do in the dark, will be brought to light. Nothing shall escape the Judge.
Second, the things done in the body will be compared to the gospel. Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48). Therefore, it is imperative we learn and apply the gospel of Christ to our lives now.
We may avoid an appearance at a wedding or family reunion. Contrary to the will of God, we may skip worship services or Bible studies (Heb. 10:24, 25). However, we will not miss an appearance before the judgment seat of Christ.
Paul describes love as active, not passive (1 Cor. 13:4-8). His description is extensive and helpful. It is written in the context of brethren dealing with one another, but is surely applicable to the relationship of husband and wife. Consider the following in light of the marriage.
Suffers long. Patience exercised by both the husband and wife. Each needs to grow and give opportunity for the other to grow. Both will make mistakes and even do things out of spite at times. Longsuffering will help build a solid relationship.
Kind. Each spouse will be gracious and considerate. The husband will not pick on his wife for her weaknesses, but rather work to compensate for them; hiding them from others when possible.
Does not envy. Spouse ought not to be jealous of each other or discontent about the other’s success. The wife should not resent her husband as he leaves the home everyday to go to work. The husband will not feel ill toward his wife who gets to remain at home and watch the children grow, having those special moments.
Does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Marriage partners will not be arrogant and conceited. The PhD wife will not look down on the high-school graduate husband. The head will not belittle the body, acting as a know-it-all dictator. In short, no superiority complex.
Does not behave rudely. Husbands and wives with love in the marriage will not be unmannerly, discourteous, impolite, or vulgar toward one another. The husband will respect the wife’s sensibilities and not unduly harass her with his childish behavior. A wife will conduct herself in a courteous manner in public and private.
Does not seek its own. This gets to the heart of most marriage problems; selfishness. Each is vying for supremacy in the relationship, thinking of self instead of the other. This is not an action of love, but of self-centeredness.
Is not provoked. Love in the marriage will bring an even-handedness. The husband will not be temperamental and hot-headed. The wife will not wear her feelings on her sleeve. Rather, each will control their passions as they deal with difficult situations, even ones that tend to upset them.
Thinks no evil. Spouses will not dwell on the wrongs committed against them. They will not assign dubious motives to the other’s actions and words. There will be no brooding over slights, intended or unintended.
Does not rejoice in iniquity. A husband cannot be gleeful about his wife’s sins. The wife ought not find joy in her husband’s moral failings. Too, neither will draw undue attention to each other’s iniquities. This includes during an argument, but especially in the presence of others. It will do untold damage to the marriage relationship and embarrass all present.
Rejoiced in truth. Husbands and wives will be happy about the faithfulness of their mate. They will appreciate a godly spouse who encourages them in righteousness and is helping them get to heaven. This is true even when controversy and persecution arise.
Bears all things. There are difficulties we must all face in life; hardships and heartaches. Some of these are unavoidable, others are not. Even when the thoughtless or careless action of a spouse brings trials, the other will bear with it. Spouses are in life as one unit, not two.
Believes all things. The marriage is helped greatly when each spouse has confidence in the other. There is no idle suspicion, mistrust, and doubt. Faith is put in the other that love and fidelity is mutual, that each has the best interest of the other at heart, unless there is some compelling reason to think otherwise.
Hopes all things. Wives and husbands will anticipate good. They will think the best and look forward to it. When having to deal with a sticky issue, they will expect a reasonable discussion and pleasing outcome. Hope for the best in the one you love.
Endures all things. This is similar to bearing all things, but points more toward circumstances in life. There will be requirements of each spouse, unique to them and the role God has assigned them. In these roles, the husband and wife will endure; minimize the complaining and wishing for escape from rightful duties.
Never fails. True love survives the good and bad. When both the husband and wife love each other as God commands, any trial or difficulty can be conquered. The relationship will grow deeper and more beautiful as the years go by. Old age will be more pleasant and profitable as they remain companions up to the point of death.
Paul worried about the Corinthians being deceived by the devil, just like Eve was (2 Cor. 11:3). Great consequences followed Eve’s deception, and so it would be with the Corinthians. The same is true for us. The devil lies to us and if we are deceived, we will suffer greatly.
Satan has those who have been deceived by him working on spreading that deception. Very often it is disguised as the religion of Christ. If you think about it, it makes sense. Which is harder to detect, Monopoly money or counterfeit money? Which is harder to detect in the moral/religious realm, paganism or a religion mostly like Christ’s?
One of the great lies of our time is that sincerity is enough. Millions are convinced that as long as you are sincere about your faith, you will go to heaven. You do not need to know the exact truth or hardly any truth at all as long as you are “honest” in it. Where else does this work in life?
If a man honestly believed he could jump off the top of a sixty-story building and float gently to the ground (without a parachute or any other contraption), would it be true? Would his sincerity alter the laws of physics?
The Bible gives us a number of examples that illustrate sincerity is not enough.
