Why is faith the deciding factor in salvation?

Most Christian churches insist that faith is necessary for salvation. Even among those groups who believe certain acts or rituals must be practiced to gain salvation, faith is still taught as holding a major role, usually the decisive one, in a person’s salvation. The pastors who are a part of the Everlasting Truths ministry unapologetically preach that one only receives salvation through faith in Jesus. Why is faith such an important part of being saved?

The first reason, which is sufficient by itself, is the Bible commands faith. The message of salvation is called by the Bible “the gospel”. The gospel is defined a set of facts about Jesus (He is God, He became man, He died on the cross, His death was to pay the punishment of men’s sin, following His death He was restored to life again and the Bible is the accurate record of these salvation truths). The gospel is that these truths of salvation are to be received by faith. The apostles Peter and Paul describe unbelievers as those who “obey not the gospel”. The book of Hebrews describes rejecting salvation as disobedience to God. In Romans 16 Paul says the gospel is published throughout the world, “for the obedience of faith.” 1 John 3:23 commands we believe in Jesus for salvation, “This is (God’s) command, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 3:23) Faith is a command of God. As the Author and Provider of salvation, God has every right to determine the conditions by which He will give salvation and to forbid salvation to those who will not come to Him under the terms He requires.

Second, faith is required for salvation because it is impossible for a person to save himself by his own effort. Salvation is either accomplished by something the person does for himself or by something Jesus does for the person. The Bible denies that any one can be good enough or obedient enough to save himself. Titus 3 says salvation is, “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Ephesians 2 says salvation comes, “not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 3 and Galatians 2 both declare that the keeping of God’s laws are totally unable to bring righteousness to man. The problem is so great, that the one who attempts to earn salvation by his obedience is in fact condemning himself with every failure to obey. Faith is necessary to be saved because salvation is not attainable by the effort or goodness of any individual. Salvation is a gift that must be received, but can never be earned.

Faith is the deciding factor in salvation because salvation is only possible by the grace of God. He who refuses to receive God’s gift, whether it be by the unbelief that denies the truths of salvation or the unbelief that thinks a person can be saved by his own ability, cannot be saved because he has rejected the only means of eternal life. Faith in Jesus for salvation is necessary because it confesses the individual’s inability to save himself. Faith asks God to give a person the salvation he cannot gain in any other way. Christianity does not teach the necessity of faith so it may condemn all those who do not believe as Christians believe. Christianity teaches faith as necessary for salvation because God declares the necessity of faith. Faith is necessary for salvation because only God saves, and God only saves those who rely fully on Him, and Him alone, for forgiveness of sin and eternal life with Him.