FAITH: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

I) INTRODUCTION

A) [Eph 2:8]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith.."

"Through faith" = An objector might say, 'Well faith is something a believer contributes to his salvation.'

But Scripture defines faith as:

1) [Heb 11:1-13]:

a) [Heb 11:1]:

(v. 1) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

i) FAITH IS A CERTAIN HOPE OR EXPECTATION THAT GOD WILL DELIVER WHAT HE HAS PROMISED

"what we hope for" = "elpizomenon" =

The Greek word "elpizomenon" refers to a sure hope or expectation

Notice that faith = a certain hope, (corroborated by the word "certain" in the next phrase), in what an individual accepts as true: the promise that God will deliver one unto eternal life or from temporal difficulties as the context indicates.

ii) FAITH IS A CERTAIN ACCEPTANCE AS TRUE THAT GOD WILL DELIVER WHAT HE HAS PROMISED

"certain of what we do not see" =

Notice that faith is also described as a certain acceptance as true that God will deliver what He has promised. The deliverance we do not see until it has occurred, namely the deliverance unto eternal life or from present difficulties, depending upon the context.

b) [Heb 11:2-3]:

(v. 2) "This is what the ancients were commended for.

(v. 3) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

i) FAITH IS PORTRAYED HERE AS AN ACCEPTANCE OF AN OUTCOME THAT GOD TESTIFIED TO IN SCRIPTURE AS TRUE WHICH CANNOT BE SEEN, NAMELY THE INVISIBLE COMMAND/POWER OF GOD WHICH CREATED THE UNIVERSE

"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible =

Faith is portrayed as an acceptance of an outcome that God testified to in Scripture as true in Scripture which cannot be seen, namely the invisibile command/power of God which created the universe.

c) [Heb 11:4]:

(v. 4) "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead."

i) ABEL'S SACRIFICE POINTED TO HIS FAITH IN GOD'S PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE RESULTING IN HIS BEING DECLARED RIGHTEOUS AND RECEIVING ETERNAL LIFE

Abel offered the proper sacrifice, i.e., an animal sacrifice, (Gen 4:2-4), symbolizing his faith, i.e., an acceptance as true, that God would provide eternal life through a blood sacrifice of His one and only Son, (Gen 4:2-4), as a once for all time sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. This enabled God to declare Abel a righteous man and provide him with eternal life so that he still speaks even after physical death because he lives eternally]

d) [Heb 11:5]:

(v. 5) By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

i) ENOCH WAS TAKEN FROM HIS MORTAL LIFE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE AS AN EXAMPLE OF HIS FAITH IN GOD TO PROVIDE THAT

[Because of his faith alone, a man named Enoch was taken from this life such that he did not experience death, implying a reception of eternal life. This is provided here as an example of faith - having a sure hope of eternal life - an acceptance as true that God would provide him with eternal life, being certain of its reception, unseen before his eyes, trusting in God to deliver it. Enoch was commended as one who pleased God with a view to his faith alone, (his actions are not in view, hence are excluded). This is supported in the phrase which follows, "And without faith it is impossible to please God"]:

e) [Heb 11:6]:

(v. 6) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

i) PLEASING GOD IS A MATTER OF FAITH ALONE - BELIEVING THAT HE EXISTS AND THAT HE REWARDS THOSE WHO EARNESTLY SEEK HIM

[Notice that pleasing God is a matter of faith alone:

1) Believing - accepting as true - that God exists.

2) Believing - accepting as true - that He rewards those that earnestly seek Him

f) [Heb 11:7]:

(v. 7) By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

i) NOAH BELIEVED IN GOD TO DELIVER HIM AND HIS FAMILY FROM THE AS YET UNSEEN: THE FLOOD AND UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

[Notice that it is implied that Noah had a certain hope - an acceptance as true - that God would deliver him and his family from a coming flood and unto eternal life, which faith alone was credited to him as righteousness, a righteousness which provided him with the as yet unseen future result of eternal life]

g) [Heb 11:8-10]:

(v. 8) By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

(v. 9) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

(v. 10) For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God, [i.e., eternal life]

i) TRUSTING IN GOD TO PROVIDE ETERNAL LIFE TO ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IS IMPLIED

[Notice that in verses 8-10 eternal life is implied: trusting alone in God for it, a certain hope, an acceptance as true, that God would deliver Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to an eternal dwelling in the promised land - a city Whose Architect is God, an eternal city whose inhabitants have eternal life by faith alone]

h) [Heb 11:11-12]:

(v. 11) By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because He [God] considered him faithful Who had made the promise.

(v. 12) And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

i) ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD WOULD PROVIDE A SON THROUGH SARAH WHICH SON WOULD BE THROUGH WHOM ABRAHAM WOULD HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

[Notice that because Abraham accepted as true, i.e., exercised faith that God would provide a son through natural childbirth with his wife Sarah, God fulfilled that promise and the promise of eternal life to Abraham that was attached to it: Through Abraham's seed would come a Savior Who would provide eternal life such that Abraham would live forever and be able to contemplate his countless descendents in eternity]

i) [Heb 11:13]:

(v. 13) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth."

i) A SURE HOPE, A CERTAIN ACCEPTANCE AS TRUE THAT GOD WILL DELIVER ONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE OR FROM TEMPORAL DIFFICULTIES IS IN VIEW

[Notice that we have in view a sure hope, i.e., a certain acceptance as true of the unseen results which God promised:

A deliverance unto eternal life or from temporal difficulties, (depending upon context).

Does that sound like one is doing something - contributing something? Or does it sound like one is relying on God to do it all for one? Saving faith according to Scripture, then, is simply a sure and certain hope - an acceptance as true that God will save one unto eternal life through His provision via Abraham's Seed, God's one and only Son.

2) [Compare 1 Pet 1:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

(v. 4) and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you"

"Hope" = "Elpida"(Gk) = a sure and certain hope.

This passage corroborates the fact that eternal life is a sure hope, i.e., eternally secure because it "can never perish, spoil or fade."

II) SINCE FAITH IS AN ACTION BY MAN CAN IT BE CONSIDERED A WORK OF MAN TOWARD HIS SALVATION?

A) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [*salvation is] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -

["this" = "touto", neuter = salvation, not faith since faith is feminine]

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."

1) FAITH IS NON CONTRIBUTORY TOWARD ONES SALVATION

Since salvation is stipulated in Eph 2:8-9 as being 'by grace', i.e., unmerited favor and 'not of works' and 'not of yourselves' = 3 ways of saying non contributory indicating that a man contributes nothing to receive salvation,

then the faith itself that a man exercises to be saved must also be non-contributory toward salvation.

