just thinking  Salvation, Faith Alone or Faith Plus Works - Part III

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Luke 19:7-10
Zaccheus is eager to see Jesus, and when Jesus says He must stay at his house, Zaccheus is excited and repents and offers to give half his wealth to the poor and repay four times as much to anyone he defrauded. Jesus says salvation has come to this house because he too is a son of Abraham and that He came to seek and save the lost.

Zaccheus believed in Jesus – he “welcomed him gladly” – and that belief resulted in his generosity and his salvation.

Jesus says one of the reasons for his salvation is that Zaccheus is “a son of Abraham.” I think Jesus is saying that Zaccheus is showing exactly the kind of faith Abraham showed; he is a true son of his father Abraham.


Luke 19:12-27
The servant who does nothing with the mina is rebuked and has what little he had taken from him.

The master had told the man to do business with the money and he didn’t.

It seems doubtful that this passage refers to salvation, but if it does, a rebuke is not necessarily the same as hell. However, if this passage does refer to salvation, it appears the servant did not have faith since he did not act on it even though he had opportunity.


Luke 23:34
On the cross Jesus asks the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him because they don’t know what they are doing.

Jesus prayed for those who were to some degree ignorant in crucifying Him, perhaps because they had been told and believed it to be the righteous thing to do. It was a prayer meant to be heard by both the Father and those around the cross, asking the Father to forgive them, and encouraging those around the cross to believe. Perhaps this prayer was answered during Peter’s sermon shortly thereafter in Jerusalem, when so many – perhaps even of those who crucified Him – believed in Jesus.


John 1:7
John the Baptist came to testify about the light, so that “all men might believe.”

In John 1 Jesus is identified as the light, and John’s whole mission in life was to encourage people to believe in Jesus. How critical it is to believe!


John 1:12-13
To all who received Jesus He gave the right to become children of God.


John 1:29
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.


John 3:3-6
You must be born again, of water and of the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh; the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

We are born again of the spirit when we believe in Jesus.


John 3:15
Everyone who believes in Jesus may have eternal life.


John 3:16
Whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal life.


John 3:17
God sent Jesus to save the world through Him.


John 3:18
Whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned.


John 4:14
Jesus says the water He gives will become “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


John 4:39, 41
Many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony and by hearing His words.


John 4:42
Many of the Samaritans believe that Jesus is the “Savior of the world.”


John 4:48
Jesus laments that unless the people see miraculous signs, they will not believe.

In the middle of hearing a request to heal a sick boy, Jesus takes time to say how important it is to believe.

John 5:24
Those who hear Jesus’ word and believe in God who sent Him has eternal life.


John 5:25
Jesus says that a time is coming, and has already come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and live.

This may refer in part to the final resurrection from the dead, but since it also says that the time has already come, it mainly seems to mean that if we respond to Jesus’ voice calling us we will live.


John 5:29-30
There is a resurrection of those who did good and of those who did evil, a resurrection to life or to judgment.

The good are those who believe in Jesus (and, because of that, live out their faith) and the evil are those who do not believe.


John 5:32-34
Jesus says John the Baptist testified about Him, and Jesus mentions this, “that you may be saved.”


John 5:38-40
They study the scriptures that testify of Jesus, yet refuse to come to Jesus and have life.


John 6:27, 29
Do not work for food that spoils but food that endures to eternal life, which Jesus will give you. The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.

What we need to do, our “work” in this passage, is to believe.


John 6:29
Jesus tells the people that the work that God requires is “to believe in the One He has sent.”


John 6:32-35
Jesus is the bread of life who comes from heaven so those who come to Him will never be hungry and those who believe in Him will never thirst.


John 6:35
Jesus is the bread of life. The one who comes to Jesus will never go hungry and the one who believes in Him will never be thirsty.


John 6:40
The Father’s will is that everyone who looks at the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and Jesus will raise him on the last day.

John 6:47
He who believes [in Jesus, from the context] has everlasting life.


John 6:48, 50-51
Jesus is the bread of life. The one who eats this bread will never die but live forever.

Jesus equates believing in Him – following on the previous verse, John 6:47 – to eating His flesh. We need to take Jesus into our lives by believing in Him. In John 6:63 Jesus explains that He is speaking spiritually, not physically.


John 6:51
Jesus is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.


John 6:53-58
Jesus said he is the bread of life and anyone who eats His flesh and drinks His blood will have have eternal life.

Jesus uses graphic, dramatic and unforgettable language to say we need to take Him into our lives. When the disciples are bothered by His words He explains (John 6:63) that He is speaking spiritually, not physically.


John 6:64
Jesus says, referring to Judas, that there are some do not believe.

Jesus makes clear that Judas did not so much fall away as simply not believe in the first place.


John 6:68-69
Peter says that Jesus has the words of eternal life and that they [the disciples] believe in him.

Jesus’ does not contradict that He has the words of eternal life, but denies that all of them (thinking of Judas) really believe.


John 7:31
Many in the crowd put their faith in Jesus.


John 7:38-39
Jesus says that whoever believes in Him will receive the Spirit.

