‘Saving Faith’ Versus ‘Miraculous Faith’

by Rex Rouis

Over time, the Church has shifted from relying on spiritual revelation to embracing rational thought for self-awareness. This transformation began early after the Resurrection and intensified during the Enlightenment (1600s-1800s). It has influenced how we interpret the Bible and approach faith in God. In today’s era, skepticism toward the miraculous challenges our understanding of God and our connection with Him. We are steeped in doubt.

A significant aspect of this deception is downplaying the impact of salvation on the believer’s physical life and well-being. While belief in nonphysical spiritual salvation is allowed, acknowledging a physical aspect, such as healing, is discouraged. Tangible and physical matters are dismissed, and anything beyond the understanding of the rational mind is rejected. This leaves believers navigating a spiritually challenging world without the overt supernatural support of the Holy Spirit.

This thinking has created a disconnect between a ‘saving or salvation faith’ and a ‘miraculous faith.’ There is only one faith, and there is only one salvation. Some of God’s miraculous works may be unseen or unfelt, while others are tangible – both are expressions of God’s power.

Jon Mark Ruthven, PhD says it this way:

Related to the human condition is salvation. Traditionally, ‘salvation’ involves forgiveness of sin, regeneration, ethical living, and one’s acceptance into heaven. Biblical theology expanded the notion to include rescue from oppressors (human and demonic) and physical healing. Analysis of the semantic field for salvation in the NT drives the term even more toward the physical, though including the ethical. For example, where the context is clear, virtually all of the references in the gospels to ‘salvation’ (Soteria) apply principally to physical healing. Salvation in the New Testament is a much broader term than in traditional evangelicalism.

I did a non-scientific word usage study in the Gospels a while back.  Two words in Greek are used to convey the meanings and implications of salvation -‘ Soteria,’ Strong’s Concordance #4991, and ‘Sozo,’ Strong’s Concordance #4982. Together, they are used a total of 54 times.

This is how the usage breaks down in the Gospels:

Word Usage Category Matthew Mark Luke John Total
Vague Reference To Salvation 0 0 3 1 4
Forgiveness From Sin – Spiritual 4 3 8 4 19
Physical Healing & Demonic Deliverance 2 6 5 1 14
Physical Rescue From Harm or Danger 8 4 4 1 17

When considered collectively, the physical dimensions of salvation, such as healing, deliverance, and protection from harm, receive more attention in scripture than the prominently emphasized purpose of forgiveness of sins. Jesus frequently demonstrated the hidden aspect of spiritual forgiveness by manifesting visible physical healing.

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” Matthew 9:4-6

There is only one faith, and there is only one salvation.
Various expressions of physical salvation, including bodily healing, liberation from demonic forces, and protection from harm, constitute an essential aspect of the broad salvation achieved by Jesus on the Cross. God’s redemption for humanity is intended to encompass spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions. Accessing all of these benefits requires the same simple faith.

Modern man is reluctant to embrace the miraculous because of the limitations of the intellect. The outcome is the removal of these miraculous elements from the foundational concept of the Gospel. They are then relegated to a secondary role of merely lending validity to Christ and the Gospel.

Jon Mark Ruthven, PhD goes on to say:

Traditional concepts of ‘miracle’ rely on a highly rationalistic epistemology and anti-biblical concepts of nature. The function of miracles was largely evidential (they were ‘proof’ for the Gospel) or metaphorical of traditional ‘salvation’ (the blind see the light of the Gospel; the deaf hear the Word, etc.). Biblical theology moved the concept of miracles much closer to a biblical worldview, involving elements of revelatory disclosure and faith. On scriptural grounds, one may argue that God’s ‘mighty acts’ did not ‘point’ to the Gospel, as the unfortunate English translation, ‘sign’ implies, but rather express the Gospel: they do not prove the Gospel, they are the Gospel. This does not diminish Christ’s atonement for sin, but it does affirm His atonement for sickness as well (Mt 8:16).

The purpose of the miraculous is not merely to authenticate; rather, it constitutes the essence of God’s workings. Miracles exist in both the unseen, hidden realm and the observable domain. God has a heart for both. The same faith in God grants access to both dimensions of the miraculous.

Faith for miracles obtains miracles. Faith is required. When faith for miracles diminishes, so do miracles. This is the condition we find ourselves in today. Missionaries working in the Third World witness more miracles because there is less resistance to the miraculous. Those societies are more acquainted with spiritual things – good and bad- than our insulated and sanitized environments. They are more open to simply receiving. We must understand to receive.

Jon Mark Ruthven, PhD, states:

Faith served in traditional Protestant theology as one of the three key ‘solas’ and was primarily defined over against ‘works’—the referents of both terms competing as the means of ‘salvation.’ Reformation scholastics developed the dichotomy of ‘saving faith’ (for every Christian) and ‘miraculous faith’ (limited to the apostolic era as proof of doctrine). Where traditional systematic theology texts discuss ‘faith,’ it is almost exclusively associated with Protestant’ salvation.’ This is not the emphasis of the NT. As with the other major doctrines of the NT above, the doctrine of ‘faith’ strongly connects to a broad and normative charismatic experience. Content analysis shows that a substantial proportion—about one-half—of Jesus’ teaching to his disciples dealt with the areas of faith, most often in the context of miracle stories. An analysis of the Pistis family of words (‘faith/believe’) in the NT shows that, where the context is explicit as to the ‘intended result’ of faith, 93 of all 230, or over 40% of the passages, refer to healings and other acts of power.

We must return to the faith initially handed down to and practiced by the early believers.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you, appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. Jude 1:3

While our minds and intellects are precious gifts from God, they may not always represent the highest and most optimal form of our connection with Him.

But a natural (merely intellectual) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Corinthians 2:14

Let’s put our intellects in their proper place and walk in the spirit in faith for the miraculous. This is what the Bible wants us to do.

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” – Paul


Jon Mark Ruthven, PhD quotes taken from – Back to the Future for Pentecostal/Charismatic Evangelicals in North America and World Wide: Radicalising Evangelical Theology and Practice


  1. Great article, we only need to look at how the Bible itself talks about salvation to know it implies more than ethical benefits.

    I’ve always used the example of David praying for God’s help in the Psalms to illustrate this point. He didn’t ask God to merely save him from the guilt of his sin, from spiritual sickness, or emotional distress, he was expecting God to physically, actually deliver him from actual, physical enemies and conspirators, and from bodily disease that brought him closer to Sheol.

  2. I have seen so many miracles as God delivered me from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of His Son Jesus. Thank you for thenwork you do on this site, I spent days and months on it. Guided with love to walk a Christian life. The gaps in my knowledge of Christ were huge and heavy burdens of confusion, sin and ignorance were on me, each with its demons. I cannot thank you enough. With prayerful crying out to God, I asked and received the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you Jesus.

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