Contrary to what some objectors to free grace/gift salvation maintain, the phrase 'not of works' cannot be limited to 'not of works of the Law' as the context from 1:1 through 2:9 has nothing to do with any law, much less the Mosaic Law.

The faith therefore must be passive and not active in the sense that it simply causes an individual to receive the results of what God has already done - this acceptance of a free gift of all that God has already done relative to the matter of salvation. So one trusts in God doing it all for him in order to be saved: he contributes nothing and trusts in God to do it all.

Just as one can say that he trusts in a friend to take care of his house while he is unable, (for some unspecified reason), such that that trust does nothing to contribute to what was required to take care of the house, it is simply a mental assent - a mental belief in the faithfulness of his friend doing all the work for him, (i.e., water and mow lawn, keep it secure, feed and exercise pets, take care of the plants, etc., etc.); so in the same way one can say that one trusts alone in Christ alone to take care of his salvation such that that trust does nothing to contribute to what was required to pay the penalty for his sins and provide forgiveness for him, etc., etc. in order to insure that he was saved unto eternal life; it is simply a mental assent - a mental belief in the faithfulness of our Lord in doing all the work of salvation for him.

2) FAITH IS NOT CONSIDERED BY GOD AS A WORK EITHER

Furthermore, the phrases "by grace", "not of works","it is a gift", "not of yourselves" and "lest any man should boast", being inspired by God, settle the issue of whether or not salvation is of a contributing works nature by man, further emphasizing the concept that faith is not a work, since gift and grace exclude works by definition as well as the "not of works", "lest any man should boast" and "not of yourselves" phrases which fully and directly exclude it.

a) 'FAITH WORKS' IS NEITHER A NORMATIVE LANGUAGE NOR A SCRIPTURAL CONCEPT BECAUSE FAITH AND WORKS ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

Contrary to objectors to free grace/free gift salvation who maintain that "saved through faith" refers to some concept they call 'faith works' in order to insert human doing into what it takes to be saved; there is simply no dictionary that carries such a concept, nor does it fit into the normative rules of language, context and logic, nor does the term appear in Scripture. As a matter of fact James chapter 2 distinguishes faith and works as two separate concepts. Consider that if faith were a kind of work, then James 2:17, "Faith without works is dead" deteriorates to nonsense. How can faith if it were a work be without works???? That's like saying daisies without flowers are dead.

3) CONCLUSION

In conclusion, since works towards some end such as salvation require it to be of a contributory nature

and since faith is non-contributory being a passive non-contributory action,

then salvation which is solely by faith as the bible teaches, is completely exclusive of man's works of any kind whether God inspired or not.

And the faith that an individual exercises in order to receive the gift of salvation is not a work at all.

[Ref. Author James corroborates this in chapter 2 of his epistle which sharply distinguishes faith and works. The former justifies unto eternal life before God, the latter justifies that one has eternal life before men. ]

III) FAITH BELIEVE TRUST DEFINED

A) ENGLISH DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/

faith \Faith\, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason.

believe \Be*lieve

v. t. [imp. & p. p. Believed; p. pr. & vb. n. Believing]

To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine. "

trust \Trust\, v. t.

1. To place confidence in; to rely on, to confide, or repose faith, in; as, we can not trust those who have deceived us. I will never trust his word after. --Shak. He that trusts every one without reserve will at last be deceived. --Johnson. 2. To give credence to; to believe; to credit. Trust me, you look well. --Shak. 3. To hope confidently; to believe; -- usually with a phrase or infinitive clause as the object. I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face. --2 John 12. We trust we have a good conscience. --Heb. xiii. 18. 4. to show confidence in a person by intrusting (him) with something.

Syn: Confidence; belief; faith; hope; expectation"

B) NT GREEK DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows:

"(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] ...to believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"

Note that the Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement. Furthermore, the forms of the verb 'to believe' in Greek which are used in gospel passages all depict a moment of faith. Verb forms and contexts which depict an ongoing faith or faithfulness do not appear in gospel passages, hence the latter are excluded in what it takes to be justified unto eternal life.

C) BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF FAITH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

1) SAVING FAITH = ACCEPTING THE TESTIMONY OF GOD ABOUT HIS SON PROVIDING ETERNAL LIFE FOR YOU

The Word of God confirms that forms of the verb to believe when used in passages concerning how an individual receives eternal life is defined as an acceptance - a mere mental assent - of the testimony of God:

a) [1 John 5:9-13]:

(v. 9) "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.

[Accepting the testimony of God about His Son is presented here as an agreement that what God is saying about His Son is true - mere mental assent. The next verse then defines accepting the testimony of God as believing:

(v. 10) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart..........

["has this testimony in his heart" = in his mind. Anyone who believes that the Son will provide eternal life for him has this testimony in his heart such that it is a part of his mental understanding that he is now saved unto eternal life]

(v. 10 cont.) .....Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

[So to be saved one must believe in the testimony of God about His Son. The verb believe is herein defined relative to salvation unto eternal life as a mental assent, an acceptance, that what God says about His Son is true. Nothing else is required here in order to receive eternal life such as demonstrating this faith by some kind of action]

(v. 11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

[i.e., if you want eternal life: trust in God's Son to provide it for you]:

(v. 12) He who has the Son has life..........

[He who believes in God's testimony about His Son - that the Son will provide eternal life for him if he merely believes in the Son doing this has eternal life, (v.10)]....

(v. 12 cont.) ...he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

[To have the Son means to believe that He will provide eternal life for you. To not have the Son is to not take God at His Word that the Son alone will provide eternal life for you. So if you believe what God testifies to, then you will therefore have eternal life because God says so. God being Who He is, He will deliver.

And then John writes further that an individual can know that he is saved unto eternal life at the very moment of his mental assent]:

(v. 13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you many know that you have eternal life."

So, taking God at His Word about eternal life through His Son provides assurance that you do now possess the gift of life everlasting in heaven never to lose it.

So nothing in the word 'believe' relative to securing eternal life implies that any action is required beyond the simple trust - the simple mental assent stated in Jn 3:16 and numerous other passages in the Bible. Just as one would simply believe that a door is green via a simple mental assent; or that an individual who is physically incapable of vigorous movement, can still believe that exercise is good for his health, i.e., a simple mental assent, without actually performing the exercise itself; so in the same way one can trust alone in Christ alone as one's Personal Savior unto eternal life - without doing anything beyond the simple mental assent. Consider that this is true especially since God has completed all that is necessary for any individual's salvation, (Eph 1:3-2:9). And consider this in the light that all men are totally depraved and incapable of contributing a single acceptable thing toward anyone's salvation, (Ro 3:23; 8:8; Isa 64:6; Ps 14:1-3; 58:3; Jer 17:9).

