In a recent blog I indicated that there are over 100 passages in the Bible which say that the one and only condition of everlasting life is believing in Jesus. That led to an email from one of our blog readers:
I love your statement of “There are over 100 passages in the Bible which say that the one and only condition of everlasting life is believing in Jesus.” And I have known that for a long time, but it would be nice, a nice tool, if we had a list of where all those places are in the Bible. For as you well know, for most that has to be an incredible statement, like show me to believe it. I am wondering if you could put out there on a blog those 100 passages.
Well, I happen to have such a list. But before I give it, let me give some explanation.
Lewis Sperry Chafer famously said there are over 150 verses in the New Testament that clearly say that everlasting life (or justification) is solely based upon a person’s belief or faith in Jesus Christ (Systematic Theology, Volume 3, Soteriology, p. 376).
I have found the number is slightly lower, depending on how we count. Obviously a passage which repeatedly refers to faith-alone for regeneration could be counted as one passage or multiple verses. Examples include John 3:14-18; 4:10-26; 5:24-47; 6:26-58; 11:25-27; Rom 4:1-6; Gal 3:6-14; 1 John 5:9-13. (There is even one verse, Gal 2:16, which three times in the same verse says that justification is by faith and not by works. Is that one or three references? I counted it as one.) I have taken a sort of middle of the road approach to such passages, counting them as more than one in many cases, but often less than the number of verses involved.
If we are looking for texts that explicitly say that the one who believes in Jesus has everlasting life (or is saved or is justified), the number is around seventy-four. If we include fifty-five texts which implicitly say that (for example, saying that someone is born again by the Word of God, but not specifically mentioning faith in Christ), the number rises to 129.
Note that in some of the seventy-four definite verses, faith is not specifically indicated as faith in Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 is a famous example: “For by grace you have been saved [made alive, v 5] through faith…” Since in such cases it is clear that the author means faith in Christ, I have included these.
Seventy-Four Verses Which Clearly Teach Faith Alone
Genesis has one: 15:6. In light of Gen 15:1-5, John 8:56, Rom 4:3, and Gal 3:6, this text clearly teaches justification by faith alone in the coming Messiah, who is Jesus.
Matthew and Mark have no verses which explicitly teach faith-alone.
Luke has one explicit verse on faith-alone: 8:12: “The devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
John has at least eighteen clear texts on faith-alone, though the number could realistically be much higher: 1:12; 3:15, 16, 18, 36; 4:10-14, 25-28; 5:24, 39-40; 6:35, 37, 39-40, 47; 10:24-30; 11:25, 26; 12:36, 46-47 (compare v 50); 20:31.
Acts has seven clear faith-alone texts: 10:43 (compare Acts 11:14); 11:17; 13:39; 15:9, 11; 16:31; 26:18.
Romans has nineteen: 3:22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30; 4:3, 5, 9, 11, 13, 16, 22, 24; 5:1; 9:30, 33; 10:4, 10 (“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness [=justification]”).
First Corinthians has only one clear: 1:21, “to save those who believe.”
Second Corinthians has two clear texts: 5:1-5, 8.
Galatians has a dozen clear texts: 2:16 (“justified…by faith in Jesus Christ”); 3:2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 22, 24, 26.
Ephesians has two clear: 1:13; 2:8 (compare 2:5).
Philippians has one clear text on faith-alone: 3:9 (“the righteousness which is from God by faith”).
1 Thessalonians has one: 5:10 (“whether we watch or sleep, we should live together with Him”).
First Timothy has one clear: 1:16, “I [am]…a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
Second Timothy has two clear texts: 1:12 (Paul knows he will be with the Lord and will be rewarded by Him for the work he has done); 3:15.
Hebrews has three clear: 4:3; 10:10, 14.
1 John has two texts that clearly teach faith-alone: 5:1, 9-13.
A few of those seventy-four do not explicitly mention faith in Christ. However, the context brings that out, so I included them. See 2 Cor 5:1-5, 8; 1 Thess 5:10; Heb 10:10, 14, as examples. If we were to be very narrow in our list, the number would be around seventy.
Fifty-Five Implicit Faith-Alone Verses
Matthew, Mark, and Luke have six implicit faith-alone messages. In all six places the Lord Jesus, after healing someone, says, “your faith has saved you.” Those verses are Matt 9:22; Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 8:48; 17:19; 18:42. The Lord might have simply been referring to physical healing. However, it is quite possible that He was referring both to physical healing and eternal salvation.
John has fifteen implicit faith-alone texts: 1:7; 2:23; 4:39, 41, 42; 6:29; 7:38-39; 8:24, 30-31; 11:15; 14:6; 17:20, 21; 19:35; 20:29.
Acts has nineteen possible implicit faith-alone texts: 3:16; 4:4, 12; 8:12, 13 (compare v 17); 9:42; 11:14, 21; 14:1, 23, 27; 15:7; 17:4, 12; 18:8, 27; 19:4; 20:21; 21:25.
Romans has one: 11:6.
Second Corinthians has one: 4:4.
Galatians has one: 2:21.
Philippians also has one: 1:29.
First Thessalonians has three implicit: 1:7; 2:10; 4:14.
Second Thessalonians has two implicit: 1:10; 2:12.
First Timothy has one implicit: 4:10
Titus has one implicit: 3:5-8.
James has two implicit: 1:18; 2:23.
First Peter has one implicit: 1:23.
Revelation has one implicit: 22:17.
If you have time, work your way through both lists. You might not agree on each and every one of the verses I listed there. You may have many more. But the point is clear. There are a lot of verses in the Bible which make it crystal clear that justification/regeneration/eternal salvation is gained simply by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. No works required. He took away the sin of the world at Calvary (John 1:29). All that we need to do is believe in Him in order to have the life which He promises to the believer, ever-lasting life.