Jun P. Espina         9 min read
Updated on November 9th, 2022
Saved by Faith Alone
A member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses—a medical doctor by profession—visited me for his group’s “gospel.” Before he arrived, I studied the book “Confronting the Cults.” I knew they didn’t believe that we were saved by faith in Christ Jesus alone. The book states that the Bible’s truths about sin could tongue-tie the religious cult’s best debaters. And it worked for me.
I noticed he didn’t understand God’s hatred for sin. Our salvation from God’s wrath on account of our sinful hearts must be our crushing obsession. Because He commanded us to love Him more than we love ourselves. (See Mark 12:20.) But we cannot do that. Thus, we are transgressing His law; we are disobeying and sinning against Him and breaking His heart daily.
John wrote: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4, KJV) So Christ came and died to ransom us from the power and slavery of sin and to save us from sin’s death penalty in hell.
No other plan is available for us to inherit everlasting life but to trust in Christ’s claims. We have heard thousands of false teachers point out the path to living forever. But only one Teacher among all of them proved man’s immortality by rising from the dead. He is Jesus Christ—the resurrected Savior and Son of the living God—and He told the truth about our eternal life.
Do not rest, therefore, until God’s Spirit assures you of your own life beyond the grave by faith in Jesus, our risen Lord!
With His Blood, Christ Washed Away Your Sins
If you don’t care about your soul’s condition or future, remember that God cares for you. Christ, who is God the Son, condescended (or became Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”— Matthew 1:23.) to wash away your sins with His own blood on the cross.
Paul calls it a demonstration of God’s “own love toward us.” He wrote in Romans 5:8 this mind-blowing truth:
God loves you even if you neither love nor enjoy His friendship and provisions for your continued existence, like His giving you the rain, the sun, and the air (your breath) for free.
By Christ’s Wounds, You Were Healed
The apostle Peter has another depiction of Christ’s love toward us all. He touched on man’s sin issue with God and Christ’s solution to propitiate or appease this God-man animosity. Christ, Peter argued, bore our sins, “for by His wounds you were healed.”
It is the other version of Paul’s description of God’s love, which loops around the truth that “Christ died for us.” “He Himself,” the apostle Peter wrote, “bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
We Are Saved Through Faith in Christ, Through Whom We Have Received Complete Forgiveness.
Our deliverance from God’s judgment against sin in hell involves the death of God the Son. Peter said that through Christ’s sacrifices, “we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” He talked about divine forgiveness and the possibility of a righteous life because of Christ’s death on the cross.
It is through Christ that our sinful soul received cleansing and total forgiveness. The apostle John penned the bottom line of this teaching: “[T]he blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7b)
Of God’s Holiness
If we only recognized God’s holiness versus our sinfulness, our tragic urgency would be limited to our redemption from sin and God’s wrath.
All our ambitions, goals, luxuries, self-gratification, the pursuit of wealth or higher learning, and all the thrills associated with them that have occupied our hearts for many years would vanish like meaningless chaff as we pursue and seize the assurance of our salvation and deathlessness.
Paul Said Christ is Everything to Him
“More than that,” the apostle Paul wrote, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8)
Christ is Everything.
Paul aimed to “gain Christ” since everything he had meant was nothing compared to his knowledge of Jesus. He washed away my sins with His blood.
My future, thus, as a forgiven sinner, is assured and sealed by His Spirit in my soul. (cf. Eph. 1:3) My knowledge of Christ’s everlasting life for me is just bigger in value, force, and magnitude than the value of the entire world.
I will live forever in God’s city. This truth billows in my soul—I can’t thank my Lord Jesus enough for saving me.
All we need is our soul’s life in heaven.
True, it is worth reiterating, given the value of our soul’s eternal existence after our temporary residence on this planet.
We Are Saved by Faith in Christ Since He Died to Pay the Penalty for Our Sins
It is Christ’s core message: To give us eternal salvation and complete forgiveness through faith in the Gospel.
Christ died as a propitiation to free Paul, Magdalene, Thomas, and all of us who trust in Him from the bondage of sin and the judgment in hell.
He is our only Savior.
The Father in heaven will neither save nor give any of us eternal existence in His city outside of Jesus. Because He is our Savior, our Lord is the way to the Father.
The Bible teaches no other way except that Jesus saves our guilty souls from God’s righteous judgment. Therefore, we must believe and trust Him if we want to live in heaven.
