"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


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Faith Alone: Salvation Made Easy

1. Introduction
2. By Faith Alone
3. Salvation Without Any Price
4. All One Needs is Faith
5. How to Obtain Righteousness Before God
6. Repent of Sins?
7. Perseverance of the saints?
8. Faith Without Works is Dead?
9. Conclusion


Sola Fide, or faith alone, is a core theology of Christianity that separates it from the rest of the world religions. Christianity is a religion that emphasises the fact that man is a sinner and cannot justify himself before a holy and righteous God, but God sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to make a bridge between man and himself so that they may receive everlasting life. The Bible clearly states that having faith on the Lord Jesus Christ alone is enough to enter heaven, and not of works, lest any man should boast. A lot of false prophets have deceived many people, sneaking in works through the back door, thus deceiving many to not trust Christ but try to find their own way into heaven. This comes in many forms, with either requiring one to repent of his sins to get saved, or to persevere in works after he supposedly believes. One should not take away nor add to the requirements of salvation in any shape, way, or form.

By Faith Alone

An important verse that tells us that salvation is by faith alone and not by works is in Ephesians 2:8-9, which reads:

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

The gospel is a simple one, and eternal life is the gift that one received through faith. It also states that this is not of works, lest any man should boast. If one were justified by works, it would make God a respecter of persons, which he is not. This theme is repeated all throughout the Bible, which should not be surprising. However, some remain unconvinced that it would just be simple faith that gets people to heaven. Why would it not require works? Shouldn't a person balance out his faith through his works at least to be justified? Is salvation really that easy through just simple belief?

Salvation without any price

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Isaiah 12:3


Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Isaiah 55:1 


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;
Romans 3:23-25


And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:17

It is abundantly clear that salvation can be taken freely and without money and price. Being able to freely take the water of life through faith without works shows that those who are thirsty and take the water of life has no need to purchase it at all, as it was already purchased. We are justified freely by his grace through faith.

All One Needs is Faith

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
Psalm 18:30

The only condition for having the Lord being one's buckler (shield) is to trust in him (have faith).

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Psalm 32:1-2


Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
Psalm 32:10

He whose transgression is forgiven, sins covered, does not have any iniquity imputed upon him. There is no guile in his spirit, meaning this is solely through faith.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:16

What is the condition that condemns a person? His unbelief.

Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Luke 8:12

In the parable of the seeds, the people who did receive the seed in the way side is said to be saved if they believe.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13

John opens his book, written clearly for people to believe, that all it takes to be born of God is to believe. It is all it takes to become a child of God.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:14-18

The most famous passage in the Bible, John 3:16, only states that the condition to have eternal life is to believe. Even in its peripheral verses, one can see that faith is the only requirement to not perish (i.e. have everlasting life) and to not be condemned.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 3:36

The same chapter ends the same way: to have everlasting life is to believe on the Son. Those who do not believe have God's wrath upon them.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:24

Faith alone is what brings everlasting life, to not come into condemnation, and to pass from death to life.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 6:35

To never thirst (a callback to John 4's Samaritan woman at the well) and to never hunger is to believe on Jesus Christ.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
John 6:47

The condition to everlasting life, once again, is to believe Jesus for salvation.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:38

The living water, meaning eternal life, is to believe on Jesus Christ.

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
John 8:24

To not die in your sins, you have to believe on Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
John 11:25-27

Martha is told by Jesus that he is the resurrection and the life, and the only condition one needs to get saved (to have everlasting life) is to believe on him. Martha says she does believe.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
John 20:31 

John is clear on why he wrote his gospel: that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and to believe on him you may have life.

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
Acts 11:15-17

The gift of the Holy Ghost is given by faith alone (a gift) to those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 16:30-31

This famous passage has Paul and Silas telling the jailer that all it takes to get saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Acts 19:4

The gospel which John the Baptist was preaching was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Romans 1:16-17

Which gospel is the power of God that Paul is not ashamed to preach? The gospel which everyone who believes will be saved. The just shall live by faith, quoting Habakkuk.

Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 3:29-30

This is the one who justifies all, Jew or Gentile, is through faith alone, no matter who it is.

