You hear many things come from the lips of those who profess to be Christians. We must know the truth so we can avoid the false. Today, let us consider salvation. What do we believe in for salvation? Is it the gospel? Is it the Church? Is it the Bible? Is it the Word of God? Is it Jesus Christ? Is it faith itself? Or is it salvation that we must believe in to be saved?
Let us first talk terms so that we are all speaking the same language.
Faith & Belief
mean simply persuasion. Sometimes in our English speaking cultures we attach sensibilities of magic to the word faith and sensibilities of credence to belief. However, they both are the same exact word in Biblical Greek. That word means persuasion. However, in the Bible faith is always to the point of action. Without the action the faith is useless. It is only in our modern ages with the history of witchcraft embedded in our cultures that we are capable of thinking of faith as a thing detached from actions and still having power. And this is no wonder, since through witchcraft they are forever trying to recreate Jesus’ resurrection, but raising the dead for evil purposes. Why should it be any different regarding dead faith that has no actions? They want to simply hold a mental ascent and gain the power of true faith without the hard work of aligning the actions of life to that faith. The apostate churches are founded on such witchcraft. Their gospel, which is no gospel at all, enshrines that idol of dead faith. They are all worthless and despicable for God’s purposes of bringing his Kingdom to Earth:
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven!
in the Biblical Greek means literally the true and beautiful announcement.
means in Biblical Greek, literally, the ones called out from (the whole collection of individuals in the world).
is a term not found in the Bible. The Bible is erroneously referred to as the Word of God. However, that is a title reserved in the Bible exclusively for Jesus as the 2nd member of the Trinity. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” [1 John 5.7] You can see that the Bible itself equates the Word of God with the 2nd member in the Trinity directly.
The Word of God
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
And John goes on a few verses later to explain that he is Jesus Christ:
“14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” [John 1.1-5, 14-17].
John is purposely referring back to the creation of the world when God spoke everything into being. It was through the word of God’s speech that everything in the world came to be. Then, later, that same word came to be a part of what was created through him. He is Jesus Christ.
Jesus was his first name, but Christ was not his last name. It was his title, meaning Saviour or Messiah and referred to his role in saving us.
Salvation in Biblical Greek also equally means to rescue. So, Jesus’ role is in rescuing human beings from the wrath of God that stands against them for the last and final day of God. On that day God will judge all human beings for what they have done, both good and bad. Then they will receive their just compensation accordingly.
Faith in What to Be Saved?
In as much as we keep the distinction in our hearts between the Bible, as God’s written testimony (not the Word of God), and Jesus Christ, who is the only Word of God, we can say that we must have faith in the Word of God. However, our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation is not as the Word of God, as much as it is the Lamb of God.
I am absolutely unworthy to be saved. The Lamb of God shows me this. What Jesus did when he died on the Cross was not a legal transaction, as the pagan Christians want to turn it into and abuse the beauty of the single greatest event in human history. That amazing event was not a legal transaction to get us off the hook and create a decoy toward God. The word decoy appears in the Scriptures and it is always very evil. Jesus was not participating in setting up an evil thing in the form of a decoy to trick God regarding our sinfulness and his righteousness. For the Apostle John declares:
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. [1 John 1.7-8]
Jesus is not a liar. Those pagan Christians who claim Jesus died to set up a decoy make Jesus out to be a sinner. For in the Testimony of God it declares at the end of the Book:
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [Revelation 21.8]
They would that Jesus were condemned to everlasting damnation in the Lake of Burning Sulphur as a liar. Jesus is not a liar. And God the Father is not a fool! And those pagan Christians are wicked.
Do we have to have faith in faith in order to be saved? It sounds romantic, but it is a desolate idea. Having faith in the act of having faith means the object of faith can be anything and that it would not matter what you believed in. There would only be a distinction between those who give mental ascent to something, anything, and those who are skeptics through and through. In that case, only skeptics would go to Hell. It is a gospel of optimism, condemning anyone who refuses to hold optimistic thoughts, regardless the content of those thoughts. There have been pagan churches built on this idea. The most famous was the Crystal Cathedral in California that came out of Norman Vincent Peal’s preaching, called The Power of Positive Thinking. That is not going to save us from God’s wrath against our sins. Just thinking positively does not stop us from sinning. Consider the sin of gluttony. The glutton is very optimistic about the joy of eating her food. That optimism will land her in Hell. This same message is at the heart of many churches today, such as are formed around the preaching of Joel Osteen, and the likes. As long as it is positive they call that the gospel. It is an inoculation against the true Gospel of Christ.