We Need to Ask this Question Again: Who is Jesus and How He Saved My Soul?
Christ’s life was so different. Someone said He had a solitary life of being unschooled, having exposure only to Mary, the peasant, and Joseph, the carpenter, with no formal training for greatness. Yet, He not only regenerated His born-again followers, but He also changed the world!
Jesus, the Humble Savior
If I were God incarnate like Jesus, I would probably choose the life of the wealthy and famous. But we find Christ living in utter simplicity.
He didn’t own a house or even a pair of leather shoes. Instead, He borrowed His donkey, His cross, and even His tomb! He taught that the only way to eternal life is through faith, not through wealth or fame.
Let us raise this question for an illustration: “What is Your point, Lord Jesus—why are You God the Son—You own everything?” “Well,” He may answer, “in My Father’s house are many mansions. And faith that I DIED TO SAVE YOU is the entrance fee to that place. You are saved by GRACE through FAITH.” (Eph. 2:8)
The “U-Turn” Faith
Therefore, faith is the only investment in this life that matters, and this epitome of trust and confidence must revolve around Christ and His Word.
Concerning our soul’s salvation from hell, God requires faith in Jesus Christ alone as Savior and Lord!
Do you want Jesus to save you from sin, hell, and God’s wrath? Then believe in Him as much as you believe in a new day tomorrow.
I sought to explain faith in layman’s terms during my stint, since dry theology always sends people in the pew to a church nap.
Try to quote Hebrews 11:1, which defines faith as the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I tried it and no one cared.
How Do We Explain Faith in Christ Jesus?
So I invented a fable to explain faith, and it was about a certain police officer. I told my audience that there was a police officer who warned the transport drivers that the next bridge was not passable for the moment.
One driver ignored the advice and proceeded, while the other one made a U-turn because he trusted the word of the law enforcer. That is faith!
You cannot just say I believe without repentance for sin and a change of mind toward Jesus. Second, you cannot claim faith without trusting Christ’s Word, the Holy Bible.
The driver who returned home listened and believed in the bridge-is-broken advisory.
If you don’t trust your bank, for another example, you would not deposit your money, right?
How can you profess faith in Christ without committing to His lordship over your borrowed life?
Did you submit to water baptism by immersion?
Do you trust Christ one hundred percent more than your combined resources, connections, and other sources of strength in facing and solving your everyday needs and problems?
Do you have a working relationship with the risen Jesus?
Do you have a prayer life?
Can you say, “I love You, Lord Jesus, for You died to give me eternal life?” If so, you are a believer.
If not, then you are unsaved—a mere Christian sympathizer. And woe to you, for the Bible says you will go to hell—even if you’re so active in the church like no other!
The Complicated Life Outside of Christ
We have many plans for how to spend our days on earth. At age 60, we just have 21,900 days of life. That’s how brief life is in this domain.
We need to live without the vices and cobwebs. Life is short, and death is coming.
Bill Gates’s Microsoft cannot help him save his soul from God’s wrath on account of sin.
What good is it to a man if he gains the entire world (all land titles are his!) and loses his own soul? (cf. Matt 16:26)
How do we want to spend all our years for our glorification on earth? Where is our life with God, whom we will meet face to face after death?
The Spiritual Trap We Are Ignorant About
Multitudes of people around us don’t understand the pressure of ensuring their eternity with God. It’s all Greek to them.
They don’t believe in God’s promised immortality. It happened during the Flood—the crowd rejected God’s salvation!
Folks mocked us; our relatives and friends laughed at us in the back of their minds because we received God’s message of deathlessness in Jesus Christ.
The devil blinded our majority with the pleasure and treasure of this life. Satan’s teachings don’t get as far as life beyond our last breath on earth. This life is his only offer.
When the devil tempted Christ, for example, he used the value of the bread, the worth of pride, and the lust of owning the kingdoms of the world that he considered his own.
There will be no discussion of things beyond this world. Satan cannot offer something he does not own, like God’s immortality in heaven.
All he’s doing is twisting God’s word, just like he did with Eve. Satanic scriptures offer nothing but the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
They promised beautiful women after death as a reward for fanaticism.
Entrapped by Satanic Lies
This darkness that has fallen on the consciousness and hearts of unbelievers has veiled them as if they were in the domain of complete satanic fraud.
Can you imagine the Muslim extremists beheading the Christians in the name of their god?
Can you believe your loved ones despise you because you are a born-again Christian?