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgement was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 5:15-18

The righteous is given the free gift to man offences to justification. It does not require any works to receive, as it is by grace, the gift of God, through faith in one man, Jesus Christ.

But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 9:31-33 

There was a time Israel tried to follow the law to get righteousness, but they failed because they did not seek righteousness through faith, which is through Jesus Christ.

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Corinthians 1:21

Faith is what causes believers to get saved.

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Galatians 3:2-3

One can receive the Holy Spirit either by works of the law or by the hearing of faith exclusively, not a combination of both.

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:14

The promise of faith is the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. This is not by works.

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Galatians 3:21-22

The works of the law cannot give life. The promise is by faith of Jesus Christ to them that believe.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:24-26

We are justified by faith to become the child of God. Paul then says that the Spirit is received by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

That we should be the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:12-14

How someone gets sealed with the Holy Spirit unto redemption and glorification of his body is to believe on Jesus Christ.

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
1 Timothy 1:16

To get life everlasting, one must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ through the mercy (grace) he has given us.

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
1 Timothy 4:10

God saves those who believe on him.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15

Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:2-3

The gospel profits one by believing in it. In order to enter into rest, it is through faith.

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:5

Faith is the condition given to being kept by the power of God unto salvation.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
1 John 5:1


For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:4-5

The condition given to be born of God is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, which helps one overcome the world.

Righteousness: How do we become righteous before God's eyes?

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Isaiah 64:6

Your best attempts at being righteous are as filthy rags; it is worthless. Therefore, it cannot save you.

And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6

This is later quoted in Romans 4:3, as Abraham only needed to believe in the Lord. That is what made him be counted as righteous in his eyes.

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Habakkuk 2:4

The just shall live by faith, meaning anyone who is considered just before God is due to his faith.

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Acts 10:43

To have remission of sins, one must believe on Jesus.

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Acts 13:39 

All who believe on Jesus Christ are justified from all things.

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Acts 15:7-9

It is written that one's heart is purified by faith and nothing else.

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Acts 26:18

Here too is sanctification, to be made holy, is through faith. In order to be made holy and pure, Jesus told Paul that it is through that faith.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 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 difference:
Romans 3:20-22

Nobody can be justified in the sight of God, who is holy, by doing the deeds of the law.

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. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:26-28

God justifies those who believe in Jesus for salvation. It's by the law of faith, not by law of works. A man is therefore justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Romans 4:11

Abraham was righteous and justified by faith alone, and even the physically uncircumcised who believe the same faith will be justified through the imputation of it.

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham , or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 4:13

Righteousness is therefore attained by faith and not by keeping the law.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1-2

Believers are justified by faith, it brings them peace to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
Romans 9:30

Righteousness is attained by faith, not by anything else.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Romans 10:4

Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all who believe, hence making faith alone that is salvific, not by works.

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Romans 10:6

As repeated throughout Romans, righteousness is of faith, and not of works.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:10

Believing will give you a heart that leads unto righteousness.

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Romans 11:6

You cannot attain salvation by grace and by works: both are mutually exclusive. It would contradict the nature of both faith and works if one were to say it's both. If it is by grace, it is no more of works, and if it be of works, it is no more of grace.

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Galatians 3:6-8

Abraham believed God, quoting Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:3, and this was what accounted to him for righteousness. It's by faith alone, and the same concept of imputation is written here, that those who believed on Christ as the children of Abraham, and thus it isn't by bloodline but even the heathen who believe on Christ are also justified through that same faith Abraham has.

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:11


That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:14

In God's sight no man can be justified by the law, but the just live by faith, quoting Habakkuk.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Philippians 3:9

Believers are found in Christ not by their own righteousness, which is of the law, but through the faith of Christ.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:5

Works of righteousness are not how believers are saved, but by his grace.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good profitable unto men.
Titus 3:8

Paul writes that someone who believed may be careful to maintain good works that it would be profitable unto men. He didn't say it would lead a person unto salvation. Works are always about what is profitable unto men.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

It is impossible to please God without faith: we must believe that he is, or else one would never please him.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Hebrews 11:7

Righteousness makes one a heir of God by faith.

