Saved and confused

contradiction.jpgCue the Led Zeppelin soundtrack . . .

The mark of a Christian is faith in Jesus Christ.  See the criminal on the cross for exhibit A.  He never tithed, read the Bible, took communion, spoke in tongues, got baptized, did good works, wore the right clothes, sang the right songs, etc. but he was saved by faith in Christ. 

Of course, for those of us who aren’t put to death shortly after making an authentic confession then one would expect to see the sanctification process at work, resulting in transformed though still imperfect lives.

All Christians are saved and at least a little confused in the sense of not having 100.000% perfect theology. But the focus should be on the essentials, such as the divinity, humanity and exclusivity of Jesus (e.g., He is the only way to salvation), the authority of the Bible, etc.

Romans 14 and other passages address how we are to handle disputed matters. From this we can immediately infer two things (more here):

1. God knew we’d have disputed matters.
2. He gave guidance on how to handle them.

Real salvation will lead to transformed lives.  But ultimately only God knows the true state of someone’s faith in Christ. It is possible to fake it to the world.

We all have more to learn, so even if we are saved we should seek to become less confused through Bible study.  We should be like the Bereans and test things in light of scripture, and we should heed Paul’s command to the Thessalonians:

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.

But what of those who teach against the essentials?  Are they saved and confused, or fakes?  Do some fruit inspection.  If people consistently line up against the Bible and don’t seem interested in being corrected, I’d move on.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 

Also see In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity and the importance of sound doctrine.

0 thoughts on “Saved and confused”

  1. Some deceive themselves. There might be a level of self-deceit in each of us. But to put the Word first, that is, consider ourselves empty and formless until we educate ourselves of the Will of God, is square one. Then we proceed with our lives accordingly while being open to correction should we stray.

    It seems that too often, some wish to make Scripture more challenging that it is. Sure, there may be a point or two where men of good will might disagree. But on the whole, it seems rather plain to me and I’m at a loss to understand why others cling to provably false interpretations. The only answer is in their earthly desires taking precedence. In times of confusions, it would seem to me to be prudent to forsake of one’s self one’s desire for His sake, rather than risk one’s salvation over a belief one can live without.

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  2. I can attest to the blindness that men get when it comes to challenging their own “pet interpretations” of certain passages.

    And lest I get to proud of myself, I’ve been corrected many many times and will be many more before it’s my time to depart.

    I have no problem with those who believe that certain things that I believe are wrong, but what does get my goat is when they will not even STUDY to see if I’m wrong or not but put their hands over their ears and say “La La La I can’t hear you!”

    Example: In church this last Sunday I was speaking with a brother about some of the more controversial things that people discuss…in this case it was this:

    “is their an elect people that God chose for salvation?”

    That’s what I’d consider a pretty important thing!

    Well, we were asking anyone on their way to the coffee pot what they thought and everyone’s sentence started with “well, I think…” and nobody’s started with “Well the bible says….”

    Then finally someone dropped the “John 3:16 bomb” as in …”All I know is that it says WHOSOEVER and God wants everyone to be saved!” as if combining John 3:16 with a little bit of 2nd Peter settles the issue. lol…

    When I pointed out that “whosoever” was not in the actual Greek text but represents the three words “all the believing ones” or “all those believing” and was just a statement about what those that believe would get; eternal life over death, and didn’t say a word about why someone would believe and wasn’t an “offer” of anything…

    I just got cricket noises and blank stares.

    When I pointed to the context of 2nd Peter that it’s written from an elect Apostle, TO elect persons scattared abroad, and the “any and all” being spoken of are in reference to “God’s elect” themselves with no contextual reason to include “any who ever live or any who will ever live…

    I got yawns…

    In the end…only one person said “hmmm….I’ve never read that, I’m going to take a closer look to see if this is true”

    Yippee…that’s the idea.

    Traditions are a hard thing to recognize and a hard thing to overcome.

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  3. Hi Rpavich,

    Excellent points! It is hard not to respond, “That’s nice, but what does the Bible say?”

    Re. John 3:16 – if these folks would just read two more verses they could see that they made the wrong interpretation: John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

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  4. Neil,
    there you go reading in context again….that’ll get you in trouble… 🙂

    I appreciate your site…thanks for the hard work.

    bob

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  5. Neil,

    What an incredible post! Although I believe that I understand your point, I would put it another way – Although all Christians are saved, we are also, all a little confused. I admit it is not as catchy. It could explain why you have a blog that people read, and I don’t. 🙂 Anyway, keep it up brother!
    J.R.

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    1. Hi J.R. — great to hear from you! You bring up a good point. It would be more accurate to say that all Christians are “saved and at least a little confused.” If you trust in Christ you are fully saved.

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