Faith alone is one of the most vital treasures we take with us from the protestant reformation. It is often misunderstood, and as a result attacked or modified, but it is a true statement all the same. Faith alone is sufficient for receiving Christ, and Christ is the only one that can save the sinner.
The Scriptures are explicit about how Christ is received by faith only. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12. Belief, faith and trust are interchangeable as they are all translations of the same root word in the Greek text. By believing on Christ we receive Him. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8,9. These texts are plain enough that they really ought not to be taken any other way. There is more to be fleshed out in the use of them, but this is the way Christ is received. Faith alone is sufficient for the salvation of the soul.
There is a forgotten fact about faith, and that is that it is effective. It wouldn’t surprise me that you are thinking of James 2 right now, but you don’t need James 2 to understand that obedience is the end result of faith. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Romans 3:31; Ephesians 2:10. As has been covered already, the condition of man is that he is a slave to sin and cannot obey. A transformation needs to take place, and God affects that transformation through faith. Just as it is impossible to earn any merit in the sight of God, so it is impossible to become any better by our own works. Faith alone will bring about an obedient life.
Obviously there are still going to be questions after you read this. What do you do with what James says in James 2:14-26? Isn’t there effort involved in the Christian struggle? Don’t you need faith and works? These questions will be answered in more articles, but the Scriptures bring out this principle of faith alone often enough that it is something we can take as solid. What needs to be covered now is how does this principle apply in day to day life.