Website owner: James Miller
NEW TESTAMENT CRITERION FOR SALVATION --- SAME AS THE OLD TESTAMENT CRITERION? 3/85 The pre-Christian, Old Testament message in regard to salvation seems to be that preached by John the Baptist: "Repent of your sins, forsake evil, turn to God. He will then forgive you of your sins and save you." This message seems to be the main thrust of the Old Testament. We hear it there again and again. Now I ask a question: Did Jesus, when he came, change this recipe for salvation? Did the criterion for being saved change with the arrival of Jesus? What exactly is the "gospel" (i.e. the "good news") that the New Testament represents? Did Jesus add anything to this Old Testament recipe for salvation? If so what? Jesus was God. Does it make sense that God, at some point in human history, would change the recipe for the salvation of the human soul? Jesus made a number of statements in reference to salvation. Many of his statements seem to say that the recipe for salvation is believing or trusting in him (those which imply that the criterion is believing in him are somewhat intellectually troublesome because we know that even the devils believe and tremble). At other places Jesus makes statements which emphasize the importance of following his teachings and commandments and "living in him" as critical to being a true disciple of his. And, in addition, to these statements that Jesus made in regard to salvation we know that Jesus also endorsed John the Baptist and his message. So from all the statements that Jesus made in regard to the subject of the salvation of the human soul did he attempt to present any new criterion for salvation, one any different from that presented by John the Baptist and the Old Testament? If so, what was it and how was it different? The modern day evangelicals have a couple of phrases which they use as a recipe or formula for salvation: "accepting Christ as your personal Savior" and "giving your heart to Christ". What exactly and precisely do they mean by these phrases? Exactly what do they entail? Do they represent a different criterion for salvation from that presented by John the Baptist? If so, how is that criterion different? Are they suggesting that you can be saved through a ritualistic, one-time act that will guarantee your salvation regardless of what you may do, or what spiritual turns your heart may take, subsequent to that act? There is a problem for the Christian in the John the Baptist / Old Testament recipe for salvation. The recipe makes no mention of Christ. Yet most of the teachings of Christ can also found in the Old Testament. He added little, if anything, to what is taught in the Old Testament and he endorsed the Old Testament and its teachings. Since Christ claimed to be God is perhaps belief in God, trusting in God, revering and serving God equivalent to belief in Christ, trusting in Christ, revering and serving Christ? Christ came down to earth for a very specific and theologically important purpose: to pay for the sins of mankind by dying on the cross; to be that sacrificial lamb whose blood would atone for man's sins in order that sinful man could be saved. But did he actually change the criterion for salvation?