of all, note God’s clear declaration of the fact that faith, and
faith alone, is His requirement for justification in His sight.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus
Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is
in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in
his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins
that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be
just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay:
but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:21-27)
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
these verses (along with upwards of 150 others) clearly state, God’s
requirement for justification unto eternal life; for salvation from
the debt and penalty of one’s sins; is the sole issue of placing one’s
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
by nature is non-meritorious and excludes the issue of one’s works.
Faith in someone is the issue of placing your trust, confidence, or
reliance in that person and not in yourself. Believing in someone is
the issue of being fully persuaded regarding the sufficiency of that
person’s merits and strength, and depending upon him and his merits
instead of yourself and your own merits.
in believing in someone, you trust that person and depend upon him and
his doings for what you need, and you don’t offer any efforts of
your own. Hence, having faith in someone by its very nature excludes
one’s own works in any manner or form. Faith places full confidence
and dependence upon the works of another for you.
when God declares in the gospel of Christ that He is "the
justifier of him which believeth in Jesus," this is what He is
talking about. "Believing in Jesus" is the issue of placing
your complete trust, confidence, or dependence upon Jesus Christ
and His redemptive work on the cross for your salvation, and not
trusting in any works you can do. It is the issue of having
"faith in his blood." That is, having complete confidence
and dependence upon the merits of Christ’s shed blood to provide for
and effect your salvation. It is the issue of being fully persuaded
that when He died for you as your substitute Redeemer He did all the
work necessary to accomplish your salvation. This is what
"believing in Jesus" means. This is what faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ as one’s Savior means.
though, this issue of faith in Jesus Christ as God’s sole
requirement for salvation all too often is not made plain and clear.
Rather, it is muddled up by terminology and phraseology that not only
does not accurately convey what faith in Christ is, but that actually
perverts the issue and turns faith into works.
following example falls into this category. By using such an
expression God’s requirement for salvation is misstated, and
"another gospel" is preached instead of the gospel of
justification by grace through faith without works.
JESUS INTO YOUR HEART" — This particular expression, though
very popular and also employed in songs that urge people to come to
Christ, still does not spell out clear and plain the fact that faith
in Christ as one’s Redeemer is the issue. In fact, it doesn’t
describe what faith in Christ is at all. Faith in Christ as Savior is
not inviting Him to do anything. It isn’t asking Him to do anything.
Rather, it is the issue of trusting in Him for what He has already
done to provide for salvation.
expression, however, is all too often linked together with the issue
of turning from sin, cleaning up one’s life, and making Jesus the
Lord of one’s life. The unsaved is given the idea that salvation is
contingent upon a change of lifestyle and who controls his heart. Up
until now he has been living away from the Lord and has had a
self-centered self-indulgent heart. He is told that he needs to change
this in order to be saved. He needs Jesus to sit on the throne of his
heart. Yet, he is told, Jesus won’t come into his heart and save him
until he determines to change his life and to let Jesus be the Lord of
his life. He is then told that he is supposed to signify his
determination to the Lord by inviting Jesus into his heart to be the
Lord of his life.
again, though, this is not the issue in salvation. This is another
confusion of the issue of the Christian walk with how one becomes a
all of this, it is God who is making the invitation to salvation. He’s
not waiting for an invitation from men at all. Rather, He is the one
who is calling by the gospel. The inviting is on God’s part, not the
other way around. This expression even distorts that concept.
for this idea of inviting Jesus into one’s heart is often made by
appealing to Revelation 3:20 where the Lord says, "Behold, I
stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the
door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me." Along with this, pictures portray the Lord standing at the
door of a person’s heart and knocking, waiting for the invitation to
come in by the person opening the door of his heart to the Lord.
a brief thoughtful consideration of the context of that verse will
show that it is not talking about how to be saved at all. The context
shows that the door is not the door of a person’s heart.
the context shows that the verse is not even talking about an action
of the Lord in this present dispensation of His grace. The book of the
Revelation is dealing with the resumption of God’s program and
dealings with Israel. It is about the things that will be transpiring
in the "day of the Lord." It isn’t talking about what God
is doing today in this ‘mystery dispensation.’
the letters to the seven churches are letters to the assemblies of the
remnant of Israel in that day. Consequently, the issues that the Lord
deals with (especially in the letter to the church of the Laodiceans)
are issues of doctrinal correction and reproof to those that are
already His own. The Lord isn’t talking to ones who are not
justified in those letters.
addition, the portrayal of the Lord as standing at the door and
knocking is a declaration of the time that has arrived in Israel’s
"last days." It isn’t a representation of the door of a
sinner’s heart at all.
the use of this verse to support the idea that God’s requirement for
salvation is the issue of inviting Jesus into one’s heart is a clear
misuse of Scripture. But that is just how most of the misstatements of
God’s requirement come into existence
again, God’s sole requirement for justification unto eternal life is
faith alone in Christ alone as your all-sufficient Savior. Your
works cannot be, and will not be, counted for righteousness. As Romans
3:26 says, in view of "the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus" God is "the justifier of him which believeth in