Article - Belief Alone Will Never Save [Part 1]

In recent years “belief only” has become one of the fastest growing doctrines on salvation. This doctrine teaches all a person has to do to be saved is believe in your heart that Jesus is God’s Son and your personal Lord and Savior, and you will be saved. If this doctrine were true, it would be as one creed book states, “a very wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort.” However, does the Bible teach that “belief alone” is all a person must do to be saved? What do the Scriptures say concerning “belief only?”

One of the greatest proofs that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is its ability to correct false doctrine. I find it absolutely amazing that the religious world says, “Belief only saves” and in their exact terminology God says, “We see that a man is justified by works and NOT BY FAITH ONLY” (James 2:24, emphasis added). Isn’t that amazing? The religious world says to be saved all you have to do is believe in Jesus. Yet, the only time “belief only” actually occurs in the Bible, God says the exact opposite. God says belief only WILL NOT SAVE ANYONE (James 2:24)!

If a person were going to prove from the Scriptures that “belief only” is not the proper plan of salvation, what would one have to do? He would have to show clear cases in the New Testament where people believed in Jesus but were still lost. Let us do just that. In the New Testament there are several cases where people believed in Jesus and were still not saved. The first is found in John 12:42. John records, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” It is evident from this verse that the rulers only had faith in Jesus. The question must be asked, “Can a person believe in Jesus but be unwilling to confess Him and be saved?” The Scriptures clearly teach that those who do not confess Jesus are not saved. Jesus said, “Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). The Apostle Paul also said that we must confess Jesus with our mouth before we are saved (Romans 10:10). What do we learn from these verses? If a person believes in Jesus and is unwilling to confess Him they will not be saved! This destroys the “belief only” argument. The rulers in John 12:42 had faith and “faith only” in Jesus. If a person were true to the teaching of “faith only” they would have to say these rulers were saved. Yet, they would be in direct opposition to what Jesus had already said concerning the essentiality of confession. Thus, belief alone did not save the rulers and will not save people today!

Friends, from James 2:24 and this example of the rulers who had “faith only” in Jesus and were still lost, we can already see that “belief alone” is not a biblical doctrine. The Bible teaches that to be saved a person must hear God’s word (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Son of God (John 8:24), repent of past sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus (Romans 10:10), and be baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). May God help us not to believe what we have always heard, but to search the Scriptures diligently to be approved before God (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15).

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articleJoey FerrellSalvation