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James 2:23

Righteousness was imputed unto Abraham by faith alone, echoing Genesis 15:6.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:10

If one were to offend just one point of the law, he is guilty of the whole law. One could never have enough works to justify himself before a holy God to make up for the one point he offended (and it's never going to be one point).

Whosoever commiteth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
1 John 3:4

Sin means transgression of the law. No matter how much one abstains from sins, it will not justify man before God. To not transgress the aw means to keep the whole of the law and doing the deeds of the law. Righteousness, as written many times over and over, is attained by faith in Christ alone and all to those who believe on him for salvation.

Do we need to repent of our sins to get to heaven?

i. Etymology
ii. Repentance unto salvation
iii. Who repents the most in the Bible?
iv. Repenting of sins is works
v. Where is repenting of one's sins in the Bible?
vi. Repenting of sins does not save

One of the worst heresies to ever invade our modern churches is the 'repentance of sins' to get to heaven. There is a lot of confusion regarding this particular aspect of theology. Part of this is because people do not know the meaning of repentance. Preachers will often add the magical words 'of your sin(s)' following repent, but is that truly what the Bible says?

The world's definition of repentance:

In most cases, one will see repent as the following:

verb (used without object)
1. to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often followed by of):
He repented after his thoughtless act.
2. to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.


verb (used with object)
1. to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition:
to repent one's injustice to another.
2. to feel sorry for; regret:
to repent an imprudent act.

Which one does it look like the Bible is talking about regarding repentance? The ones we want to see are repentance in regards to salvation.

Etymology of repentance in the Bible:

In the Greek, the word repent comes from the word metanoia (μετάνοια), which is a noun form of the verb metanoeo (μετανοέω), which is a compound word made up of meta (meaning to change, like in metamorphosis) and noeo (to perceive from one's sight, to observe), so it effectively means to change one's mind. Simply speaking, the word to repent means to change one's mind. This along with its derivatives are mentioned 66 times in the New Testament, all translated as to 'repent'.

The Hebrew Old Testament has plenty of words, all from the same root NChM (נחם), with many translated as 'repent' or 'repentance'. Nacham, the most prominent form of the word, is translated as 'repent' 41 times in the Old Testament, with its other two derivatives mentioned once as a form of 'repentance', so a total of 43 mentions of 'repentance' is in the Old Testament. Its other meaning is 'comfort', which is more dominant as it is its main meaning, but words can take multiple meanings in any languages.

It seems altogether repentance of some sort is mentioned some 109 times in the Bible, give or take, meaning it is significant.

Repentance unto salvation

What we are concerned about is what repentance means for salvation. Is it necessary to repent to get saved?

The Bible does, in fact, say to repent to get saved. However, it does NOT mention 'repent of your sins' to get saved.

The book of John, which was specifically written to get people saved (John 20:31), does not mention the word repent even once. This is very telling when one somehow tries to insert repentance into requirement for salvation, but the very book that tells us many times repeatedly to get eternal life is simply to believe does not use the word repentance even once. Try as you may, it will not appear there.

However, the Bible is clear on what it means for repentance unto salvation. Some passages may look a bit difficult without the proper context, such as this one in Acts 2:38.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38

Repent by itself just means the 'change of mind'. Please keep this in mind before reading through each and every one of the passages afterwards. However, it will be abundantly clear when one sees that the Bible defines the word by itself. Let us look at some examples of the many instances where the word repent is used in this context.

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew 9:13


I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:32

Take away all preconceived notions that the word repent means to 'turn from one's sins'. Even if one were to take this particular passage that way, how possible is it for sinners and publicans within the immediate context to turn from all their sins? It is impossible because there is nobody righteous and there is no way to please the Lord without faith.

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Matthew 21:32

Going back to the publicans and harlots, this verse is even clearer within context because it ties repentance with belief. To repent means by default to change one's mind: the publicans and harlots are very bad sinners, as one cheats others and extorts them of their money and were hated amongst many groups, and harlots are disease carrying people who sell their bodies to others and are also filthy. However, the ones mentioned here are believers, who did believe on the Lord to justify them for the infirmities of their flesh. It was not so with the Pharisees who did not turn from their unbelief to belief.

