Trusting God Rather than Trusting Mankind

Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.” – Therefore every Christian should be a young earth creationist.

Isaiah 66:2 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

Proverbs 3:5,6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.
Psalm 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.

Ps 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

Advertisements

What about those who don’t hear about Jesus before they die?

In this post, I’ll seek to offer a possible explanation of God’s justice in dealing with people who never hear about Jesus before they die. I’ll also look at God’s justice, and those who never heard of God’s Old Testament/Covenant with the Jews. In addition, I’ll think about how God may have dealt with people before the Mosaic covenant.

Starting with the Christian covenant, I present this quote from Professor William Lane Craig’s article, How Can Christ Be the Only Way to God?:

God in His providence has so arranged the world that those who would respond to the Gospel if they heard it, do hear it. The sovereign God has so ordered human history that as the Gospel spreads out from first century Palestine, He places people in its path who would believe it if they heard it. Once the Gospel reaches a people, God providentially places there persons who He knew would respond to it if they heard it. In His love and mercy, God ensures that no one who would believe the Gospel if he heard it is born at a time and place in history where he fails to hear it. Those who do not respond to God’s general revelation in nature and conscience and never hear the Gospel would not respond to it if they did hear it. Hence, no one is lost because of historical or geographical accident. Anyone who wants or even would want to be saved will be saved.

So what about the Old Covenant? Here I think Acts 17:22-31 is instructive:

22 ¶ Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;
23 “for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
25 “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
26 “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
27 “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
28 “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
29 “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
31 “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Paul says, “these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,…” I take this to mean God judged Gentiles, not by the covenant with Israel, but by the knowledge of God they had through nature and conscience. As Paul teaches in Romans 2:14,15:

14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,
15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

So God, knowing the hearts, had a standard by which he judged Gentiles.

Finally, what about people who lived before the Mosaic covenant? I believe God dealt with those Gentiles, since the whole world was Gentile at that time, in the same way he dealt with Gentiles during the Mosaic covenant.

In this way, I believe God would be shown to be perfectly just in his dealings with humanity, regarding the issue of salvation.

Once Saved Always Saved

In this post I will show that the doctrine of Eternal Security is true, and an integral part of salvation through faith alone.

In Romans 8:29,30 Paul teaches:

29 ¶ For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Paul says that those who are justified (through faith alone in Christ alone), God “also glorified.” He speaks of the believer’s glorification in the past tense, because as far as God is concerned, for those who are justified through faith in Christ, their glorification is already accomplished.

Further, those who truly believe in Christ will not live lives of continuous, unrepentant sin, as Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

9 ¶ Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

So we see that the eternal security of the believer is a fact of Scripture. But how does this relate to salvation through faith alone? If people were saved by faith, but then had to keep commandments in order to stay saved/keep their salvation, then salvation would be by faith and works. But eternal security means that once a person truly believes in Jesus, no sin they commit can cause them to lose their salvation. Thus salvation is purely by faith, and not by works at all. And so the doctrine of Eternal Security is integral to a proper understanding of salvation by faith alone.

If you are interested in learning more about the eternal security of the believer and the truth of salvation through faith alone, I highly recommend Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of God’s Sovereignty and Free Will.

The Only Gospel that Saves

In this post I seek to explain my position on the Gospel as a Protestant. I understand salvation to be by faith alone in Christ alone. Further, my understanding is that any Gospel that adds works to faith in order to achieve salvation, is not a saving Gospel. Matt Slick states in his article titled Can Roman Catholics be Saved?:

“…in Roman Catholicism salvation is not by faith alone in Christ alone. In Roman Catholicism, that which is necessary for salvation includes the church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 846), baptism (CCC 1257), penance (CCC 980), sacraments (CCC 1129), service and witness to the faith (CCC 1816), keeping the ten commandments (CCC 2036, 2068, 2070), and detachment from riches (CCC 2556).”

In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul says:

6 ¶ I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

People who believe false Gospels are going to Hell. So we must ask, what is the Gospel that Paul preached? Romans 3:19-28 says:

19 ¶ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

This is the Gospel that Paul preached, this is the true Gospel. The Roman Catholic Church has added works to the Gospel of Christ, as I quoted above from Matt Slick’s article.

In Galatians 2:3-5 Paul says:

3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),
5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

He continues in Galatians 2:11-16:

11 ¶ Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
15 “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Paul says, “if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” The Roman Catholic Church preaches another Gospel, their Gospel is that human works plus faith in Christ saves. The Gospel Paul preached is that faith in Jesus apart from human works is what saves. Therefore everyone who believes the Roman Catholic false Gospel is “accursed.” Catholics are all going to Hell.

I’m sure at this point if you are Catholic, you may be thinking about all the arguments you’ve heard in favor of Catholicism. I would like to say first, that whatever arguments there may be for Catholicism, since Catholicism teaches a false Gospel, it is a false religion and no one should be Catholic. But secondly, I would like to point out that Protestants have good answers to all the arguments for Catholicism, as well as good arguments of our own for Protestantism. If you would like to learn those answers, you can start for free online with CARM’s Roman Catholicism articles, or with these debates on Protestantism vs. Catholicism. And if you would like to go further, you can read Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences.

Thank you for reading this post, I pray that it is helpful.

My New Testament Canon

In this post I want to lay out the New Testament canon I accept, for the purpose of discussing religious issues. I accept the canon accepted by the majority of New Testament scholars. The authentic writings of Paul are Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon. In addition to these, the book of Acts is considered trustworthy, as well as much of what we find in the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I consider these books in the New Testament to be authentic Scripture, as far as I am concerned, the rest of the New Testament is forgery and fabrication.

If you would like to learn more about what is considered authentic in the New Testament by the majority of New Testament scholars, I highly recommend The HarperCollins Study Bible, especially their introductions to each of the New Testament books.

In addition, the issue of authorship is discussed in these Wikipedia articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Epistle_to_the_Hebrews

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_reliability_of_the_Gospels

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_Luke%E2%80%93Acts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Petrine_epistles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_James

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_Jude

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation

I present this information so that those discussing religious differences with me, will know they must restrict themselves to the books considered authentic by the majority of New Testament scholars.