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Volume 20, Issue 11 (March 18, 2018)

Is Salvation by Faith Alone?
By Kyle Pope

Much of the religious world since the days of the Reformation upholds a religious doctrine that claims that salvation is by “faith alone.” Is this doctrine what Scripture teaches?  If we do word searches for words such as save, saved, saves, and salvation we can test this doctrine to see its soundness.

Faith alone?


What does the New Testament claim may “save” us?  

1.)       Jesus (Matthew 1:21).

2.)       Jesus coming into the world (1 Timothy 1:15).

3.)       Coming to God through Jesus (Hebrews 7:5).

4.)       Belief (1 Corinthians 1:21).

5.)       Fear (Jude 23).

6.)       Turning a sinner from the error of his way (James 5:20).

7.)       The implanted word (James 1:21).

8.)       The one Lawgiver  (James 4:12).

9.)       A believing husband or wife (1 Corinthians 7:16).

10.)    Loosing one’s life  (Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24).


In the New Testament, by what is a person said to have been “saved?”

1.)       Enduring to the end (Matt. 10:22; 24:12; Mark 13:13).

2.)       Belief and baptism (Mark 16:16).

3.)       Faith or belief (Luke 7:50; 8:12; 18:42; Acts 16:31).

4.)       Jesus (Luke 3:17; Romans 5:9).

5.)       Jesus’ words (John 5:34).

6.)       Entrance by Jesus (John 10:9).

7.)       Calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13).

8.)       The name of Jesus (Acts 4:12).

9.)       Words (Acts 11:14).

10.)    The grace of Jesus (Acts 15:11).

11.)    Jesus’ life (Romans 5:10).

12.)    Hope (Romans 8:24).

13.)    Belief and confession (Romans 10:9).

14.)    Holding fast the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

15.)    Grace (Ephesians 2:5).

16.)    Grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

17.)    Receiving the love of the truth (2 Thess. 2:10).

18.)    Faith, love, holiness and self-control (1 Tim. 2:15).

19.)    God’s purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9).

20.)    Mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).


What does the Bible claim “saves” a person?  

1.)       Baptism through the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 3:21).



What are some things the Bible says about “Salvation?” 

1.)       There is a “way of salvation” (Acts 16:17).

2.)       The gospel is “the power of God” to salvation for those who believe (Romans 1:16).

3.)       Confession is made “unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).

4.)       Repentance is “to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10).

5.)       One must “work out” their own salvation (Philippians 2:12).

6.)       Salvation is “through” Jesus (1 Thess. 5:9).

7.)       Salvation is “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

8.)       It is “in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10).

9.)       Wisdom “for salvation” is within the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15).

10.)    Salvation is “to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9).

11.)    The longsuffering of the Lord leads to salvation  (2 Peter 3:15).

12.)    Salvation will come to those kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5).

        We see that the Bible lists several things that are involved in salvation. Thus it is not correct to claim that salvation is by “faith alone.”

        How then are we to understand Scriptures such as Ephesians 2:8-9?  This passage tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (NKJV).

        The means which God has offered to save us is something for which we can take no credit at all! Since only Jesus’ blood can cover man’s sins there is nothing that we can do to merit our own forgiveness. Yet, God has offered the atoning power of Christ’s blood to man through a system of faith. Jude speaks of this in urging Christians to, “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (vs. 3). This system of faith is not limited to mental assent, but involves all that Jesus taught both directly and through His apostles.

While we can say that a person is “saved by faith,” it is wrong to say that we can be “saved by faith alone.” The passages listed clearly show the error of this idea. It does not rob God of His glory to acknowledge that He commands full obedience to the system of faith contained in the gospel from those whom He will save. This is clearly what Scripture teaches and if we are to affirm the truth we can teach nothing less.

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