In the past few blogs, we have raised three questions about the doctrine of salvation.
1. The majority of people who have ever lived have never heard of Jesus. How can a loving and just God condemn them to hell?
2. The reality of the human condition is that certainty in regards to historical events is not absolute. That includes the resurrection of Jesus. How can God condemn people to hell for not believing in something they for which they cannot obtain certain proof?
3. There are over 70 verses in the New Testament which state salvation is obtained through means other than belief in Jesus. If we believe the entire Bible is inspired by God, there must have been a reason He included those passages.
I firmly believe God is not trying to confuse us or mislead us about so important a topic as our eternal salvation so there must be a resolution to these questions we have encountered. To resolve the questions about salvation, let us first list the elements of the doctrine of salvation to ensure we understand our subject matter. Most Christians believe that:
1. There is a supreme being (God) who has a standard for humans.
2. We humans have a sinful nature. We do not live up to God’s standard. In fact we have rebelled against that standard and against God. This rebellion (sin) results in human death and the punishment of eternal separation from God (hell).
3. Through the work of Jesus (his death and resurrection for our sins), God views humans as if they have met his standard. This is called justification. This is also God’s grace: Granting humans something they do not deserve.
4. This justification will occur only if we have trust and confidence in Jesus; if we believe or have faith that he existed, died for our sins, and rose again.
Elements one, two, and three are without dispute. These are solidly based on what the entire Bible has to say about the subject. However, we need to discuss element four.