The Steps of Faith

Written by Drew on August 3rd, 2006

For hundreds of years now, Protestant religion has been stripping faith of its power. The philosophies of the Reformation have created a broad impression that salvation is by “faith alone,” to the exclusion of any works whatsoever, such as baptism. What is left of faith is little more than a mere assertion, a mental nod towards the Son of God. The danger of this weakened faith is that it fails to transform the sinner into a child of God. After all, much of the world believes that God exists and that Jesus is His Son. That doesn’t mean the world is full of Christians. Even demons believe (Jas. 2:19).

The development of this doctrine came gradually as the Catholic Church frustrated more and more men with its insistence on works-based salvation. One of these men was Martin Luther, a conscientious monk who lived in the early sixteenth century. Luther’s studies had led him to embrace a number statements on faith in the book of Romans, such as, “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Two verses later Paul says, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Rom. 3:28). So eager was Luther to promote his doctrine of “salvation by faith alone,” that he altered this verse so that the word “only” followed “faith” in his German translation. Romans 5:1 was also cited in support of his theology: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Luther was so opposed to the extremism of the Catholic Church that he fled to the other extreme, creating a religion devoid of the works of faith. When statements from the book of James challenged his new doctrine, the scholar contested its authenticity, calling it an “epistle of straw.”

Buried in between Martin Luther’s favorite passages in Romans is an amazing statement about faith that is all too often overlooked. Using Abraham as an illustration of the type of faith that justifies the sinner, Paul writes that the old patriarch became the father of those “who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised” (Rom. 4:12). Resisting the Jews who insisted that one had to keep requirements of the Law of Moses like circumcision, Paul points us to faith that Abraham had before he was circumcised. It is a specific kind of faith (“that faith,” KJV), one that can be distinguished from lesser forms of belief. Most importantly, it is an active faith, for it has “footsteps.” Notice that Paul does not say we are to walk in the footsteps of Abraham, but that we are to walk in the footsteps of his faith. Abraham’s faith was not merely an inactive, mental assertion. It moved him to sojourn in strange lands, fight battles, believe in God’s promises and offer up his only son.

We are to walk in that same faith today. It ought to move us to obey the commands of God, and by this obedience, we find salvation in the blood of Christ (Heb. 5:9). This is very different from a works-based salvation. Salvation is by grace. There is nothing we can do to earn a ticket to heaven. But when we walk in the steps of faith, we trust God enough to come to Him on His own terms. This is how faith saves: by creating footsteps for us to follow.

 

20 Comments so far ↓

  1. Anonymous says:

    That sounds like a good sermon!

    Daniel

  2. The Berean Examiner says:

    Are we saved at the point of baptism or are we saved at the point of faith? Do we become a Christian at the point of faith or baptism? Exactly when do we become a christian and we are saved? How does baptism come into play in salvation? What about the church of Christ’s “Five steps of salvation”? Is baptism a outward sign of a inward faith?

  3. The Berean Examiner says:

    According to my understanding the Catholic Church have the same works – based salvation as the Church of Christ’s “Five steps to salvation” works based salvation. Am I right?

    You said “This is how faith saves”. Okay, when does faith saves? At the point of faith or after you follow the footsteps?

    When did Abraham’s faith save him? Was Abraham saved at a point of faith or after he took the footsteps?

    Does the Church of Christ teach a works based salvation saying that you are only saved after baptism?

    Do the members who are parents in the Church of Christ do not pester their kids to death because they think that their kids are not Christians and are not saved before they are baptised? Do you have to be baptised before you are saved?

  4. The Berean Examiner says:

    Can you show me in the Bible where the “five steps of salvation”, in that order, is?

