Some of Many Scriptures Revealing Saving Faith Must Be Present Tense and/or Active

Compilation and comments by deanna reynolds M.D. (ret.), Corpus Christi, Texas

…correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Tim. 4:2b-4)

Introductory Notes: Hello fellow followers of Jesus Christ! The Lord led me to compile Scriptures from a previous series of blogs, rightfully placing His glorious word of Truth center stage with minimal comments, for a dear sibling in Christ last night. Today, the Holy Spirit is leading me to share this compilation here with you all so that you likewise can search His Truth out yourselves like the noble Bereans did in Acts 17:11-12. Importantly, as we know from other Scriptures, our initial salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by our works, yet our ongoing salvation (sanctification) and our eternal rewards are dependent on what we choose to do every blessed hour of our lives here on earth. These works are sanctifying deeds/fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, not deeds of the flesh. May God grant you the spirit of wisdom and revelation as you set time aside to study and apprehend His omnipotent word herein. Amen.

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For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [present tense, not “believed”] in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16, emphasis and comment added).

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes [present tense, not “believed”] Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24, emphasis and comment added)

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away… If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:1-2, 6) [Branches that are in the vine (believers in Christ) but do not abide in Him are taken away by the Father, and are burned. Note that the only differentiation Jesus uses between branches is according to their fruit / whether they abide; these words negate the argument that those thrown away were not “true” believers, for they had been “in” Him.]

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire [burned]. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 7:18-21, emphasis and comment added) [This parallels John 15:1-2,6. Note that only believers call Jesus Christ “Lord”; non-Christians don’t call Him “Lord.”]

But the righteous shall live by his faith (Hab. 2:4b) [Note that this key OT verse that Paul based his epistle to the Romans on describes that the faith of the righteous is active – it is the very means by which the righteous shall live.]

By this gospel you are [not “have been”] saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Cor. 15:2 emphasis and comment added) [This single verse expresses it succinctly both in the positive and in the negative. The gospel saves us in the present, not the past. It is incumbent on the believer to hold firmly – to continue believing. It is possible to “have believed in vain” (past tense, not present tense), but as the preceding Scriptures show, it is not possible to believe (present tense) in Christ in vain. Praise God]

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2 Peter 1:10-11) [Uncertainty about His calling and stumbling occur when we don’t practice the word.]

…be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17b-18) [Being carried away, falling from steadfastness, and not growing in grace and knowledge of Christ are therefore possible for Christians.]

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “IF you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John. 8:31 emphasis added) [If these Jews who had believed Him – rendering them Christians – do not hold to His teaching, they will not be His disciples, will not know the truth, and hence will not be set free.]

What good is it, brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? …. a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone…. As the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14, 24, 26; see entire passage James 2:14-26.) [Note James’s example of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac: Abraham’s faith was made complete by what he did. (v. 21). As we know from other Scriptures, our initial salvation is not by works, but our ongoing salvation (sanctification) and our rewards in the Millennial kingdom are dependent on them. These deeds James is addressing here are not deeds of the flesh, but sanctifying deeds/fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.]

As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. (1 John 2:24-25 emphasis added) [Note that it is your responsibility to “see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you” – in James’ vernacular, that is a “deed.”]

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matt. 10:22; Mark 13:13 emphasis added; emphasized portion is also part of Jesus’ Olivet discourse in Matt. 24:13)*

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28 emphasis added to show the conditions) [This implies that those who do not listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him (to the cross, a.k.a. denying self) are not His sheep and they perish.*]

…they [the people of Israel] were broken off because of unbelief, and you [Christians] stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Ro. 11:20-23, emphasis added) [God did not spare the Israelites who fell and failed to believe, and He will not spare the Christians who similarly fall and fail to believe.*]

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—IF you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Col. 1:22-23 emphasis added) [Thus, if you do not continue in your faith, etc., you are not presented holy in His sight without blemish and free from accusation.*]

The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to Christians of Hebrew descent (note the use of the terms “brothers” and “we” throughout), not to Hebrews who hadn’t received Christ. The horrid possibility of apostasizing is addressed multiple times therein:

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, IF indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Heb. 3:6 emphasis added) [Thus we are not His house if we do not hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.]

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ IF we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first. (Heb. 3:12-14, emphasis added) [It is possible for us to turn away from Christ. We must hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first in order to come to share in Christ*.]

