Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Why Comprehension Is Not Sufficient For Salvation

It has been said that no one will go to hell blind and deaf.  That is to say, that all who are morally accountable have had sufficient revelation that they cannot stand before the judgment and claim to have never seen nor heard of the laws of universal righteousness.

They will stand guilty if for no other reason than that they have been confronted either by natural law, the corresponding laws of the Noahide, or the Mosaic Law (or two or three of these), and have made a choice to go no further in their quest for righteousness - that is, to not seek God - for God has said that "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

To "search...with all your heart" is a choice - a moral choice.  Complete comprehension of revelation either through natural or written Law is insufficient for participation in righteousness.   Even advanced study of the written Word is insufficient.  As Paul cautioned Timothy, there are those who are "Ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7).

In fact, it is possible to study truth without ever knowing it - to know only about it.  This is because true knowing is volitional - it is an act of the will, an act of the will in submission to the truth.  This is why the Apostle John was moved by the Holy Spirit to record these words of our Lord:

"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'  They answered Him, 'We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, `You will become free?'  Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  I know that you are Abraham's descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you'" (John 8:31-37).

We can learn a great deal on this subject by recalling the words of Paul as he documented his confrontation with Peter:

"We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly" (Galatians 2:15-21).

Is there a conflict here?  Does God give us a reflection of His moral image, and the free-will to make moral choices, and also give us an innate sense of morality, backed by universal laws such as are codified in the Noahide and Torah, and vastly expanded in the New Testament Scriptures only to hold us yet guilty even if we act in accordance with the universal laws of righteousness?

What are we to make of the rich young man who apparently did just that yet still lacked something, and went from the presence of Jesus downcast (Luke 18:18-23).  On the one hand God has indeed called us to righteousness, and yet righteousness alone is insufficient for salvation.  Why is this?

In the next and final post in this series, we will bring the entire teaching to a conclusion.

For a deeper study, you are encouraged to consider enrolling in our 3 credit-hour academic course "THE LAW OF UNIVERSAL RIGHTEOUSNESS: Natural Law, the Noahide, and the Torah." You can check out all of our regular academic programs by clicking this link: PROGRAMS.

Thank you for sharing time with me. I hope this brief post will encourage you to want to learn more about the laws of universal righteousness, and the manner in which God has implanted the awareness of right and wrong within your own heart and mind.

Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.,

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