We are saved by faith when we trust that Jesus died for our sins. This is the gospel, or so we are taught. But what is faith? And does this accurately summarize the gospel? Because faith is frequently misunderstood and the climax of the gospel misidentified, the gospel’s full power remains untapped. While offering a fresh proposal for what faith means within a biblical theology of salvation, Matthew Bates presses the church toward a new precision: we are saved solely by allegiance to Jesus the king. Instead of faith alone, Christians must speak about salvation by allegiance alone. The book includes discussion questions for students, pastors, and church groups and a foreword by Scot McKnight.
“In reading Paul’s summary of the gospel, we quickly recognize that the gospel is not at its most basic level a tale about me and my quest for salvation (or even about ‘us’ and ‘our’ quest), but rather it is a grand, cosmic story about God’s Son and what he has done.” (Page 31)
“Anticipating my conclusions, the gospel is the power-releasing story of Jesus’s life, death for sins, resurrection, and installation as king, but that story only makes sense in the wider framework of the stories of Israel and creation. The gospel is not in the first instance a story about heaven, hell, making a decision, raising your hand after praying a certain prayer, justification by faith alone, trusting that Jesus’s righteousness is sufficient, or any putative human tendencies toward self-salvation through good works.4 It is, in the final analysis, most succinctly good news about the enthronement of Jesus the atoning king as he brings these wider stories to a climax.” (Page 30)
“The point is that real biblical faith is not a general positive mindset or a blind optimism but is directed toward a defined object—and it is the trustworthiness of the object that sources and fixes faith’s genuineness. So if we want to grow in faith, we should study and contemplate God’s extraordinary reliability.” (Pages 23–24)
“If we synthesize the biblical data, we discover that saving allegiance includes three basic dimensions: mental affirmation that the gospel is true, professed fealty to Jesus alone as the cosmic Lord, and enacted loyalty through obedience to Jesus as the king.” (Page 92)
In this well-argued book, Matthew Bates recovers a deeper sense of what the act of faith consists of as it is depicted in Scripture. He wisely observes that the story of the rich young ruler in the Synoptic Gospels presumes that salvation depends on certain human actions. How those actions are related to salvation by faith alone is a central question raised by this book and elegantly answered.
—Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame
In this bold, provocative book, Matthew Bates challenges Christians of all traditions to reexamine basic assumptions about the gospel, grace, the nature of salvation, and the meaning of ‘faith.’ His argument for saving faith as embodied, enacted allegiance is rooted in solid scholarship and presented with both zeal for the kingdom and concern for the church. This is a much-needed corrective to many misunderstandings.
—Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University
Matthew Bates argues that faith or believing is not mere assent, not easy believism, but covenantal loyalty to the God who saves his people through the Lord Jesus Christ. Bates forces us to rethink the meaning of faith, the gospel, and works with a view to demonstrating their significance for true Christian discipleship. This will be a controversial book, but perhaps it is the controversy we need!
—Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia
Bates makes a powerful argument that the New Testament writings find their climax in their portrait of Christ as the enthroned king. The right response to this king is not simply trust or intellectual assent but rather wholehearted allegiance. Bates’s reframing of faith, works, and the gospel is a necessary correction to prevalent distortions of Jesus’s gospel. This is an important argument written by a creative, careful, and trustworthy biblical interpreter.
—Joshua Jipp, assistant professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.