    In other words, Where do I find in the Bible this?
    “In order to be saved you must do the five steps of salvation. This is the “five steps of salvation”
    1.Hear 2.Believe 3.Repent 4.Confess 5.Baptism”
    Or do I have to flip to different parts of the Bible to read about the five different parts of salvation? If the answer is yes, then why would I have to do that? Sense salvation is the number one thing, you should not have to turn to different parts of the Bible to read about that. Does that make sense to you?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where in the Bible does it say, explicitly, “The Berean Examiner is going to heaven”? If it doesn’t say that directly, and all in one nice and neat verse, then surely it is not true.

    Does that make sense?

  6. The Berean Examiner says:

    “So what can we say about Abraham, the father of our people? What did he learn about faith? If Abraham was made right by the things he did, he had a reason to boast about himself. But God knew different. That’s why the Scriptures* say, “Abraham believed God, and because of this faith he was accepted as one who is right with God.” When people work, their pay is not given to them as a gift. They earn the pay they get. But people cannot do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in him. Then he accepts their faith, and that makes them right with him. He is the one who makes even evil people right. David* said the same thing when he was talking about the blessing people have when God accepts them as good without looking at what they have done:
    “What a blessing it is when people are forgiven for the wrongs they have done, when their sins are erased! What a blessing it is when the Lord accepts people as if they are without sin!” Psalm32:1–2 Is this blessing only for those who are circumcised? Or is it also for those who are not circumcised? We have already said that it was because of Abraham’s faith that he was accepted as one who is right with God. So how did this happen? Did God accept Abraham before or after he was circumcised? God accepted him before his circumcision. Abraham was circumcised later to show that God accepted him. His circumcision was proof that he was right with God through faith before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the father of all those who believe but are not circumcised. They believe and are accepted as people who are right with God. And Abraham is also the father of those who have been circumcised. But it is not their circumcision that makes him their father. He is their father only if they live following the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” (Romans 4:1-12)

    If any man speak, *let him speak as the oracles of God*; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

    ***********************************

    Question Number One:

    Do you become a Christian at the point of faith or at the point of baptism? Why?

    Question Number Two:

    Are you saved at the point of faith or at the point of baptism? Why?

    Can you give a direct and easy to understand answer to me, The Berean Examiner(Novice)?

  7. The Berean Examiner says:

    “Abraham and his descendants received the promise that they would get the whole world. But Abraham did not receive that promise because he followed the law. He received that promise because he was right with God through his faith.” (Romans 4:13)

    “In Christ you had a different kind of circumcision, one that was not done by human hands. That is, you were made free from the power of your sinful self. That is the kind of circumcision Christ does.
    When you were baptized, you were
    buried with Christ, and you were raised up with him because of your faith in God’s power. God’s power was shown when he raised Christ from death.” (Colossians 2:11-12)

    “Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ.” (Hebrews 10:22)

    “We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

    “Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

    What is the actual point of salvation. Is it at the point of faith, or is it at the point of water baptism?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:5) when we are “raised up” (Eph. 2:6). We are “raised up” after having been buried with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4). “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

    Yes, we are saved by faith. But what kind of faith? Not a dead faith, for such a faith cannot save (James 2:17, 20). The Bible teaches that saving faith is a faith that issues in obedience. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

    It is important to remember that we do not find all the conditions of salvation packaged into one verse. In Mark 16:16, we learn that belief and baptism are necessary. Is repentance therefore excluded? No, for in Acts 2:38 we learn that repentance and baptism are required. In 1 Peter 3:21, we learn that baptism saves us. Belief is not mentioned. Is it therefore excluded? No, for in John 3:16 we learn that belief is necessary to be saved. The psalmist said, “The sum of thy word is truth” (Psa. 119:160, ASV). If we want to learn the truth on any given subject, we must not isolate one passage, but rather we must gather all the pertinent information. We must not appeal to a passage which makes no reference to baptism and then conclude, “Therefore I know that baptism is not necessary.” We learn the purpose of baptism only from passages which mention it.

  9. Drew Kizer says:

    Notice that the Thessalonian Examiner charges me with a dishonest handling of the Scriptures while he takes verses out of context to prove salvation by faith alone.