In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2 Timothy 2:25

The Bible here is very clear as it defines repentance as acknowledging of the truth: to turn from unbelief to belief.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:19

The Scriptures here is also very clear regarding what repent means. The 'and' here is an apposition, meaning it is defining the word before it, so repent means to be converted: to change one's mind, to turn from unbelief to belief, as belief on the Lord Jesus Christ is what turns the sinful man towards justification. Sins will not be blotted out without faith, and our own efforts won't ever make it possible.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:30


And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
1 John 3:23

One may use Acts 17:30 and think that God is calling everyone to turn from their sins if he sticks to his preconceived notions that repent means to turn from sins. However, it does not, as the commandment of the Lord is clearly mentioned in 1 John 3:23, which is to believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, as that is what repent would mean here. God wills all to be saved, although not everyone will follow that will. To repent clearly means to turn from unbelief to belief.

Overall, one should remember that the Bible's definition of repentance unto salvation is to convert. Yes, repentance is required for salvation. However, it means to change your mind: your unbelief must be turned to belief so that you may receive everlasting life. It does NOT mean to turn from your sins to get saved, as that is not the case. Still unconvinced that is its meaning?

Who repents the most in the Bible?

What is interesting is where the Bible does mention repent, a certain person does it more so than anyone else in the Bible. It doesn't take long to read the Bible and discover that God of all people starts to repent.

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Genesis 6:5-7

Wait what? Did we read that correctly? But doesn't repent means to turn from one's sins? But God doesn't sin! And as if that wasn't offensive enough to those with 'repent means to turn from sins!' mentality, he says repent again in verse 7! God is making it clear he is repenting of something. But what does it mean? And it gets harder for some people in Exodus where it seems Moses causes God to repent!

Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Exodus 32:12-14

Yes, Moses, a mere man, causes God to repent. God repents of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. Of course, God cannot be evil, so this evil is a word that means calamity, not a moral evil, which is impossible for God to do. Again, this shows that some words need to be defined properly before one can understand what the Bible is saying or else it will look like a book of contradictions.

A bunch of other mentions of repentance comes all throughout afterwards, and it seems most of the mentions of repentance all points towards the Lord repenting, which seems odd if you are insistent about 'repenting of sins'. Even taking into context of Balaam's prophecy in Numbers 23:19 where he seems to speak of God not repenting as he is not a man, in context, he is a false prophet who was from Moab and tried to prophesy against Israel after being hired by the Moabite king Balak, but was not allowed to because God wasn't allowing him to. Otherwise, we see that God does indeed repent, and he repents the most out of any characters in the Bible.

God's repentance is clear: God does not sin. He is perfect, just, and righteous. He cannot turn from his nonexistent sins so this should not pose a problem to anyone who has the true definition of repentance: to change one's mind. God changed his mind on what he would do to certain cities after they turned from their evils or called upon the Lord to save them. God was also remorseful and regretted ever making mankind, being sorrowful for it due to the fact mankind turned out to be sinners. God is not turning from sins, and this too should show that it does not mean to turn from sins most of the time but to change one's mind. Context is always key.

Repenting of sins is works

A famous instance of where God repents is also brought in where he changes his mind on what he would have done to a city. This verse may be a mouthful to people due to definition confusion from people with preconceived notions of what the words mean.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Jonah 3:10

God saw the works of the Ninevites, whom he appointed to destruction, which was that they turned from their evil ways (repented of their sins). God would then repent of the evil that he said he would do unto them. Evil, of course, does not mean moral evil, but calamity or trouble that he would do unto the people of Nineveh. It should be abundantly clear that God is not a sinner and cannot turn from evil since he is not evil and cannot do evil. The people of Nineveh repented of their sins, which saved their city from destruction. One's works shall never save a person, but to turn from evil does avoid or at least lessen the gravity of chastisement. Although the Ninevites were not people who trusted on the Lord, it seems they took the warning well from Jonah who brought the burden of Nineveh upon them, and they were genuinely repentant.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Jonah 4:2