2) SAVING FAITH = A MOMENT OF BELIEF ALONE IN GOD'S ONE AND ONLY SON BEING GIVEN FOR YOU ALONE

a) [Compare Jn 3:16]:

"For God so loved the world that he gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Kenneth S. Wuest states, (Wuest's Word Studies, Vol. 3, 'Great Truths To Live By, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1992, p. 67):

"In the words, 'should not perish, but have everlasting life,' there is a radical change in tenses, from the aorist which speaks of a once-for-all act to the present subjunctive which speaks of a continuous state. The contrast is one between the final utter ruin and lost estate of the unbeliever, and the possession of eternal life as an enduring experience on the part of the believer"

"whoever believes" = "pas ho pisteuon" = relative pronoun with a participle verb functioning as a noun, lit. "everyone who is believing".

The present, active participle verb: "is believing" is a participle noun and not a statement of present tense as some might maintain.

Contrary to objectors who insist that Jn 3:16 stipulates "everyone who maintains a constant state of believing as result of the phrase "whoever believes" = "pas ho pisteuon", the form of the verb to believe is not a present tense form but it is actually a *nominative, singular, masculine, present active participle, i.e., a participle acting as a noun indicating "one who believes" [in Christ as Savior], i.e., a believer. The participle acting as a noun does not require a perfection of continuous action such as continuous believing in order for an individual to be qualified as a believer.

For example, just as John the Baptist was still considered the one who baptizes ["iOannEs ho baptizOn" = "John the one who baptizes"] even after he was killed (Mk 6:14), and just as Paul referred to the Corinthians as "sanctified in Christ Jesus", (1 Cor 1:2), and "in Christ", (1 Cor 3:1) yet they were not acting faithfully at all, (1 Cor 3:3), so a believer in general is legitmately referred to as a believer from the moment he trusts in Christ for eternal life.

[Dr. Robert Wilkin states, The Grace Report, Monthly Report of the Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx. ges@faithalone.org, Mar 1999, Notes and Letters, p. 4]:

'''The articular participle (=the article "the" [='ho'] plus a participle [ex. pisteuon = believing] functions as a verbal noun. Thus ['ho pisteuon' =] 'the one who believes' does not mean ''he who keeps on believing and believing and believing' but means 'the believer.' [i.e., one who at some time exercised a single moment of faith alone in Christ alone]. Anyone who comes to faith in Christ is from that moment forward 'the believer.' '''

"should not perish" - "un apoletai" - aorist tense, 3rd pers. singular, subjunctive mood, middle voice =

The believer receives a state of completed action of not ever perishing if God's purpose is fulfilled - and God being sovereign, it will be fulfilled.

Considering the context of John chapter 3 of being spiritually born again once for all time in order to enter the Kingdom of God, (3:3-8), this being closely paralleled in John 3:14-15 to the passage in Numbers 21 of the once for all time look of faith of an Israelite at the bronze snake in order to be physically saved from physical death via a particular snake bite with a moment of faith in Christ being lifted up [on the cross to pay for sins] resulting in eternal life [identical construction here as in v. 16],

and considering the use of the aorist tense twice in the main clause of v. 16 to indicate with the context: God's completed action of love in His giving His one and only Son once for all time completed action of paying for the sins of the whole world,

we can therefore conclude that the aorist tense in "un apoletai" means a completed action resulting in a condition of never perishing as a result of the application of God's once for all time sacrifice for sins upon the one who believes, the believer. Since this action of God is not repeatable and has been appropriated by the believer then we may conclude that the state of the believer not perishing is permanent.

Thus the subjunctive mood of the verb "un apoletai" in this clause expresses action which is objectively possible for the whole world but which becomes a reality for the "pas ho pisteuon" = the one who is believing, i.e., the believer considering the context and especially considering the unfailing sovereignty of God in fulfilling His declared purposes. The subjunctive mood allows for the assumption that there is some doubt as to the outcome depending upon the reliablity of the One acting for the purpose stipulated. Since God is absolutely reliable then the outcome in the subordinate clause is actual and not potential.

The context of the immediately preceding verses, (vv. 14-15), of a single look of faith at the bronze snake in order to be definitely saved from physical death, (no indefiniteness here), which is then dramatically juxtaposed to the identical phrase as it appears again in verse 16: "eche zoen aionion" = "may have eternal life" leaves no doubt in v. 16 that eternal life is also portrayed as definitely - NOT indefinitely - received by "everyone who is believing", i.e., all believers at the moment of belief, once for all time.

"but have eternal life" = "eche" = lit. may be having, present tense, 3 pers sing., subjunctive mood, active voice.

This second action, "but may have eternal life" has already been touched upon and it works similarly to Action #1:

The believer receives immediate possession of eternal life as the fulfilled purpose of God at the point he became one "who is believing", i.e., a believer.

"but" = "alla" sets Action #2 in opposition to Action #1: to the condition of once for all never perishing opposite to Action #1: a once for all condition of having eternal life.

The active voice of the verb "eche" = "may be having" indicates that the individual directly causes the results of his commencing to having eternal life as a result of his believing in the Son being given for him when he becomes a believer, i.e., "one who is believing".

Since eternal life has a unique quality about it of being everlasting in duration then such a life will not cease once it has begun to be the possession of the individual who, at the beginning moment of faith that it took to become a believer, he was believing in the Son being given up for him in order to be born again and enter the kingdom of God as the context of John chapter 3 indicates. Otherwise eternal life would not be eternal life, it would be called 10 year life or 10 minute life as the case may be. So if the believer does not maintain a continuous state of believing in the Son after that first moment of faith - (and I don't know anyone who can, neither does Scripture except the Lord Himself), the duration of the believing will not have an effect on the duration of the eternal life once the latter has begun to be the eternal possession of the one who is believing, i.e., the believer. Not only is eternal life therefore begun within the individual at the instant he trusts alone in Christ alone as Savior to become "one who is believing", but the verb 'un apoletai' - 'shall not perish' in the opposing verb of this clause is in the aorist tense which speaks of a once for all time exclusion from perishing in the Lake of Fire also begun at the moment of believing.

So once an individual believes in Christ as Savior, nothing else being stipulated here as a requirement to be saved and even before a single divine good work is performed - then he immediately begins to have eternal life in his mortal body surely to be exchanged for a perfect immortal one after physical death, (1 Cor 15:51ff). And this life once begun is eternal by definition so it cannot end regardless if that individual remains faithful or not.

So at the point in time when an individual believes in Christ as Savior he instantly enters into a state of having eternal life...for all eternity. He is permanently sealed, (Eph 1:13-14), and irrevocably saved unto eternal life - no matter what, (Eph 4:30)! As a newborn believer, (Jn 3:3), a child of God, (Jn 1:12), he has become a new creation, (2 Cor 5:17), and has received to his credit the grace gift of absolutely perfect righteousness, (Ro 3:21-24), which qualifies him to enter into heaven when he dies. Nothing now can separate him from God's eternal love, (Ro 8:38-39). He no longer has to fear eternal condemnation, (Ro 8:1).

