Sunday, January 25, 2009


My purpose is to help people to understand Jesus as we can get to know him in the New Testament. The last thing I want to do is present something and have people take issue with my presentation and never go to the Bible to find out for themselves. If you disagree with what the Word teaches, then your issue is with God, not with me. I don't have the authority or power to change a human heart. If you choose to reject the Bible as being authoritative to life or have concluded that the Bible is in error, inconsistent, or just irrelevant for current times, then it really doesn't matter what I say because you have already made up your mind and have no intention of growing to be more like Christ anyway, since the Bible is where you would get to know Him. I am concerned over your spiritual growth and the eternal state of your soul, as I am my own.

It concerns me that so many are deceived as they are creating their own god(s) instead of seeking to know the one true God. Jesus said it would be that way (Matthew 7:13-14). I heard someone say not long ago that the churches are filled with "baptized unbelievers." That thought has stuck with me because I am finding it to be more and more prevalent. These are people who have supposedly accepted Christ at some point and claim to be Christian, yet defend anti-Christian ways and beliefs. Something to think and pray about.

In this post I want to deal with the topic of Jesus being the only source or author of salvation, the one and only way to God and eternal life. Some call this the exclusivity of Christianity, a sore spot for those advocating an inclusive system of belief. I won't discuss all the major world religions here, but I have done formal studying of Islam ( college level independent study with an archaeologist who supervises a "dig" in Jordan and knows Islam fairly well) along with studies in the Old and New Testaments, which covered Judaism and Christianity, including the various sects of each. I say that not to set myself up as an authority on world religions (I have only scratched the surface), but I have spent enough time looking at them to know that each of the 3 major religions mentioned above is exclusive and ,in their purest forms, excludes the others. Judaism, however, is the first part of the story of God's pursuit of man which is completed in Christ (The Book of Hebrews or Stephen's speech in Acts 7 can give you a good background for the connection).

That being said, Christians are often attacked as being narrow because they are limiting salvation to only those who follow Christ. I know that is not popular and won't get a high-five from your non-Christian friends, but that is what the Bible teaches and it reveals Jesus saying the same thing, in a variety of ways. This doctrine was supported by Jesus' disciples and continued on in the church as it grew in numbers and influence. Yes, there was rejection of it and continues to be in the current age as those opposed to it call it foolish, intolerant, hatred, just to name a few of the labels attached to it. The cross is central to the gospel of Jesus Christ: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18) Without the cross there is no salvation. When other ways are treated as equal ways to redemption, you spit on the cross and say it was meaningless and unnecessary and those who understand the cross know that daily clinging to the cross is what provides hope and assurance of eternal life and victory over the things of the world. And there is only ONE cross and ONE savior.

Below you will find a list of verses for meditation:
Matthew 10:32-33
Mathew 12:32
Mark 16:16
Luke 9:23-27
Luke 12:8-9
John 3:16-21
John 5:19-47
John 6:26-58
John 8:31-32
John 10: 1-18
John 12:44-50
John 14:6
John 15:5-6
Acts 4:10-12
Acts 5:31-32
1 Corinthianns 3:10-23
Hebrews 9:24-28
1 John 5:1-12

If you want to dig really deep in full-book studies, I recommend reading the Gospel of John, Hebrews, and Romans. Be prepared to be challenged in your soul.

If you want to add to your reference library, I recommend Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem and New Testament Theology by Donald Guthrie.Happy Reading


Anonymous said...

Many churches today are divided because they've set aside biblical truth in fear that they will offend someone, and that includes the teaching of the pure and unadulterated truth of the gospel. It is a fact that different doctrines of the bible are debated among different based churches. That has always been the major reason for theologians and scholars to search the scriptures (from the Hebrew and Greek text). But churches today are becoming silent. By that I mean, they are conforming to every wind of doctrine to satisfy their own purpose and are not crying out in opposition to defend the Truth of the gospel. They rather remain quiet about sin and offends too much. And for that matter, many churches are not even searching or intersted in the Truth anymore. Many churches today are springing up with 25,000 members or more over night. Many of their doctrines are a far cry from the Word of God. They have dilluted the Word of God and have dilluted the hope of salvation (if it's even taught!). They inject their own human viewpoint for their own glory and have brought nothing but confusion to the christian faith. I am not saying that all large churches are like this by any means. Many of them still teach sound doctrine. But many of the new rising churches with auditoriums the size of a football field are bringing in their numbers with a gospel they feel has to be softened around the edges if they even preach the gospel. THANK GOD for all the churches that are not compromising the bible. That being said, we live in an age today where the saving grace of Jesus Christ has become no more than claiming, "Yeah, I believe in Jesus." And the sadness of it all, is people actually believe they are going to heaven just by mouthng the name of Jesus. The bible teaches that even the demons believe and tremble at the name of Jesus.(James 2:19) If the demons believe in Jesus and yet they are condemned to an everlasting punishment, the question is, "is there more to becoming a christian than just saying, "I believe in Jesus?" The bible ALONE can answer that question and bring an unbeliever to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The verses given above by Jon answer that question in full so I won't add to his list. God has given each believer the spiritual insight to know His word, through prayer first, and by studying. The Holy Spirit gives us the increase to understand it as we grow as christians. In I Peter 3:15, the Lord commands us to be prepared to give a defense to every man who asks a question concerning the hope that is in us. That's not only referring to the gospel alone, but any question that is presented to us concerning the scriptures. We need to be prepared to expound and articulate our belief. If we don't even know the elementary things of God, how can we defend God's word? It's one of the highest priviledges we have, to be able to carry the gospel to an unbeliever and also to be able to share the Word of God with others who are seeking after God .

Anonymous said...

I'd like to share an editorial I read not too long ago. The name of the article is, Who Holds the Future? I think it's relevent to the topic Jon wrote about concerning salvaton. The article went something like this. A conversation took place between a militant, Russian Communist (who was a desciple of Marx and Lenin), and between an elderly christian man just after the collaspe of the Soviet Union. The communist boasted about his beliefs of Communist dogma and atheistic viewpoints. The Communist fianlly asked the elderly christian man what he had to say in defense of his beliefs. The elderly man replied in response, "I can never compare myself with your superior intellect and your ability to talk so knowledgable about politics and religion. But I do know I have one advantage over you in one aspect in my life. I'm assured of my future and you are not". The elderly man knew without a doubt that no matter what happened on this earth, when he departed from this world he would be with God. He knew the Communist could not cling to that hope because the Comminist didnot believe in God. Christ holds the future for anyone who is willing to lay his life at the cross of Jesus. It's not just an atheist, or an agnostic that has no hope for the future, but anyone who opposes the truth of God's saving grace. World events are happening so fast these days. Those that study the bible are very much aware of how these world events relate to things God warned us about in scripture. We may not understand everything that happens in this life, but we can be assured of who holds our future! Romans 10:9,10

Anonymous said...

Good grief....sorry about all the misspelled words in my last comment! My fingers were going a mile a minute and I didn't think to check if there were any mistates. (: