Is faith alone enough to save?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Salamander, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Salamander

    Salamander
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    I have heard some say that just having faith alone in the finished work on Calvary is enough to save, I suppose that would answer why we have so many professing Christians who don't live like Christians and rebuke anyone who tries to edify them to live holy as being "legalists".

    To shoot that rabbit before he gets out of the gate, a "legalist" is only one who either thinks he merits salvation by works, or stays saved by works.
     
  2. Paul of Eugene

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    Faith alone is never enough. After all, millions had faith in their stocks before the great depression hit.

    It is a matter of where you put your faith, and in what way you put your faith.

    I recommend putting your faith in God and I recommend you do it by repenting and trusting Him to help you become a better person.

    It is not necessary to first become the better person . . . in that sense, we are saved without works but by grace. But don't try it without repentance, because it doesn't work without that.
     
  3. James_Newman

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    Christians have lost sight of the fact that salvation is only the beginning of a Christian's journey. Once we have been born again by faith, we are commanded to seek the kingdom of God, which we obtain by faithful obedience to Christ's commandments. We err when we say that once we are saved there is nothing more that God requires of us, or when we apply all the commands to Christians to an unbeliever as requirements for eternal salvation.
     
  4. webdog

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  5. AresMan

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    Everyone has faith in something. The difference is the object of one's faith.
    One is saved simply by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.

    I do take issue with the attempt to blur the definition of faith by including works.
    If you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way for salvation, that He was God in the flesh, that He died and rose again, you are saved. Take God at His word! If works have anything whatsoever to do with salvation, either in obtaining it or in preserving it, there is reason to boast, is there not?

    I know that many are well-intentioned in trying to add works to the definition of faith because there is a clear problem of carnal Christians (I Cor. 3). I truly empathize with the problem, but let's not exacerbate it by confusing people about works. If you add works to the equation of justification, you destroy the possibility of 100% assurance. If salvation required any degree of works, it would be impossible to be 100% certain.
    I believe one will struggle with his sanctification if he is not fully convinced of his justification. Once you get the 100% assurance based on the clear promises of the Word of God that simply believing that Jesus, the Son of God, is the only way to eternal life, and that His finished work on the Cross is all that is necessary to save anyone who believes it, then you confidently serve Him in good works out of love for what He has done and not out of fear of condemnation.

    If you believe the simple promise of God's Word, then serve Him out of love. It is indeed wonderful to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved!
     
  6. JWI

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    I am certainly not saying a Christian should not try to obey God, they should.

    But those who demand a certain amount of obedience present several problems.

    How obedient do you have to be?

    Can a person once obedient to God lose their salvation by being disobedient later on?

    What sins can cause me to lose my salvation?

    An example:

    Say you are late for work. So you speed to work driving 20 MPH over the speed limit. You run a stoplight in your haste and are involved in an accident and killed. You never had one second to repent or even think about your sin and confess it to God.

    The Bible says we are to obey the authorities. So in this example you died in a state of unrepentant sin.

    Would you lose your salvation?

    This is the problem those who teach obedience present. The truth is, all of us commit sin often.

    WELL, I DO. I can only speak for myself.

    The Bible clearly states that a Christian can KNOW they are saved.

    1 Jo 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    I do not see any works mentioned here. I do see the word BELIEVE.

    No, if salvation were dependent on obedience, then no one could clearly know that they have eternal life.

    People love to call what I believe EASY BELIEVEISM.

    But it does not seem very easy to them. They seem to have a difficult time fully trusting in Christ alone to save them.
     
  7. APuritanMindset

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    How does this passage fit with the faith alone idea? I believe that we are saved by faith alone, but I'd like to see your thoughts on what this is saying.

    if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 HCSB)

    Here it is again from a more widely accepted translation.

    because, 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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)
     
  8. Charles Meadows

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    Jesus also said that there would be some who cry, "Lord Lord" but who will be denied at judgment.

    The point (as the reformers saw it) is that only faith can save because the belief that "works" are necessary denies that the Cross was sufficient.

    But we should not confuse "eternal security" with "perseverence of the saints". Calvin and his followers didn't think necessarily that ONCE proclaiming faith in Jesus in ITSELF was a saving experience. Rather the one who has true faith will be preserved by God. Having an emotional experience at an altar does not necessarily mean true faith.

    It seems to me that this is a non-issue. But I think that many baptists (Zane Hodges etc) are so zealous for "sola fide" that they argue "reductio ad absurdum".
     
  9. Salamander

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    But what about James 2:14? Seems faith by itself/ alone is dead, so faith alone isn't enough, and the idea of so many that ,"Well, I've gotten that out of the way (salvation/fire insurance), I can go about living my own life and do what I want to do"

    Then we have Romans 12:1,2 which speaks expressly to Christians.

    I fully understand that we're saved by grace, and grace alone, but in the aspect of faith is believing, then we have the devils also that believe and tremble at the Word of God, thus faith without works is dead/devilish.

    The reformers are wrong to say that adding works to salvation is telling us that the Cross wasn't sufficient, the Cross is sufficient, but there are those things we're to add to our faith.

    I suppose it would be better to ask if grace alone isn't enough, and Eph 2:8 answers that for us, but to say faith alone is enough to be saved, then too many passages disagree for a complete harmonization of Scripture.
     
  10. AresMan

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    I believe that the "confessing with the mouth" is mainly assenting unto saving faith. If one has paralyzed lips and cannot speak, but must use sign language, are we to believe that he cannot be saved?