11 We have much to say… but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 1 …let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity… 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Heb. 5:11, 6:1, 4-8, emphasis added). [Note that God keeps repeating that the fate of those who apostastize is to be burned (as with Matt. 7:19 and John 15:6 above).*]

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. (Heb. 6:11 emphasis added)

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. …28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:23-29, emphasis added)*

Peter echoes this fate: If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled by it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (1 Pet. 2:20-21)*

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* Addendum posted 8/27/18: Praise God, He has given me further revelation on how He holds His saints acccountable, and how this applies to their fate during Christ’s Millennial kingdom, NOT their eternal salvation. PLEASE make time to read Resurrection, Rapture, Judgment of Christ’s Saints, and the Millennium – Overview and Scriptures for Self-Study!.

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Oh, join me in praising our Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ for their profound love, mercy, and grace! Praise Him that It is the glory of God to conceal a mattter, to search out a matter is the glory of kings [us] (Prov. 25:3)! Please also join me in praying for each other, that we, like Paul, press on towards the goal to win the prize and take hold of that for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus, for His glory! Amen. (See Phil. 3:12-14)

So very much love in Christ, your sister deanna 

22 thoughts on “Some of Many Scriptures Revealing Saving Faith Must Be Present Tense and/or Active

  1. I agree with your statement “our initial salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by our works, yet our ongoing salvation (sanctification) and our eternal rewards are dependent on what we choose to do every blessed hour of our lives here on earth. These works are sanctifying deeds/fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, not deeds of the flesh.” It is a pity that so many Christians disparage good deeds, whereas they are what God has in his wisdom prepared for us to do, and that to do them we are totally dependent upon his grace, just as we are to obtain faith in the first place.
    Here are some comments on the nature of good works:
    John 14:10 “10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.
    Acts 26:20 “20 On the contrary I started preaching, first to the people of Damascus, then to those of Jerusalem and all Judaean territory, and also to the gentiles, urging them to repent and turn to God, proving their change of heart by their deeds.”
    1 John 2:3-4 “3 In this way we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
    4 Whoever says, ‘I know him’ without keeping his commandments, is a liar, and truth has no place in him.’”
    Jesus says in Matt 7:22 “22 When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?
    23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!”
    The point Jesus is making here is that someone who is cut off from Him by doing evil is not going to be helped if they “prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Someone who is cut off from God by the evil he does is incapable of doing something truly good and pleasing to God, because his heart has turned away from God. Therefore “driving out demons”, “prophesying”, “working miracles” are not good deeds for him in the first place, because he is an unrepentant sinner.
    That tells us a few things. Those who prophecy in Jesus’ name do not necessarily go to heaven. Those who drive out demons in Jesus’ name do not necessarily go to heaven, those who work out miracles in Jesus’ name do not necessarily go to heaven…“ (edited)


    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! Please understand that I cannot include the entire article that you had copied and pasted from your blog… Addressing your saying that those who prophesy and drive out demons etc. in Jesus’ name “do not necessarily go to heaven,” we need to realize that Revelation Chs 20 and 21, in conjunction with the cannon of Scripture, teach that the eternal state for ALL who have received Christ will be the New Jerusalem (even those whose works are “burned up” and they “escape through the flames” as per 1 Cor. 3:12-15), and yet ONLY the blessed and holy few whom Christ finds worthy of the prize will have part of the first resurrection and will rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years in His Millennial Kingdom. This “out-resurrection from the dead” is the “goal” and the “prize” Paul (see Phil. 3:10-14) and all the saints of Hebrews Ch 11 (see verse 35) contended for! Please read the most recent article,
      for details. This accountability teaching is Scriptural, and it is astounding, when you get it! Blessings!


      1. Thanks for that deanna,
        It is clear though from Matt 7: 22-23 “22 When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?”
        23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!” that those who Jesus is referring to, some of those who did “work many miracles in your name?” will not go to heaven.
        No other meaning can be derived from what Jesus says here.


        1. You are still missing this key point: the kingdom of heaven Jesus refers to in His sermon on the mount is the Millennial kingdom which will last only 1,000 years, and will precede the eternal state, which is the New Jerusalem (again, study Rev. 20 and 21). In Matt. 19:23-24 Jesus teaches that the “kingdom of heaven” is the same as the “kingdom of God.” Note also that the kingdom is neither IN heaven or IN God, but the kingdom is OF heaven, meaning the kingdom is OF God. It’s key to apprehend that the eternal states are the New Jerusalem and the lake of fire, not “heaven” and “hell” (hell will be thrown into the lake of fire!). The linked article should help…


          1. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:14) Going with the majority WILL bring you into destruction (v. 13),


          2. You are arguing with Christ when you say there is no link between the two! His word is “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
            In answer to your questions, “Do you think that being a minority automatically leads you to the truth? Is that the criteria for determining the truth?” No, I do not think that, for God does not teach that. Summarizing many Scriptures which address how to determine truth, I’ll say seeking truth above preserving self, studying God’s word for yourself under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, and applying Colossians 2:8 are what lead you to truth.


