This remark was recently posted as a comment on my blog (and lots of other people’s too, if Google is anything to go by). I have reproduced it in an abbreviated form as I’d like to explain a couple of words from a Biblical point of view.
“Was Noah Saved by Faith Alone? By Steve Finnell
Those who claim they were saved by “faith alone” like to quote Hebrews 11:7 to prove they were by “faith only,” just like Noah.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of righteousness which is according to faith.(NKJV)
Noah was not saved the minute he had faith, he was saved and became an heir of righteousness after faith plus preparing the ark.
Noah was saved by faith plus obedience, not by faith alone.
He was obedient by preparing the ark for saving his household. If Noah had tried being saved by “faith alone” he would have drown just like the rest of the world.”
Hebrews 11 commends the “ancients” for their faith (not their obedience) (v.1). Noah was saved by faith and completed his faith by building an ark. If faith doesn’t cause us to act it isn’t Biblical faith, it’s just mental assent. If Noah hadn’t built the ark, it would have told us that Noah didn’t really believe there was going to be a flood and thus didn’t have faith. We also see how this works in Abraham’s life in James 2:22 “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did”.
Furthermore where I live “obedience” has come to mean something that I have to do that I don’t want to. Often there is punishment if I choose not to do whatever it is I’m supposed to do. It’s often controlling and lacking in love which is not the Biblical understanding of obedience. In the Bible obedience is motivated by love (John 14) not duty. It is something I want to do because I love God not something I have to do in order to get something from God.