(originally posted 9/3/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
I received an email from someone with a link to a page entitled “Biblical Contradictions Regarding Salvation.” Using scripture, the person who wrote the page presents the premise that the Bible contradicts Itself on the topic of salvation and the exact method required for a person to become, and be considered, “saved.” There were nine questions regarding salvation, each question having a list of scripture supporting a “yes” answer, and a list supporting a “no” answer. After reading through the list, three things became glaringly apparent:
- The person who wrote the page had never read the Bible in Its entirety, or in any substantial quantity for them to have any contextual or foundational understanding whatsoever.
- The person who wrote it is not saved, nor a Christian, and has no desire for such.
- The scriptures this person used to make a point of “contradiction” in the Bible are taken out of context and isolated to make a false assumption.
The first issue that must be addressed is that the Bible does not contradict itself, no matter how it may seem to us. The fact that a scripture is not understood by a reader does not make it a contradiction:
-“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (Num 23:19)
-“..if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim 2:13)
-“..in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,” (Titus 1:2)
When dealing with any seeming contradiction in the Bible, we must examine:
- What is the context of the passage?
-Who is speaking and to whom are they speaking to?
-What is the actual/specific subject matter which is being discussed?
-Is it being used to support a doctrine previously discussed or is it a doctrinal statement that stands alone?
- What is the meaning of the words being used?
-For example: “I missed my family.” Did someone throw a ball and missed hitting their family? Or is the person far away from them and misses their presence?
- Is the statement meant to be taken literally or metaphorically?
- Is the person reading the scripture committed to unbelief?
As believers and followers of Christ, God expects us to have faith in His revealed word, The Bible. This is a given; it is basic, elementary and non-negotiable Will we have questions? Absolutely. But to doubt His word is to undermine our own profession of faith. When Christians doubt the word of God, they bring doubt upon their own profession of faith. After all, a person who comes to Christ is doing so based on their faith in His Gospel message. And how did that Gospel message come to us? The Bible. We were not alive when Christ preached the Gospel message to His Apostles. We were not with the Apostles when they preached the Gospel to the early church. Our salvation is ultimately by our faith in Jesus Christ, but it is based on the fact that we have heard the Gospel message of salvation accurately, that the Gospel of salvation which we have heard was accurately recorded and faithfully passed down to us.
A believer must first and foremost submit to God’s authority through His Word. Then a believer must submit to God in faith that the Bible is true, trustworthy and reliable and that God, Who created all existence in six days, is also fully capable of ensuring that the texts that attest to His authority and power maintain their integrity throughout the millennia for each believing generation. Basically, if God can create all of existence, seen and unseen, in a matter of six days, then He is also capable of orchestrating the circumstances throughout history to protect and reasonably maintain His revealed word to us.
When we seek answers from God, He is faithful to reveal them to us. However, we must seek Him with the right heart and right motives. We must enter God’s presence in humility. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5) and “He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble.” (Prov 3:34)
If we examine scripture with doubt, seeking contradiction, we will always find it. One of the fascinating things about the Bible is that it can be twisted to fit many personal agendas, but only His Spirit can give the right understanding of It. Scripture even attests to this when we are told, “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). If the intention of our heart is doubt and contradiction, we will find doubt and contradiction. If the intention of our heart is truth, we will find truth.
God will give us answers if we seek them with the right heart and motives, but it must also be in His timing. If the soil of our heart is not prepared to receive His truth, then it is pointless for Him to reveal it. See the parable of the sower at Matthew 13:19-23.
If He does not reveal the answers we seek, then it is His prerogative to do so and we must submit to His authority. In essence, God will always reveal the answers we need to know, but not always the answers we want to know. Many people go their entire lives without having questions that they deem important, answered. Some receive their answers, but it is only after they invest much personal time and effort in seeking God with a right heart– prayer and fasting and submission. Yet sometimes, even when their answer is revealed, it is an understanding they are given in their spirit and not something that can be particularly articulated as an explanation to someone else. God is faithful to speak to each of us in a way that we can understand.
Even so, perhaps one of the reasons so many seemingly important questions remain unanswered is because God uses our effort to seek out such answers as a way to draw us nearer to Him. Using our desire to know, to engage us in intimate fellowship with Him. For some of us, if we had all the answers, then we would have no reason or desire to seek Him.
Normally, I refuse to argue Biblical points with someone who has never actually read the Bible. However, because of the nature of my relationship with the person who sent me the link to the page being discussed, I have made an exception and taken the time and effort to answer the questions the page presents and explain and refute false assumptions. I have also made an exception because the person who sent me the link has, in fact, read the Bible, yet the page being discussed managed to cause them discontent. Therefore I have made the decision to post the questions and answers on my blog with the intention to help and/or guide anyone else that may be seeking answers also. And because the nature of this topic is core doctrinal issues which affect salvation, I have submitted it under the authority of my Pastor, who is also my discipleship mentor. I will present the nine questions and my answers in a following series of posts.
Question 1: Hell And Eternal Torment
Question 2: Will Everyone Be Saved?
Question 3: Is Salvation Predestined?
Questions 4, 5, & 6: Repentance And Good Deeds
Questions 7 & 8: Morality And Charity
Question 9: Requirements For Salvation