          3. deanna,
            Are you saying that in matters of faith one must avoid the majority? Is that the criterion? You say that you do not, but on the other hand you say : “Going with the majority WILL bring you into destruction ” Which is it? One or the other?


        2. Another point you (and so many Christians) miss: only Christians call Jesus “Lord, Lord” (the double is emphatic), so these are NOT unbelievers whom He says He never knew (the Greek implies knew intimately, as Paul strove to know Him). Again, Jesus is teaching in His sermon on the mount that only a “few” Christians (7:14) will be blessed to enter His Millennial kingdom (that is, will be with Him 1,000 years earlier than the rest) because only those few will have actually obeyed and DONE the will of the Father via their Holy Spirit-empowered WORKS (He rewards according to our works). Eternal life, on the other hand, is a gift of grace received only through faith in Christ: NO ONE CAN EARN IT!


          1. deanne,
            We both agree that no one can “earn” their salvation. However we have to co operate with God’s grace if we are to inherit eternal life, be it by accepting Jesus in our life or by doing good works, both of which are initiated by God, enabled by God, and completed through our participation in his work in us. But we have to be God’s co workers as Paul puts it.
            As to the thousand year reign and all that you know where I stand.


          2. And as Jesus taught in the very Scripture you quoted, standing and building on sand will bring your house down. The Lord has presented you with truth; may you have the eyes to see it and turn from the false teachings of your church.


          3. deanna,
            What makes you so sure that your doctrine on the 1,000 year reign is true? On whose interpretation of the bible does this doctrine rest? Yours? Your pastor’s? Your denomination?
            Are all other Christians wrong on this count? How do you know that?


          4. It is clear when you actually study the Scriptures under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. Please note the links I’ve provided to excellent books showing that premillennialism and this accountability teaching was understood and taught as far back as Polycarp (69-155AD) and Tertullian (160-240AD). If you are interested in testing your standing on the matter, I recommend “The Rod: Will God Spare It? An Exhaustive Study of Temporary Punishment of Unfaithful Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ and During the Millennial Kingdom”, by J.D. Faust (>400 pages). He does an excellent job of presenting the numerous Scriptures which indeed reveal this truth, of refuting the objections, AND about the last third of the book contains multiple quotes from >60 Christians from Polycarp onward, showing this understanding is NOT new, but the original teaching of the apostles.


          5. deanna,
            All Christians claim to study the scriptures under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, yet they come to diametrically opposed doctrines.
            I am glad that you are quoting the church fathers in support of your point of view.
            The early Christian writers, from St Justin Martyr, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Augustine, and many many others in an unbroken line over the last 2,000 years teach that Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist, Do you give any weight to their teaching?and not merely symbolically.


          6. Not all Christians truly study the word under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit as though their lives depended on it… You asked my opinion re. Catholicism and its practices, so I’ll be brief: they are not only unscriptural, but against it – they are NOT of the Lord, but of the devil. Praise God, we are still in the age of grace, so repent and “come out of her” now, before this age ends and the age of judgment begins with Christ’s judgment of His saints. Now, that is as far as I will allow this matter to go here on this site. No more, please.


  2. deanna,
    I do wish to make point, despite our differences. I do not try to demonise you or your faith, and I expect the same from you. I remind you of what Jesus said in Luke 9:50 “49 John spoke up. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘we saw someone driving out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.’
    50 But Jesus said to him, ‘You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you.'”
    Peace to you.


    1. I did not demonize you, dear one. The Lord sent you here! May you receive the grace He has for you as you put off Catholicism and apprehend Truth: Christ as He really is! Recall Paul’s strong words to the Galatians: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel [like Catholicism] other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8).


    2. The Lord uses the members of His Body for different functions, working together beautifully. The part He just used me for with you was “uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow (in preparation to then) build and plant” (~ Jer. 1:10). He is also highlighting Colossians 2:8 for you again: See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.


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