Chapter 7: Is faith a requirement for salvation?

My three-year-old daughter, Susanna, loves to play connect-the-dots. You know, the game where you have a group of numbered dots on a page; you begin at the dot numbered ‘1’ and trace your pencil to the dot numbered ‘2’ and go on until you reach the last dot. There is always a smile on her face when she discovers the picture that forms after all the dots are properly connected.

In this chapter, we are going to play connect-the-dots too. Just a little different though. Instead of jumping through a sequence of numbered dots we are going to jump from Bible verse to Bible verse. There was a smile on my face when I finished and discovered the picture the Holy Spirit had hidden among those verses.

I am hoping that by the end of this chapter there will be a smile on your face too, when you discover why we must believe what we must believe.

Bible study games aside, in this chapter, we will examine whether faith is a requirement for salvation. We will see that faith is a requirement for salvation.

Now most professing Christians know that faith is a requirement for salvation. However, few will be able to tell you what you must believe so that you can be saved. "Believe in Christ," they will say. Sure, but what exactly about Christ must we believe? Should we believe that he was dark-skinned? Should we believe that he did not have a mustache? Are we saved if we don’t believe His virgin birth? Are we saved if we don’t believe that He is the only way to God? In this chapter we will seek to understand exactly what we must believe in order to be saved.

While few know what we must believe in, even fewer know why God asks us to believe what He asks us to believe. This chapter also explains why we are to believe what we are to believe.

Salvation is through faith

The Bible has many verses that teach that faith is required for salvation. Here are some of them.

Jn 6:47 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life."

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God;

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

1 Cor 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not {come to} know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Lk 8:12 "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved."

Jn 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Mk 16:16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

Eph 2:8 tells us that we are saved through faith. Rom 1:16 tells us that salvation is for everyone who believes. 1 Cor 1:21 tells us that God saves those who believe. Lk 8:12 explains that belief is necessary by pointing out that those who do not believe will not be saved. Jn 3:36 is quite plain that he who believes has eternal life, and he who does not believe (or more accurately, he who does not obey the command to believe) will not see life. This is clarified in Mk 16:16, which says that he who believes will be saved whereas he who does not believe shall be condemned. (Note: Mk 16:16 also talks about baptism, a subject that we will deal with in more detail later).

From the above verses it should be clear that faith is a requirement for salvation. Some other verses that say the same things are 1 Pet 1:5, Heb 5:9 and Jn 6:27-29.

1 Pet 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Pet 1:5 tells us that our faith keeps us in the power of God for our future salvation. This implies that we must continue in faith until we die in order to obtain our future salvation.

Heb 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

In Heb 5:9 we read that Christ is the author of eternal salvation of all those who obey (or more accurately, listen to) Him. The obedience refers to believing what we hear. This is elaborated in Jn 6:27-29.

Jn 6:27-29 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

So we see that salvation is through faith. The question is – faith in what? That is, what must we believe in order to be saved?

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