Jonah, of course, was not happy, but note the traits he gives to the Lord, which is repeated all throughout the Old Testament, where he is a gracious God, merciful, slow to anger, of great kindness, and repents of the evil. Again, people may stumble upon repenting of evil, but it's clear it means he changes his mind of calamity that he would inflict upon wicked cities. Had Sodom and Gomorrah just had ten righteous people (and Abraham haggled God from fifty to ten), he would have even spared that city. For the Ninevites, it seems they may have had turned to God, repented in the sense that they turned from unbelief to belief in God, being justified through faith alone, and after that they knew, humbling themselves as sinners before a perfect God, that they would be in trouble if they did not change, and thus repented of their sins to save their city from a certain destruction.

Moral of this story though in this particular context is that repenting from sins is works, and the multiple verses provided above shows that works will never get one justified before God to heaven. All it takes is faith. Repenting of one's sins is works and therefore is not a requirement unto salvation. Adding repentance of sins as a requirement to salvation is sneaking works through the backdoor. Our righteousness is as filthy rags: we will not please God by turning from our sins if we're not believers in the first place.

Where is repenting of one's sins in the Bible?

Some may object and say repentance of sins is mentioned in the Bible. This is true to some extent. The closest mention of repenting of one's sins in words comes from Peter's harsh admonition to Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:22, which says to 'repent therefore of this thy wickedness':

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Acts 8:22

This particular narrative has people confused as to why this is mentioned and if Simon the Sorcerer really was saved or not. Simon was, in fact, saved, as the Bible says that Simon himself believed also (Acts 8:13), but this was his natural temptation to buy the gift of the Holy Ghost, which makes sense considering his former profession of being a sorcerer. However, we should keep in mind that Simon was not Peter's convert, so Peter chewed him out harshly for asking such a question for buying the gift of the Holy Ghost, rightfully so. Peter is also known for having biases against the non-Jews, as one can see he was surprised that the Samaritans would also convert and was hesitant himself to witness to the Gentile Cornelius (Acts 10-11). Also, Simon was not Peter's convert, but Philip's, so it is possible he didn't know of Simon much but was offended at the notion of him asking to buy the gift of the Holy Ghost. It may also be that Peter wasn't calling him unsaved, but that his intentions were wicked. Either way, Simon would genuinely repent of this and asked Peter to pray for him, taking the correction into his heart. It wasn't a salvation issue but rather something that was associated with the infirmities of the flesh.

Another place where one (or at least in this case, a church) is told to repent of their sins (in context, but not by words) are in Revelation 2 and 3, dealing with the seven churches. The first church, Ephesus is told to repent:

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Revelation 2:5

The church of Laodicea is also told to repent:

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 3:19

Is this repentance unto salvation? It seems that Jesus said he will spue the church of Laodicea out of his mouth since their works were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. However, it is obvious this is not dealing with individuals. A church is a group of believers, an assembly that gathers together (Hebrews 10:25), so these people are already saved. Jesus also tells Laodicea in particular that as many as he loves, he rebukes and chastens, echoing Hebrews 12 about the chastening of the Father to those whom he loves. Regarding 'removing the candlestick' or to 'spue out of my mouth', it is a clear warning for the gathering itself. We do not see these seven churches anymore in our modern day either. It does not mean the believers were damned without repenting of their sins, but that the church itself would fall. It seems after centuries, it has, but each members of those church which Jesus wrote to, whom he loved, are all saved since they believed (infiltrators nonwithstanding).

None of the mentions of repentance regarding sin is written down as a requirement for salvation. Repentance of sins is tied with one's personal life on earth and to lessen the pain of God's chastisement on earth. For believers, the idea is not that one should repent of his sins to be saved, but rather one ought to repent of his sins every day because he is saved. Repenting of sins is a subtle deception by the devil to sneak works through the back door and there is no way one can be saved by trusting in his own works. Both instances of the repent of your sins mention in the Scripture refer to people who are already saved, not those who need saving.

