OceanSide church of Christ

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Romans 3:28, Faith Only

Victor M. Eskew


            “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28).  This passage is used to teach two different man-made doctrines:  1) salvation by faith only, and 2) man is not under law today.

            It was Martin Luther who first used this verse to “prove” that man is justified by faith only.  In fact, he added the word “only” after the word “faith” in order to strengthen his contention.  Only, however, is not found in the Greek text.  Such an addition, therefore, is condemned by God.  “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:6).

            James 2:14-26 completely annihilates the doctrine of faith only.  In verse 24, the brother of the Lord writes:  “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”  Works, justification, and faith only are all mentioned in this verse.  However, everything that is said stands in opposition to faith only.  Works are involved in justification.  Faith only does not save.  The passage is clear.

            Martin Luther understood how this verse contradicts Romans 3:28.  Therefore, he rejected the book of James from his Canon.  He called James a “right strawy epistle.”  The faith only advocates today do not reject the inspiration of the book of James.  They do, however, try to change and manipulate James’ simple words.  The fact is that faith and a certain type of works are involved in man’s justification (Acts 10:34-35).  Faith only does not justify.  It is a dead faith (James 2:17, 20, 26).