It seems likely that those who believe and receive the Spirit that Jesus gives will be included in heaven.


John 8:12
Whoever follows Jesus will have the light of life.


John 8:19
To know Jesus is to know His Father.


John 8:24
Jesus warns that the Pharisees will die in their sins if they do not believe Jesus is the one He claims to be.


John 8:30
As Jesus spoke many put their faith in Him.


John 8:31
Jesus tells those who “believed” in Him that if they hold to his teaching they are really his disciples.

In this passage Jesus does not seem to be addressing those who really believed in Him in the sense that they have given their lives to Him, so it is not saying that if you slip up that you are lost.

Looking at John 8:37-49, these people did not believe in a trusting way because Jesus said they have “no room for my word” and they were doing “what you have heard from your father” (the devil), and they were “determined to kill” Jesus. God, He said, is not their Father because they do not love Jesus, and “You belong to your father, the devil,” and they “do not believe me” and “The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God,” and they answered Jesus and accused him of being a Samaritan and demon possessed, and Jesus said they “dishonor” Him. So, their belief was apparently just an acknowledgement of Jesus in some minimal fashion, not a giving their hearts to Him.


John 8:36
Jesus says that if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


John 8:47
Those who belong to God hear what God says; those who don’t hear don’t know God.


John 8:51
Anyone who keeps Jesus’ word will never see death.

What Jesus wants us to do is believe in Him. If we do that we will never see eternal death and we will live the kind of lives He wants us to live. In verse 8:39, Jesus says that if the people he was talking to were Abraham’s children, then they would act like Abraham, and in 8:42 He says that if they were God’s children, then they would love Him (Jesus). In 8:44 He says they act the way they do because they belong to their father, the devil; and in 8:47 He says they do not hear what He says because they do not belong to God.

So, we need to be God’s children, and if we are children of God by believing in Jesus, then we will do what our Father wants, just as those whose father is the devil do what the devil wants.

John 9:41
Jesus says if you are blind you have no sin.

Jesus had just healed a physically blind man, who then believed in Him, so the man was given both physical and spiritual sight. Then, in John 9:39 Jesus says that he came into the world so the blind will see and those who see become blind (the Pharisees immediately recognized that he was speaking of them). I think when Jesus refers to making those who see become blind, He means that his message will be offensive to many (such as the Pharisees) and they will close their eyes to Him.

In John 9:41 I think Jesus means that those things we do that we do not understand to be wrong will not be counted against us, but this does not let us off the hook because there are so many things we do that are wrong that we do understand to be wrong.


John 10:3-5
Jesus is the true shepherd. His sheep follow him and will never follow a stranger.

Those who love Jesus, who belong to Him, will hear His voice and follow Him. It is not that they will someday be His sheep; they already are His sheep and because they are His sheep they will follow Him.


John 10:26-28
They do not believe because they are not Jesus’ sheep. His sheep hear his voice, follow Him, and he gives them eternal life.


John 11:15
Jesus says He is glad He was not there when Lazarus died, so that His disciples may believe.

Teaching His disciples to believe was so important that Jesus delayed going to heal sick Lazarus and actually let him die so that his disciples would believe when Jesus raised him from the dead (John 11:43-44).


John 11:25-26
Jesus says He is the resurrection and the life and the person who believes in Him will live even if he dies, and whoever lives and believes in Him will never die.


John 11:42
Jesus is about to resurrect Lazurus and prays aloud, saying he is praying this way for the benefit of the people, that they may believe that the Father sent Him.


John 11:45
Many believed in Jesus.


John 11:49-53
Caiaphas prophesies that it is better for one man, Jesus, to die than for the whole nation to perish. John says this is a prophesy that Jesus died for all the scattered children of God to make them one.


John 12:11
On account of Lazarus many Jews were putting their faith in Jesus.


John 12:25
He who loves this life will loose it but he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Love your life and lose it; hate this life and keep it for eternity. The Father will honor any who serve Jesus.

I believe Jesus means this in the same way as when he says we must hate our families (Luke 14:26). In other words, that our love for family and our love for this life should be so overshadowed by our love for Jesus that it is like hate by comparison.

He says if we do love this life first of all then we will eventually lose it and have nothing to replace it with. If we love the world first, then we never really surrendered our lives to Jesus; we surrendered to the world. But if we hate it (in comparison to our love for Jesus and spending eternity with Him) then we have a God-life that we will keep forever.


John 12:36
Jesus tells the people to put their trust in the light while they have it so they may become sons of light.


John 12:37
John laments that despite Jesus’ miracles the people would not believe in him.


John 12:39-40
John says the people could not believe in him because their eyes had been blinded and their hearts had been deadened.


John 12:42-43
Many leaders believed in Jesus, but kept quiet because they loved men’s praise more than God’s.

It is unclear whether these leaders’ faith was real and weak, or false, but either way, John points out the critical importance of faith.

John 12:44-45
Jesus says that believing in Him is also believing in the Father.


John 12:46-48
Jesus says that those who believe in Him will not remain in darkness (12:46) and adds in 12:47-48 that those who do not keep His words, but reject Him, will be condemned on the last day.

