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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Must I believe Part 3

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

This post may make more sense if you read some of these 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

Next I'd like to look at one of the most popular verses in the Bible - John 3:16.  Let's look at a few verses around it too. John 3:14 - 21 (NIV)
"Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”  For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.  But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.
In this passage Jesus simply teaches that everyone who believes in Jesus, and believes in the name of Jesus, will have eternal life.  Seems simple enough.

But like the previous passages I looked at, Jesus does not list how much information about Himself we must believe.  Do we need to understand and believe all that He has done for us in the past, and all He is doing in the world today, and the how and why he does it? He doesn't say we have to understand original sin, where sin will lead us, the work of the cross, justification, sanctification, His mercy, or grace.  I'm starting to suspect salvation isn't based on how much information we believe about Jesus.  If it was, it would have been nice if Jesus had mentioned here what information we need to believe.

However,  on the other hand, is it simply enough to say we believe in Jesus, and live however we please? No.

This passage gives the basis for judging who truly believes. Note that the evidence of true faith is not about how accurate their belief system is.  It looks like it is based on having fruit.   The passage doesn't say we are saved by doing good deeds, but it does say good deeds will be evident if we are saved. Those who follow Christ will become transformed to become more like the one they are following.

I am starting to get some clarity on this topic, I hope it makes some sense to others as well. If salvation is based on agreement with a list of truth statements about Jesus, why don't we see Jesus providing such a list here or elsewhere.  If it is not about belief in some information, what are we to be placing our trust in?

I plan to look at a few more passages soon.  If you have any passages you want to suggest I include in this series please leave them in a comment.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

No comments: