Salvation by Faith: Exactly What It Means
Can faith save you? Is faith alone really all it takes to be saved? These are important questions, with eternal consequences. Do we need to be good and obey commandments to earn salvation or is it just by faith? And how can we be sure?
I used to wonder about all this too. I heard some spiritual leaders say that faith alone can save man while other preachers said we must obey all God’s commandments.
Over the years, the Lord has taught me from His Word what the truth about salvation really is. The answer is really good news.
Salvation is a gift from God. Man cannot earn salvation by performing good works, but only through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is by faith alone in God’s grace that salvation is obtained. Agreeing with and receiving what God has done through Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved.
Shoo, that relieved so many fears I had about whether or not I measured up. If it’s really a gift, then I don’t have to worry whether or not I’m good enough. I don’t have to pay God back for it. What makes something a gift is the fact that I don’t earn or deserve it- it’s just in the heart of the giver to give it.
When a person accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sin, they receive from God the forgiveness of sins and the gift of righteousness. This gives you right standing before God. All your sin is removed and righteousness is imputed to you by faith.
Where in the Bible Does it Say We are Saved by Faith?
The Bible is abundantly clear that salvation can only be obtained by faith and not by any merit or good works on our part. Major portions of the New Testament are dedicated to this very subject. Paul’s letter to the Romans focuses on this.
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. Romans 4:5-8
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known… This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3: 21-24
For 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 it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Romans 3:28
Here are some more verses about salvation through faith:
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. Ephesians 2:8-9
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
Can Faith Alone Save Man?
The work that Jesus Christ did on the cross (his crucifixion, death, and resurrection) has provided salvation for every human ever born on the planet. Jesus died for the sins of every person who’s ever lived.
Every person on the planet has the opportunity to receive forgiveness and be saved. No one is excluded. God has forgiven the sin of the entire world and offers the gift of righteousness to anyone who decides to believe it and receive. God desires that all people be saved.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Titus 2:11
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2: 3-4
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
What Does it Mean to be Saved Through Faith?
To be saved through faith means you are saved by believing and receiving what God has accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ.
Every religion in the world puts the responsibility of salvation on man. They teach that through obeying certain rules and standards, you can make yourself acceptable unto God. But this is impossible. James 2:10 says that if you keep the entire law of God and yet mess up only one time, you are guilty of breaking the entire law of God.
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
This means that if you live a completely perfect life, yet have one hateful thought towards a brother, you are guilty of breaking the entire law. It is completely impossible to reach this level of perfection. Only one man ever has- Jesus Christ.
This is where the religions of the world have missed it. Every single person has sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Man cannot save himself by his own goodness; he has to have a savior.
God sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to live a sinless, perfect life and thereby become the spotless sacrifice for sin.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4
We are made acceptable to God through Jesus and what He did for us.
…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6
Jesus said of Himself that He was the only way unto the Father.
Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 1 John 5:11-12
How to Receive Salvation by Faith
If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life, you can pray a simple prayer like the one below. The specific words are not what matters, but that you mean it with all of your heart.
“Father, I recognize that I am totally dependent on You to save me. I accept Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for my sins and make Him the Lord of my life. I believe that Jesus is alive from the dead and now living in me. I am saved! Praise God! I am saved!”
Congratulations and welcome to the family. You are a child of God forever. Your eternal destiny is secure. Yes, it is that simple. Find a good Bible teacher and start your journey of discovering every good thing that is now in you in Christ Jesus!