Notice that this doctrine of faith alone in Christ alone which provides eternal life for an individual was stated to a Jew who was under the Law at a time which was before the cross! This reaffirms that salvation occurs in one way only for all individuals before and after the cross, from Adam on down through the ages: faith alone in God's plan of salvation alone which is through His Son. All an individual of any era had to do was to take God at His Word, i.e., believe in God's plan of eternal life and that that resulted in his salvation. (Cp. Heb chapter 11; Isa 28:16; 53:4-5, 10-12; Ps 32:2; Ez 36:26-27; Gen 15:4-6 & Ro 4:1-8, 13).

Objectors who insist that the word believe relative to salvation takes on more than the normative meaning must consider here in this conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus that our Lord did not redefine or specially define the word rendered believe relative to salvation here in His conversation with Nicodemus; and that certainly would have been the most opportune time, the Son of God knowing that this would be the verse most often quoted and memorized - and which is an instruction on how to have eternal life.

So when any person trusts, (believes), in Christ - trusts that He payed the penalty for his sin, (cf 1 Jn 2:2), then at that very moment of exercising one's trust that person is born spiritually alive and now at that same moment has eternal life! According to Scripture that person will continue to die physically...living out God's sovereignly appointed lifespan. Then his now alive eternal spirit will go to be with the Lord in heaven. After God is finished with this particular age, the church age believer will be provided with a perfect physical body with capabilities which are beyond imagination, (1 Thes 4:13-18). Our bodies will be like the resurrected Lord's Himself! (Cp. Phil 1:20-24; 2 Cor 5:6-9; 1 Cor 15:42-53; Phil 3:20-21). And so we believers will live in perfect harmony and fellowship with one another and Almighty God forever!

b) [Compare Acts 16:30-31]:

(v. 30) "And he [the keeper of the prison, (v. 27)] brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

(v. 31) 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved' "

"believe" = "pisteuson", imperative mood = a command; aorist tense, not present tense = a completed action of a moment of believing and one will - at that moment - be saved unto eternal life. Thus continuous action of believing is not in view, nor any kind of commitment in order to be saved unto eternal life. "Pisteuson" = comes from the Greek infinitive "pisteuO", to believe.

So the Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' relative to salvation unto eternal life is defined according to the bible, usage and New Testament Greek dictionaries to mean to trust, believe or exercise a moment of faith in the information presented that Jesus Christ will save you from your sins and provide eternal life for you, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement. This is why salvation unto eternal life is stipulated in Scripture as a gracious free gift through a moment of faith, (perfect tense) which is not of yourselves, not by works so that no one can boast - no strings attached:

i) [Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God --

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."

on this verse

"you will be saved" = "sOthEsE", indicative mood = a statment of fact; future tense = signifying being instantly saved unto eternal life whenever the individual expresses, (it is future until the moment one believes), a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else.

Notice that the indicative mood is a statement of fact by definition, making emphatic the result of a moment of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ to be eternal life at that moment. It is by faith alone + nothing else that this is accomplished in an instant and forever because the result of it is stipulated as being saved, the duration implied as eternal relative to the previous teaching of the Apostle Paul in Acts 13:46-48.

"you and your household" = This phrase does not imply that if the jailer believed that the rest of his family would be saved, but it does imply that the jailer and any one in his household who believes in the Lord Jesus will be saved. It further implies that anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus will be saved.

In view of the normative rules of language, context and logic by which God's Word must be read and interpreted, the integrity of this passage cannot be violated or added to by imposing what other passages might or might not stipulate relative to salvation unto eternal life or any topic. Hence Acts 16:31 remains a message that all who express a moment of faith alone, (aorist tense), in Jesus Christ alone + nothing else will assuredly be saved unto eternal life, no matter what - because there are no conditions stipulated except the moment of faith. No where in this passage can it be inferred that anything else but a moment of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ's capacity to save one is required to be saved unto eternal life.

3) CONTINUOUS BELIEVING IS NOT REQUIRED IN ORDER TO BE OR STAY SAVED

a) ENGLISH AND FIRST CENTURY GREEK REQUIRES SPECIAL CONTEXT OR ADDITIONAL QUALIFYING WORDS TO MAKE PRESENT TENSE ACTION IN SALVATION PASSAGES CONTINUOUS THROUGHOUT THE PRESENT

Present tense signifies action in present time for the duration of whatever the context indicates. The Greek present tense by itself does not automatically convey continuous action - nor does the English equivalent. It may or may not be continuous - depending upon the context and/or the presence of qualifying words. Present tense action in the absence of qualifiers demands a singular action in the present moment without requiring that it be continuous throughout the present. No first century Greek reader or hearer was likely to get a meaning such as 'continue to believe' without the necessary additional qualifiers to the present tense.

i) [Compare Hebrews 13:15]:

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."

"anapherOmen ..thusian .aineseOs diapantos"

"we should offer sacrifice of praise continually"

Notice that "anapherOmen" = "we should offer" is present tense. Yet in order to emphasize continual action the word "diapantos" = "continually" must be inserted.

ii) [Compare 1 Thes 2:13]:

"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. "

"hEmeis eucharistoumen tO theO .....adialeiptOs" =

"we .......give thanks .............to God ..unceasingly"

Notice that "eucharistoumen" = "give thanks" is present tense, indicative mood. Yet in order to emphasize unceasing activity the word "adialeiptOs" = "unceasingly" must be inserted to picture unceasing action.

iii) [Compare 1 Thes 5:16-18]:

(v. 16) "Be joyful always;

(v. 17) pray unceasingly;

(v. 18) give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

"adialeiptOs proseuchesthe" =

"unceasingly pray"

Notice that "proseuchesthe" = "pray" is present tense, imperative mood. Yet in order to emphasize unceasing activity the word "adialeiptOs" = "unceasingly" must be inserted to picture unceasing action.

iv) [Compare Jn 3:16]:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

"whoever believes in Him" = "pas ho pisteuon" = lit, whoever [is] the believer, nominative particple, i.e., a noun

"should have eternal life" = "all echE zOEn aiOnion" = present tense verb (echE)

If the present tense were the verb in the original Greek text of John 3:16, "whoever believes" - and it is not, it is the noun, 'pas ho pisteuon' = whoever [is] the believer', then a special context and/or additional words such as "diapantos" = continually and the future tense 'will have eternal life' instead of 'have eternal life', must be inserted into the text in order to convey the idea of continuous believing in order to have eternal life.

