- This article is more than fourteen pages, and thus I will take all week to post Charity had a time proof reading this over a week. I would suggest that you remember this will be at least five posts.
- I might add, that the whole article should be read at the end of the week to make sense
Charity said "you do know this is not simple?" And I said yes. Its simple to me because I have taken a lot of time to study and think about this issue. The level of understanding of this topic comes after the Holy Spirit gives us the inner spirit to understand.
In my post "The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Interpretation of the Scriptures" Here is an example of this process. After a lot of study, and you put it down on paper, or you teach a class on this subject, its when the Holy Spirit opens your mind and gives you the ability to understand its content. The light of your understanding comes
Sometimes our understanding comes slow. But as we study and ask the Holy Spirit for discerning its meaning, in time our minds will be open to the truth that the Lord desires of to know.
How does a person come to be a Christian? What does God require of a person for salvation?
Jesus began His ministry in Galilee and He began preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent ye, and believe the gospel." Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14-15)
My question is this: "Is Jesus preaching that every person whom He is addressing in Galilee should ‘repent’ and believe the gospel?"
Can we learn by the preaching of Jesus, that He believed that every man could be saved? Did He believe that by His death on the Cross, everyone who believed, and has faith in Him, will be saved?"
How are we to understand what Jesus meant: "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and repent, and be baptized."
Did Jesus believe that any person who was living in His time could be saved? Jesus Christ the Son of God spoke to thousands of people in his 3 ½ year ministry on earth. The Son of God Jesus Christ preached the gospel daily! How many were born again during those 3 ½ years?
- "Believe." 4100. (strongs) Pistis: Being persuaded, faith, belief. Implies such a knowledge of, assent to, and confidence in certain divine truths.
For any of us who spend so much time preaching and teaching and studying, we seem to be at risk requiring so much biblical teaching. The difficulty I believe we have in our preaching is to preach the whole truth in fair proportion, or in balance. There is a tendency to exaggerate one doctrine over another, to push one point of doctrine at the expense of another and giving one thought undue prominence over another one.
Each of us have a viewpoint that we believe is correct, and from that point of view we view all other points of view. I am learning that we need to rightly understand the Word in all matters of its teaching in balance.
In one area that there is such a different point of view is in the work of Christ for us, and the operation of the Holy Spirit in us.
Justification by faith is a matter about which there must be no ambivalence, much less distortion. Yet we must stand firm that regeneration is necessary for every person that shall enter into heaven.
Scripture says clearly: "Ye must be born again."That is a clear gospel statement. Also scripture clearly points out: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." But I fear that some have preached this so boldly and so plainly, yet so badly and so out of all connection with the truth.
So much has this doctrine been taught out of connection with the whole truth, that they have lead many people into presumptuous confidences that their understanding of the regeneration is that of themselves and not of Christ alone.
I have heard the gospel in these terms, "Believe, believe, believe." And they don’t explain what it is to believe, and then they will put the whole stress of salvation upon FAITH without explaining what salvation is, and showing that it means deliverance from the power as well as from the guilt of sin. They so want to see people saved, that they badly explain the necessary means of salvation as Scripture points us to. We all have seen the results of such teaching. So few of those who fall under this kind of teaching about salvation, are seen in such a short time, fallen away from the very deliverance that salvation was to bring to them.
YET THERE IS THE OTHER EXTREME POSITION. We are most certain that a man must be made a new creature in Christ Jesus, or he is not saved. And too often this position of truth is forever dwelling upon the great change of conversion, and its fruits, and its consequences, and they seem to also forget what the Scripture plainly teaches that "whosoever believeth on Christ Jesus hath everlasting life." Here the danger is to set up so high a standard of experience, and to be so exacting as to the marks and signs of a true born again child of Christ.
So here are two points: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Just have faith in Christ and you shall be saved." A very simple gospel message. And some have concluded that those who simply believe by faith that they are saved, when they are not, having believed they believed when as yet they are total strangers to the experience which always attends true faith.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant and Proof Checked by Charity Whisnant