Repenting of sins does not save

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:21-23


Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
2 Timothy 2:19

People who trust on repenting of their sins to enter heaven will be one of the people mentioned in Matthew 7:21-23. They may cry Lord, Lord, and think they will enter heaven by their own righteousness and by how many sins they have repented from. Note what they trusted in at verse 22: 'in thy name done many wonderful works'. These people are trusting on their works, not the completed works of God. Repent of your sins heresy will send a person to hell and not heaven because it is just another version of works salvation. Again, one does not repent of sins in order to get saved. A believer repents of his sins because he is saved.

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Do we need to persevere by works?

Another weird idea is that in order for one to confirm he is saved, he needs to persevere. This is particularly a belief of Calvinists, but many other people believe this also, as only works need to be manifest before their eyes to see if one is truly saved or not. Wikipedia's definition of perseverance of the saints is: 'Perseverance of the saints is a Christian teaching that asserts that once a person is truly "born of God" or "regenerated" by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they will continue doing good works and believing in God until the end of their life.' The official definition involves works somehow and adding works, whether before one gets justified or after, to get saved, is sneaking works through the backdoor.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Matthew 10:22


But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 24:13

One may look at this particular passage and it seems to say that one must persevere or endure until the end to be saved. Or is it? The immediate context of both passages are actually more abundantly clear that this is referring to physical salvation, as it involves persecution. This is not talking about spiritual justification but that the remnants of a large persecution era will be physically saved from their tribulation if he endures until the very end. It has nothing to do with spiritual justification whatsoever.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2


I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
Ecclesiastes 3:14


And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Hebrews 5:9


In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Thessalonians 1:8

A lot of people who believe that one can either lose their salvation or that there needs to be works manifest in one's life otherwise he is not saved believe that one must finish his faith and endure until the end if he wants to go to heaven. However, it is clear that Jesus is the finisher of our faith, and this will last forever. Nothing can take us away from it. Salvation is eternal and nothing else needs to be added to justify one at all.

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:9-10

Those who have entered this rest by faith alone are ceased from his own works because no works, whether before or after, merit or sustain one's salvation. People who believe in perseverance of the saints will have a hard time because he will never be assured of his own salvation. He may doubt his own salvation after realising that he is not perfect and will always stumble. There is no justification for needing works after salvation to continually keep that salvation.

Faith Without Works is Dead (Explaining James 2)?

This is a favourite passage of a lot of people who want to believe that works are necessary for one's salvations. 'Faith without works is dead' is at this point a catchphrase that one repeats ad nauseum without realising what it means.

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James 2:24

Before one sees this, one must realise that the Bible was written to confound those who are not believers, as only those with the Holy Ghost will understand this. New believers will find this difficult though, as it is one of the latter books of the Bible, and so it is not really meant to be read without knowing the books before it. Let's see some things that can help with the context of this very difficult passage. It is a difficult passage, but no believers will ever look at this passage and say 'I need works for salvation' but would rather ask a more seasoned brother as to what its meaning is.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James 1:1-2

James is clearly writing his epistle to brethren, as he repeats 'my brethren' all across the epistle. He begins chapter 2 even with 'my brethren'

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
James 2:1

This whole epistle is already taking to saved believers! And we should know by now through the abundance of many scriptures that faith alone is all it takes to save a man from the eternal damnation of hellfire. Then what in the world is James talking about? Is this a contradiction? We should examine the Scriptures further.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
James 2:14-18

A lot of people, reading this, may have difficulties too. 'Can faith save him?' is a question that James is asking, but first off, remember he is already writing to saved brethren (verse 14 says 'my brethren'). He is feeding them spiritual meat, not milk. This is an advanced topic. First thing we should see is that he clearly states 'what does it profit?', referring to the works. It is not profitable in this world to live as a person not doing the works, even if one is already going to heaven, and telling people 'God bless you' without actually helping a brother in need. Saying nice words vs. actually doing something is discussed further on. One thing to note is that 'dead faith' implies that there is already faith there, which saves no matter what. Secondly, James then further goes on to tell his brethren that he will show them his faith by his works (not that his works justify), that it does profit if one does the works and thus shows a good testimony. If one does not show his works because people cannot read other people's hearts, it is not a fulfilling Christian life and there will be no profit in being a lazy Christian! James is admonishing lazy Christians who are not doing the works to do it, not because they should get saved, but because they are saved!

