The Wisdom From Heaven

October 10, 2006

What would you be willing to bet your salvation on?

We are all fallible humans. Our understanding is incomplete on many if not all subjects. If our salvation depended on complete and perfectly accurate knowledge and flawless reasoning, none of us would be saved. Thank God that is not the basis for salvation!

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

1 Cor 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Cor 3:18-20 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

1 Cor 8:1b-3 Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.

One who is a Christian has bet his salvation on the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross, and in his resurrection. That is the core of the gospel according 1 Cor 15:1-11.

Hopefully, none of us would willingly to bet our salvation that we are correct on every point of doctrine. Yet some people are willing to write off as lost those who disagree with them on such subjects as communion cups, missionary societies, or musical instruments. In effect, they demonstrate a willingness to bet someone else’s salvation on the correctness of their views. Those folks have moved a long way beyond the positions of their predecessors of 100 years ago. Consider the following statement by James Harding in 1901:

I have been taught all my life that the Scriptures teach ‘by precept by approved apostolic example and by necessary inference,’ and it is certain that this is correct….I am sure it is safe to do as they did; I am not certain it is safe to do any other way.

It is one thing to say that following this hermeneutic is safe, and entirely another to say that abiding by all of its conclusions is essential to salvation. Some even go beyond that today, saying in effect that all of the inferences drawn by their faction of the church are free from errors, and that any deviation from their view is rebellion against God. It would be better to exhibit the kind of wisdom James described in chapter 3:

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

We need the humility to admit that our knowledge and our reasoning are faulty. There are some things God has not told us. When we insist on reading between the lines of scripture and binding what we think we see there, we are not being wise. Let’s pray for the wisdom that leads us to do good deeds together, to extend mercy to one another, and to seek peace.

One comment

  1. Betting on salvation based on fallible human understanding just might get us in trouble.Because we will never reach perfection in this life we certainly look to the blood of Jesus, and a loving God who is merciful beyond our imagination.So….I bet my salvation ultimately on God’s grace.

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