John 12:50
Jesus says the Father’s command leads to eternal life.

And the Father’s will is that we look to the Son and believe in him. (John 6:40).


John 13:8, 10
Jesus tells Peter that if He does not wash him, he has no part with Him. He adds in 13:10 that if a person has bathed he only needs to wash his feet.

Jesus does not mean that people are alienated from him unless He physically washes their feet. After all, He was about to leave them and wouldn’t be physically present to wash feet. Rather, Jesus means that He must cleanse them spiritually.

Also, in verse 10 Jesus tells the disciples that there are two kinds of cleansing – a “whole body” cleansing, for heaven I would assume, and feet washing, for – I believe – serving Jesus on earth. Jesus seems to mean that when we believe in Him we are essentially clean, but we need to come to Him regularly to remove the dust of sin we gather as we walk through the world. So I believe Jesus is saying that we can have no part in His ministry to the world if we don’t keep coming to Him to be cleansed from the little daily sins that we commit.


John 13:19
Jesus says he is telling the disciples that someone will betray him, so that when it happens, they will believe “that I am He.”


John 13:20
Whoever accepts one whom Jesus sends, accepts Jesus, and whoever accepts Jesus accepts the one who sent Him.

Jesus sends His disciples to testify about Him. If we accept these messengers – which includes accepting their message about Jesus – we accept Jesus.


John 14:1
Jesus says to trust in God and trust in Him.


John 14:6
Jesus says He is the way, truth and life. He is the only way to the Father.

Works are not an alternate way. Jesus is the only way.


John 14:15
Jesus says that if people love Him they will keep His commandments.

If we love Jesus it will be natural to obey Him.


John 14:21
The one who keeps Jesus’ commands is the one who loves Him, and that one will be loved by the Father.

Keeping Jesus’ commands is not a precondition to loving Jesus and being loved by the Father, but rather, love is the precondition to obeying Jesus. We naturally obey Jesus if we love Him.


John 14:23
If you love Jesus you’ll keep His word and the Father will love you.

Loving Jesus is the motivation to keeping His word.


John 15:3,4-5
In this passage about fruitfulness Jesus says his followers are already clean because of “the word I have spoken to you.” He tells them to remain in Him and He will remain in them.

If we believe in Jesus we are already clean, and if we walk with Jesus we will be fruitful for Him.


John 15:6
If anyone does not abide in Jesus, he is thrown away as a branch and burned.

This passage is in the context of bearing fruit. As Jesus prepares for being arrested and for His final days on earth, He is teaching his disciples how to live. If we do not abide in Jesus we will bear no fruit and will – like dry branches – be discarded from participating in His work on earth. If we do bear fruit (John 15:8) we show ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples – it is the evidence of our faith. So, I don’t think Jesus is warning his disciples that they may go to hell (especially since he reassures them in 15:3 that they “are already clean”), but rather He is telling then how to live so He can use them on earth when he returns to heaven, and is telling them that if they do not abide in Him then they will be of no earthly use, and will be discarded from His great work.
So, while I doubt that the discarding and burning refers to hell, if it does mean that then we may understand that the one who does not “abide” (trust in) Jesus lacks faith and, according to John 14:24, does not love Jesus. If he did love Jesus he would have obeyed Him. If so, then perhaps Jesus means that there are those (the discarded branches) who appear to be part of the body (like Judas) but really are not; they are just dead wood attached to the body.


John 15:10
If we obey his commands, we will remain in Jesus’ love.

Are we then condemned if we do not always obey His commands?

No. This passage is in the context of daily life, not in the context of eternal salvation. It is part of a section of instructions about how we can be productive, how, if we, like the branch of the vine, remain attached to the vine, we will bear much fruit (John 15:1-8). Jesus emphasizes this here-and-now aspect by saying that he is telling us this so that we may experience full joy in Him (John 15:11). So, I would say that this passage means that if we obey Jesus’ commands, we are living in the flow of His love.

John 15:14
We are Jesus friends if we do what He commands.

Doing what Jesus commands is evidence that we are his friends.


John 15:22, 24
If the people had not seen Jesus perform miracles among them, they would not be guilty of sin.

The sin Jesus seems to be referring to here is the sin of rejecting Him.

Understanding that we have sinned makes us responsible for that sin. When Jesus made himself clear by speaking and by doing miracles, those who heard and saw had no further excuse. They needed to repent and believe. We may not be guilt of a particular sin if we are ignorant that it is sinful, but there are so many things we all do that we do understand to be sinful, that we are hardly off the hook.


John 16:9
Jesus said the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, will come and will convict the world of sin because the world does not believe in Jesus.


John 16:27
Jesus says the Father loves the disciples because they loved Jesus and believed the Father sent Him.


John 16:30-31
After the disciples tell Jesus that they believe in Him, Jesus rejoices and says that they “believe at last!”


John 17:3
Jesus says eternal life is knowing the only true God, and Jesus, whom He has sent.


John 17:8
Jesus’ followers believed the Father sent Him.


In this prayer of Jesus, as He comes to the close of His earthly ministry, He rejoices that He has accomplished what the Father wanted – the disciples believe!

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