    I think some modern translations do a disservice to the text by translating "unto salvation" (eis soteria) as "resulting in salvation." It is rather "into salvation."

    Confessing with the mouth presents a "public" evidence of what exists in the heart. Since no one can know another's heart except by what one shows outwardly, "confessing" lets other's know what is in the heart.

    Now, I know it is possible that someone can fake Christianity by saying some words, but not actually believing in the heart. However, the point is that we, not knowing the heart, can only go by the outward appearance for our own perception of others.
    Try the spirits whether they are of God. If someone confesses something that is orthodox and that person outwardly seems to indicate sincerity, then you have reason to believe it. However, only you (and of course, God) know your own heart.

    I hope this helps.
     
  11. Ransom

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    Salamander said:

    I have heard some say that just having faith alone in the finished work on Calvary is enough to save

    Yeah, me too. The apostle Paul, for one. That's the point of Galatians, after all.
     
  12. AresMan

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    Just like the words of the Christian to the destitute brother did not profit that brother, so faith, if it has not works is dead, and cannot profit others without works. This still doesn't say that faith was ineffectual to personal salvation.

    I would possibly question someone who has this attitude whether that person actually believes or not. Of course, that is going from outward appearance, which is the point of this passage.

    Yup.

    Notice what it says that they believed: "that there is one God." This is still not sufficient for saving faith. It also says "thou doest well." Also, do we have any evidence that the devils can be saved?

    Works are indeed necessary for sanctification. That is precisely what sanctification is. Faith is indeed "dead" without works. A Christian is useless for the cause of Christ without works. How can the lost benefit from Christianity in the closet behind locked doors? Without works, you forget that you were saved and start living like you are not.

    Grace of course is enough. And Scripture explicitly says "through faith" as the channel. "Not of works lest any man should boast" is clear if you think about it.
    By the way, how could you not love a God Who mercifully saved you by grace (unmerited favor) through faith alone? The more you think about this, the more reason to love God.
     
  13. Scott J

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    It is not possible to have saving faith in Christ without repentance. You cannot turn to the sinless One without turning away from sin.

    "In Christ" and "in sin" are every bit as mutually exclusive as alive and dead.

    I am not arguing for sinless perfection or that Christians don't sin. Only that "faith" is revealed by the direction and choices of an individual. When one turns to Christ in faith, he begins the path toward Him... though not always an evenly stepped, direct path due to the flesh.
     
  14. JWI

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    I somewhat agree with you Scott.

    I am not saying that Christians should not try to obey God. But I do not trust in any works of mine (even the few good ones) to get me to heaven.

    If only truly obedient persons are saved, then why does the Bible and especially the New Testament tell believers over and over not to sin??

    Is it necessary to tell people who are not sinning not to sin??

    I have actually met people who believe they do not sin. Had quite a debate with one fellow once. He told me members of his church did not sin like us hypocritical Baptists.

    I finally said, "I bet you cannot go the rest of this day without sinning" He said, "That is easy!" I said, "You just blew it, the Bible says boasting is a sin."

    I see myself as a fairly normal person. I try to do what God says (I could do much better), but find fault with myself often.

    So, I am glad Jesus died to save a wicked sinner like myself.

    I also see a picture in the scriptures to me that demonstrates how Jesus saves an ungodly sinner.

    When Jesus healed the sick, the lame, the blind, and others, were these people able to cure themselves??

    No, and we cannot save ourselves by deciding to do good works either. We must do what these poor helpless people did and turn to Christ for mercy.

    Jesus is the one who healed the blind and lame. And it is Jesus who works within a person who turns to him. If we do any good, it is Christ within us that does good, not ourselves.

    And there is no instance of Christ ever refusing a single person who came to him.
     
  15. Artimaeus

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    Yes, No, and absolutely not.

    It depends on what is being saved from what. Words mean something and they mean it in context. Are you talking about being saved from hell, or being saved from the corruption of our minds, or the destruction of our bodies? In Romans 4 Paul is telling people how to be saved from hell. Our works are not good enough EVER to contribute to this. In James 2 James is telling us how to become mature Christians, how to BE Christians not how to BECOME Christians. If you want patience then learn patience by the things which you go through. If you want to be wise, ask God and He will teach you by the experiences in our lives. Works ALWAYS are the instrumentation through which God brings us to maturity. Without works your faith will not get you one step closer to maturity, completeness, and perfection. Do not think that you will get anything from the Lord (for this purpose).

    Yes, Faith alone is what it takes to "save" our spirit from hell.

    No, Faith alone will not make you perfect (not sinless perfection but completeness).
    Jam 2:22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.

    Absdolutely not, No matter what faith we have, and no matter what works we have, our bodies will not be "saved" until death or the rapture.
     
  16. webdog

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    Artimeaus, Aresman, excellent posts [​IMG]
     
  17. Woodymdt

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    Faith alone HAS to be enough to save...

     
  18. natters

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    Maybe it's just semantics, but we are not saved by faith. We are saved by grace.
     
  19. Scott J

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    </font>[/QUOTE]The vehicle of faith (by grace thanks Natters) resulted in a change of attitude in that thief. He turned from sin to Christ. In short, he repented.
     
  20. Woodymdt

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    And the next two questions would be...

    1. Was he baptized to show his new faith?
    and

    2. What works did he perform to support his new faith?
     

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