Salvation

Salvation

When I was an anti-Catholic, the thief on the cross was my most often-played card against Catholics. The logic goes like this. The thief believed in Jesus, and was promised heaven as a result. Therefore, salvation is by faith alone. Case closed, right? 

Check Your Hands

As I used the thief on the cross as proof that my salvation was by faith alone, I never bothered to check whether my hands were nailed to a cross like the thief’s hands. I never bothered to check whether I was moments from a death of capital punishment, as was the thief. I never checked. As an able-bodied and free person in the richest and freest land in world history (America), I used as my example of salvation a thief nailed to a cross, moments from death. I had much, but compared myself to one who had nothing.  

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required… ~ Luke 12:48

The Three Crosses by Peter Paul Reubens Circa 1620 - Copy 1

The Three Crosses, by Peter Paul Rubens, Circa 1620

Salvation: A Tale Of Two Methods

Regarding the comparison I am about to make between the “faith alone” model of salvation, and the fuller Biblical model of salvation (which, in my opinion, is applicable to people not at death’s door) let me first say that if I ever find myself at the bedside of a dying loved one who is moments from their last breath, my only words to that person will be to put their faith in Jesus. This already happened when I was an anti-Catholic, and the words I told the dying loved one are no different than the words I would use today. 

Salvation By Faith Alone

  • 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. ~ John 3:16 

Salvation By The Fuller Biblical Model

  • 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. ~ John 3:16
  • Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. ~ John 6:54 [If all we must do for eternal life is believe, then why is Jesus adding another requirement (Communion) for eternal life? What about salvation by faith alone?]
  • That 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. ~ Romans 10:9-10 [If all we must do to be saved is believe, then why is Paul adding another requirement (confessing that  “Jesus is Lord” with our mouths) for salvation? What about salvation by faith alone?]
  • You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. ~ James 2:24 [If we are justified by faith alone, then why is James telling us that we are justified by what we do? Worse, why is he saying explicitly that we are not justified by faith alone? This verse is the only time the term “faith alone” appears in the entire Bible, and it is preceded by the words “not by.” What about salvation by faith alone?] 
  • Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water [Baptism] and the Spirit.” ~ John 3:5 [If all we must do to enter the kingdom of God is believe, then why is Jesus adding another requirement (Baptism) here? What about salvation by faith alone? The earliest church, those closest to Jesus and the Apostles, unanimously knew “born of water” to be Baptism.]
  • In it [Noah’s Ark] only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also… ~ 1 Peter 3:20-21 [If all we must do to be saved is believe, then why is Peter adding another requirement (Baptism) for salvation? What about salvation by faith alone?]
  • But he who endures to the end shall be saved. ~ Matthew 24:13-14 [If all we must do to be saved is believe, then why is Jesus adding another requirement (endurance) for salvation? What about salvation by faith alone?]
  • God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life. ~ Acts 11:18 [If all we must do to be granted life is believe, then why does Luke (the author of Acts) add the requirement of repentance? What about salvation by faith alone?]
  • The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 [If all we must do to inherit the kingdom of God is believe, then why is Paul adding the requirement of eliminating certain behaviors from our lives? What about salvation by faith alone?] 

The Bible is always proven true.


Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians are my brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned much from all three groups. I have had family members in all three groups. And I have been greatly blessed by all three groups. I view each group as a sibling in the same family. We all call on the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ.

…whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Acts 2:21

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