Is Partial Faith Really Saving Faith?

Q. If salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, then what is your view regarding those who believe that they can lose their salvation? They are really believing that they are saved by their own effort in concert with the work of Christ, rather than trusting fully and only on Christ for eternal life. Is such partial faith really saving faith?

A. In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul wrote that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works. He went on to say that God doesn’t want our participation because He doesn’t want us boasting about it. The only thing we can do is accept it by faith.

He confirmed this in Romans 4:4-5, saying that when a man works his wages are owed to him as an obligation, but when a person does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited to him as righteousness. There are other such statements that clearly describe our salvation as a gift from God that we receive by faith alone.

In Ephes. 1:13-14 he said our salvation was guaranteed the moment we believed. In 2 Cor. 1:21-22 he said God has assumed responsibility for keeping us saved by taking ownership of us. And in Hebrews 10:12-14 the writer said the Lord’s once for all time sacrifice has made us perfect forever.

For a person to believe our salvation ultimately depends on our own work and can be lost due to poor performance on our part, he or she has to deny these clear statements to the contrary. It’s hard for me to believe such people are saved because for them the determining factor in their salvation is their own effort. So in effect they believe they’re saving themselves.

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