Eternal life is a free gift from God Nonetheless, it is not unconditional, but requires faith. But what kind of faith qualifies one to receive this gift of eternal life?
The scriptures speak of this faith in various ways.
  • This faith has a content or object,
  • Beyond the object of faith, it has certain qualities - which describe the manner in which one believes
  • It has inevitable outworkings as applications are inferred from such faith




    The object of faith is simply what it is that the Christian believes in order to be saved.

    Here are a number of verses speaking of this:

    So it appears that there is not one particular statement or promise that one believes to be saved, but rather one believes in the person of Jesus Christ as he is defined in the Bible, this would include what he says about himself as well as what he promised concerning eternal life.

    This is slightly different than believing a particular promise of Christ, in that one cannot believe one thing that he said and then not believe another thing. For example, there are some who see Jesus as a good teacher and accept some of his sayings, but then reject other of his sayings, such as:

    Rejecting such concepts would be contrary to the faith that one claims.


    So can one merely say that he believes, like signing a fire insurance policy and have done with it? Or does he have to believe in a certain manner, with certain qualities to his faith beyond just having correct doctrine?  Paul, in describing the quality of faith that saves, gives Abraham as an example that "Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Rom 4:20,21 This describes an unwavering conviction, as opposed to mere intellectual assent. Here is a summary of some of the qualities of saving faith mentioned in the New Testament:


    What kind of outworkings of one's faith would you expect from a Christian?


    One of the common issues concerning this faith is whether one can have the confidence that "Once Saved, Always Saved" or whether to live with a fearful uncertainty that perhaps one will lose his salvation if he doesn't live up to certain standards. On the surface, the scriptures seem to be contradictory on this issue. For if we take the position of "once saved, always saved", then it implies that our salvation status is not dependent on our performance, which seems contrary to a number of scripture such as: On the other hand, eternal life is spoken as a free gift, not dependent on a person's performance. Therefore some have taken the position that one obtains salvation purely by faith as receiving a free gift, but one maintains his salvation status by his good works. Yet whether one obtains or maintains his salvation status by his works, both are a righteousness which comes by the law. They are both performance based salvation. And those who hold such a position have yet to realize the grace of God and the gift of eternal life, a righteousness which comes from God based on faith alone.

    However, there is another position which resolves these difficulties and apparent contradictions. And that position is to infer that, having believed with the content and quality of faith which is acceptable to God, as defined in scripture, one obtains eternal life. He becomes regenerate - that is, he is born of the Spirit of God - and as such will have the permanence of faith with its inevitable outworkings which are described in such conditional passages as those given above. In this case, the outworkings of one's faith reveal one's salvation status, rather than obtain or maintain it.

    Here are a couple of scriptures to verify this concept:

    This concept that "true believers" never fall away, nor even turn away, is also confirmed in the book of Jeremiah. Therefore, rather than worrying about losing your salvation, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5 Otherwise, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." Heb 10:26,27 For we have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Heb 3:14-19

    But how can we hold such confidence firm to the end if we admit that our faith is not on the finished work of Christ, but on our own performance? Such are still wandering in the desert of legalistic nominalism, living under the old covenant concepts of performance based righteousness, rather than salvation based performance, not entering into God's rest because of their unbelief. Yet it is not surprising that the church contains a good number of these type of people, as it also contains people who take salvation for granted and do whatever they want to do, regardless of whether it's sin, for the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt 13:47-50

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