September 21, 2014

Spiritual Math Quiz – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

This quiz has only one problem to solve:

Bible + ______________   = Christian.

Since most people prefer “multiple choice” to “fill in the blank” questions, here are some possible answers: A) Creed; B) Grace; C) Faith; or, D) Obedience. Please take a moment to think about your answer before reading further.

A) Creeds are man-authored documents meant as statements of faith that wind up dividing potential bible-believers along denominational lines. For instance, if one who seeks to adhere to the Bible plus the Catechism, he becomes a Catholic. Likewise, if he takes the Bible plus the Manual, he becomes a Baptist; and if he takes the Bible but adds the Discipline, he winds up a Methodist, etc.   But, and this is vitally important, the Bible alone will not make one a member of a denomination- it takes the Bible plus devotion to a man-authored creed to make a denominational member, cf. Matthew 15:1-9.

B) Grace. The grace of God (somewhat simplistically, but adequate for our purposes here, defined as “unmerited favor/good will”) is absolutely essential to becoming a Christian. But note Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”.   Are “all men” saved? If the Bible plus God’s grace is all that it takes to become a Christian, then the answer would have to be “yes.” But notice that the sentence in Titus 2:11 regarding “the grace of God” continued in the following verses, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age…” The grace of God that brought salvation did so in the form of instructions (and the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, v.14)! Instructions are only beneficial if they are followed. So, the Bible plus God’s grace alone does not a Christian make. If the Bible- given by inspiration to man, plus grace- given by God to man, equals salvation as a Christian, then man has no input or participation in his own salvation. But this “God only” salvation completely contradicts what Jesus had to say about the matter in Matthew 25:31-46!

C) Faith. The faith of man is absolutely essential to becoming a Christian. Not only is it the foundation of our conviction and hope, Hebrews 11:1, and “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6. However, this is very different from “faith only” salvation. The only place in the N.T. that the words “faith” and “only” appear together is James 2:24 (KJV) “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” In fact, Jesus said that even faith was itself a work, John 6:28-29. Therefore, it is impossible for salvation to be by faith alone with no mixture of works whatsoever because faith is itself a work. “Faith only” no more equals salvation than did “God only” salvation. The Bible plus faith is where one begins to become a Christian, but is surely not all there is to the matter.

D) Obedience. Finally, here is the correct answer. How so? Man’s obedience does not nullify God’s grace, because as we saw from Titus 2:11-12, the grace of God brought salvation to man in the form of instructions, and instructions are only beneficial when Neither does man’s obedience negate faith, for as we saw from Hebrews 11:6, in order for man’s faith to be pleasing to God, and thus be rewarded by Him, it must lead him to seek God. How does man by faith seek God? Listen closely to Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:21, “Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven.”

So, the Bible (God’s instructions by grace) + Obedience (man’s faith in action) = Christian (those saved by Christ).   In some ways, this is a simple restatement of 1John 2:3, “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

 

 

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