This was the question asked by Pilate so many years ago as he questioned Jesus of Nazareth concerning the charges brought against him by the Jewish religious leaders (John 18:38). It seems not much has changed in the past 2,000 years as many are still asking the same question. There appears to be an endless quest to find the truth, but there also appears to be much disagreement concerning the source one may use to find it. This is where the word of God comes in. Scripture is not simply the truth. It is the standard by which all truth is judged. Allow me to elaborate.
Certainly the Bible is not a book about Physics or Mathematics or Science or Geography. So, one would not necessarily consult the Scriptures in order to solve an algorithm or find the capital of Zimbabwe. However, when it comes to spiritual matters…faith and practice…life and things that really matter, God’s word is absolutely indispensable. God’s word is faithful and trustworthy. There is no other book like it on earth. Even the most trusted works of literature which are taught in schools and commonly accepted as accurate do not come close to the mountain of evidence for the accuracy and reliability of the Bible.
Now, I could write for pages and pages, explaining all the intricate details of the statement I have made concerning the accuracy, reliability, and truth of the Bible. That, however, is not my intention in this particular post. I need to say some things about the truth according to Scripture as it pertains to the most important subject: salvation. I intend to assert some axioms of biblical Christianity, not according to the church, but according to the Bible…not according to what man says, but according to what God says.
First, the human race is made of sinners who are separated from God. As Mark Driscoll once said, “There are not good people and bad people; there are bad people and Jesus.” The Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve rebelled against the authority of God, the human race has been under a curse which separates us from God. We all have an incurable disease that is passed down from generation to generation. No human possesses the capability to remedy this problem apart from divine intervention. Thankfully, God made a provision for this problem before the foundation of the world. God is sovereign. We are not.
Second, Jesus Christ, who is himself God, took on the form of a human and inserted himself into our world so that he could do some things we are incapable of doing. He lived a life free from sin. We can’t do that. He fulfilled God’s righteous requirements completely. We can’t do that. He paid the penalty for sin by willingly subjecting himself to torture and ultimately death. We aren’t prepared to do that. Before I get ahead of myself, here are some Scripture references that speak to these truths:
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:1-4).
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
Third, Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation. We cannot earn salvation and forgiveness. It is completely a gift of God’s free grace. All those who receive God’s gracious gift of life by believing in Jesus, trusting in him completely for salvation and forgiveness will be saved for all eternity. This concept proves difficult for many to comprehend, especially in a culture that constantly teaches independence and self-sufficiency. The Bible, however, teaches this truth very clearly. Consider these examples:
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”” (John 3:3).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom 10:9-10).
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved”” (Rom 10:12-13).
Finally, you must respond to the grace and mercy of God in Christ. These Scripture passages listed above (plus numerous others) show us a couple things about salvation and forgiveness. They do show us that Jesus accomplished redemption on the cross, in our place, on our behalf. They also show us, however, that we must believe in Jesus. We must receive the free gift he offers. We must trust in him completely as the only source of forgiveness and eternal life. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit of God enables us to hear with our ears, see with our eyes, understand with our minds, and feel with our hearts such that we are convicted of our sins, realize our need for a Savior, and place our faith in Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice on our behalf. Salvation, from beginning to end, is a work of God.
These are not my opinions. These are the words of God.
“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11-13).
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart. Today is the day of salvation. Trust in Jesus.