“You will be hated by all because of My name. . .. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (Matt. 10:22; John 15:18)
Our Lord describes this massive unbelief as “great darkness.”
“If then the light that is in you is darkness,” our Lord Jesus taught, “how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:23)
I was in this great darkness before. I used to cover my ears when someone preached a sermon.
One free Christian newsletter from the U.S. reached me (before the Internet era) without my subscribing to it. I wrote back and insulted the writer.
My spiritual trap was perspicuous. The apostle Paul calls my rejection of Jesus a foolish heart that was darkened. (cf. Rom. 1:20-21)
By God’s grace, I got saved. Hell could have been my portion had I not met Christ in my heart by faith.
Now I know how true salvation and forgiveness of the soul through Christ work. I take pity on those blindfolded souls who will share the population of hell instead of spending eternity with God forever.
Therefore, your vast and imposing interest at the moment, if you are still unsaved, is the urgency to come to Christ by faith and to ask Him to forgive you and give you eternal life.
The Unbelievers can Never See What We Saw
The apostle Paul wrote that faith in Christ is a difference-maker. Observe 1 Corinthians 5:17:
Only born-again Christians know this difference or distinction.
For non-Christians, it is meaningless. From birth to death, the unbelievers can never see what we saw. They recognize our newness in attitude and values, but they don’t care about the Source of our Second Birth, which is Christ’s Spirit.
The mystery of unbelief is simply veiled and hooded in those it affects. Judas, for example, could not see Christ’s divinity despite all the pieces of evidence before him.
John prophesied: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.” (Rev. 9:20-21)
The magnitude of the horrors and sufferings inflicted upon the people through the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation could not persuade the ungodly to believe and trust Jesus.
Chapter Nine of Revelation tells about the plagues that resemble the ferocity of modern warfare, like the warplanes’ power to drop bombs with higher destructive capabilities and weapons of mass destruction.
In verses three to five, the Word of God explains the smoke (smoke from a bomb?) and the locusts that came out of the smoke and have the sting of a scorpion.
Then in verse 9, another allusion is made to the lethal nature of modern warfare—the horses that have power in their mouths and tails.
“For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.”
But, as John said, the people did not repent. It is how a deceived person will respond to the wooing of God’s Spirit, whether as afflictions or gracious blessings. Even after a thousand years of Bible study under Christ’s millennial presence, the people will continue to look for Satan and follow him after his release from the bottomless pit. (cf. Rev. 20:3)
Unbelief knows no cutoff point. The rundown of Judas’ life of mistrust in Christ and Mary Magdalene’s contrary conviction only leads to one conclusion: faith in Jesus is undoubtedly a difference-maker.
The Most Agonizing Tragedy in Life
I am always amazed at the power of our Christian faith. The Apostles and the Church’s fathers, for example, died martyr’s death to defend the name of Jesus. Note Hebrews 11:36-38:
God recorded their poverty, pain, and ill-treatment at the hands of the unbelievers. But their faith in Christ remained steadfast, since nothing could move them away from their beloved Lord.
I used to call this closeness with God the Son the miracle of salvation. The infidels do not have what we have; they don’t know our experience with the risen Jesus.
As an old man, I faced dozens of peaks and valleys, but Christ never abandoned me like I had lost my Good Shepherd. (cf. John 10:11)
Faith is a dominant force in life, for good or evil. ISIS or Islamist radicalism, for instance, is faith-triggered, but we saw on TV how demonic the advocates of this persuasion could go given the absence of truth in their teachings.
Faith in Christ as the Word and Son of God is just so far as the distance of the east from the west.
God said in Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
The Christian faith revolves around the soul’s forgiveness from sin against our Almighty Creator, which all other faith systems around the world neither recognize nor understand. Faith in Christ is just so biblical, unique, and special that the real Christian treasures it like he treasures the only passport to enter God’s city.
I appeal to my reader to rethink Christ Jesus and the Gospel. After the invention of the Internet, the most agonizing tragedy in life is death without Jesus Christ by your side.
The recipe for man’s salvation is mushrooming on the Web, like all those things made available for free. We have free software, free eBooks, a free Bible, free counseling, you name it—you can Google all these good things from your device.
One of them is the biblical teaching on how to be saved. How come you are unsaved given the overload of teachings on how to get to heaven?
The headline of this article is “Saved by Faith in Christ.” It is the gist of all the scriptural doctrines on salvation that you may encounter as you scrub the Web.
