But do these verses really teach that all a person has to do to be saved is believe ? Actually, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he said that salvation is “ by grace …through faith .” In his Romans letter he linked salvation not just to believing in Christ but also to verbally confessingHim. When Jesus issued the Great Commission, on the day He ascended back to Heaven, He said that whoever “believes and is baptized will be saved” ( Mk. 16:16 ). Peter stated, “baptism doth also now save us” ( KJV 1 Pet. 3:21 ). He didn’t even mention faith.
Numerous other passages having to do with salvation speak of something more than just believing as being necessary ( Matt. 10:32; 28:19-20; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27; Heb. 5:8-9 ). In addition, the only verse of scripture that bears the phrase “by faith only”is preceded by the word “not” - “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only ” ( Jas. 2:24 ). That verse also states directly that “a man is justified by works.”
Obviously, salvation involves more than just believing. Faith all by itself, just belief, is not saving faith. James wrote, “…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” ( Jas. 2:17 ).
So what is saving faith? It is faith that is obedient to the point of obeying all that God‘s word states is necessary to come to salvation. It is faith that is active in turning away from sin- repentance . It is faith that is committed to living a life of ongoing faithful, dedicated service to the Lord. It is faith that consistently lives by the teachings of God’s word. Jesus said, “Be faithful until death , and I will give you the crown of life” ( Rev. 2:10 ). Saving faith is not just faith that leads a person to believe in Christ, it is faith that leads a person to obey Christ and live the rest of his life for Him…