    He quoted Romans 4:1-13 and Romans 5:1, but left out where these teachings on faith were going: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). Here it is said that we contact the saving blood of Jesus, which was shed in His “death,” during baptism.

    He cites Hebrews 10:22 without acknowledging the greatest explanation of faith in the Bible, Hebrews 11. Amongst a number of examples of active faith it is said, “By faith Abraham obeyed” (v. 8).

    He quotes John 3:16, ignoring the context, which speaks of deeds emanating from faith: “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God” (v. 21). Incidentally, a few chapters later John relates how Jesus referred to faith as a “work” (Jn. 6:29).

    In quoting Colossians 2:11-12 he included baptism. I fail to see how this excludes baptism from the plan of salvation, since Paul states that in baptism we are “raised with him through faith.” As the anonymous writer pointed out, this language is an obvious reference to our salvation.

    Who is being selective in his use of the Bible?

    Of course none of this will convince the Thessalonian Examiner, whose primary goal is not the truth, but the destruction of the church of Christ. Every time a point has been made on this blog concerning matters that have long been understood within our fellowship, he bristles at its force and consults his favorite web pages for a way to disturb the Way.

    Maybe he ought to look into his own blog.

  10. The Berean Examiner says:

    Time out.

    This time, I am just asking a question. I am not proving anything at this time. I just quoted those verses to get some feedback on sense I am gathering all the pertinent information at this time. I am not making a statement. I have not done a personal indepth study of this subject yet. No, I am not being a Thessalonian (Thug) Examiner on this issue. At this time, I have not even started being Berean(Thinker) Examiner (I have not even opened my Bible good yet on this subject) yet because I am just now getting some information to get started with. As he said “If we want to learn the truth on any given subject, we must not isolate one passage, but rather we must gather all the pertinent information.”Before the Civil Engineer start designing, he must gather all the pertinent information first. The professional surveyor provides him with all the pertinent information. The Civil Engineer can’t just start engineering when he does not know what is out there in the first place. All engineering people must do that. That is what I am doing right now. You and him are helping me with that part. Thank you. I have got enough to get me started good. You did say that we need to look at all sides of the subject.

    On the other subjects, I did know the truth and I boldly spoke the truth but this time, I have not spent enough time on it to boldy speak the truth.

    I come up with a lot more questions than answers when I read the Bible. For example, When I read in Acts 2:38, the question that I came up with is “What is the “gift of the Holy Spirit”? So, I started reading about the “gift of the Holy Spirit”. You know what Acts 2:38 say so I will not repeat that. Then I read about some people getting the “gift of the Holy Spirit” before baptism and after repentance. What is up with that? To tell you the truth, I rather ask questions than make comments. What is wrong with asking somebody a Bible question?

    Nobody is saying that baptism is not necessary.

    Now, where did I charge you with not with a dishonest handling of the Scriptures on this issue. And no, I have not consulted Al Maxey’s website on this issue.

    You said “Of course none of this will convince the Thessalonian(Acts 17) Examiner, whose primary goal is not the truth, but the destruction of the church of Christ.” You remind me so much of Brother John Waddey. But that is beside the point.

    Don’t you think that we all need to learn the truth on this subject and not just accept it just because it been taught that way for a long time? Do you say that if it is good enough for Granddad and Dad, then it is good enough for me?

    Truth has nothing to fear from a very, very indepth study because in the end, the truth will stand out.

    You said “Who is being selective in his use of the Bible?” No, I am not being selective; I am just getting started with this. You got to start from somewhere.

    Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. I am getting to know the truth and the truth is setting me free. I am free in Christ.

  11. The Berean Examiner says:

    Drew said:
    “Of course none of this will convince the Thessalonian Examiner, whose primary goal is not the truth, but the destruction of the church of Christ. Every time a point has been made on this blog concerning matters that have long been understood within our fellowship, he bristles at its force and consults his favorite web pages for a way to disturb the Way.”

