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Salvation in Christianity:

Part 2 of three parts:
According to the ancient creeds
& specific passages in the Bible:

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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How well do the creeds match what the Bible says? (Continued:)

bullet "Salvation Requires Good Deeds."(Continued:)

Matt 24:45-51:

"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in due season?.
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath.
But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth;
and shall begin to beat his fellow-servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken;
the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth." (ASV)

This implies that the head of a household who treats his slaves well will be rewarded when Christ returns; an evil person who beats his slaves and is a drunk will be punished. Their results of their judgment will be based on works, not baptism, faith or repentance.


Luke 19:8-9:

"And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold." (9) "And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham." (ASV)

Zacchaeus cared about others, giving half of his possession to the poor. And he is honest: if he short changes anyone, he returns the shortage four times over. Jesus indicates that because of his kindness and generosity, he has been saved. Repentance, baptism and faith are not mentioned. This is the only location in the synoptic gospels where Jesus is said to have used the word "salvation."

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bullet "Salvation Requires Only Faith": Other passages in the Bible imply that one is saved solely on the basis of one's faith. A person's good works, bad works, and other behaviors do not determine whether they will eventually go to heaven or hell; only their beliefs matter. If they confess their sins, are genuinely repentant, and trust Jesus, then they will automatically be saved. Good works and deeds can be expected as a logical consequence of having first been saved. And they may increase a person's rewards once they get to heaven. But evil deeds (genocide, mass murder, murder, rape, etc.) will not prevent a believer from going to heaven, once they have been saved.

Verses supporting this belief are seen in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament), particularly those authored by St. Paul and the apostles when they discuss the religion about Jesus. All imply that only faith is needed for salvation; not baptism, good works or repentance of sins:


John 3:14-15:

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up;" (15) "that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life."


John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life."


Romans 3:28

"We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."


Ephesians 2:8-9

"... for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God;" (9) "not of works, that no man should glory." (ASV)

bullet "Salvation Requires Both Faith and Baptism": Other passages in the Bible imply that both belief in Christ and the act of baptism is needed. In the early church, baptism was restricted to adults, and followed a long period of instruction.


Mark 16:15-16:

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." (ASV)

These verses state that there are two criteria that must be met for salvation: to be baptized and to believe the gospel. Repentance of sins and good works are not needed. Unfortunately, it is unclear what the fate of persons will be if they have never heard of the gospel and thus have neither accepted or rejected it.

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"Salvation Requires Repentance":

Other passages in the Bible imply that genuine repentance is the key criteria:


Luke 13:3

"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish." (ASV)

Verse 5 repeats the message in almost the same words. Unless one repents, by recognizing one's sins, being sorry, and realigning one's future life, one will perish.

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This topic continues on the next essay

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Copyright © 1996 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2016-FEB-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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