Since the days of Martin Luther it has been popular to reduce salvation to a sound bite. Salvation is not by works but by “faith alone.”
However, the Bible seems to have another idea. In my book CROSSING THE TIBER I mention a few passages from Scripture to give a more biblical perspective.
Here is a section from page 100 in my book:
“One last comment, even though it will be discussed in more detail later: there is no attempt here to pit baptism against faith, or belief against baptism. Things are rarely that simple. Faith and baptism are two sides of the same coin. Are we saved by faith or by baptism? Are we saved by believing or by the Spirit? These are false dichotomies that should have no place in our thinking.
By believing in Christ (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31)?
By repentance (Acts 2:38; 2 Pet 3:9)?
By baptism (Jn 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21; Titus 3:5)?
By the work of the Spirit (Jn 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6)?
By declaring with our mouths (Lu 12:8; Rom 10:9)?
By coming to a knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim 2:4; Heb 10:26)?
By maintaining the faith (Col 1:22-23; Mt 24:13)?
By works (John 5:28-29; Rom 2:6, 7; James 2:24)?
By grace (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8)?
By his blood (Rom 5:9; Heb 9:22)?
By His righteousness (Rom 5:17; 2 Pet 1:1)?
By His cross (Eph 2:16; Col 2:14)?
“Can we cut any one of these out of the list and proclaim it alone as the means of salvation? Can we be saved without faith? without God?s grace? without repentance? without baptism? without the Spirit? These are all involved and necessary; not one of them can be dismissed as a means of obtaining eternal life.
Neither can one be emphasized to the exclusion of another. They are all involved in salvation and entry into the Church. The Catholic Church does not divide these various elements of salvation up, overemphasizing some while ignoring others; rather she holds them all in their fullness.”