The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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Salvation: what does it take?

Faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ as Lord, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God is undeniably the only way for somebody to get saved. This is very clear from a multitude of Scriptures. Here are some:

John 3:14-18
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

John 20:30-31
"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

John 11:25-26
"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."

Mark 16:15-16
"And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

Acts 16:30-31
"And brought them [Paul and Silas] out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they [Paul and Silas] said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Romans 10:9
"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Before saying anything else, I would first like to point out that in the "whoever believes" and the other similar statements given in the above passages, the present tense is used. In other words, what is described here is an active, present faith and not a past event that perhaps may or may not hold true now. An even more accurate translation of these statements would be "whoever goes on believing" i.e. believes now and goes on believing. This would correspond more to the fact that the present tense in ancient Greek was used to point out duration rather than one-off events. The first appendix of this book gives more insight to this and the usage of the present tense in ancient Greek.

Back to our subject: it is obvious from the passages we gave above (and there are more) that we are not saved through works of the law or our own works. Salvation is given free, by grace, as a gift to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as his Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God. This is the undisputed truth of God’s Word. Faith therefore is the one key to salvation with grace being the other key. Ephesians 2:8 summarizes this very well:

Ephesians 2:8
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves: it is the gift of God"

There are two components that when combined give salvation: grace and faith. Each of them alone cannot give salvation. The grace of God alone cannot save a person if this person does not have faith i.e. if he does not honestly and truly believe, from the heart, in Jesus Christ as his Lord, as the Son of God and Messiah.

Basically God wants everybody to be saved and gave His Son for everybody as a ransom. As 1 Timothy 2:3-6 says:

"This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

And also Titus 2:11
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men"

Jesus Christ gave Himself for everybody! God wants everybody to be saved. His grace has appeared to all men. Therefore, the grace of God - the first part of the salvation condition of Ephesians 2:8 ("by grace") - is available to everybody; it "has appeared to all men". But the second part ("through faith") is not there in everybody. Only some truly believe in what God says in His Word about His Son and only these will be saved, for salvation is not just by grace, but "by grace through faith".

Having clarified this point, the critical question is: once somebody believes, is faith something guaranteed to last forever or is it something that has to be kept, which in turn means that it can also be abandoned? How does the Bible treat faith? Does it treat it as something dynamic or as something static i.e. as something that once you have it, you will always have it? What does it mean to have true faith? What happens to salvation, in case the faith is abandoned? Is this possible at all and if yes what are the consequences? Many people do not bother to ask these questions. In this study we will ask these questions, and see the plain answers the Bible gives, starting from the most appropriate person to speak about salvation: the Savior Himself and then continuing with the teachings of His apostles, given in the epistles.


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou