Believe Christ's Promise and You are Saved, No Matter What Misconceptions You Hold
"You entrusted your eternal destiny and well-being to me when you believed my promise to guarantee for you eternal life, when you believed in Me. But since you didn't add to this requirement belief that I am God then I must throw you in hell"
It is precisely the good news of eternal life through faith in Jesus that saves. This man has believed Jesus' promise to guarantee for him eternal life! This man has entrusted his eternal well-being to Christ, but you would have him end up in the lake of fire for a lack of passing your doctrinal statement on the ontology of Christ.
Jesus is God, and had to be God in order to have an eternal sacrifice. This is true, and I would never place aspersions on this fact.
Yet one does not need know how a gift is provided in order to receive it as an absolutely free gift!
Jesus says, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life."
Let me make a comparison.
I say to you "If you would reach out your hands you will receive a hundred dollar bill"
Do you need to know how I earned that hundred dollar bill in order to receive it free?
Do you need to know that I am a forklift driver at Costco, which enabled me to earn the $100, AS A REQUIREMENT IN ADDITION to reaching out your hands in order to receive the money as a free gift?
Of course not.
Jesus is God, Jesus died and rose again, and He is innumerably other things as well.
He doesn't ask you to believe He is God. He asks you to believe that He guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it.
Like Paul, I try to tailor my presentation of Christ to the hearers. I am not afraid to preach the deity of Christ. I preach it. I am not shy to speak of Christ passion and resurrection, I HERALD it.
Yet, I will not get into debates concerning things peripheral to the reception of eternal life.
If a JW hears me speak of Christ's deity and asks me about it, I will say, "Let us agree to disagree about this subject." I will discuss with him Jesus' ability to impart eternal life by faith alone apart from works. This is where I want to zero in with the JW or the Mormon. They believe that salvation comes by faith AND works, and LOTS of works (not unsimilar to the Traditionalist religion).
At the moment that a JW or a Mormon is convinced that Jesus Christ has given to them irrevocable eternal life when they believed on Him for it, I would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconceptions and beliefs about Jesus.
Both the Mormons and the JWs will say that Jesus IS "the son of God". Yet they will provide some other import other than monotheistic deity into it.
For John, the "Son of God" and "the Christ" have the import "the one who promises (guarantees) eternal life to the believer in Him for it".
I would never say you don't have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This has the import of the gospel proposition which makes it salvific!
If someone asks me point blank, do I believe that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say "NO!"
How many requirements are there, Rose? How many points of doctrine need to be believed to be saved?
by the time you add them up, it is not just faith alone in Christ alone, but
1)belief in the deity of Christ
2)belief in the substitutional atonement
3)belief in the bodily resurrection
4)AND belief in Christ's promise to guarantee eternal life apart from works
here there are 4 requirements! To this many would add more!
I tell you this. Number 4 is sufficient!
Not that I don't preach the others! But when it comes to the PUNCH, the irreducible minimum, I am content to say that Jesus guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it, PERIOD.
The intention and purpose of evangelism is to get the prospective convert to the point where he is convinced that Jesus Christ has guaranteed his eternal destiny, his eternal well-being.
Anything we do in evangelism, anything that we say to the hearer of our gospel presentations MUST point to the sufficiency of faith in Christ's promise to save eternally.
We don't bust out with an orthodox creedal checklist and ask that the hearer initial at each doctrinal point in order to be saved.
The use and purpose of the gospel message is to CONVINCE the hearer that Jesus guarantees eternal life. NOT as a checklist for assurance of salvation or as the requirements for eternal life!
John wrote his gospel to convince the readers of the sufficiency of faith in Christ to save eternally, not as a belief-system checklist, that once adhered to, will impart eternal life.