(In no way do I intent to take away from the very personal connection people have to Jesus and the gospel. I only hope to lay things out in this post in a very easy to understand way, so I hope that this post is not taken the wrong way.)
Although my experience as a teacher is largely in a science classroom, I do have some background in math. And of course, in science, when you are trying to figure out the force of a speeding car or energy in a falling rock, math is also used. Just like a math or science equation, there is an equation involved in salvation.
The equation seems to go something like this:
Trust in the True Gospel + Trust in the True Jesus = Salvation
Now, like any equation, for the solution of the equation to be true (to be saved), the other parts of the equation (Jesus and the gospel) must also be true. Otherwise the equation falls apart.
So, let’s look at the first part: the true gospel. From scripture the gospel seems to involve the following:
- Repentance* (Luke 13:3)
- Trusting in God’s provision for sins (Jesus’ taking on of the sins of those who trust in Him) so that we might be made righteous (Genesis 15:6, John 3:16)
- Any works (circumcision, baptism and other “good deeds”) that we try to add to the gospel will cancel out our salvation (Galatians 5:4)
Not let’s look at the true Jesus.**
- Born of a virgin (Galatians 4:4)
- Fully human (Hebrews 2:17)
- Fully God (Romans 9:5, John 1:1)
- Crucified (Luke 23)
- Rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15)
- There are many others to be found in scripture, but to keep things short, I will let you find more of those on your own.
The second part of this equation can be a little tricky. I do think that someone can be saved and know very little about Jesus. However, once someone affirms a nature or characteristic that is not in line with what is explicitly taught in scripture about Jesus, at the very least they fall out of orthodoxy (they don’t believe what Christians have taught since Jesus was crucified) and at some point, I believe their “salvation is no longer intact” and they are no longer saved.***
Once these first two parts of the equation are right (or true), then the third part of the equation will be true also (the person is saved).
I have included some crude drawings below to help illustrate this idea.
|This is the only equation that works. We must trust in the ONLY true gospel (Galatians 1:7), and the ONLY true Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:4), that is the ONLY way to eternal life (Acts 4:12, John 14:6)|
|Even if what we believe about the nature of Jesus is true, we cannot be saved. If we distort the gospel, we are not saved (Galatians 5:4).|
|Only by trusting in the the true Jesus can we have eternal life. A Jesus that doesn’t exist, cannot possibly have the true gospel or even a false gospel. If that person doesn’t exist, they don’t have anything.|
This was originally posted here.