Incredibly, the exact phrase “salvation by faith” occurs nowhere in the Bible.
The words “salvation through faith” do appear (2 Timothy 3:15, 1 Peter 1:5), but they convey an entirely different meaning. “Through faith” implies that faith is a passive vessel through which we receive the gift of salvation. “By faith”, on the other hand, infers that our faith is the means or method by which we obtain salvation, which sits there like some object waiting for the taking.
But, when it comes to defining exactly what it is that does save us, Paul is absolutely clear:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast” Ephesians 2:8,9
Faith doesn’t save us, Jesus does; we just have trust that it is so.
Faith is actually about trust. So much of what the Bible says about faith makes a lot more sense when you read the word “trust” for the word “faith”.
Apart from the need to swing the pendulum back a little, there are two reasons for this shift in our understanding of faith:
First, the gifts of God’s grace and all that Jesus has done for us can only be received by trust.
Second, only through trust can you live by grace.
Just pause for a moment and let that sink in. Let it be one thought you carry with you for a day or two:
It is only through trust can you live by grace.