Which of the Following Passages is True?
by Bryan Gibson (edited by Dave Brown)
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John 3:16 or Hebrews 5:9?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9).
One promises eternal salvation to “whoever believes”; the
other promises eternal salvation to “all who obey.” Which
one is right?
John 6:47 or John 8:51?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (John 8:51).
So who receives everlasting life—the one who believes in Jesus, or the one who keeps His word? Did Jesus contradict Himself?
Acts 15:8-9 or 1 Peter 1:22?
“So God…made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:8-9).
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…” (1 Peter 1:22).
Purification, or cleansing—is it by faith, or by obedience?
Which one of these passages should I believe?
Acts 10:43 or Acts 2:38?
“To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
I want to receive the remission, or forgiveness of my sins.
Do I need to just only believe [assuming that is possible], or do I need to take further action, including to repent and be baptized? Again, which one of these passages contains the truth?
The truth is…they all contain the truth. There is no contradiction. The above passages when paired together, clearly illustrate the WHOLE truth, which is also plainly taught in James 2:14-16. Read the entire passage, and especially take note of verses 17, 22-24 and 26:
17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead in itself.
18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from (thy) works, and I by my works will show thee (my) faith.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well: the demons also believe, and shudder.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 You see that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect;
23 and the scripture was fulfilled which said, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.
24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and NOT BY FAITH ONLY.
25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.
How can we be justified by our works (vss. 21 and 23 above), and yet we are not saved by our own works? The answer is that true faith in Jesus ALWAYS produces good works, and thus these works provide the only way that we can tell whether we have saving faith or not.
Test yourself as instructed by the Holy Spirit's inspiration of John in ...
1 John 2:3-6
3 And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
5 but whoso keeps his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him:
6 he that says he abides in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked.
With this in mind, imagine in your heart something that is certain to come to pass:
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is (the book) of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Will you be ready?
[All quotes are from the ASV.]
What are the conditions of salvation given by Jesus?
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