Salvation is a complex topic and one that has been debated throughout Christian history. In general, the belief is that salvation comes through faith alone; that is, faith in Christ and his work on the cross is sufficient for salvation. However, there are some who believe that faith must be combined with works to achieve salvation, as James 2:17 says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (ESV).
Ultimately, the debate comes down to interpretation. Those who hold to the view of salvation through faith alone tend to emphasize verses like Ephesians 2:8-9, which state that faith is the only requirement for salvation. On the other hand, those who believe salvation requires faith plus works point to verses like Matthew 14:21, which states that “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (ESV).
In the end, it is up to individual believers to decide which interpretation of the Bible they will accept as true and to follow their conscience. A balanced approach that takes both views into account may be wise. After all, a person’s faith in Christ should result in righteous deeds and good works, though these works do not save us.