    God said:
    “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12). “If you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14) …. “and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong” (1 Peter 3:16-17).
    “As for those who are troubling you, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Gal. 5:12)

    The Berean Examiner said:
    I am glad and rejoicing because my reward in heaven is great.
    I am blessed for suffering for the sake of righteousness.
    I am not troubled by their intimidation.
    It is better for me to suffer for what is doing right rather than for doing what is wrong.
    I have good conscence in the things that I am being slandered for
    I will stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by my opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for me, and that too, from God. For to me it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philp. 1:27-29).
    I will take up the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17).
    ***********************************
    I have become “marked” by Drew and the other legalistic sectarians as “a deadly threat(Sowing discord – causing troble) to the Church of Christ denomination and whose primary goal is not the truth(being a false teacher), but the destruction of the Church of Christ denomination.” Actually, what Drew and the other legalistic sectarians don’t realize, is that it has nothing to do with me. The Berean Examiner is a threat to no one. It is Truth they actually fear; it is challenging their people to think that they fear; it is someone questioning the party positions that they fear(Every time a point has been made on this blog concerning matters that have long been understood within the Church of Christ denomination, he bristles at its force and consults the Bible for a way to disturb the Way”). Anyone who dares to bring such a message of grace within their walled cities will be attacked. Jesus discovered this when He proclaimed liberty in the synagogue. Stephen discovered it when the sectarians could not refute his teaching. They stopped up their ears, rushed upon him, and murdered him. Trying to liberate a death camp is dangerous business; the guards and commandants take a dim view of it as you can see here.

  12. The Berean Examiner says:

    As Drew said: Truth and Repose follows the honored tradition of the struggle for truth through open discourse.”

    Let’s do that now for the question that I asked. This time, let’s us have the berean spirit and open the Bible to learn the answer to this Bible question. “When do you become a Christian and are saved, at the point of faith or the point of Baptism?”Let us find out if Drew and anonymous are right by opening the Bible.

    This is not a debate, but a Bible study. This a not a debate because I have never did an indepth study of this subject before.

    This Bible study is not about baptism being not necessary, (Anonymous, I ask that you listen very close to what is being said and do not jump to conclussions. I never said that baptism is not needed. Thanks) This Bible study is not over whether or not obedience in regard to baptism is necessary.

    This Bible study is over whether or not one is saved at the point that he has the kind of faith that wants to obey God in baptism, or whether his salvation waits until the actual moment of immersion in water.

    One more time.

    This Bible study is over whether or not one is saved at the point that he has the kind of faith that wants to obey God in baptism, or whether his salvation waits until the actual moment of immersion in water.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Every question that you have raised has been answered already–repeatedly.
    On one hand, you try to posit yourself as a genuine truth- seeker. On the other (and especially when you are rebuffed), you spew venom with every paragraph and, if I may say so, it seems that you even rant. It is a bit odd. In the end, I suppose that you remind me of those Paul made reference to when he spoke of some who desired to be teachers, but understood neither what they said nor what they affirmed (1 Tim. 1:7). Finally, I might add one brief note. If you are uncertain regarding such basic, fundamental matters–by your own admission,apparently never having studied them–how can you be certain regarding your own salvation?

  14. the berean examiner says:

    “So when we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and took part in his death. And just as Christ was raised from death by the wonderful power of the Father, so we can now live a new life. Christ died, and we have been joined with him by dying too. So we will also be joined with him by rising from death as he did.” (Romans 6:4-5)

    Assumption to the above verse:
    This make it sounds like you become saved and become a Christian at the point of baptism.

    Answer to Assumption:

    The assumption made on the passage cited is that baptism is the initial point of entry into Christ. Yes, baptism is a burial into Christ, and it helps us go deeper into our relationship with Christ, but it is not our introduction to Christ, or the initial point in which we are united with Him. Faith is the point of introduction and the initial point at which we establish a relationship with Him and are saved.

