It is definitely true that we can be saved by faith. Jesus said, “According to your faith, will it be done to you.” And Apostle Paul also emphasized the importance of faith by describing it as one of the most important three factors in our Christian life, saying, “The righteous will live by faith” (Mt 9:29; 1 Co 13:13).
Ro 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Gal 3:11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”
However, the faith mentioned in the Bible is different from the faith which most people talk about. Most churches completely exclude the laws of the new covenant that Jesus has taught us to observe, and they just define faith as believing something in their minds. But this is not true faith.
True faith is always accompanied by action
When Jesus said, “You can be saved by faith,” He did not mean that we should only have faith in our minds. The word “faith” implies action as well, which comes from faith.
Heb 11:7-8 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
The Bible says it was all by faith that Noah built the ark and Abraham went to Canaan after leaving Ur of the Chaldeans. However, most people try to separate faith from action. According to their dichotomous view, they come to this conclusion: It was not by faith that Noah built the ark and Abraham went to Canaan; they just took action without faith. But this clearly goes against what the Bible teaches.
If we believe in Jesus, it must be accompanied by a corresponding action. Jesus has taught us that the laws of the new covenant are absolutely necessary for our salvation and we have to observe them with faith.
Faith and the laws of the new covenant
Mk 16:15-16 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
If one believes the gospel but does not get baptized, he or she is no different from the person who doesn’t believe. If we want to be saved, we must believe the gospel as Jesus has taught us, and we must also receive baptism, which is a sign of “salvation.”
1 Pe 3:21 . . . and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .
Some people insist that they can be saved if they just believe and that they don’t need to take any action. This insistence comes from not knowing exactly what Biblical faith—the faith that leads to salvation—really is. When the Bible says that we can be saved by faith, the word “faith” implies “baptism,” one of the laws of the new covenant. It is the same with the Passover.
Jn 6:53-54 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jesus has said that we can never have eternal life unless we eat and drink His flesh and blood. Human beings have become mortal because of sin. So for them, receiving salvation means obtaining eternal life. But Jesus has said that He will give eternal life only to those who eat and drink His flesh and blood. So in order to receive salvation, we absolutely need to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood. Many people say that they believe in Jesus. But unless they eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood, they cannot receive eternal life, as Jesus said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” No matter how great one’s faith is, he or she cannot be saved without the action of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood.
The way to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood is to celebrate the Passover of the new covenant.
Mt 26:17-28 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. . . . While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Lk 22:14-20 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” . . . And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Jesus came down to this earth to give us life, and He eagerly wanted us to eat the Passover (Lk 19:10; Jn 10:10). This definitely means that we must keep the Passover of the new covenant to receive salvation—eternal life.
The Passover bread and wine represent Jesus’ flesh and blood
The fact that the Passover bread and wine symbolize Jesus’ flesh and blood is clearly proven by Jesus’ words and actions. Nevertheless, those who have a wrong concept of faith stubbornly insist that eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood mean believing in Jesus and that the Passover bread and wine have nothing to do with eternal life.
Jn 6:47 ”I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”
The important matter here is to know what we must believe in order to have eternal life. The succeeding verses show us that what we have to believe is the fact that Jesus is the bread of life from heaven and that we should eat the bread of life.
Jn 6:47-51 ”I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Those who believe that Jesus is the bread of life must eat that bread to have eternal life. The above verses mean that we cannot eat Jesus, who is represented as the bread of life, just by believing in Him, and we must believe that Jesus is the bread of life and eat that bread. Jesus’ flesh and blood that gives us eternal life is the Passover bread and wine. There is more evidence for this.
First, Jesus promised us the “forgiveness of sins” through the Passover (Mt 26:27-28). The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Ro 6:23). Therefore, when we receive the forgiveness of sins, death is removed from us. This means that we will live forever. The blessing of eternal life contained in the Passover is exactly the same as described in John 6. This fact proves that the Passover bread and wine means Jesus’ flesh and blood that gives us eternal life.
Here is another proof: Jesus came as the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 5:8-10 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek was a priest in the Old Testament times, who blessed Abraham with bread and wine.
Ge 14:18-19 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.”
Jesus blessed us with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the Passover bread and wine because He came as the reality of Melchizedek. Therefore, the insistence that the Passover bread and wine has nothing to do with eternal life is a stupid insistence which denies that Jesus is the reality of Melchizedek.
The importance of action
Faith is very important for our salvation. However, what we have to truly believe is the words and teachings of Jesus, who is the way and the truth and the life, not man-made doctrines which are useless and deceptive.Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” and gave His people the blessing of eternal life through the Passover bread and wine, as the true Melchizedek. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we must believe His words and put our faith into action by undergoing baptism and celebrating the Passover of the new covenant.
The importance of action is also clearly revealed through what Jesus said to Peter at the feet-washing ceremony before the main ceremony of the Passover. Peter thought that it was not right for Jesus to act as a servant by washing His disciples’ feet, so he tried to stop Him from washing his feet. Then Jesus told Peter that if he didn’t let Him wash his feet, he would have no part with Him.
Jn 13:8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
At that time, Peter believed more firmly than anyone else that Jesus was the Christ (Mt 16:16). However, although Peter had such a strong faith in Jesus Christ, Jesus told him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Anyone who has no part with Jesus the Savior can never be saved. This shows that keeping the regulations of the Passover, including the feet-washing ceremony, is necessary for our salvation.
Only those who do the will of God can enter the kingdom of heaven
Heaven is a place where only those who follow the will of God can enter.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
We cannot enter heaven just by saying or thinking that we believe. In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must follow the will of God.
Jesus has clearly said that we can be saved when we believe and are baptized, and that we have no life in us unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood. Believing and following all these words of Jesus is true faith that leads to salvation. This is Jesus’ teaching and God’s will.