What Saving Faith Looks Like

What Saving Faith Looks Like

It is important to understand that saving faith is not simply believing some historical fact with one’s mind. For example, we believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States and that Hitler ruled Germany in World War II and that Mahatma Gandhi lived in India. But such beliefs do not change the lives of those who believe. Likewise, many people believe that Jesus Christ lived long ago and that He did many wonderful things, but this belief does not change their lives.

Saving faith is different from this.


  1. Saving faith is an undivided

The Bible says that Jesus is the only Lord and Savior. See John 14:6; Acts 4:12. To be saved I must believe that Jesus Christ ALONE is Lord and Savior, just as the Bible says. Some people try to add Jesus to their other gods. They want to believe in Jesus while believing in other lords as well. No one can be saved this way.


  1. Saving faith is a trusting

The word “believe” in the Bible means to trust, to depend upon, to commit oneself to.To be saved a person must fully trusthis soul and eternal destiny to the Lord Jesus. He must rely uponJesus and Jesus alone to forgive his sin and make him right with God and carry him to heaven. Trusting Jesus is like trusting a boat to carry me across a lake. It is not enough to look at the boat and to admire it. You must get into the boat and trust it to carry you safely to the other side.

Have you trusted Jesus to take away your sin? Some people say they believe in Jesus, but they continue to go through their old religious rituals. This proves they are not truly trusting in Jesus. When we trust Jesus, we realize that we do not need any vain religious rituals for salvation.


  1. Saving faith is a convinced
To be saved I must be fully convincedthat Jesus is Lord and Savior and that He will fulfill His promises to me. True salvation is a know-so salvation. This is the kind of faith that Jesus’ early disciples had. See Peter’s testimony in John 6:66-69. This is the testimony of a genuinely saved person. We can be sure because of God’s promises (1 John 5:11-13). In contrast is the “faith” of those who say they “hope” they will be saved, meaning they aren’t sure. Saving faith doesn’t hope it makes it into heaven. Saving faith is sure, certain, convinced. It is not 99% faith in Jesus. It is 100% faith in Jesus. Our salvation is “by grace, through faith in Jesus” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Paul and James: The Teaching of Both Compared on the Matters of Faith & Works

Paul and James

The Teaching of Both Compared

Paul and James did not contradict each other; but rather they complemented each other. What both men wrote was inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16) and true. Paul’s focus was on the unsaved man and how he might get right with God. James’ focus was on the saved person and how he might show his faith and demonstrate the reality of his faith.


Paul’s Teaching James’ Teaching
You cannot be saved by works(Ephesians 2:8-9) You cannot show that you are saved without works (James 2:14,18)
How can a person be saved?By faith alone (Rom. 3:28) How can a person show that he is saved? How can he “show his faith”?Only by works (James 2:18)
Faith without works saves (Romans 3:28)This is a living faith (saving faith) Faith without works does not save (James 2:14)This is a dead faith (James 2:17,20,26)
Faith alone saves The faith that saves is not alone
A person is not saved by works(“works” are rejected by Paul as the means of salvation:it is wrong to say that a person must do good works in order to be saved)These are meritorious works, that is, works done to try to merit or earn salvation A saved person will perform good works(“works” are understood by James to be the result of salvation: a person does good works because he is saved)These are faith works, that is, works that spring from a faith that is real and living.
Paul agreed with JamesHe taught that good works must accompany saving faith (Eph. 2:10; Tit. 3:8; Gal. 5:6; Phil. 2:11-12). James agreed with PaulHe taught that a person inherits the kingdom only by faith (James 2:5) and that Abraham was justified by faith (James 2:23)
Paul used the example of Abraham when he first believed in God (Rom. 4:3 and compare Genesis 15:6). James used the example of Abraham when his faith was tested by God, about 40 years later (James 2:21 and compare Genesis 22)
The error Paul corrected:Salvation is by the works of the law (the error of legalism) The error that James corrected:Works are unnecessary after a person is saved (the error of antinomianism)
Paul wrote about how a guilty sinner may be justified before God. James wrote about how a believer can show that his faith is genuine (justification or vindication before men)
At the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 the key issue was that salvation is by grace through faith and not by the works of the law. See the error in Acts 15:1 and Peter’s conclusion in Acts 15:9,11. James, who took a lead role in this discussion never voiced any disagreement with Peter or Paul over this crucial matter.
Paul’s perspective: He was viewing the guilty sinner who needed to be right with God. (The sinner is in view) James’ perspective: He was viewing the believer (or professing believer) who needed to demonstrate that his faith was real. (The believer is in view)
THe above information may be downloaded in a single page chart here.