King Saul thought he should offer a sacrifice when Samuel did not show up when he wanted. He was worried about the battle with the Philistines. Samuel rebuked him for his foolishness, but Saul responded, “I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering” (1 Sam. 13:12). This did not fly with Samuel or God (1 Sam. 13:13, 14). His sincerity did not change the fact He did not obey God. His disobedience was to seek God’s favor. Saul did not consider it to be a rebellious act. It was a religious act, an act authorized by God, and for the purpose Saul intended. He went wrong by offering it himself instead of waiting on Samuel. A “minor” detail to most folks, but a “major” one to God.
Another Saul, Saul of Tarsus, serves as another example. He acted in accordance with his conscience (Acts 23:1). Saul did what he thought was right. We all know, however, he did what was wrong by persecuting Christians. Remember, Saul acted out of a sense of loyalty to Jehovah. Yet, his sincerity did not excuse his sin. It did not cause God to overlook his wickedness.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah challenged to prophets of Baal to a debate. They were to pick a bull, build an altar, and call on Baal to send fire. As they did the latter for some time, Elijah made fun of them saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened” (1 Kgs. 18:27). At this, the false prophets “cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until blood gushed out on them” (1 Kgs. 18:28). To say they were not sincere is to deny the obvious truth. Their sincerity, however, did not alter the fact that there is no god named Baal. It is a figment of man’s imagination, nothing more.
Some will say, “But Baal’s prophets were pagans. Those who sincerely believe in the one, true God will not be condemned as long as they are sincere.” Just how far will this logic stretch? Will the sincere Christ-denying Jew or Muslim go to heaven? If you think so, you need to read 1 John 2:18-23, where such are described as “anti-christ.”
What about those who believe in Jesus? If they sincerely believe, but do not do exactly what He says, will they be lost? Will the Lord overlook their faults because of their sincerity?
Jesus gives us a picture of the judgment in Matthew 7:21-23.
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. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
The people Jesus describes are sincere believers. They acknowledge Him as Lord and fervently labored in His name. However, their service was done in “lawlessness,” without law. This is the idea of acting outside the boundaries set down in the Law of Christ, the gospel. It is not their belief that is in question, but their practice. They were sincere, but sincerely wrong. Is this no longer applicable?
We must be sincere in our faith and practice. However, sincerity alone is not enough to please God. Our convictions must be based on His word. The things we do in service to Him from day to day must strictly adhere to the gospel. Worship based on anything other than the gospel is vain, no matter how sincere.
Sincerity is not enough, but the devil wants you to think it is. Therefore, we need to sincerely search the Scriptures to see what is so (Acts 17:11). Our honest hearts will cause us to change anything that is not in agreement with God’s will, no matter how right it seems or how good it makes us feel. Sincerity in truth, not error, must be our goal.
There are many ways in which the devil seeks to deceive men. He tries to get those who are forgiven of their sins to forsake the Lord by promising them freedom. This is very often pushed on us in the area of morality (2 Pet. 2:18-22). Instead of freedom, we get slavery.
Another way Satan subtly sneaks up on us is through false doctrine. He is especially successful at getting men to think they are saved, when in fact they are not. Among the denominations it is popular to believe in faith-only salvation. This is contrary to God’s word (Jas. 2:24; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 10:9-13). Frequently there is a “twin” doctrine of demons accompanying this, perseverance of the saints; more commonly known as once saved always saved.
This destructive doctrine is like others, built on half-truths and outright lies. Its popularity stems from its delusional comfort.
There are several passages used to prop up once saved always saved. Ephesians 1:13 is used to show that a Christian is “sealed” by the Holy Spirit. The interpretation is that “sealed” is the same idea of having a sealed vault or sealed jar. However, “sealed” can carry other meanings. For instance, Jesus had the seal of God the Father (Jn. 6:27). Jesus was approved by God. He did what God willed and therefore had His seal. When a Christian does what the Holy Spirit directs, the Christian has the seal of the Holy Spirit; spiritually stamped, if you will.
The same truth is conveyed in Romans 8:16, 17 where Paul said, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with your spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” How does the Spirit bear witness? Simply look at the work of the Holy Spirit; revelation and confirmation of the truth (Jn. 16:13; Mk. 16:20). The miracles of the Holy Spirit were secondary to the revelation of the gospel. His work, in this context, is chiefly the New Testament. In it He bears witness of what it takes and who it is to be a Christian. When we do what He says, our spirit is giving testimony that we believe and accept the way to be God’s child. Hence, His Spirit bears testimony with our spirit.
