Let's review the AMC Statement on Salvation, and then take a closer look at sentences two through four.
A. Salvation by Virtue of
1. Salvation by Virtue of
Being a Jew
The passage makes it very explicit that both Jews and Gentiles need to hear the Gospel and believe it in order to be saved. If one believes that all Jews are automatically saved, then they must also conclude that all Gentiles are automatically saved, for the passage says that there is no difference both of Jew or Greek in the matter of how they are saved. But the fact is, that the passage requires the hearing and the believing of the Gospel by both Jews and Gentiles for salvation. There is no way around it. It is air-tight. There is no difference both of Jew or Greek in the necessity of believing the Gospel for salvation. This matter will be alluded to again shortly with more passages to consider.
2. Salvation by Virtue of
Being a Member of a Believing Family or Household
That phrase, and your household, has been a stumbling block to many, causing them to believe that if the head of the house becomes saved, all members of the household, even infants, become saved, as well. But let's look at the very next verse: And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his household. The Word of the Lord was spoken not only to the jailor, but also to all who were in his household; and all of them, believing, were baptized (verse 33). No one was saved on the coattails of another. All needed to hear the Word and believe.
3. Salvation by Virtue of
Being a Visible Member of a Church
One of the Lord's parables concerning the nature of the then future Church Age was the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, in Matthew 13:24-30. The point of the parable is that not all professing believers will be true believers, and that even true believers will be incapable of distinguishing the the spurious believer from the true with unfailing accuracy. If the Lord made this so clear, how can any church be so arrogant as to claim that all who join it will be saved! It is outrage. It causes many to believe that they are saved when they are not.
To sum up the points of the last two
To sum up this section, neither being Jewish, nor being a member of a believing household, nor being a visible member of a denomination or local church suffices for salvation. Believing the Gospel is the only ticket to ride.
B. Salvation Merited by Human
Romans 3:28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the Law.
Ephesians 2:8-9. 8. For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Titus 3:5-7: 5. not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6. whom He poured out on us abundantly through Yeshua the Messiah our Savior, 7. that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Grace means undeserved and unmerited favor. We cannot do anything to deserve or merit salvation. A gift by its very nature must be freely offered and may not be purchased by the recipient. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone.
To sum up, neither earthly position nor works
of the Law nor good or penitential deeds
suffice for salvation, but only grace through faith.
there is no other way of salvation apart from faith
The Bible is clear on the exclusivity of the way of salvation:
Yeshua said to a crowd of listeners, 13. Go in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. 14. For narrow is the gate, and constricted is the way that leads away into life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14).
To His disciple Thomas He said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me (John 14:6).
And to some Pharisees, For if you do
not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins (John 8:24).
Though all of these declarations apply to all people, it so happens that they were all made by Jews to Jews, one of the speakers being Yeshua Himself. As has been mentioned, some believe that merely being Jewish is sufficient for salvation. Obviously, this is contrary to Scripture. It is a very grave and dangerous error, and it is heretical to teach it. One is not saved by being born Jewish or by following any form of rabbinic Judaism or any other religion or philosophy. One is saved only by faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Yeshua HaNotzri, Yeshua the Nazarene; Yeshua HaMashiach, Yeshua the Messiah. Note how a line is drawn between Jews who received Him and Jews who did not: He came to His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name (John 1:11-12). For fuller coverage of issues concerning Jewish salvation, see the author's study, Messianic Issues in Jewish Salvation.
Messiah declared that the road to salvation runs only through Him. A narrow way, indeed, but that should not be surprising. All of nature is narrow. Precise and inflexible natural laws control our digestion or indigestion, a successful flight to the moon or a disaster. It should not be surprising, therefore, that spiritual laws are precise and inflexible, as well; nor should it be surprising that a loving and caring Creator has made known to us, whom He created in His likeness and image, the precise rules and principles we need to follow for our own blessed good and for the blessedness of our earthly and heavenly relationships. Nor should it be thought odd that breakers of the rules should be penalized. In civil societies it is understood that "if you do crime, you do time." We are relieved when murderers and rapists are judged and sentenced. It should not be thought odd, therefore, that God requires the same for sinners in His court of justice. Understanding these things lays the foundation for our acceptance of the fact that God, who is love (1 John 4:8,16), offered His sinless Son on the cross to satisfy divine justice in our stead, freeing us to receive forgiveness of sins and entry into the blessedness He always desired for us. For He [Father] has made Him [Yeshua] who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [Yeshua] (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Many of the concepts in this statement have been addressed already. We will now address those that have not.
A. His Shed
In the Hebrew Scriptures, atone means to cover. From Adam until Yeshua animal sacrifice was required by God to atone for sin. Those sacrifices did not remove sin from the sinner's account (Hebrews 10:4), but when offered in faith (Habakkuk 2:4), they "covered" the offerer's sin. This means that the offerer's sin, though remaining on his account, would not be held against him; but that when the Son of God would come and shed His blood on the altar of the cross, the sinner's sins would be uncovered and removed from his account, having been paid for by Yeshua.
