O. O. comments on my recent conference message, available here, in which I said that there will be no final judgment for believers. He wrote, “You continue to see individual passages saying one is saved by faith. But nowhere do they say by faith alone.” His point is that salvation from eternal condemnation is by faith, but it is not by faith alone.
Actually, in English Bibles the expression faith alone occurs once in some translations of Jas 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (NASB, LEB, NET, ESV; the words faith alone are also found in the NIV; the KJV, NKJV, MEV, and DARBY read “not by faith only”). However, that verse should be translated, You see that a man is justified by works and not only by faith.” In other words, James is saying that there are two types of justification, one by faith before God and another by works before men. The reason for my translation is that the word monon is an adverb, not an adjective, and thus cannot modify the noun “faith.”
It is true that John 3:16 does not say “whoever only believes in Him…has everlasting life.” So, too, Gal 2:16 does not say, “a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith alone in Jesus Christ.”
However, the absence of the words only or alone does not mean that there is another condition. There is not. Those verses would be lies if more than faith in Christ were required for everlasting life.
If whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life, then believing in Him is the only condition. If a man is justified by faith in Christ, then faith in Him is the only condition.
Consider this saying: whoever is born in the United States is an American. While we might argue if that is true or not, if it is true, then birth in this country is the sole condition of citizenship.i
Consider the eating and drinking illustrations the Lord Jesus gave concerning faith in Him. He said that one sip of the living water results in a person having everlasting life, without the need to keep on drinking to retain it (John 4:10-15). He also said that whoever eats one bite of the bread of life will never need another bite of it in order to retain everlasting life. Once a person believes in Christ, he is secure forever.
Gotquestions.org comments, “Any verse that ascribes salvation to faith/belief, with no other requirement mentioned, is a declaration that salvation is by faith alone” (see here).ii
At Bible.org, Steven Cole points out that people who reject justification by faith alone do not actually believe in Jesus in the Biblical sense: “If you feel that you still have to do something more or feel something more or rid yourself of some sin before you can come to God, you do not understand justification by faith alone” (see here).
i In the case of citizenship, there is another way to become a citizen. But in the case of the new birth, there is no other way besides faith in Christ.
ii That article wrongly understands Jas 2:24 to be teaching that “A genuine salvation experience by faith in Jesus Christ will inevitably result in good works.” However, the statement about verses that list only faith or believing as the sole condition of everlasting life is a good statement.