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        "What must I do to be saved?"

        "All you have to do is believe and you will be saved."

        In the religious world one expects to hear such a dialogue. Since I have been retired, I have caught up on a lot of missed readings. I even have read most if not all of Zane Grey's westerns. I have enjoyed stacks of "Christian novels." All of the latter have the above conversation included when Bible salvation is mentioned. It is the line most repeated on religious shows on radio and television.

        Sadly, the answer as given is not Biblical and has no substance for a true seeker. "All I have to do is believe?" Believe in what? What am I supposed to believe? Perhaps if I cross my fingers and just "believe" like Tinker Bell pleas in the Peter Pan story. Gorm Sionnach calls it the "Tinker Bell Theology" or "Tinkerbell effect": "The more an individual (or group) believes in something, the more potent it becomes."i This still does not answer the question, "In what do I believe?"

        Maybe "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" will suffice. This is Biblical. It's found in Acts 16. But in order for the Philippian jailer to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, he had to hear the "word of the Lord" preached by the apostle Paul (Acts 16:32). "...and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" (Romans 10:14). The preaching source comes from the Word of God (Romans 10:17).


        When pressed, Bible teachers might use Ephesians 2:8-9 to support the "all you have to do is believe" statement.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV).


        "Salvation comes through faith," they will say, "and faith means believing and isn't that Jesus?" Actually, in English "through faith" can mean "through believing" or it can mean "through a belief." There's a difference. Believing is a process; belief is a substance. Believing is a verb, gerund or participle. The word brings us back to "Tinker Bell theology." We still don't know what to believe from a verb. On the other hand, "belief" is a noun. A noun can mean "something believed; especially :  a tenet or body of tenets held by a group" (Merriam-Webster online).

        On the surface, you might conclude, "What's the difference? We still aren't told what to believe." What if I told you that "the belief" is the title that the apostles used to refer to their doctrine (teaching) from Christ? It is translated as "the faith ." It is not just an elusive name nor whatever you want to believe, but we are saved through "the teaching [the faith ]" delivered by the apostles of Christ. At the beginning, 3000 were saved by believing and obeying the teaching of the apostles. In Acts 2:42, "They continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine [teaching]." "They (the saved) continued stedfastly": "proskartereo G4342 1. to be earnest towards 2. (to a thing) to persevere, be constantly diligent 3. (in a place) to attend assiduously all the exercises 4. (to a person) to adhere closely to (as a servitor)." The saved ones persevered "in the apostles' teaching."

        The apostle Jude writes, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [believers, Colossians 1:2]."

        Jude writes of the salvation that all enjoy (common) that had been delivered to the sanctified ones The admonition is to contend earnestly for "the faith " delivered. Jude calls the common salvation "the faith ."

        The New Testament is full of references to the teaching of the apostles as "the faith" (in the English translations).

"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).

"But Elymas the sorcerer ... withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith " (Acts 13:8).

"Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith " (Acts 14:22).

"So the congregations kept on being strengthened in the faith , and were increasing in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

"When Felix came ... he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith into Christ Jesus" (Acts 24:24).

"By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name" (Romans 1:5).

"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations" (Romans 14:1).

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith " (1 Corinthians 16:13).

      "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith " (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Galatians 1:23 "But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed."

Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law [of Moses,GW], but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Galatians 3:23 "But before faith came, we were kept under the law [of Moses, GW], shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed."

Ephesians 3:12 "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.."

Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith , and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"

Philippians1:27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel"

Philippians3:9 "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith"

Colossians 1:23 "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister."

Colossians 2:7 "Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith , as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."

1 Timothy 1:2 "Unto Timothy, [my] own son in the faith : Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Timothy 3:9 "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."

1 Timothy 3:13 "For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."

1 Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith , giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils."

1 Timothy 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith , and is worse than an infidel."

1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith , and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

1 Timothy 6:21 "Which some professing have erred concerning the faith . Grace [be] with thee. Amen."

2 Timothy 3:8 "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.".

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith.":

Titus 1:1 "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness."

Titus 1:13 "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.";

Titus 3:15 "All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith . Grace [be] with you all. Amen"

James 2:1 "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with respect of persons"

1Peter 5:9 "Whom resist stedfast in the faith , knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."

Revelation 14:12" Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."

          Finally, Ephesian 2:8.     Actually, the Greek text of Ephesians 2:8 has "the faith " as the following interlinear shows:

         "For by favor you are being preserved through [διά ] the [της] belief [πίστεως]" (APB English of the Greek-English Interlinear).

          So it is Scripturally correct to say that what can save us is found in The Faith, the teaching delivered by the Holy Spirit inspired apostles of Jesus Christ. It is what we call the New Testament. When one thinks about it, without the apostles preaching and their writings we not only would not have "THE FAITH" but we wouldn't know anything about Jesus Christ. Some say that Josephus wrote a line or two about Jesus existing, but he doesn't tell us anything about how to be saved. Only through the Faith recorded in the New Testament can we hope to reach the loving hand of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.   All other media is but "Tinker Bell Theology".

i (accessed 1-26-2014)

Gaylon West
Throw Out the Lifeline

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