Serving an international
Vol. 9 No. 11 November 2007
Jesus said in
Of course, a person does not have to know all the truth about oak trees in order to be free from wrong ideas about how to raise peanuts. Nor does one have to know all the truth about everything God revealed in order to be saved. It has often been pointed out that those on Pentecost, the eunuch, the jailer and others knew very little, yet they were saved. We gladly admit it.
Now the question can be stated more sharply: “What truths must one know in order to be saved from sin?” Suppose that one learns that Jesus was a wonderful, loving person, a son of God, willing to die for his principles and for all humanity. That is truth. But he has not learned that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin, proved himself to be divine by the miracles He performed and by His resurrection. He may not even know the difference in the idea that Jesus is a son of God and Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, if you ask him if he believes in the resurrection, he will answer, “Yes,” but he does not believe that Jesus bodily came forth from the tomb. To hear some brethren talk, you would conclude that you have no right to ask him any questions except, “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?” Then you baptize him because he has come to think that God wants him to be baptized, but for what or on what basis, he has no idea. Is anyone willing to affirm that since he knew truth about Jesus he was therefore saved?
We are forced to conclude that when Jesus made the
Now let us suppose you learn what sin is, and that the wages of sin is death. You assume (believe) that you can get rid of it by confessing, “I believe that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me of sins.” Is that the truth? If not, can it make you free from sin? If so, why do we not just teach that and cease pretending to be the Lord’s church? If not, is one made free from sin by a proper application of the truth that relates to freedom from sin? Note that he is not made free from sin by an understanding and application of the truth about how and when to take the Lord’s Supper. But who will be so bold as to affirm that he is made free from sin by believing a lie and obeying a lie, though his motive was to obey the Lord? We know there are many who are that bold, but we have yet to see the logic or scriptural basis of their assumptions.
Keep in mind that Saul, who was chief of sinners, had the best motive in the world when he was persecuting Christians. He meant to obey God, and was trying to do it with all his power. One may say, “The difference in that and being baptized is that being baptized is a command of God, and killing Christians was not.” If one can prove that just being baptized, even in obedience to a false doctrine, is a command of God, then one might have a valid point. Our point is that merely having the right motive—to obey the Lord—does not necessarily mean that one has obeyed the Lord. It is very difficult for us to see how one could be accursed for teaching a false doctrine about how to be saved (Galatians 1:1-9) and yet a person could be saved by obeying that false doctrine. However, if someone will be kind enough to write in response to this showing how and why we should believe that, we shall be happy to learn better.