Perhaps we can avoid placing our faith in Jesus Christ by simply believing in salvation itself? If we believe we will be saved, then perhaps that belief will be enough to convince God that we are on His side and that we accept his salvation, whatever the terms are that he wants to write into the contract. We surrender all, as the pagan Christians sing in their mesmerizing, repetitive chants. God’s salvation is far more deliberate and requires much more participation on the part of the one being saved. You can see in Romans 10 below.
So Then Faith in What?
The gospel is the true and beautiful announcement that Jesus came to be the Saviour for us from God’s wrath, by destroying the works of the devil that condemned us, that is our sins. We come out of the whole collection of individuals in the world, in order to become among them who are called out by Jesus, as when he called his Disciples out of the same whole collection of individuals to come follow him.
The Bible is the testimony of two covenants God has made. The Old Covenant was with the Hebrews in the desert, who were called out of the whole collection of individuals in the most powerful nation on earth, Egypt. The New Covenant is with those from all ethnicities that are called out of the whole collection of individuals in the world. This is the Church. That calling that we heard was spoken to us by the Word of God, preached so that we may hear and be persuaded to the point of changing our actions away from sins completely and to the righteousness God requires of us, completely.
In this way, Jesus destroys the works of the devil in us, nailing them to the Cross, freeing us from sin, giving us new life. When we cooperate, by crucifying ourselves with Jesus on the Cross, in agreement that Jesus, the Lamb of God, is perfect and sinless, but I am not, I die finally, so that Christ may live in me. When I invite Jesus in to govern my life, through that mighty baptism that brings me to life in him, then I enter into that beautiful and true announcement, which is the way to eternal life.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [Galatians 2.20]
I live by faith in the Son of God. I LIVE by persuasion. I live according to the persuasion in the Son of God, step by step, action by action, choice by choice. He loved me and made his choices and actions for me when he chose in the Garden of Gethsemane to go to the Cross and die. He continued in that choice step by step up Golgotha hill, the hill of skulls, to lie down on that precious wood and allow them to drive the iron through the Lamb of God, fixing him in place and raising him up high on the hill for all to see. There, behold! The innocent Lamb from God, the most innocent among all men, who did not struggle against the beatings nor the piercings. He hangs there to uncover in an apocalypse the viciousness of all of the sins of humanity on the blameless, spotless, pure, the Holy one of God, as the demon said in Mark 1.
I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. [Mark 1.24]
He had to be the Holy One of God, blameless and pure, the Lamb of God, to uncover apocalyptically the utterly evil capabilities of sin.
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [2 Corinthians 5.14-21]
In the final verse, 21, it literally says:
For the one not knowing sin, above us he is made sin, in order that we may come to be an equitable righteousness of God in him. [2 Corinthians 5.21, TRW]
As the Lamb of God, Jesus revealed the utter viciousness of sin. His complete innocence from sin made the crowd angry against him. They screamed for his death. And when Pilate offered a substitute for Jesus, they rejected it and cried out more for the blood of Jesus. The most innocent man to ever live on the planet was the target of the blood lust of our sins. For the Jewish leaders who incited the mob and the mob who were incited, were no different than you and me before we were crucified with the Lamb of God and raised through baptism as he was raised from the grave. We were not so innocent though and that contrast is the osmotic pressure that gives power to the true and beautiful announcement of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and rebellious people. [Romans 10.9-21]
They who had heard the gospel were disobedient.and rebellious. They did not combine what they heard with faith and therefore they died in the desert.
1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [Hebrews 4.1-11]
We must combine what we hear with faith, meaning to labor to enter into his rest. If we do not, then we will fall like those who died in the desert and did not enter the Promised Land.