Another passage often cited to support the deceit of once saved always saved is John 10:27-29. The argument goes that a Christian will never lose salvation because the Father prevents it. That is not what the passage says. Rather, Jesus said His followers are those who “hear” His voice and “follow” Him. One can quit hearing the truth (2 Tim. 4:2-5). One can also quit following the Lord (Jn. 6:66). If those who “hear” and “follow” Jesus are His sheep, then those who do not hear or follow Him are not His sheep. Besides, John 10:27-29, says that “no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” This is a far cry from that person voluntarily leaving the Father. As long as a Christian is faithful, walking in truth, it is true that no one, even Satan, can take him away from the Father. However, if a Christian buys into the deceit of the devil he has left the safety of the Father’s hand. One cannot walk in darkness and be in fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:5-10).
Further, there are many passages that explicitly teach saints can fall from grace. Those who seek to be justified by a means other than the gospel will fall and be severed from Christ (Gal. 5:1-4). Paul warns Christians to beware lest they fall (1 Cor. 10:12). How can he warn against what is not possible? The warning is because it is possible. In 2 Peter 2:18-22, the whole point is that some who were saved are no longer saved; they returned to sin and Satan.
Finally, consider these two scriptures. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Pet. 1:10). “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). What on earth do these passages mean if not that a Christian’s salvation is not irrevocably given? We are plainly told to keep working, stay at it, don’t give up or walk away. If we do, we will go to hell.
The destructive, damnable deceit of the devil is powerful. He allures people away from the Lord by making them feel secure in Him. This is some of the most difficult error to overcome because people think they are saved and do not want to consider they are lost. We need to do what we can to counteract this lie with the truth of God.
“When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).
Satan is the father of lies because of the events in the Garden (Gen. 3:1-6). He has never ceased lying to men to lure them away from God. His work is relentless, but so is God’s.
One great deceit with which the devil has had much success is that salvation is by faith alone. Most of our religious friends and neighbors adhere to this doctrine. It is a part of Calvinism, though many are not strict Calvinist or would even know what that means.
The Methodist Book of Discipline teaches that salvation by faith only is a wholesome and comforting doctrine. If it was true, that would be true. However, it is a false doctrine and so any comfort is misleading and wholesomeness a fraud.
Faith-only salvation contradicts straight-forward language.
James teaches that salvation is “not by faith only” (Jas. 2:24). Rather, he says, it is by putting faith into action (Jas. 2:14-26). He points to Abraham as one example of true faith; so does the Hebrew writer.
In Hebrews 11, the writer sets before us not only Abraham, but also many others who lived by faith. They are concrete examples of faith. Abraham left his homeland at God’s command and offered His son for the same reason (Heb. 11:8-19). Able sacrificed by faith (Heb. 11:4). Noah built an ark (Heb. 11:7). Moses forsook Egypt and Israel crossed the Red Sea by faith (Heb. 11:24-29). Each case in this chapter is of individuals or groups that obeyed God’s command by faith. In other words, they believed what He said and acted on it.
If Israel believed God could part the Red Sea and save them, but refused to cross it when the waters rolled back, would they have been saved? If Noah took the position that God had the power to save him without the ark, and thus he neglected to build it, would he have been saved? The obvious answer is no. We are required to act on God’s commands, not just believe them.
Here is a specific case in point. There were men among the rulers of the Jews that believed in Jesus as the Christ, but refused to confess Him (Jn. 12:42, 43). They would not because of their love for the praise of men exceeded their love for the praise of God. Jesus said if we would not confess Him before men, He will not confess us before the Father (Lk. 12:8, 9). So, were the rulers saved by faith only? No. They lost their souls in spite of the fact that they believed in Jesus. There was another condition for salvation besides and beyond faith.
Faith-only salvation ignores plain teaching.
That more than faith is needed is abundantly clear from even a casual reading of the New Testament. Jesus said men must believe, repent, confess, and be baptized for salvation (Jn. 8:24; Lk. 13:3; 24:46, 47; Matt. 10:32, 33; Mk. 16:16; Matt. 28:19, 20). Peter commanded men to repent and be baptized in order to have their sins remitted (Acts 2:38). Note that at Cornelius’ house it says, “he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). Command is not an option, though that is what most people believe about baptism today. Ananias told Saul of Tarsus to arise and be baptized to have his sins washed away (Acts 22:16). The Spirit-guided apostle said baptism saves (1 Pet. 3:21). It cannot be any plainer than this. For one to miss these truths, he must either willfully ignore it or blindly follow the teaching of another.
Faith-only salvation leads men to hell.
When a person accepts the deceit of the devil he is lost. If he dies in this state he is eternally lost and will go to hell with the devil and his angels. As examined above, faith-only salvation is one such deceit. It is partial truth, which means it is a lie.
Our family, friends, and neighbors may be caught up in this lie. Our duty is to help them see the truth. It may not be easy. They may not like it. Still, we must do it.
Finally, it is important to understand that the difference between faith-only salvation and what the Bible teaches is not academic. It has real consequences. We must view it as a weapon of the enemy, Satan, and seek to destroy it. If we are successful, souls will be saved.