True faith which warrents salvation

So I’m really struggling to understand salvation quite honestly. When it comes to the context of others who don’t really show fruit. If we read Romans 9.10 it says that…
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.it’s the idea that all you need to be saved is to accept the gift of grace which is great. The concern then is the multitude of verses which speak on the idea of faith without works is dead. If we can’t see fruits then they are not saved like.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
1 John 2:4 NIV
To give one example of the many. Now if your friend or family members claim to believe in his death and there need for him but carry on in there sinful nature are they really saved. The only verse I could find which suggests yes which is in line with the verse from Romans that, that is all you have to do is…
If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:15 NIV
It’s an idea of getting to heaven but narrowly escaping what we deserved in death. I agree with this notion but it definitely seems to be overwhelmed by seemly contridicting verses unless the idea of verse like John’s is to convict people to do works but not as proof of faith. I don’t know. Please help

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What a powerful and important question you have asked, @Michael_Ryan! The answer to that is what makes all the difference between the tares and the wheat!

The word “believe” is very flexible. It can include anything from the trite expression, “yeah, I guess I could go along with that,” all the way up to, “I’ll burn at the stake for it!” There’s a whole spectrum of attitudes that could fall under the heading of “Faith”.

Your question appears to recognize this spectrum, and you’re wondering at what point does a person’s mere openness to the gospel cross the point of no return - one’s own personal Red Sea - one’s “water to wine” moment - when their faith becomes genuinely life changing - when it becomes what theologians call “saving faith” - what James 2:14 would accept as a living faith, no longer a dead one - what Jesus described as a faith that makes you a “disciple indeed” (John 8:31).

I think one verse that expresses very well the point you’re asking about is II Timothy 1:12. Paul is explaining why he’s not ashamed to suffer for the gospel, and he says, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

The life transforming faith that Paul means can be qualified in a single word - commitment. A faith that is committed to Christ and His word is a “saving faith”.

In John 8:31, then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.

A “disciple” is what Christians were called before they were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Jesus said to the Jews who believed on him that they were only “disciples indeed” if their “belief” was the kind they were willing to act on.

Faith without works is dead, James said in 2:17.

How many times did the world hear Billy Graham pleading with stadiums filled with people around the world to come and “commit” - that was the word he always used - “commit your life to Christ”?

You mentioned the need for fruit to appear in a person’s life - and that is true - committed faith will always produce fruit, a trite faith will not. And by “fruit”, we mean any change that takes place in your life because of your commitment to Christ. All Christians will not bear the same anount of fruit - some 30 fold, some 60, some 100. But a person who bears literally no fruit has a dead faith - he’s a dead branch only fit for the fire - John 15:6

Because a faith that doesn’t change your direction will not change your destination.

A faith that doesn’t change your life won’t change your after-life.

What difference is a faith that makes no difference?

I hope these thoughts will help you with your question.

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I suppose one question I might ask you is: What does “and believe in your HEART that God raised Him from the dead…” mean? Note that it does NOT say “believe in your mind.” That’s a very different thing!

Believing it in your mind, just acknowledges that, yes, Jesus rose from the dead. But knowledge of that fact does NOT make you a “believer.” Acknowledgement falls short of belief.

Believing it in your heart suggests commitment. It implies that there is a willful decision to let that acknowledgement alter your living and your thinking.

So when James talks about faith without works being dead, he’s not wrong, because acknowledgement that has no commitment behind it, and it doesn’t actually change behavior. It’s simply just another fact, then. Interesting to note, but of no consequence. That doesn’t sound or look like true faith at all, does it?

Whereas, faith that has evidence of spiritual fruit goes beyond mere acknowledgement. And the commitment to that belief is what allows the Holy Spirit to begin His work of producing spiritual fruit in our lives. I think this is what “believing in your heart” means. And the evidence of faith is spiritual fruit.

Hope that sheds some useful light on this question, Michael.

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@Michael_Ryan this is a very important question indeed. The two responses so far are brilliant. I would also like to look at the word “believe” in my response.

Romans 9.10 as you quoted says that
If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

God knows the heart and he knows if we really believe. When I was 17 years old I said the sinners prayer, but I did not really believe. I believe I was not saved at this time in my life as I declared with my mouth but did not believe in my heart. Even though I did not know this at the time, God did.

Then again at the age of 29 I prayed again but this time I definately believed. I was instantly delivered from addiction and am committed to my bridegoom. So I think it comes down to true belief.

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Hey @Michael_Ryan, this is a great question and depending on how in depth you want to go, the rabbit hole can be deep. With that being said, salvation is in fact a journey. It isn’t where you start that is important it is where you finish! @jlyons is spot on when he says, “What difference is a faith that makes no difference?” I can definitely feel your frustration when you look around and see people who claim to be Christian behave piously on Sunday and live like “Hell” Mon-Sat. What is missing in today’s modern construct of following Jesus is our understanding of the “gospel.”
The greek word translated gospel or good news is evangelion This was a term that carried a much deeper meaning to those in the first century than it does to us today. It is tied to declaring with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord.” @spikedds makes a great point, believing is one thing, even the demons believe Jesus is Lord, they choose not to be obedient to him and that is where the rubber meets the road. The “evangelion” was a proclamation made by an ambassador announcing the arrival of the emperor to a town or province. This proclamation would list the emperor’s victories over his enemies and then declare that the emperor was coming and to prepare for his arrival. You would have been expected to declare your loyalty to the emperor or prepare for the “pax romana” or roman peace…which was usually through military might :slight_smile: If you were already a loyal subject then the news of the arrival of the emperor and his victory over your enemies would be “good news.” The emperor was considered to be “Lord” over all within the realm.
I say all of that to say this, for Paul and the apostles (apostle/apostolos means ambassador), the “gospel/evangelion” was the declaration that King Jesus had conquered the enemies of humanity namely sin, the powers of evil and death and that he was coming to judge the living and dead. Thus to declare Jesus as “Lord” was to declare your loyalty to the one true “Lord” of not just the earthly realm but also the spiritual realm as well. Since being a loyal subject meant obedience, your behavior reflected your citizenship to the kingdom.
Unfortunately, today we don’t see the significance in this declaration because to declare allegiance to someone other than the emperor was a death sentence. It required an enormous level of trust (faith/pistis) to declare your loyalty to Jesus and trust Him to save you not just from your sin, but also the evil forces at work in the world and the death you would face from this declaration.
Understanding salvation and the “gospel” message this way casts a whole different light on being a committed follower of Jesus. You go from being a “fan” to a loyal subject in the Kingdom of God.
Hope this helps, sorry for the loooong exposition. :slight_smile:

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Yes thanks this is helpful but the problem comes in if someone was saved before you met them. What if your dad only bares 10 fold fruit. You didn’t know him before he was saved. The issue becomes in judging good works as fruit because even non believers do good works because they are still made in God’s image. So how do you judge if they have taken the commitment past saving it out loud to belief in there heart