If a man is justified by faith alone, then what say do we have toward the sinner who continues on in his sin? If a man is justified by faith alone, then he can continue living like the devil and still make it into heaven. That is where the doctrine of Sola Fide ultimately leads to. The current state of the church is a result of this doctrine of demons. Any theology that attempts to strip faith of aspects that are inseparable parts of faith is a theology from hell.
Faith + Nothing = Salvation + Works (Good Deeds)
This formula is the devil's formula. This formula comes straight from the pit of hell. The people who use this formula claim that it comes from Ephesians 2:8-10. Perhaps eisegetically, yes. They force their little formula upon the text and attempt to use that text in contradiction and defiance of the whole counsel of God's Word.
Faith + Obedience = Salvation + Works (Good Deeds)
Faith + Works (Faith In Action) = Salvation + Works (Good Deeds)
These are biblical formulas. When God told Noah to build the ark, would it have been sufficient that Noah believe God without building the ark? Of course not! When God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, would it have been sufficient that Abraham believe God without offering Isaac as a sacrifice? Of course not! Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows for a fact that we can see both of these biblical formulas present in both of these stories (as well as many others in Scripture). James tells us that Abraham's actions in offering Isaac as a sacrifice perfected/completed his faith (James 2:22). In other words, his faith was incomplete otherwise.
Jesus said, "He who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven will enter [into heaven]" (Matt. 7:21). A person who does the will of another person is being what? Obedient. Jesus also said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). The word 'keep' means 'to guard, to protect.' A person guarding the commands of another person is being what? Obedient. Paul said, "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom. 6:16-18). Note the language. We are either slaves to sin and the devil, or we are slaves to God and righteousness. We either obey sin and the devil, or we obey God and righteousness. There is no middle ground. Obedience is a response to and a part of true faith.
We not only see obedience with both Noah and Abraham, but we also see faith-in-action. When the woman with the issue of blood believed that if she just touched Jesus' clothing that she would be healed, she actually had to touch His clothing and act on that faith, which is faith-in-action, for her faith to be perfected/completed (Matt. 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48). When Peter believed that he could walk on water just like Jesus, he actually had to step out of the boat and act on that faith, which is faith-in-action, for his faith to be perfected/completed (Matt. 14:28-29). Naaman had to actually bob up and down seven times in the Jordan in order to be healed of leprosy (2 Kings 5:9-14). He had to believe that doing so would cure him, but he had to do as instructed as well. He had faith in the ability of Elisha, but he had to be obedient to the prophet's words and put faith into action. True faith acts in accordance with that faith. If Peter believed he could walk on water, it would have done him no good to climb a ladder, or perform some good deed.
Faith + Repentance = Salvation + Works (Good Deeds)
This is a biblical formula. Repentance is also a response to and a part of true faith. If a liar comes to true faith, can he continue lying and still make it into heaven? After all, he has faith alone. If a thief comes to true faith, can he continue stealing and still make it into heaven? After all, he has faith alone. If a rapist comes to true faith, can he continue raping and still make it into heaven? After all, he has faith alone. If a murderer comes to true faith, can he continue murdering and still make it into heaven? After all, he has faith alone. James asked the question, if a man has faith alone, "Can that faith save him?" (James 2:14). What was his answer?
- Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being alone (v. 17).
- Faith without works is useless (v. 20).
- Faith without works is dead (v. 26).
If a man comes to true faith, there will be repentance. You cannot have true faith without repentance and you cannot have true faith without obedience. It is impossible! Any theology that teaches you can is a false gospel. Faith without repentance is false faith. Faith without obedience is false faith. Faith without works (faith in action) is false faith. Repentance and obedience, like holiness, are not legalistic! They are requirements of true faith, whether you like it or not.
The formulas I have shown you are a combination of the whole counsel of God's Word. The + Works (Good Deeds) refers to every passage that indicates that the Christian was created to do good deeds (like Eph. 2:8-10). Repentance, obedience, and faith-in-action are not separate things from faith. They are adding nothing to faith that is not already inherently there by design. The very nature of true faith is to be repentant. The very nature of true faith is to be obedient. The very nature of true faith is to act in accordance with that faith (e.g., if you believe you can walk on water, step out of the boat). There is nothing legalistic about repentance or obedience. They are neither Works of the Law nor are they Good Deeds. I am getting fed up with Christians who treat them as such.
I am not a Roman Catholic. Nowhere did I present the unbiblical formula Faith + Works (Good Deeds) = Salvation. The individual who thinks that of me, is blind and was not paying attention to a single thing I wrote. They have their own agenda in their mind and refuse to see anything beyond that. Pride prevents a man from seeing the truth and admitting he was or could be wrong. True humility has no problem submitting to the truth, admitting he was wrong, and conforming his beliefs according to the truths of God's Word. I have met very few Christians who have the same attitude and spirit that I do: a desire and willingness to seek the truth and conform our beliefs accordingly, regardless of how we were raised, what we were taught, or what we currently believe. Pride in a certain denomination or pride in a certain doctrine or pride in a certain system of theology will condemn you. It is nice to have a certain foundation beneath our feet, but we must not rest there. The Bereans were more noble because they searched the Scriptures (the Old Testament) to see if what the Apostle Paul (probably the greatest Christian to ever live) taught them was the truth. We are to be no different. Let the Holy Spirit guide you, and do so honestly with all integrity.