Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What Beliefs Part 4 - Whom Do I Trust?

This is part four of a series exploring the question: "What set of beliefs do all true Christ followers believe?"

Please read some of these other posts first:

What Must I Believe Part 1 - explanation and look at Acts 16:30 - 31
What Must I Believe Part 2 - where Jesus tells a woman she is saved
What Must I believe Part 3 - a look at John 3:16
What Beliefs Part 4 - Whom Do I Trust?
What Must I believe - Part 5 - more verses to consider
What Creed Must I believe - Part 6 - how creeds can divide

Yes, I'm playing with what we mean by words again. Please humour me as I find it helpful.   The way we use the terms believe and trust may impact how we read the passages I've looked at so far.

I believe in parachutes. I believe in the science behind them. I even have faith that they work (most of the time).   But I have never placed my trust in a parachute, and have no plans to trust a parachute with my life.

Or take this random fact for example:
"If you have 3 quarters, 4 dimes, and 4 pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar. "

(Canadians: just try to remember back to the days when we had pennies.)

Yes I believe this information. The math looks good. Do I place any trust in this statement? No. So far in my life this random fact has made little to no difference in my life.  I don't see the need to place any trust in this information.

Believing that information is correct can be different than placing trust in something.

Up to this point I have been looking at different passages of Scripture for a list of essential beliefs about Jesus that believers must believe to be 'saved'. So far I haven't been able to find such a list.  So I am leaning towards assuming saving faith isn't about faith in a correct set of doctrines or truth statements about God and Jesus.  I am thinking the object of our saving faith is something other than correct information.

When Jesus and others say we must "believe in Jesus" to be saved, they didn't say "believe the following about Jesus".

The greek terms for believe and faith in the previous passages can also be translated trust, or to have trust in.

So what happens if we substitute the terms belief or faith with trust?

We get statements like this:

  • Jesus said to the woman, “Your trust [in me] has saved you; go in peace.”
  • "He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who trusts in him will not perish but have eternal life."
  • “Trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Since none of the passages state "to be saved you must believe the following information or truth statements about Jesus", I think it makes sense to assume the object of our trust is in the person of Jesus.

It is not trusting in correct theology, but trusting in the source of truth Himself.

We see in James 2:19 that simply believing correct information about God does not count.  The demons likely have better understanding of theology that most of us.  The concern for them is where/whom they place their trust.
"You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear." (NET)

Obviously there is great value in having accurate theology.  If you are serious about following Jesus, you will want to understand Him better.  But the evidence of Scripture is leaning in favour of salvation based on trusting in the person of Christ, over trusting in some specific teachings about Christ.

I will continue this series with a list of other passages I have looked at.  If you want me to include a specific passage please let me know in a comment.

Please share your thoughts on this.


Mark Humphries said...

I like this series.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on Matthew 7:13-14

13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Mark. Do you see anything in that passage that sounds like the 'gate' is correct information? What comes to mind for me is how Jesus calls himself the Way. Also reading down to verse 23 gives the idea that there will be some who talk the talk but don't really know the person. There may be many that are relying on a religious system of some sort, but are not really trusting in the person the information is supposed to lead us to.

But that is just my current filter. How do you read it?

Mark Humphries said...

That verse tends to get used as a clear proof text that only a few will get into heaven but I think in the original context it's initially a historical warning to Israel of coming judgement for those who reject the messiah.

Since we all tend to read our theology back into scripture I think the original historical context is critical but is so often is passed over for the so called plain reading.

Jonathan said...

Sounds good to me. Thanks.

Steve Martin said...

He is "the Gate". He is "the Way. He is "the Bread of Heaven", etc. etc. etc.

He is our All in All.

Thanks, Jon.