Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is Jesus Only the Savior of Believers?

One of the most interesting positions taken by many Christians is that Jesus Christ is their Saviour ONLY when they believe that he is.

To generalise this position .....  a fact is only true when we believe it is true .......
For example, centuries ago most of the world believed that the earth was flat.  Although this belief had an important influence on the people of the time, especially on ocean-faring merchants and sailors, it had no bearing on the actual shape of the earth, on the facts.
In other words, beliefs can never determine facts.  Rather, facts must already be true (in existence) before they can be the subject of belief.

Now let's consider the facts about Jesus and salvation.

For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him (Christ), and through him (Christ) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
[ Col 1 : 19 - 20 ]

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.
[ 2 Cor 5 : 19 ]

These are the facts.  Whether they are believed or not will not alter them.

As Jesus himself said, " I will draw all people to myself."  [ John 12 : 32 ]
He is the Saviour of the world, of all people.  That is a fact.

So what role does belief play?
Firstly, there is the obvious one .....

Those who believe in the Son of God (Jesus Christ) accept this testimony (of the facts about Jesus).  Those who do not believe God have made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 
[ 1 John 5 : 10 ]

Secondly, the one where people have been led astray by poor English translations .....
And this is the testimony: God has given us life in the ages (NOT eternal life), and this life is in his Son.
Those who have the Son have this life; those who do not have the Son of God (Jesus Christ) do not have this life.
[ 1 John 5 : 11 -12 ]

And that is another fact.  Believers have life in the ages (the current age and those ages still to come), while unbelievers wait until the ages are completed for their "drawing to Jesus" to occur.

All will be reconciled to God eventually, but there is something special for believers - they will rule (govern) with Christ in the ages.
The Apostle Paul hints at this in his encouragement to Timothy .....

That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.
[ 1 Tim 4 : 10 ]

Believing doesn't alter the facts; but believing the facts about Jesus and salvation has special (first-fruit) benefits.

Blessings, Barry.

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