Hebrews 9:22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Ephesians 1:7: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace....
The sins of the world were imputed (transferred and reckoned) to Yeshua' account, and He died to pay the penalty for them. When we believe, the righteousness of God in Yeshua is imputed to our account, placing us in right standing before God. But of Him [God the Father] you are in Messiah Yeshua, who of God is made to us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are still sinners experientially and in our natures, but in terms of our legal standing before God we are as righteous as Yeshua is, For as by one man's [Adam's] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One [Yeshua] shall the many be made righteous (Romans 5:19). For He [Father] has made Him [Yeshua] who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [Yeshua] (2 Corinthians 5:21).
C. His Shed Blood Alone
D. Declared Righteous:
1. The Doctrine of Justification
This begs the question that Job asked: How then can man be justified with God? Or how can one who is born of a woman be clean (Job 25:4)? Great question, Job! We've answered it repeatedly, but we'll consider the question again through the lens of justification. We'll take a look at some scriptures which I've arranged in a developmental sequence, and then bring the various concepts together in a couple of summary and explanatory paragraphs:
Job 9:20. If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me; though I am perfect, He shall declare me perverse. Job declared correctly that his own testimony could not justify him before God.
Isaiah 53:11. He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His self-knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify for many; and He shall bear their iniquities. In this passage, Isaiah prophesied that Messiah, knowing full well who He is and what His mission will be, will bring justification to many by bearing their iniquities.
Romans 4:25. ... who was delivered because of our offenses and was raised up because of our justification. Messiah was delivered to the cross because of our offenses, and was subsequently raised from the dead because the work which He accomplished that enabled our justification had been completed.
Act 13:39. And by Him [Yeshua] all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.
Galatians 3:11. But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, "The just shall live by faith." The quote that Paul is employing is from Habakkuk 2:4. It reveals that even Old Testament Israelites could not be justified by the works of the Law no matter how meticulously they kept it (which they were required to do), but by faith alone.
Romans 3:28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the Law.
Romans 3:24. ...being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua;
Romans 5:1: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
Romans 5:9. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Titus 3:7. ... that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Now, to pull it all together: No one can stand justified before God on the basis of any human testimony or defense. The ground of one's justification must be the shed blood of Messiah, who died for our iniquities and was raised up because His sacrificial work that made our justification possible had been accomplished.
Human courts deal with matters of crime. God's court deals with sin. There have been cases in human courts where an innocent party voluntarily took the punishment due a guilty party, and the guilty party was declared free. Similarly, in God's court, Messiah was punished for the ungodly, and by virtue of the sinner's faith in Messiah's atoning work he is justified (declared forensically righteous), meaning that he is pardoned of the need to bear any of the condemnation or punishment for his sin, and is free to enjoy all of the privileges of one not condemned and sentenced. It is by God's grace that He justifies the believing sinner. Strict adherence to the Law of Moses never justified anyone, nor could it. Only faith could justify. One justified in Messiah is in a state of peace with God, is saved from all aspects of God's wrath, and is heir of all that eternal life entails.
2. James, Justification and Works
There are two keys to understanding this passage:
Now to apply these observations to the questions regarding Abraham and Rahab: James is not saying that Abraham and Rahab were justified by their good works apart from faith, but that their good works were the outgrowth of their underlying faith, and were evidence of their justification on the basis of their faith.
3. Reconciliation and Justification
To review the interplay of the two concepts in sequence:
Stages two through four have been presented in logical sequence, but
in actuality they occur simultaneously. There is no gap of time at all
between the sinner's exercise of faith and his justification before God.
As soon as the sinner exercises faith he stands justified before God.
The Relationship Between Salvation and Works
Verse 8 tell us that salvation is through faith, and verse 9, that good works have no bearing on salvation. The phrases we are His workmanship and created in Messiah Yeshua are akin to the concepts of being born again (John 3:3,7; 1:Peter 1:23) and of being made new creations in Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) - all conveying the work of regeneration - and verse 10 tells us that we are created in Messiah Yeshua for good works. We are not saved by good works. We are saved to do good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are each saved to glorify God through particular good works that He has ordained for each of us to do. Let us walk in them for the Savior, who walked to Calvary for us. Selah.
We'll conclude our study on Salvation in the next Shofar with an
examination of the question as to whether or not a believer can
lose his salvation. Stay tuned for an important study.
* * *
"What must I do to be saved?" was the cry of the Philippian jailor to Paul and Silas.
Is that your cry? Then we implore you to consider the
response of Paul and Silas:
Believe on the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, and you shall be
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.
Messiah died for our sins according to the scriptures; ...he was buried, and ...rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
As Yeshua implored His listeners, we humbly
implore you: "Believe the Gospel".
Please let us know if you've just begun to believe.
For a much fuller treatment of the subject, the author recommends these materials by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, which may be obtained from Ariel Ministries:
Messianic Bible Studies:
© Norman Manzon, 2008.