Saturday, January 27, 2018

IS THERE ANY HOPE OF SALVATION OUTSIDE OF FAITH IN JESUS?





Union theological Seminary, NYC devoted an entire chapel service to prove John 14:6 wrong through a number of testimonies:

·       Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

UTS is not alone in their assessment that this verse doesn’t preclude other ways of salvation. Others claim that Jesus can also save without a conscious faith in Him. They reason that “good” people can “know” Jesus through their “good deeds.”

Not only does the context of this verse rule out this possibility, there are many other verses that also claim that salvation must be through faith in Jesus.

·       Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36; 16)

·       Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life…Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:24, 28-29 (ESV)

Nor does it seem possible that we will be given another chance after death to place our faith in Jesus. The verses above seem to also indicate that those who die without having placed their faith in Jesus will have no other opportunity:

·       And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27; 2:3)

Often, the term “destruction” is used to describe the end of those who refuse to believe:

·       For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19 )

·       Jesus Christ…inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)

Scripture also describes the fate of the ones who do not place their faith in Jesus in other ways:
·       For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

False teacher are described as

·       …wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:13)

Jesus described hell as just as eternal as heaven:

·       “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)

In light of these verses, it is not showing love to suggest that there might be other ways of salvation. If the Bible is the Word of God, then love would require us to warn in a most urgent manner.

Is there hope for those who have never heard the Gospel? While it seems that judgment will also be based upon our level of understanding (Luke 12:47; Matthew 11:21-23), there is no hope extended to those who have never heard. Why not? Because everyone already knows about God through the evidence of His creation:

·       For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

We also know of the Creator through our conscience (Romans 2:14-16). Therefore, we all are guilty before God. Consequently, in love Jesus died for us and sent His Apostles out into the world with His Good News to save the world from the coming and final judgment (Matthew 28:18-20). If there is another means of salvation, His death would have been unnecessary, even barbaric.

The Bible gives us no hope of another way. If we are followers of Jesus, we must do as He had commanded His followers:

·       After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:1-3)

2 comments:

  1. Any Christian can cherry pick the Bible to support arguments of doctrines. I believe that The Lord reveals different things to different people for His purposes. Christian faith is about a personal relationship with The Lord . njp

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  2. Neal, Of course it's based upon a personal relationship, but this relationship is based upon the teaching of the Good News.

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