Consider the individuals who are found guilty of various offenses before a magistrate in a court in the times of the ancient Roman Empire - New Testament times. The magistrate declares before the group of guilty people in koine Greek, the language of the New Testament, in a statement that directly parallels the second half of Jn 3:16, 'Whoever pays his fine shall not perish in jail, but have freedom to go, with his life.' Does the present tense of 'Whoever pays' demand continuous - uninterrupted payment of the fine in order for an individual to "have freedom to go, with his life?" The answer is obvious, the present tense does not always demand continuous uninterrupted action in the present.

Just as the payment of the Magistrate's fine was done once in present time such that it results in freedom - the payment not having to be continuous;

so the believing in Christ as Savior, when it begins in present time, immediately results in the aorist completed action of never perishing and the present tense reception of eternal life such that the believing need not continue in order to keep the result of never perishing and possession of eternal life continuous because the never perishing is a completed action and the eternal life by its very nature once received is continuously eternal.

b) SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS PORTRAYED AS BEING RECEIVED IN A COMPLETED ACTION MOMENT

i) [Compare Acts 16:30-31]:

(v. 30) "And he [the keeper of the prision, (v. 27)] brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

(v. 31) 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved' "

Notice that the keeper wasn't asking how he could be initially saved and then maybe not stay saved. There are no qualifiers that would lead to this conclusion. He was asking what it took to be saved once and for all. He simply did not want to go to hell! He was frightened out of his wits.

And Paul did not answer in a continuous tense demanding ongoing effort with the possibility he could lose his salvation. He answered in the aorist - completed action tense:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." =

"believe" = "pisteuson", imperative mood = a command; aorist tense, not present tense = a completed action of a moment of believing and one will - at that moment - be saved unto eternal life. Thus continuous action of believing is not in view, nor any kind of commitment in order to be saved unto eternal life. "Pisteuson" = comes from the Greek infinitive "pisteuO", to believe.

"you will be saved" = "sOthEsE", indicative mood = a statment of fact; future tense = signifying being instantly saved unto eternal life whenever the individual expresses, (it is future until the moment one believes), a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else.

Notice that the indicative mood is a statement of fact by definition, making emphatic the result of a moment of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ to be eternal life at that moment. It is by faith alone + nothing else that this is accomplished in an instant and forever because the result of it is stipulated as being saved, the duration implied as eternal relative to the previous teaching of the Apostle Paul in Acts 13:46-48.

"you and your household" = This phrase does not imply that if the jailer believed that the rest of his family would be saved, but it does imply that the jailer and any one in his household who believes in the Lord Jesus will be saved. It further implies that anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus will be saved.

In view of the normative rules of language, context and logic by which God's Word must be read and interpreted, the integrity of this passage cannot be violated or added to by imposing what other passages might or might not stipulate relative to salvation unto eternal life or any topic. Hence Acts 16:31 remains a message that all who express a moment of faith alone, (aorist tense), in Jesus Christ alone + nothing else will assuredly be saved unto eternal life, no matter what - because there are no conditions stipulated except the moment of faith. No where in this passage can it be inferred that anything else but a moment of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ's capacity to save one is required to be saved unto eternal life.

4) BELIEVE = BELIEVE IN = BELIEVE INTO = BELIEVE ON = BELIEVE THAT = BELIEVE UPON

[Charles C. Bing, Pastor of Burleson Bible Church, Burleson, Tx., states in the Journal of the GRACE EVANGELICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 9, Spring, 1996, Number 16, in an article entitled 'THE CONDITION FOR SALVATION IN JOHN'S GOSPEL', pp. 28-34]:

"Much discussion has focused on the use of the verb pisteuo [to believe either absolutely, or with the prepositions eis [in, into] and epi [on, upon], or with the dative case [indirect object of the verb] or hoti [that]. While some would claim these constructions indicate different kinds of faith... [Scripture teaches] ...that all these combinations refer to saving faith.

...believe without an object implies no less than believe with an object as when prepositions are used. The prepositions eis [= in, into] and epi [on, upon] may emphasize the object of faith, but do not distinguish another kind of faith... The construction of pisteuo with the dative is also clearly used for salvation, as in 5:24.

a) [Jn 5:24]:

'''[Jesus said] 'Whoever hears My word and believes Him Who sent me has eternal life.' '''

b) [Jn 6:29-30]:

The similarity of believe with the dative and believe in is seen in 6:29-30...

[Jn 6:29-30]:

(v. 29) "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.'

(v. 30) They said therefore to Him, 'What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?' "]

c) [Compare Jn 8:30-31]:

(v. 30) "As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

(v. 31) Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.' "]

It is exegetically impossible to separate their meanings in those passages. To believe Christ is to believe in [into] Him, and vice versa. Thus the slightly less certain construction is clarified by John's favorite term for saving faith, believe in.

d) [Jn 20:31]:

The pisteuo plus hoti [believe that] construction also denotes saving faith. While some may argue that this combination denotes an intellectual acquiescence that falls short of effectual faith, it seems obvious that one cannot believe in [into] unless he or she also believes that.... Each implies the other...In fact, if one really believes that, one can hardly not believe in [into]... We find the hoti construction in two passages that clearly discuss the condition for salvation. John 8:24 says 'If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.' The other passage is no less than John's purpose statement, 20:31...

[Jn 20:31]:

"But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."] ...(cf. also I John 5:1)...

...Faith, then, when represented by pisteuo in its various forms denotes trust in something or someone. It assumes assent to the truthfulness and trustworthiness of a person or what is claimed. In John [and throughout the Bible for that matter], faith is trustful reliance on Christ's promise to give eternal life to those who believe."

5) FAITH IN (INTO) A CONCEPT/INDIVIDUAL DOES NOT CONSTITUTE BECOMING ONE WITH THAT CONCEPT/INDIVIDUAL SPIRITUALLY OR ORGANICALLY

Furthermore, according to normative rules of language by which the Bible was written and by which it is to be interpreted...

[]

...faith in (into) a concept or in (into) an individual, (using the Greek preposition 'eis' = in, into), does not constitute becoming one with that concept or individual, spiritually or organically as some maintain. For example, believing in, (Gk = "eis" = in, into), Jesus Christ as one's personal Savior does not then result in that individual becoming one spiritually or organically with Jesus Christ Himself as part of the Godhead such that one assumes any of the full and infinite qualities of God any more than does one who believes in, (Gk = "eis" = in, into), a door being the color green changes him into the color green himself along with the sprouting of door knobs and keyslots on his person. Individuals can be spoken of as 'one' with each other when they act in accord with one another on or have the same beliefs about specific subjects. But this does not signify that they are now wholly joined organically, spiritually or mentally.

