In Luke 7:50 we read, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” How are we to understand this verse?
In Luke 7:50, we read about a woman who had washed Jesus’ feet with a very precious ointment. Jesus said to her in Luke 7:48, ”And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.” When Jesus said this to her, at that moment, she had become saved. The only way anyone’s sins can be forgiven is if Christ has paid for those sins and applied His salvation to the life of that individual. In the original Greek language of the New Testament, Luke 7:50 says, ”And he said to the woman, The faith of thee having saved thee; go in peace.” If we isolate this verse from the rest of the Bible, we can get the impression that her faith saved her, and faith is a work. The Bible is very clear about the fact that if we want to do the work of God, we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. We read this in John 6, and other passages, which say that faith is a work.
Jesus is apparently saying, “Because you have done the right work, the work of faith, you have become saved.” But, we know He cannot mean that because it would be contrary to the fact that our salvation is not of works. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9: ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
We read in Galatians 2:16, ”Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
The faith that saved this woman (in Luke 7) had become her faith, but it originally was Christ’s faith. Christ saved her. Christ’s work is now counted for her. She of herself could never do anything to become saved. She was saved by the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. She became identified with Christ, and so God uses language like, “Thy faith having saved thee.” Christ is the very essence of faith. We read in Revelation 19 that His name is faithful.
We could paraphrase Luke 7:50 to say, “Thy Christ having saved thee.” Christ is “thine” or “yours” now because He has saved you. You were spiritually dead, and Christ has saved you by His faith. You were not saved by your faith apart from Christ.