    Romans 5:1, 2 teach that faith is our introduction to grace. Romans 4 and Ephesians 2 teach that initially salvation is by grace through faith apart from outward works like baptism. Ephesians 2:10 especially emphasizes that we are created in Christ for good works like baptism instead of doing good works like baptism to be created in Christ.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I promise this will be my last.

    The Bible teaches that belief is a work (John 6:28-29). The Bible also teaches that repentance is a work (Matthew 12:41; Jonah 3:10). In similar fashion, the Bible teaches that baptism is a work (Colossians 2:12, ASV). However, baptism is not a work of human merit. In Titus 3:5, Paul contrasts “works of righteousness, which we have done” with baptism. Thus, baptism is not a work of human merit, but rather is a “work of God” (cf. John 6:28-29; “the works that God requires and ordains,” J.H. Thayer).

    If we can understand that both belief and repentance are works, and yet such does not militate against their involvement in God’s scheme of redemption, then we should understand that the same holds true for baptism.

    Understanding this does not make one a “legalistic sectarian.” In truth, I doubt you really know what those terms mean. “Sayest thou this of thyself, or did another [Al Maxey] tell it thee”? Too, I might add, in response to another earlier post, that if you are seeking to decide whether salvation occurs at the point of faith [alone] or at the point of baptism, then you are most certainly discussing the necessity of baptism as it pertains to salvation. Only but the most immature student would perceive this.

    I wish you well in your studies, but as long as you are drinking at the Maxian pool, I fear you will make little progress.

  16. Drew Kizer says:

    Anonymous, you talk a lot of good sense. We hope you’ll keep coming back and adding to our discussions.

    But you need a good pseudonym. “Anonymous” is too impersonal.

  17. The Berean Examiner says:

    Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comments. Thank you for wishing me well with my studies. Also, thank you for your williness to comment. Okay,I have now gathered up enough information to get started good.

    Readers, let me encourage you also do a very indepth study of the salvation subject because this is the number one thing.

    I, unlike most Church of Christers, do have the Berean spirit. I do compare what Al Maxey said to the Bible just like I will compare what you and Drew said to the Bible. If and only if I do like the Bereans do, then I should make great progress. And yes, Al Maxey “speaks as the oracles of God”.

    Yes, I know what “legalistic sectarian.” means and I do not want to be one.

  18. Daniel says:

    Dear Examiner

    If the Examiner knows that man is saved prior to baptism, what passage does he offer for this proof? Please list one example where an accountable person living in the christian era was saved without being baptized. You say you know that one is saved at the point of faith. Please provide at least one passage that teaches this doctrine explicity or implicitly.

    If it is true that one is saved prior to baptism,at the point of faith, then are we not burying spiritually living people? Paul says that the old man was crucified and buried in the grave of baptism (Rom. 6:6). But, if a person is saved at faith, why then is a saved person being buried? In the physical realm do we bury the living? If a man is saved at faith, his sins have been forgiven. He is a new man. Why then bury him, if he is spiritually living? This doctrine of salvation at the point of faith, without further acts of obedience contradicts the total teaching of the new testament.

    We will wait for you to show us where a man contacts the blood of Christ, without being baptized.

    Daniel

  19. The Berean Examiner says:

    If a repentant, confessing believer in Jesus Christ has fully committed himself/herself to being obedient to Christ Jesus in baptism, but dies unexpectedly prior to actually complying with that command (due to circumstances
    beyond his/her control), Will God’s grace cover that person,
    and will they receive the gift of eternal salvation, based on
    the genuine intent of their heart at the time of their death?

    Yes, God’s grace WILL cover that person and they WILL receive the gift of eternal salvation, based on
    the genuine intent of their heart at the time of their death.

  20. Drew Kizer says:

    “Thomas Edward,”

    I agree with what Phil Sanders has already said regarding your hypothetical situation. His comments need no improvement.

    In meekness and fear…

Leave a Comment