Website owner:  James Miller

[ Home ] [ Up ] [ Info ] [ Mail ]
  CRITERION FOR SALVATION                                  12/03

   Evangelicals believe that in order to be saved you have to 
   "accept Jesus as your Savior", "give your heart to Jesus", etc.  
   If you do this you will go to heaven, if you don't you won't.  
   If you ask them, "How about the devout, upright, God-fearing 
   man who has never heard of Jesus?  Will he go to hell?"  Their 
   answer will probably be, "Yes, he will go to hell".  And in 
   support of their position they can cite a large number of 
   passages in which Jesus said, in essence, "If you believe in me 
   you will be saved.  If you don't, you won't."  These statements 
   of Jesus are a bit puzzling and enigmatic, however, because one 
   can ask, "How about the devout, upright, God-fearing men spoken 
   of in the Old Testament?  Men such as Abraham and the prophets?  
   They don't meet this criterion.  Will they go to hell?"  Jesus 
   himself confirmed that these men would go to heaven.  So how do 
   you explain this?  If you take these words of Jesus in which he 
   said, "If you believe in me you will go to heaven, if you 
   don't, you won't" at their face value you appear to have a kind 
   of logical contradiction or conflict.  The whole thing is a bit 
   confusing.  If you assume that these godly men of the Old 
   Testament will indeed go to heaven, then what is the real 
   criterion for going to heaven?

   I would observe this:  If you remember that Jesus claimed to be 
   God then the statement, "If you believe in me (God) you will go 
   to heaven, if you don't you won't"  the criterion for going to 
   heaven becomes "belief in God (Jehovah God, the God of the 
   Bible)"  and that would be consistent with the idea of the 
   godly men of the Old Testament going to heaven.  And the idea 
   of belief or faith in Jehovah God as the criterion for 
   salvation is consistent with much of scripture.  However, it is 
   true that that criterion makes no explicit reference to Christ.  
   And it is also true that many passages make a distinction 
   between believing in God and believing in the Son of God and 
   the requirement is that one must believe specifically in the 
   Son of God.  For example, John 3:16-18, "For God so loved the 
   world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever 
   believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
   {17} For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the 
   world, but that the world through Him might be saved. {18} He 
   who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not 
   believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in 
   the name of the only begotten Son of God."

   When one considers all of the many statements of Jesus 
   presenting belief in him as the condition for going to heaven, 
   presenting himself as the only way to God, against the known 
   fact that many God-fearing, upright men of the Old Testament 
   will go to heaven, Jesus' statements seem cryptic, enigmatic 
   (to me, at least).

   The Old Testament criterion for salvation appears to be loving 
   God (Jehovah God), faith in God, and obedience to God by living 
   an upright, God-fearing life.  A question.  Did some change 
   occur in the criterion with the coming of Christ?  Does it make 
   sense that God would make any change in the criterion for 
   salvation of the soul?

   God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Wisdom (or Spiritual 
   Knowledge, Understanding, Spiritual Truth) are closely united.  
   A passage in the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 8:1-34) speaks of 
   Wisdom as a personage who accompanied God in the Beginning, in 
   the Creation.  Might this personage, Wisdom, be Jesus?  In the 
   first chapter of John, Christ is referred to as the "Word".  
   John 1:1-3  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
   with God and the Word was God. {2} He was in the beginning with 
   God. {3} All things were made through Him, and without Him 
   nothing was made that was made."  Could this "Word" be this 
   personage, Wisdom?  The term "Word" suggests "Word of God", an 
   idea suggesting "Divine Principle" or "Spiritual Knowledge".  
   In other words, might Jesus be viewed as Wisdom (or Spiritual 
   Knowledge, Spiritual Truth) incarnate?  In an effort to 
   understand statements of Jesus that seem cryptic, hard to 
   understand, I have sometimes equated Christ with Wisdom in the 
   passage to see if the words made sense.  I find they often do.  
   For example, in the words of Jesus, "I am the way, the truth 
   and the life.  No man comes to the Father except through me." 
   (John 14:6), if the "I" meant Wisdom, (or Spiritual Knowledge, 
   Understanding) the words would make sense.  Whether what I am 
   doing is legitimate or not, I don't know.  Whether I am on to 
   something in doing this, I don't know.  It does work very well 
   in a lot of the things he said.  I would note that the Holy 
   Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is closely connected 
   to the idea of an inner spiritual knowledge, a spirit of 
   righteousness and goodness, spiritual wisdom.  Jesus promised 
   to make his abode in his followers in the form of the Holy 
   Spirit i.e. spiritual knowledge, wisdom. 

   If there are a great many passages in which Jesus states the 
   criterion for salvation as believing in him, there are also a 
   great many passages in which he states that following his 
   teachings are a necessary condition for salvation.  Obedience 
   to the teachings of Christ is closely connected with Wisdom, 
   Spiritual Knowledge and Understanding.  One could argue that 
   they are the same.  And presumably when Jesus speaks of 
   believing in him he means that to include following his 

[ Home ] [ Up ] [ Info ] [ Mail ]