6) FIGURES OF SPEECH REFERRING TO SAVING FAITH

[Bing, cont.]:

"While there is one condition for salvation, John may represent that condition with figures of speech designed to illustrate the response of faith.

a) LOOK

In 3:14-15 the anticipated response is to look upon Christ and His work for eternal salvation, as the Israelites looked upon the serpent on a pole in the desert for their physical salvation (Numbers 21). The point of the illustration is the simple look of faith...

b) HEAR

Similarly, John uses hearing to represent believing. More than the physical sense is involved. To hear is to listen, but also to accept as true, as we understand with the colloquial expression, 'I hear you.' Belonging to Jesus as His sheep is conditioned upon hearing His voice of truth (10:16, 27), as also is obtaining eternal life (5:24). The unbelief of the lost is due to their not hearing God's word (8:43, 47).

c) ENTER

Speaking metaphorically of Himself as the door to the sheepfold, Jesus also pictures the response of faith as entering the door (10:9). To enter correlates with faith in that both express one's trust for protection from the threat of the enemy.

d) FEED

The notion of feeding on Christ (6:57), including eating His flesh and drinking His blood (6:54), is another analogy of the faith that obtains eternal life, as is clear in 6:35 and 6:47. This is similar to the drink of living water (eternal life) offered to the Samaritan woman (4:10, 14). To eat and drink is to appropriate or receive something upon which life depends. There is no work or merit associated with these activities. Rather, the benefit is from what is appropriated, which corresponds to the object of faith, which is Christ.

e) COME

Another metaphor for faith is expressed by the word come. In 5:40 coming to Christ obtains eternal life. In 6:35 come is equated with both eating and believing. Coming, drinking, and believing are used synonymously in 7:37-38 as the condition for salvation. To come is to trustingly approach Christ for help. It entails no human merit or effort.

f) RECEIVE

Another word that may represent faith is receive. The promise that any who receive Christ will become children of God is closely linked to believing in 1:12. Believe appears to be in apposition to receive here in order to explain it. In 1:12 to receive is to welcome or accept as true the person or words of Jesus Christ (3:11, 32-33; 5:43). This is in contrast to those who 'did not know' and 'did not receive' Jesus as the Christ in 1:10-11..."

g) CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD

i) [Ro 10:12-14a]:

(v. 12) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him."

(v. 13) For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

(v. 14a) How then shall they call upon Him in Whom they have not believed?" '''

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" = To call on the name of the Lord is to make use of His name, i.e., to trust in His capacity to save one from God's temporal wrath and unto abundance in riches

[Vines Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, Fleming H. Revell, Old Tappan, NJ, 1971, p. 163]:

"epikaleO = epi, upon and kaleO denote to call upon, invoke: in the Middle Voice, to call upon for oneself (i.e., on one's behalf). Making use of the Name of the Lord."

When you call upon someone to help you, it is saying that you trust in him to come to your aid. Inherent in your calling upon someone is the faith that he can and will help you.

If a believer expresses a moment of calling on the name of the Lord,

then God will provide salvation for the believer from present difficulty unto blessings.

So, in essence, to call on the name of the Lord unto salvation in this particular context is to trust that He will make provision for you to save you from whatever situation is in view, more often than not, His wrath and thereby provide blessing.

Notice that calling upon the Lord in v. 12 results in abounding riches. This is paralleled with v. 13, wherein calling on the name of the Lord results in being saved from God's temporal wrath.

Incidentally, the name of the Lord in Hebrew is Jehoshua which means 'Jehovah is salvation' so calling on Jesus' name in order to be saved is to literally call upon the God Whom He is Who is salvation'

h) REPENT RELATIVE TO SALVATION MEANS TO CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT NOT BELIEVING IN CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND THEN TRUST ALONE IN HIM ALONE

MOVE TO EXAMINATION OF THE WORD REPENT RELATIVE TO SALVATION

C) BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF FAITH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE, (cont.)

7) CONCLUSION

[Charles C. Bing, cont.]:

"...These pictures of faith all denote receptivity, agreement, or trust. All are essentially simple activities and essentially passive. None communicates the idea of merit, work, effort, or achievement. Neither do they communicate an exchange of one's life or the ongoing submission of one's life to Jesus as Master in order to obtain eternal life.

When we observe the clear statements in John about the condition for salvation, the effect of this condition, and the pictures of this condition, we conclude that John presents faith alone in Christ alone as the only condition for salvation...

It is extremely significant that we do not see qualifiers with the word believe. John does not condition salvation on whether one 'really believes' or 'truly believes.' Neither does he speak of 'genuine faith,' 'real faith,' or 'effectual faith.' There is only one kind of faith. One either believes in something or he does not. Therefore, those who speak of 'spurious faith' or 'false faith' are psychologizing faith as the Scripture neither does, nor provides a basis for doing.

In contrast, John does use qualifiers to distinguish the real from the fraudulent in other concepts. He speaks of the 'true light' (1:9), 'true bread' (6:32), 'true vine' (15:1), 'true worshipers' (4:23), and 'true God' (17:3). When he shows that even the unsaved can be referred to as disciples (6:60-64), he later calls the saved who adhere to His word 'disciples indeed' (8:31)...

Neither do we find condition for salvation stated as surrender or commitment of all of one's life to Jesus as Master. Salvation is totally and absolutely free and is not conditioned on human merit. It is what one receives, not earns, merits, or barters for. It will be given freely to whoever asks (4:10)...."

a) [Jn 4:10]:

"Jesus answered and said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is Who says to you, '''Give Me a drink,''' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.' "] So the issue is not the quality or quantity of an individual's faith, but to Whom that faith is directed which will produce eternal life. If it is directed toward Jesus Christ: eternal life."

D) SALVATION REQUIRES FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE + NOTHING

1) SALVATION IS NOT CONDITIONED UPON CONTINUAL OBEDIENCE

[Charles Bing, cont.]:

"Similarly, we do not find salvation conditioned on [or will result in] continual obedience. If anything, we could argue that John's Gospel purposefully introduces us to those who believed in Jesus as Savior, but were less than fully committed as disciples or were partially obeying Him. Martha believed and was obviously saved (11:27; and we can assume Mary and Lazarus were too), but there is no indication that she followed Christ in the fullest sense of leaving home and family. Less than full confession and commitment are also found in the 'secret disciple,' Joseph of Arimathea (19:38). Some would argue that Nicodemus was also in this category (cf. 19:39). In addition, the Jewish rulers mentioned in 12:42 believed in Christ, but did not confess Him publicly for fear of being ostracized by the other Jewish leaders." [Yet nothing in Scripture indicates that they were not truly saved and Jn 1:12-13 stipulates that anyone who believes is]

2) FAITH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE DOES NOT NEED WORKS ADDED TO IT IN ORDER TO BECOME FAITH AND EFFECT THE RESULT OF ETERNAL LIFE

a) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith - and this [salvation is] not from yourselves, it it the gift of God -

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."

