Website owner: James Miller
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY IN REGARD TO THE CRITERION FOR SALVATION? 12/91 What criterion will God use in deciding the eternal destiny of the human soul? On what criterion will he base his decision in deciding whether a soul will be sent to heaven or to hell? What does the Bible have to say on the subject of salvation? What criterion does it set forth that one must meet in order to go to heaven? This question we have just asked is probably the most important of all religious questions. What does the Bible have to say? If we collect all the passages together that have something to say on this subject (and there are many, especially in the New Testament) we would have a very difficult time stating a clear answer to this question. Some passages seem to give one criterion, other passages another criterion, and still other passages still another criterion. When one puts all the different passages together it is not at all clear what the real criterion is. Some of the criteria seem to be at odds with other criteria. There seems to be some inconsistencies and contradictions between different passages of scripture. There may be a number of passages that would suggest one criterion but then there are also a number that would suggest a quite different criterion. So, considered all together, all these different passages give a rather nebulous and confusing answer to the question. In fact, they give no clear answer. The words and phrases that are used in defining the criterion are often rather vague and nebulous. One can well ask questions like: "What precisely is meant by phrases such as 'belief in Jesus', 'faith in God', etc.". I personally believe that the real criterion amounts to "turning away from sin, turning to God, and following him by leading a righteous, upright life." This seems to be the criterion implied by much of scripture and it appeals to my reason and common sense. All I have said, I state as what I think is an impartial assessment of the situation. As a Christian I think one of the first and most important things that are required of me is honesty. And I must then be honest in my appraisal of this situation. One of the big mistakes that evangelicals make is to claim that the Bible gives a clear, unequivocal answer to the question of how to be saved. When they do this they are just not being honest. They are not being honest with themselves or with others. This is the beginning of their self-deception. It is their first big mistake. They present their particular formula for salvation and quote all the scripture that supports this formula. And they say the Bible is perfectly clear and there is just no question. What they do is to simply ignore and refuse to see all the scripture that conflicts with their particular viewpoint. They persist in lying to themselves in this regard and soon come to be perfectly blind to all scripture that is inconsistent with their viewpoint.