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:19-20

People who are so adamantly entrenched in 'No, we need works!' will refer to the passage afterwards, saying that the devils also believe and tremble. But where are they now? First of all, the devils are not in hell: they are roaming around the earth and in fact rule over this world. Secondly, is believing in one God the gospel? Many people, like the Catholics, the Muslims, etc, believe in one God, but is believing that there is a God the saving gospel? This does not refute any of previous Bible passages all stating that faith alone justifies man before God. James tells his brethren again, that faith without works is dead.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James 2:21-24

Now this is where things get complicated. Abraham was justified by works? What does that even mean? And his faith was made perfect by works? This is a very hard saying to take in, had it not been for some previous epistles that explain this very well. As a matter of fact, verse 23 still is telling people 'by the way, if you are getting the wrong idea, I'm still saying Abraham's faith in God is what was imputed unto him for righteousness'. James isn't actually saying Abraham was justified by his works to enter heaven. 'But he does!' No he doesn't. We'll see why with cross reference to Paul's earlier epistle to the Romans, which should explain this same passage.

Romans 4: Faith Counted for Righteousness Without Works

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4:1-3

A quick look at the beginning of Romans 4 tells us that Abraham, if he were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but NOT before God. Verse 3 further goes on to say that Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. What is this telling us? This is saying that Abraham's works were justification NOT before God, but before other men. Unto other men he had glory. James may not have said it outright, but he said it that way because the whole entire James 2 in context refers to justification to other men so that Christians can stop being lazy with their faith.

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Romans 4:4-5 

Still not convinced? Paul further goes on to say that he who works not but believes on him who justifies the ungodly (Jesus Christ), his faith is counted for righteousness. Salvation is by faith alone, not of works. It does not yield grace but incurs more debt if we try to work for our salvation. Despite having no righteousness of their own, believers enjoy justification and being counted as righteous.

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
Romans 4:6-9

David says in Psalm 32 that someone can do no works but believe and can still be counted righteous before God. Their sins are covered and all of their iniquities are forgiven. Righteousness is imputed unto him who believes.

I'm still not convinced!

If you still believe that works are required for salvation after clear proof within Scriptures that it is just faith alone, even in James 2, then I cannot help you. But I can still show some passages that follow which should show exactly what kind of justification you are trying to incur before God through your works that you claim are so great.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:10

Try as you may, but if you offend one point in the law, you are guilty of it all. You broke the law by default by being a sinner and no one is righteous. There is nothing you can do about that, and James makes it clear even in that same chapter you'd use to justify works.

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:25-26

Okay, so let's say you want to justify yourself by works as Rahab was. What a great example! A STD ridden diseased woman who laid in bed with multiple men playing the whore is certainly a great way to justify yourself before God! If that is your standard to righteousness, then I cannot help you. Rahab was justified by faith alone, but to other men, she was justified in their eyes for helping the two spies in Jericho escape and exact the sentence of God unto that city. People who preach from James 2 and use it to justify works based salvation not only do not understand the Scriptures, but did not read the earlier Scriptures which were abundantly clear about salvation and are using a more advanced epistle to try and justify heretical doctrines that will lead people to hell. Do not fall for it! James is a book solely for people who do believe already and how to live their Christian lives and do great works for the kingdom of God, not a book for salvation as that's Christianity 101.


Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15

Therefore it is evident that man is justified by faith alone to God. There are many more verses that cover the topic all throughout the Scriptures and one should be glad that the path to salvation is made so easy for all of us. When one says 'salvation is by faith' and adds a conjunction like AND or BUT, one should be careful as it will be abundantly evident that person does not believe in the simple gospel laid out in the Bible. Jesus did all the work for us. God made the choice: it's up to you to make the decision if you would like to get saved.

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