If you are in the scientific or business community you have heard the term “data driven”. This term means that we base our conclusions and decision on the basis of data, not upon our intuition or personal experience, or what we have been taught. In religion, we base our belief on faith. Does not Paul tell us: “. . .for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV)? But does this mean that we ignore what data we have?
In this blog we have come to the conclusion that salvation is more than belief in Jesus and his death for our sins; it is the renovation of our soul so it becomes like God. Part of the reason we have reached this conclusion is because of data–it is what the Bible teaches. In my book we have listed 70 passages which support this conclusion. Below we will give five examples.
First, in Matthew 3 John the Baptist states that one must produce fruit in keeping with repentance in order to be saved. A belief or a resolution to change is not sufficient. One must actually put a belief into practice.
Second, in Luke 10 a prominent person asked Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life Jesus responded by saying he was to love God and love his neighbor. Nothing is said about belief in Jesus.
Third, Peter in Acts 10 states that “God. . .accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right”. Jesus is not mentioned at all.
Fourth, Paul in I Corinthians 13, Paul teaches us that love is not an emotion or feeling but an action. At the end of the chapter he notes that: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Why is love greater than faith or hope? If faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation, why does Paul place love greater than faith? Paul states that without love we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). Even if we “have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if [we] have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, [we are] nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
Fifth, James 2 makes is impossible to assert that salvation is only by belief in Jesus and his death for our sins. James makes two points. He states that faith without works is dead. He also notes that the demons believe in Jesus but that does not mean they will be in heaven because their will is opposed to God. We can say we believe but if our will is opposed to God we will not go to heaven.
If words have meanings then I fail to see how Christians, if they objectively consider the above passages which are just a sample of the 70 contained in the New Testament, can believe that salvation is through faith in Jesus alone. So what will we do with this data? Will we ignore it or will we use this data to better understand God and how he deals with us?