The Condition For Salvation In John’s Gospel -- By: Charles C. Bing
JOTGES 9:1 (Spring 96) p. 25
The Condition For Salvation In John’s Gospela
Burleson Bible Church
Biblically and historically, justification through faith in Jesus Christ (or salvation by grace through faith) has been the center of the Christian Gospel. Recently, Carl Henry called justification “a doctrine in crisis.”1 Indeed, not only the nature of justification is being challenged (imputed versus imparted righteousness) as he notes, but its condition of faith alone is also being challenged. If evangelical Christianity is to remain distinct from all other religions and aberrations, then defense of the Faith must begin with defense of faith as the only condition of justification (which we here call salvation).
There is a great controversy within our churches and theological schools threatening the unconditional Gospel of grace by compromising faith alone as the condition for salvation. From the beginning of the church, defense of the Faith focused largely on the apostles’ explanation, reiteration, and defense of faith alone as the condition of salvation. This is the explicit concern of the epistles to the Romans and Galatians, and it surfaces as well in some other epistles, such as Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and First John. Centuries later, the battle cry of the Reformation was sola fide, and so perhaps it must be heard again today.
The evangelical church is in need of a decisive authoritative voice in defense of sola fide as the condition and confirmation of salvation. This must include an overwhelming argument that faith alone saves as well as a delineation of what faith is and what it is not.
Actually, the church has always had such a voice, but that voice has
JOTGES 9:1 (Spring 96) p. 26
been muzzled or ignored to a great degree. The church needs to listen to the Gospel of John to shape its understanding of the condition for salvation.
John’s Gospel explicitly states that it was written to bring people to salvation. Yet its message and language does not receive preeminent treatment in the Gospel debate. When it does, its simple message is often obscured or tainted by theological baggage or presuppositions.
In this article, I will discuss the purpose of John’s Gospel and why it should be determinative in our discussion of the condition for salvation. I will discuss John’s use of the word believe in his Gospel and show how John’s analogies for belief support faith alone as the one and only condition for salvation. Al...
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