Bible Verses Showing Justification By Faith Alone
The Lutheran Reformation gave us back the truth of the Bible and purity of the Gospels: that we are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ alone. This truth is clear throughout the Bible and is a light and guide to us today.
Justification is the legal act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his or her sins. It’s not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he or she is “declared” sinless. This declaration of righteousness is being justified before God. This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, ” . . . Having now been justified by His blood . . . ” (Rom. 5:9)
That’s why it says in 1 Pet. 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” Also, 2 Cor. 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Additionally, we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) apart from works of the Law (Rom. 3:28).
To be saved means God has delivered us from His righteous wrathful judgment we deserve because of our sins against Him. It means that we won’t be judged for our sins and therefore sentenced to eternal damnation. To be saved means being justified before God. Only Christians are saved. Only Christians are justified. The issue addressed by the Lutheran Reformation is whether or not this salvation, this justification, is attained by faith or by faith and something else.
The following list of verses shows clearly that salvation/justification is by faith alone.
1) John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
2) Romans 1: 16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the
power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and
also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith
for faith as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
3) Romans 3:22, “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for
all who believe. For there is no distinction”
4) Romans 3:24, “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
5) Romans 3:26, “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so
that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
6) Romans 3:28-30, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from
works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of
Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the
circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”
7) Romans 4:3, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God,
and it was counted to him as righteousness.’”
8) Romans 4:5, “And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who
justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”
9) Romans 4:11, “He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the
righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The
purpose was to make Him the father of all who believes without being
circumcised so that righteousness would be counted to them as well”
10) Romans 4:16, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise
may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the
adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of
Abraham, who is the father of us all”
11) Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
12) Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood,
much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”
13) Romans 9:30, “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not
pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by
14) Romans 9:33, “as it is written, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of
stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in Him will not
be put to shame.’”
15) Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to
everyone who believes.”
16) Romans 10:9-10, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is
Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will
be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the
mouth one confesses and is saved.”
17) Romans 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works;
otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.”
18) Galatians 2:16, “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of
the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ
Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the
law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
19) Galatians 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if
righteousness was through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
20) Galatians 3:5-6, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works
miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just
as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’”
21) Galatians 3:8, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the
Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In
you shall all the nations be blessed.”
22) Galatians 3:14, “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham
might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised
Spirit through faith.”
23) Galatians 3:22, “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so
that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who
24) Galatians 3:24, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in
order that we might be justified by faith.”
25) Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with
the promised Holy Spirit”
26) Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And
this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”
27) Philippians 3:9, “and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my
own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God that depends on faith”
28) 1 Timothy 1:16, “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the
foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to
those who were to believe in Him for eternal life”
James 2:24, Good works are evidence of faith, but they do not earn us salvation
Holy scriptures clearly teach that we are saved (justified) by faith in Christ and what He has done on the cross. This faith alone saves us. However, we cannot stop here without addressing what James says in James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”
There is no contradiction. All we need to do is look at the context. James chapter 2 has 26 verses: Verses 1-7 instruct us to not show favouritism. Verses 8-13 are comments on the Law. Verses 14-26 are about the relationship between faith and works.
James begins this section by using the example of someone who says he has faith but has no works, “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14).
In other words, James is addressing the issue of a dead faith that is nothing more than a verbal pronouncement. It’s empty of life and action.
James begins with the negative and demonstrates what an empty faith is (verses 15-17, words without actions). Then he shows that this type of faith isn’t much different from the ‘faith’ of demons (verse 19). Finally, he gives examples of living faith: words followed by actions. He writes of Abraham and Rahab as examples of people who gave evidence of their faith by their deeds.
In brief, James is examining two kinds of faith: one that leads to godly works and one that does not. One is true, the other is false. One is dead, the other alive; hence, “Faith without works is dead,” (James 2:20).
Notice James actually quotes the same verse Paul uses to support the teaching of justification by faith in Romans 4:3. James 2:23 says, “and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’”
If James was trying to teach a different doctrine of salvation based on faith and works, contrary to other New Testament writers, he would not have used Abraham as an example.
James is saying that ‘good’ works are evidence of the faith that saves us, not the means by which we’re saved.
Justification is by faith. True faith is God’s work (John 6:28-29), granted by God (John 1:29).
“Regeneration” in Christian conversion is brought about by the Holy Spirit – it means “rebirth.”
People are naturally spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:5). When the Holy Spirit changes hearts and gives people saving faith, spiritually dead people become spiritually alive. The Bible describes that change as “rebirth” or being “born again” (John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23).
The result of justification and regeneration is that the sinner turns from his sin and towards doing good works. But it is not these good deeds that earn us salvation.
Jesus Christ accomplished all we need to be saved, and stay saved, on the cross.
What we need to enter Heaven, we have in our Saviour.
All we need to do to be saved – to be justified – is to truly believe what God has done for us in Christ and His payment for our sins. This is why the Bible says we’re justified by faith (Rom. 5:1).
Faith in Christ, that God works in our hearts through the Holy Spirit using the means of grace, God’s Word & the Sacraments of Baptism & Communion, allows us to do good works.