Since salvation is by faith

and since salvation is "not by works"

then faith cannot be of works nor can works be permitted to validate that faith in any way.

Just as milk is milk before anything is added to it and so adding something like chocolate to it merely changes it into chocolate + milk, i.e., chocolate milk, so faith does not need works added to it in order to become faith. It already IS faith. Once works are added then the faith becomes faith + works - the works being an expression of that faith which already existed in the first place; that faith being all that was needed to result in eternal life, (Jn 3:14-18, 5:24; 6:27-29, 47; 20:31; Eph 1:13-14; 2:8-9; Ac 10:43; 16:30; Gal 3:6-9, 14, 22, 2 Thes 2:13; 2 Tim 1:9; Phil 3:9; Ro 1:16; 3:22-26b; 4:1-5; 5:1; 10:11-14).

Faith therefore is a separate concept from works in spite of what objectors to free grace salvation often maintain. They defend their position by quoting Jas 2:17: 'faith without works is dead' without realizing that they have just affirmed that faith can exist without works - albeit being a dead faith relative to demonstrating ones friendship with God. Notice that faith without works is indeed expressed as being dead not non existent. So it can exist without works but it is dead = useless relative to the context of what James is writing about: being a friend of God as he illustrates especially with Abraham and summarized in verse 24 as a justification by works before men, not before God, (Ro 4:1-2). But if faith alone in Christ as Savior alone is all that is commanded by God relative to salvation unto eternal life as dozens of Scriptural passages indicate then that faith was certainly effective toward resulting in the individual being saved unto eternal life. This is especially true considering that the faith that that individual did express came as a gift directly from God. Certainly anything from God would be effectual in it's intended result of receiving eternal life! So faith can exist without works.

Finally, since there are no dictionaries in any language that define that one does not legitimately believe in something unless he actually demonstrates it by some action, and if dictionaries simply reflect how a language is used,

And since no one could understand the bible if it contained words so uniquely defined outside of normative usage as reflected in dictionaries and grammar books without 'breaking' some secret code and thus not be able to be held accountable to God for the understanding and acceptance of His Word,

And since the bible utilizing normative rules of language declares an inerrant message including prophecies being perfectly fulfilled in every detail and the doctrinal statements especially the salvation passages having absolutely no contradictions at all, being faith alone in Christ alone and at the moment of faith you begin to possess everlasting life forever (since the normative understanding of everlasting life is that it is forever) = before a single work is performed,

then we must conclude that the normative understanding of the word believe as simply a mental assent without works is truly what the bible expresses as the meaning of that word where ever it occurs.

3) SCRIPTURE ITSELF DECLARES THAT WORKS DO NOT PLAY A PART IN AN INDIVIDUAL'S SALVATION

The final authority as to whether works do play a part in an individual's salvation must, however, come from God's Word:

a) [Ro 4:1-5]:

(v. 1) "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

(v. 2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.

[So justification unto eternal life before God does NOT include any kind of works - whether meritorious or not. This verse says that Abraham's works justified him before men, not before God, that he was a saved man - saved unto eternal life. Therefore, God is the One Who justifies unto eternal life, not men - and it is by faith alone as it says in the next verse]:

(v. 3) What does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and [as a result of his belief - not anything he did] it was credited to him as righteousness. [Ref. Gen 15:6]

(v. 4) Now to the one who works [for salvation], his wage is not reckoned as a favor [i.e., grace] but as what is due. [thus canceling out the grace basis of salvation, (Eph 2:8-9), and remaining under condemnation] (v. 5) But to the one who does not work, [for salvation] but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith [without works] is reckoned as righteousness."

i) [Compare Titus 3:5]:

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit"

So if ANYTHING is done by an individual other than God with the result that salvation is supposed to be received, then those actions are by definition attempts to receive eternal life meritoriously - actions which will inevitably fail. The concept of all works toward one's salvation being meritorious cannot be changed unless the meanings of words which God has inspired to be used in the Bible can be arbitrarily redefined contrary to the intention of the Almighty Himself, (Ro 4:3-5; Titus 3:5).

ii) [Jn 6:27-29]: THE WORK THAT ONE MUST DO FOR ETERNAL LIFE IS EXCLUSIVELY A MATTER OF FAITH ACCORDING TO JOHN 6:27-29

In John 6:27-29, our Lord explicitly states that the work that one must do for eternal life is exclusively a matter of faith. So to obey the Lord unto eternal salvation must necessarily be to obey His command to trust alone in Him alone for eternal life, no deeds required:

[Jn 6:27-29]:

(v. 27) "[Jesus answered] Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.

(v. 28) Then they asked Him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?'

(v. 29) Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent'"

[Our Lord picks up on the word 'work' which the disciples were mindful of; but He used it not in a literal sense but a figurative one and provided the answer which is no work at all: but to simply believe in Jesus Christ as Savior = the One that God sent:

Faith alone in Christ alone.

Just as a father can answer his precocious young son's question using drive in a non literal fashion as follows: 'Which car can I drive to class, Dad?' with: 'I'll tell you which car you can drive. You can drive the school bus to class;" so our Lord uses the word work in a non literal fashion also]

4) CONFESSION IS NOT PART OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR AN INDIVIDUAL TO BE SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

And then there are those who require confession - even in public - of Jesus as Lord in order to be saved. Some redefine confession as a continual effort in every area of ones life to do works in order to be eventually saved in spite of the fact that the action is presented as a single one time event resulting in a once for all time salvation. This false concept is 'extracted' from Scripture by taking Romans 10:9-10 out of context and redefining words beyond their available meanings.

The truth of the matter is that the passage presents the confession as coming after the fact of being justified by faith alone and it is in the subjunctive mood, (objective possibility):

'The possible result is that you will confess (maybe you will and maybe you won't) with your mouth Jesus as Lord as a result of the cause that you believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead which belief alone is what results in your being saved.'

So confession that Jesus is Lord is an expected, but not certain, response for believers to express as a result of, but not a requirement for salvation. Some will confess and sad to say, some will not, (Ref. 1 Cor 3:11-15); just as some will be water baptized, go to church regularly, lead faithful lives and some will not.

MOVE TO EXAMINATION OF THE WORD CONFESSION RELATIVE TO SALVATION

5) OBEDIENCE IN ORDER TO BE SAVED = OBEYING THE GOSPEL = FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

Finally, in answer to those, after all of this, who still maintain that there are passages in God's Word which demand an obedience of works by an individual in order to be saved unto eternal life:

a) OBEY CHRIST AND HE BECOMES YOUR SOURCE OF ETERNAL LIFE = TRUSTING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

i) [Heb 5:9b]:

"He [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him."