According to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. And to elevate this teaching above all others, Christ resurrected to confirm His promise of eternal life for His born-again followers.
You may ask, “What is being born again?” I have a post on this topic on my website (bythisverse.com). But, to keep things simple, I’d say (again), “Saved by Faith in Christ.”
The Conversion of Lydia, the Businesswoman
I want to tell the story of the first Christian convert in Europe during the ministry of the apostle Paul. Her name was Lydia. Wrote Luke:
Lydia attended Paul’s Bible study session at the riverside.
Before Lydia’s conversion, Luke noted she was “a worshiper of God, was listening.”
Do you want to enter heaven and live there forever? If so, search for God in your heart. If you have a thirst for the truth, you will listen as Lydia did.
Because God’s Spirit will not give the rebels the gem of eternal life, billions of people do not understand the salvation process.
Christ said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matt. 6:33)
In Paul’s “Sermon on Mars Hill,” he said after commenting on God’s ownership of everything, “that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27)
God gave us life, to follow Paul’s doctrine, so we will seek our Creator. In Luke’s narrative in the book of Acts, “the Lord opened her [Lydia’s] heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul,” after saying that Lydia was a worshiper of God and was listening.
Lydia got saved by faith in Jesus, for “the things spoken by Paul” were all about Jesus as the apostle and ambassador of Christ. (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20)
Note that after she realized and accepted the truth (and after her baptism in that account), Lydia offered to serve God. It means her good works just followed her second-birth experience. (See Ephesians 2:8-10.)
The Principles of Grace and Faith in Lydia’s Salvation
Grace is God’s unmerited favor or undeserved kindness. Lydia’s interest in spiritual things as a worshiper of a God she did not know was a profile of grace.
In John 1:9, the apostle John wrote about Christ’s light that enlightens our sin-darkened souls. He said,
Lydia received and responded to our Lord’s enlightenment as she attended and listened to Paul’s sermon. The Holy Spirit drew Lydia to listen to God’s Word through Paul’s preaching. (See John 6:44.) Then “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” She responded to Paul’s message by believing and accepting Christ’s lordship in her heart.
Lydia’s conversion began with God’s grace in providing her with the illumination and ended with her acceptance of Paul’s teaching as the truth.
The interplay of the principles of grace and faith gets so visible when you consider the truth that God won’t ram His grace down your throat.
Faith is required for grace to save the sinful soul.
In Paul’s notable riverside Bible study, many were enlightened, but only Lydia got saved, as recorded in Acts, since she listened and responded to Paul’s exhortation by believing and accepting Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord.
The irresistible-grace teaching of hyper-Calvinist preachers is worthy of our time here because they would insist that Lydia exercise faith in Christ since God’s grace upon her was inexorable, overpowering, and could not be rejected.
The Bible, however, does not teach that faith in Christ is hammered by God into our hearts. Grace can be resisted, according to Christ Himself. Note Matthew 23:37:
Look into the above-quoted Scripture. Christ wants to gather all like a hen that “gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”
Lydia could have been unwilling. But she believed—she was willing!
How about the message of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, before he died? He said in Acts 7:51:
Stephen even elevated the doctrine to a new level. People, he said, did not just reject God’s grace but even resisted the Holy Spirit! We have a human responsibility, therefore, to believe, and Lydia did just that. Now, this verse makes sense:
The Wise Man’s Reply
Let us end this message with a wise reply to the question: “Do you want to be saved?”
In John 3:16, we read Christ’s saying, “whoever believes in Him [Jesus] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
A certain young guy asked a wise man whether the small bird kept by the former in his hand was alive or not. The wise man said, “If I said it was alive, you would choke it in your hand behind your back to kill it. But if I said it was dead, then you would say it was alive, and I am not a wise man. Therefore,” he continued, “the answer to your question is just in your hands.”
May I ask again? Do you desperately desire the complete forgiveness and salvation of your soul?
If so, believe in Jesus Christ and trust His Word, the Holy Bible. Keep in mind that your mother, pastor, or even God does not believe for you. You must believe and give your life to our only Lord and Savior. This is how to get saved by faith in Christ Jesus!
One Solitary Life*
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never has a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college.
He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of these things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
When he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind’s progress.
All the armies that ever marched, all the names that even sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that One Solitary Life.
* Note: The above was copied from a Hymn Book. The wording is slightly different from those versions published on the Internet.