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 According to the author(s) of the Gospel of John

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Salvation by faith in Jesus as the Son of God:

The main message of the writer(s) of the Gospel of John is that salvation is attained only by faith and trust in Jesus as the Son of God. The author(s) have largely ignored the messages of the synoptic gospels, which taught that salvation is results from good works. John does not mention baptism as a requirement for salvation. Many liberal theologians believe that this gospel represents a very different belief system in the early Christian movement from that described in the synoptic gospels.

Some supporting passages from the NKJ version of John which support salvation by faith alone are:

bullet John 3:18: "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
bullet John 3:15-16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
bullet John 3:36: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
bullet John 6:47: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
bullet John 8:24: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
bullet John 11:25-26: "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die..."
bullet John 12:48: "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."
bullet John 20:31: "...but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

The Gospel does contain some conflicting passages which state that salvation requires other factors instead of or in addition to faith in Christ as the Son of God. For example:

These two verses are so inconsistent with the rest of the Gospel that one wonders whether they could have been a forgery inserted into the original text by a later copyist. This is possible, however even the earliest manuscripts of John appear to contain the passage.

bullet Hearing the Words of Jesus and Believing in God the Father

John 5:24: "...he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." This passage implies that some Christians may be able to avoid the final judgment.

bullet Doing Good Works

John 5:28-29: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." 

This passage clearly states that: 
bullet everyone who has died will be judged. This contradicts Verse 24 which implies that believers in Christ will not be judged. 
bullet A person's salvation will be determined only on the basis of the good and evil works that they performed during their lifetime.

bullet Remaining with Jesus

John 15:4-6: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."  

This verse seems to imply that one can lose one's salvation by neglecting to maintain a close relationship with Jesus.

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Copyright 1997 to 2002 incl. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-DEC-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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