Category: (01) Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?


Many people ask, “Is there a prayer I can pray that will guarantee my  salvation?” It is important to remember that salvation is not received by  reciting a prayer or uttering certain words. The Bible nowhere records a  person’s receiving salvation by a prayer. Saying a prayer is not the biblical  way of salvation.

The biblical method of salvation is faith in Jesus  Christ. John 3:16 tells us, “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.” Salvation is  gained by faith (Ephesians  2:8), by receiving Jesus as Savior (John 1:12),  and by fully trusting Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), not by reciting a  prayer.

The biblical message of salvation is simple and clear and  amazing at the same time. We have all committed sin against God (Romans 3:23). Other than Jesus Christ, there is no one  who has lived an entire life without sinning (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Because of our sin, we have earned  judgment from God (Romans  6:23), and that judgment is physical death followed by spiritual death.  Because of our sin and its deserved punishment, there is nothing we can do on  our own to make ourselves right with God. As a result of His love for us, God  became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life  and always taught the truth. However, humanity rejected Jesus and put Him to  death by crucifying Him. Through that horrible act, though, Jesus died in our  place. Jesus took the burden and judgment of sin on Himself, and He died in our  place (2  Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was then resurrected (1 Corinthians 15), proving  that His payment for sin was sufficient and that He had overcome sin and death.  As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, God offers us salvation as a gift. God calls us  all to change our minds about Jesus (Acts 17:30)  and to receive Him as the full payment of our sins (1 John 2:2).  Salvation is gained by receiving the gift God offers us, not by praying a  prayer.

Now, that does not mean prayer cannot be involved in receiving  salvation. If you understand the gospel, believe it to be true, and have  accepted Jesus as your salvation, it is good and appropriate to express that  faith to God in prayer. Communicating with God through prayer can be a way to  progress from accepting facts about Jesus to fully trusting in Him as Savior.  Prayer can be connected to the act of placing your faith in Jesus alone for  salvation.

Again, though, it is crucially important that you do not base  your salvation on having said a prayer. Reciting a prayer cannot save you! If  you want to receive the salvation that is available through Jesus, place your  faith in Him. Fully trust His death as the sufficient sacrifice for your sins.  Completely rely on Him alone as your Savior. That is the biblical method of  salvation. If you have received Jesus as your Savior, by all means, say a prayer  to God. Tell God how thankful you are for Jesus. Offer praise to God for His  love and sacrifice. Thank Jesus for dying for your sins and providing salvation  for you. That is the biblical connection between salvation and prayer.

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This simple, yet profound, question is the most important question that can be  asked. “How can I be saved?” deals with where we will spend eternity  after our lives in this world are over. There is no more important issue than  our eternal destiny. Thankfully, the Bible is abundantly clear on how a person  can be saved. The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do  to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).  Paul and Silas responded, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts  16:31).

How can I be saved? Why do I need to be  saved?
We are all infected with sin (Romans  3:23). We are born with sin (Psalm 51:5),  and we all personally choose to sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8).  Sin is what makes us unsaved. Sin is what separates us from God. Sin is what has  us on the path to eternal destruction.

How can I be saved? Saved  from what?
Because of our sin, we all deserve death (Romans 6:23). While the physical consequence of sin is  physical death, that is not the only kind of death that results from sin. All  sin is ultimately committed against an eternal and infinite God (Psalm 51:4). Because of that, the just penalty for our  sin is also eternal and infinite. What we need to be saved from is eternal  destruction (Matthew  25:46; Revelation  20:15).

How can I be saved? How did God provide  salvation?
Because the just penalty for sin is infinite and  eternal, only God could pay the penalty, because only He is infinite and  eternal. But God, in His divine nature, could not die. So God became a human  being in the person of Jesus Christ. God took on human flesh, lived among us,  and taught us. When the people rejected Him and His message, and sought to kill  Him, He willingly sacrificed Himself for us, allowing Himself to be crucified  (John 10:15). Because Jesus  Christ was human, He could die; and because Jesus Christ was God, His death had  an eternal and infinite value. Jesus’ death on the cross was the perfect and  complete payment for our sin (1 John 2:2).  He took the consequences we deserved. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead  demonstrated that His death was indeed the perfectly sufficient sacrifice for  sin.

How can I be saved? What do I need to do?
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). God has already done all of the work. All  you must do is receive, in faith, the salvation God offers (Ephesians 2:8-9). Fully  trust in Jesus alone as the payment for your sins. Believe in Him, and you will  not perish (John 3:16).  God is offering you salvation as a gift. All you have to do is accept it. Jesus  is the way of salvation (John  14:6).

Are you hungry? Not physically hungry, but do you have a hunger for something  more in life? Is there something deep inside of you that never seems to be  satisfied? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who  comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be  thirsty” (John  6:35).

Are you confused? Can you never seem to find a path or  purpose in life? Does it seem like someone has turned out the lights and you  cannot find the switch? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus proclaimed, “I am the  light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will  have the light of life” (John  8:12).

Do you ever feel like you are locked out of life? Have you  tried so many doors, only to find that what is behind them is empty and  meaningless? Are you looking for an entrance into a fulfilling life? If so,  Jesus is the way! Jesus declared, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will  be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Do other people always let you down?  Have your relationships been shallow and empty? Does it seem like everyone is  trying to take advantage of you? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus said, “I am the  good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good  shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:1114).

