In a well-known quote, Ellen White wrote: “In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,--believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,--God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it,” (Steps to Christ, p. 51).
It is so if you believe it?
Belief in the good tooth fairy doesn’t make it so. Belief that if a =b and b=c, then a ≠ c doesn’t make it so. Belief that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday doesn’t make it so.
But belief that I am forgiven and cleansed by Christ makes it so? Belief changes reality? A sinner, rotten to the core (Romans 3:10-23), alienated from God (Ephesians 2:12) and condemned (John 3:18) is cleansed (2 Peter 1:9), reconciled (Colossians 1:21), and justified in God’s sight (Romans 5:1) if the sinner believes it is so?
How else? If it were by works, she would have written, “It is so if you do it,” or “It is so if you work at it,” or “It is so if you keep the commandments.” She didn’t. She said, “It is so if you believe it.”
Though, yes, we keep the commandments, though, yes, we obey, though, yes, we strive to be faithful in Christ, in the end, it’s by faith, and faith alone. After all, if it were dependent upon our works, what hope would any of us have?