In this blog post, we will be dealing with heavy theory and working in a theological playground. You may first be asking, "Where in the world is he going with this?"
Many people say that there are a number of ways into Heaven - different religions, multiple “saviors”, several “prophets”, etc. The reality is that all religions on the earth can be placed into 2 categories: works-based and grace-based. Every religion on the planet, other than Biblical Christianity, is works-based. It is what you do to earn, aka bribe, your way into Heaven. We are going to establish here that this is wrong: there is no amount of good works that you can do to outweigh the bad. Biblical Christianity, on the other hand, is based on the Doctrines of Grace. It is by the grace of God, through Faith in Jesus Christ alone that gets us into Heaven. Why is that?
You see, according to Biblical Christianity, it takes perfection to get into Heaven. There is only two ways to theoretically accomplish this. The first way, the way of the Pharisees, is to be perfect in thought, word and deed, continually from birth. If you have ever tried that, you will know it's not possible, not even for an hour. This was an attempt by the Pharisees to turn true Christianity into a fraudulent, works-based religion like every other one that has ever existed and every other one that exists today. This is why it's a theory; it doesn't work out practically. There are many things that work in theory only, and this is one of them. Much like evolution, it is a fairy tale.
In reality, we know that no one is good, and none of us seek after righteousness. We also know that our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all things. Jesus even said we were evil. I don't think we need anymore evidence than what we can find in our own minds. I would like to try to play this theory out just a little bit so that you can see how completely impossible it is.
Let's start in the beginning - all the way at the start, when you are a baby. It would begin as you start to become conscious of the world and start to understand things. You would never throw a fit as a baby, and you would always listen the first time that your parents tell you to do something or not. As you grow, learn, and get more understanding, you would never have a single disobedient thought or action towards your parents or any other person who is set over you. During this time, you would be growing in the grace and knowledge of God - loving Him as you ought and worshipping Him as we should.
Getting into early adulthood, you would, again, always do as you are told by teachers and parents and never even have an impure thought about anyone. You would never be unjustly angry, nor would you lust after anyone. You wouldn't want what others have, and throughout your childhood you would have never told a single lie. You also would have never taken anything, irrespective of its value, that didn't belong to you. You would have to love perfectly and for the right reasons - not selfishly, but out of love in treating others the way that you would want to be treated. You would never even have the thought that there is any other God besides the one of the Bible and you would only worship Him. That means not worshipping your smart phone, your friends, money, or your “toys.”
From here you also would never try to create a "god" that you would be more comfortable with - one that would excuse sin or wouldn't judge sin in righteousness. You would have never taken God's name in vain in any of its forms, such as using it flippantly or without respect. You would never say His name without a reverent respect, especially knowing that He hears and sees everything. Every intention of your heart and your secret thought life would have to be spotless. Not only this, but you would have to keep the Sabbath day (not necessarily Saturday) and keep it holy with remembrance that God gave it to us as a day of rest. How about the angry thoughts? No - you cannot be unjustly angry at anyone for any reason at all. That even includes when someone cuts you off in traffic or treats you unfairly.
With all of this drawn out for you, remember that you would have to live like this your entire life- every single second! Now you can start asking yourself if you can do such a thing. Can you go back to childhood and start over again? Well, no. Even if you did, do you think you could do this from birth? Absolutely not! Especially since we know what the Bible says about us. Let's dig into another question. Have you, ever, loved and worshiped God the way we ought to?
Seriously ponder on that thought for just a moment. That thought alone could crush you into powder if you let it. God demands perfection. That's it. He does not suggest it, but rather He commands it. Can you deliver on such a command? Well don't worry, neither can I. Remember I started with the fact that this is theory. You see why it's only a theory. It cannot move into the realm of reality. Now that we know that it is not possible, what then is the way to get to Heaven? Well I'm glad you asked.
You may say, " Wait a second, I have never sinned!" If you look over the previous paragraphs, you may notice that I was writing out the Ten Commandments. If you have broken just one of them even once, you have sinned and are guilty before God. Not to mention our imputed sin that we have at birth from Adam (which will be covered in a future blog post). The next thing we have to realize is that we could not and cannot make payment for our sins. We are told in Ephesians that is it by grace through faith and it's not of our own doing but a gift of God.
Knowing that God demands perfection, we also must know that He demands justice for our sins. For us to not go to hell, a payment must be made on behalf of us. The biblical term is propitiation. It is through Jesus Christ and in His perfect life, death and resurrection that we can be saved. He is the propitiation or the sacrifice that pays for our sins in full. There is no other way- no other sacrifice would suffice for our sins. It's commonly referred to as "consequent absolute necessity" because of the consequence that God demands justice, and Jesus is absolutely the only sacrifice that could pay for this. The necessity is because the death on the cross and Jesus bearing the wrath of God is a necessity for us to be forgiven. We see that there is no other way played out in the prayer in Matthew 26:39. It was God's will and also the only way.
Jesus is God and therefore the only one who could take the wrath of God and pay for an infinite penalty. He had to be the human sacrifice because He was the only perfect person (God in the flesh). He was 100% God and 100% man. It is an amazing and confounding thing. We as humans can never understand, with our finite minds, the Infinite God of the universe.
I pray that you have seen that Jesus is the only way to be saved from the wrath that is to come that awaits those who are not in Christ Jesus. If you are not found in Him then the wrath abides on you. We have to realize that salvation is not owed to us. God owes us nothing except His wrath for our sins. The path to salvation is found in one and one alone. How can I be saved you may be asking. In Mark 1:15, Jesus clearly states that it's by repentance and faith in the Gospel. Repenting of your sin is the turning away from your sin and turning to God. Your faith is in Jesus alone that He died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, was buried, and raised again 3 days later, in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) If you do this, then you will be saved. You are not guaranteed tomorrow, and we are told to not harden our hearts. Repent because today is the day of salvation!
Exciting News Announcement:
John Eckel and Dr. Anthony R. Silvestro, Jr. will soon be publishing a book on Biblical Evangelism. Our preface to the book is as follows:
Dr. Anthony R. Silvestro, Jr.
To God be the Glory,
Dr. Anthony R. Silvestro, Jr.
So many people, from young kids to adults, have a number of Bible questions that go unanswered. Our kids are being indoctrinated by the world (school, television, commercials, magazines, etc.) in everything against the Bible.
Current research conducted by Britt Beemer (Already Gone / Already Compromised books) shows that 67% of all kids who grow up in Christian homes will leave the church by the time they reach college-age. The research shows that the reason is unanswered questions.
We as Christians are given the charge in 1 Peter 3:15 to “…always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” Unfortunately, the church is failing at this. Sunday school is mostly ineffective, and parents and pastors simply aren’t trained in apologetics.
If your church, youth group, Bible study, etc., could benefit from Presuppositional apologetics and/or Biblical (Young-earth) Creation apologetics training, please contact us at the email above. Our ministry provides this training for free - we just ask to take a love offering to help defray travel costs (If any.)