“In every generation there arise men from within the church who stumble into the Roman Catholic view of justification, and having stumbled, then attempt to import that Roman Catholic error into the Church of God so that the children of God might stumble with them. John Piper is just the latest in a long line of such men, and he will not be the last. Remarkably, on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Piper attempts to show that neither the Scriptures nor the Reformers held to final justification by faith alone apart from works. On September 25, 2017, Piper published “Does God Really Save Us by Faith Alone?”3 In the article, he maintains that initial justification is by faith alone, but introduces a concept that is completely foreign to the Bible: the concept of “final salvation” on the basis of our works and obedience. He writes, “In justification, faith receives a finished work of Christ performed outside of us and counted as ours — imputed to us…. In final salvation at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it has borne, and we are saved through that fruit and that faith.4
In Piper’s view of final salvation, he makes a distinction between justification and salvation in which we are justified by faith alone apart from works at the beginning, but we are saved by faith plus works at the end. He writes,
These works of faith, and this obedience of faith, these fruits of the Spirit that come by faith, are necessary for our final salvation. No holiness, no heaven (Hebrews 12:14). So, we should not speak of getting to heaven by faith alone in the same way we are justified by faith alone.
Essential to the Christian life and necessary for final salvation is the killing of sin (Romans 8:13) and the pursuit of holiness (Hebrews 12:14).5
Final salvation from future judgment is conditional. It will not happen apart from our persevering faith. … “salvation” refers to our future deliverance from the wrath of God at the judgment and entrance into eternal life.6“
I have included the full PDF for those who are sincerely interested in reading a remarkable and documented presentation of Piper’s position.