Do you wonder  what happens after this life? Are you tired of living your life for things that  only rot or rust? Do you sometimes doubt whether life has any meaning? Do you  want to live after you die? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus declared, “I am the  resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

What is the way? What is the truth? What is the life? Jesus answered, “I am the  way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”  (John 14:6).

The hunger  that you feel is a spiritual hunger, and can only be filled by Jesus. Jesus is  the only one who can lift the darkness. Jesus is the door to a satisfying life.  Jesus is the friend and shepherd that you have been looking for. Jesus is the  life—in this world and the next. Jesus is the way of salvation!

The  reason you feel hungry, the reason you seem to be lost in darkness, the reason  you cannot find meaning in life, is that you are separated from God. The Bible  tells us that we have all sinned, and are therefore separated from God (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans  3:23). The void you feel in your heart is God missing from your life. We  were created to have a relationship with God. Because of our sin, we are  separated from that relationship. Even worse, our sin will cause us to be  separated from God for all of eternity, in this life and the next (Romans 6:23; John  3:36).

How can this problem be solved? Jesus is the way! Jesus took  our sin upon Himself (2  Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place (Romans 5:8),  taking the punishment that we deserve. Three days later, Jesus rose from the  dead, proving His victory over sin and death (Romans  6:4-5). Why did He do it? Jesus answered that question Himself: “Greater  love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus died so that we could live. If we  place our faith in Jesus, trusting His death as the payment for our sins, all of  our sins are forgiven and washed away. We will then have our spiritual hunger  satisfied. The lights will be turned on. We will have access to a fulfilling  life. We will know our true best friend and good shepherd. We will know that we  will have life after we die—a resurrected life in heaven for eternity with  Jesus!

“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 is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or  protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation.  Sometimes, the Bible uses the words saved or salvation to refer to  temporal, physical deliverance, such as Paul’s deliverance from prison (Philippians  1:19).

More often, the word “salvation” concerns an eternal,  spiritual deliverance. When Paul told the Philippian jailer what he must do to  be saved, he was referring to the jailer’s eternal destiny (Acts 16:30-31). Jesus  equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God (Matthew  19:24-25).

What are we saved from? In the Christian doctrine  of salvation, we are saved from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment of sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians  5:9). Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death  (Romans 6:23). Biblical  salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore  involves the removal of sin.

Who does the saving? Only God can remove  sin and deliver us from sin’s penalty (2 Timothy  1:9; Titus  3:5).

How does God save? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, God  has rescued us through Christ (John 3:17).  Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that  achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10Ephesians  1:7). Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of  God (Ephesians  2:5, 8) and is  only available through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

How do we receive salvation? We are saved by faith. First, we  must hear the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we  must believe—fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans  1:16). This involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19), and calling on the  name of the Lord (Romans  10:9-10, 13).

A definition of the Christian doctrine of  salvation would be “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal  punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s  conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.” Salvation is available in  Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and is dependent on  God alone for provision, assurance, and security.

The Romans Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation  using verses from the Book of Romans. It is a simple yet powerful method of  explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive  salvation, and what are the results of salvation.

The first verse on the  Romans Road to salvation is Romans 3:23,  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We have all sinned.  We have all done things that are displeasing to God. There is no one who is  innocent. Romans  3:10-18 gives a detailed picture of what sin looks like in our lives. The  second Scripture on the Romans Road to salvation, Romans 6:23,  teaches us about the consequences of sin – “For the wages of sin is death; but  the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The punishment  that we have earned for our sins is death. Not just physical death, but eternal  death!

The third verse on the Romans Road to salvation picks up where Romans 6:23 left off, “but  the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates His own love  toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus  Christ died for us! Jesus’ death paid for the price of our sins. Jesus’  resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus’ death as the payment for our  sins.

The fourth stop on the Romans Road to salvation is Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus  as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will  be saved.” Because of Jesus’ death on our behalf, all we have to do is believe  in Him, trusting His death as the payment for our sins – and we will be saved!  Romans 10:13 says it again,  “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Jesus died to  pay the penalty for our sins and rescue us from eternal death. Salvation, the  forgiveness of sins, is available to anyone who will trust in Jesus Christ as  their Lord and Savior.

The final aspect of the Romans Road to salvation  is the results of salvation. Romans 5:1 has this wonderful message, “Therefore, since we have been justified through  faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through Jesus  Christ we can have a relationship of peace with God. Romans 8:1 teaches us, “Therefore, there is now no  condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Because of Jesus’ death on our  behalf, we will never be condemned for our sins. Finally, we have this precious  promise of God from Romans  8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor  demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor  depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the  love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Would you like to follow  the Romans Road to salvation? If so, here is a simple prayer you can pray to  God. Saying this prayer is a way to declare to God that you are relying on Jesus  Christ for your salvation. The words themselves will not save you. Only faith in  Jesus Christ can provide salvation! “God, I know that I have sinned against you  and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I  deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. With your help, I  place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and  forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”

Have you made a decision  for Christ because of what you have learned through the Romans Road to  salvation? If so, please let us know by leaving a comment about your receiving God’s salvation.