We have been making the case (222) for the Bible as the source of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the process we have argued that each of us is responsible before God to believe that biblical Gospel because He has made it possible for us to have the Bible in our language (225) and to have enough education to be able to read. If we can read, and if we have God's Word in our language, we can find out the truth about God's message of salvation. That being true, what excuse will we have in the judgment if we try to hide behind our particular brand of Christianity?
In this article I would like to begin to address what the Bible says about the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, in our setting in rural Nebraska we normally do not get too much reaction from the statement that the Bible teaches that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ. Except for a few marginalized souls, who around here doesn't "believe in Jesus Christ"? You might be surprised. Probably most of the folks who claim they do. You see, believing in Jesus Christ is a big subject. As long as the tent is big enough, everyone can get under it. But, let's suppose that the tent is restricted to those who claim to believe in both Jesus Christ and regeneration by water baptism. Suddenly the tent isn't quite as big as it was. Then let us suppose that the tent is restricted to those who claim to believe in Jesus Christ, baptismal regeneration and purgatory. Suddenly the tent is even smaller yet. Or suppose the tent is restricted to those who say they believe in Jesus Christ and the saving necessity for the tongues-producing baptism by the Holy Ghost. Suppose the tent is restricted to those who say they believe in Jesus Christ and sovereign election. Some say they believe in Jesus Christ and the danger of revoked grace (the concept that one can lose by misdeeds the salvation that was acquired by faith). Or maybe the tent only includes those who claim faith in Jesus Christ and the necessity of worship on Saturday. Or the claim to faith plus the eventual godhood of every latter day saint. Or the claim to faith plus the notion of only 144,000 going to heaven. I hope you have begun to see that the claim to "believe in Jesus Christ" is not sufficiently defined to identify the Gospel.
The words "Jesus Christ" are not magic. A claim to believe in Jesus Christ is not necessarily saving faith. It makes a great deal of difference whether the particular "Jesus Christ" that is in the mind of the one who professes to believe in Him is the same "Jesus Christ" Who is currently seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Two thousand years of proclamation of religious stuff has polluted the issue to the point that what most people call faith in Jesus Christ is nothing more than their own brand of feel-good religion. So, how do we know whether we really believe in the true Jesus Christ or not? Are we willing to read the Bible in order to know?