While such a question may seem odd, it is quite the opposite. By “saving faith” we mean a faith that leads to salvation in contrast to a type of faith that does not. Is there such a thing as faith that does not save? Let’s see if Scripture answers this question.
“…Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully...” (Mark 12:14)
Interestingly, the Herodians and Pharisees announced this to Jesus prior to their attempt to catch Jesus in a contradiction. If we look at the statement closely, we find a shocking admission from the enemies of Christ.
Those challenging Jesus state:
Jesus is TRUTHFUL and speaks the truth.
Jesus is CONSISTENT and unmoved by the opinions of others. Or… Jesus—while in the flesh—is concerned about the glory of God and not what others think of Him.
Jesus is JUST and not prone to an unrighteous favoritism.
Jesus ILLUMINATES us to the work and character of our God—we might add… He shows us the way to Father.
If a person in the present-day church were to utter such statements, we would consider that individual to be saved by Jesus Christ. How, then, can the Herodians and Pharisees say such things and be considered lost and enemies of Christ? Could it be because their attitudes and actions do not align with their confession? I think so.
You see, the Herodians and Pharisees said these things to get an audience with Jesus so they could challenge Jesus. Their confessions were platitudes intended to lull Jesus into thinking they were friends in order to force Jesus into a trap. The intention of the trap was to refute the teachings of Jesus and, ultimately, Jesus. Stated differently, their confession was paired with evil intent, not a submission of the heart. Such confessions do not show salvation; rather, such confessions demonstrate a desire to achieve personal ambitions at the cost of lip-service.
When it comes to lip-service, our Lord issues a strong summary rebuke:
“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matt. 15:7-9)
The point our Lord makes is clear, what we say does not matter near as much as how we bow before Him. Our confessions must match our submission. Do our lives show a professed Christianity while failing to demonstrate actual Christianity? Do we say the right things while living by our individual standards and ideals? Our culture loves to proclaim, “that’s true for you but not for me”; meanwhile, our Lord proclaims He is “THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE.” With Jesus, there is no middle ground—He is the way to life and all other paths lead to death.
You see, it’s possible for us to say the right things and not believe what we just announced. It’s possible to profess our undying love while refusing to seek the Lord. It’s possible to identify with the body of Christ while never being a part of the body of Christ (the church). It’s quite easy to live as hypocrites! True faith—saving faith—bows before the Lord in submission of heart and proclaims the truth of our Lord.
So, what do we do when we are mired in hypocrisy?
We cry out to Jesus and ask Him to help and redeem us from our lack of integrity.
We ask Him to help us to submit to His continual sanctifying work within us.
We praise and thank God for the fact that He did not—nor will He—abandon us!
We praise God for His love, mercy, and grace.
We turn and pursue God with all of our heart, mind, body, soul, and strength.
Beating yourself up doesn’t fix your brokenness, but going to our Great God will! I hope this encourages you to draw near to the Lord Jesus Christ today.
In Christ, Pastor Darin