["obey" = "hupakouousin" = This word which is translated obey is Greek, however, it is a word reflecting the Jewish author's mentality which encompasses not just obedience in deed but also obedience of faith. Some say that salvation requires one to obey in deeds due to a verse like this with the word "obey" in it. But in the Jewish mind if you trust or believe then you thereby obey. The Ten Commandments, for example, prohibit a number of mental attitude sins, such as coveteousness. To disobey one of these mental attitude commandments is to have that mental attitude of coveteousness - no actual deeds required! If one believed that coveteousness was a sin and did not practice such a mental attitude, then one was obeying that commandment within one's mind, and without any actions. Therefore, faith in Christ as Savior is indeed obeying the Gospel of salvation by simply exercising a mental assent - a simple trust in Christ.

ii) [In John 6:27-29], our Lord explicitly states that the work that one must do for eternal life is exclusively a matter of faith. So to obey the Lord unto eternal salvation must necessarily be to obey His command to trust alone in Him alone for eternal life, no deeds required:

[Jn 6:27-29]:

(v. 27) "[Jesus answered] Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.

(v. 28) Then they asked Him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?'

(v. 29) Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent'"

Our Lord picks up on the word 'work' which the disciples used but not in a literal sense and provided the answer which is no work at all: but to simply to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Just as a father can answer his precocious young son's question using drive in a non literal fashion as follows: 'Which car can I drive to class, Dad?' with: 'I'll tell you which car you can drive. You can drive the school bus to class;" so our Lord uses thework in a non literal fashion also.

b) OBEY THE TRUTH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE = TRUSTING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

i) [Compare 1 Pet 1:17-23]:

(v. 17) "Since you [believers, v. 18] call on a Father Who judges each man's work impartially, [relative to rewards, 1 Cor 3:11-15] live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

(v. 18) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers.

[Notice the word "redeemed". The subject is salvation. Peter is reminding Jewish believers that they were saved not by things nor by their "empty way of life", i.e., by trying to be saved by the deeds of the Law handed down by their forefathers but they were saved by the blood of Jesus Christ]:

(v. 18 cont.) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers.

(v. 19) but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

(v. 20) He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

[And the basis upon which the blood of Christ saved you, Peter says to fellow believers, is faith, i.e., belief in the gospel of salvation]:

(v. 21) Through Him you believe in God, Who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God [relative to salvation unto eternal life]

(v. 22) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart."

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth" = Now that you have received perfect righteousness, i.e., purification unto eternal life by "obeying the truth" = by believing in the gospel of salvation, (cp v. 21).

(v. 23) For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God."

So obeying the truth according to Scripture is believing in it. Verse 21 states that believing in God, in what He did relative to His Son: His Son's death, burial, resurrection and glorifiication (the Gospel of salvation) will result in purification, i.e., eternal life. And verse 22 describes this action of believing in the gospel of salvation as "obeying the truth." Then verse 23 confirms that the subject is being born again, i.e., salvation.

6) EVEN THE FAITH EXPRESSED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS A GIFT SO SALVATION CANNOT BE OF WORKS IN ANY CASE

Scripture says that even the faith that a believer exercises in Christ is given that believer - so the believer cannot say that he even provided his own sure hope - his own faith:

a) [Phil 1:29]:

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him.."

So, who gets the glory - the credit for exercising faith in Christ as Savior? - (NOT THE BELIEVER):

GOD AND GOD ALONE

7) CONTRARY TO OBJECTORS TO FREE GRACE SALVATION, BELIEVE IS NOT A SYNECDOCHE SIGNIFYING MORE THAN FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE?

MOVE TO THIS STUDY

8) HEAD FAITH = HEART FAITH, THERE IS NO SCRIPTURAL DIFFERENCE

9) SAVING FAITH DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY DEMONSTRATION OF THAT FAITH IN ONES LIFE IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE TRUE AND EFFECTIVE IN THE RECEPTION OF ETERNAL LIFE. ASSURANCE OF HAVING ETERNAL LIFE COMES FROM RECALLING IN WHOM ONE BELIEVED IN TO RECEIVE IT, JESUS CHRIST

The New Testament epistles which are for the most part exhortations toward leading a faithful Christian life, are addressed to true believers, not unbelievers, nor false professors, nor to those who could lose their salvation for some reason, if that were possible, (and it is not: at the point of faith one receives possession of eternal life which is eternal by definition, cf. John 6:29). Exhortations in the bible to true believers to lead faithful lives indicate by their existence and context that there is no guarantee that true believers will lead lives faithful to their beliefs. The very existence of these letters in the New Testament indicates that there is no guarantee that true believers who are truly saved and truly secure in their salvation will truly lead faithful lives. Hence not being faithful to any degree is not a true indicator that one is not truly saved. So fruit inspection to determine if one is saved or not is fruitless.

The nature of believing is defined as a moment of mental acceptance of that which is presented to one as true. According to the usage of language, the words faith, trust, receive, know, accept, assent are all synonymous with believe.

Three important aspects of the nature of believing are key to understanding the nature of true saving faith:

a) Truly believing in something can be contradicted by ones behavior. For example, one can believe that exercise is good for ones health but not exercise for any number of reasons, not the least of which is having conflicting priorities, being lazy, or having current health problems. In the same way, the believer may have conflicting priorities, is lazy or has a current spiritual sickness which obstructs his faithfulness.

b) Faithfulness is not part of the makeup of saving faith, nor a reliable indicator that one expressed saving faith. Faithfulness to a mature Christian might be somewhat of an indicator that one is a believer; but an outward sign can often be misconstrued or counterfeit. Furthermore, a lack of faithfulness which all true believers are guilty of every day, (1 Jn 1:8, 10), does not compute that one never expressed a moment of faith alone in Christ alone to be saved forever to eternal life. No where in Scripture is ones faithful behavior in view in order to confirm whether or not one at some time expressed a moment of saving faith. Saving faith is a moment of accepting that Jesus Christ died for ones sins resulting immediately in the reception of eternal life for ever, (Jn 6:29). Absent in every gospel passage is any reference to human behavior.

c) Since only a moment of faith alone in Christ alone provides eternal life forever, then after that moment neither faith nor faithfulness need be expressed.

d) Scripture repeatedly says that salvation is all about Jesus Christ and His faithfulness and not about us and what we do. Even works done for Him and through Him are not what we are to look to for assurance of our salvation. After we have believed in the One God has sent, (Jn 6:29), we are to look to Him alone Who, once received via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, endures in us unto eternal life without any further response by us, (Jn 6:27-29).

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