How much good theology does a Christian need to know to be saved? This is the question I have asked several of my friends who are in the ministry or have taught Theology either in Universities or in Schools of ministry. The answers have varied, but since the people I chose to ask are close, life long friends they were more open and honest with me than they would be if put on the spot by the average church attendee or author. Our primary texts will be the New American Standard Bible and Thayer’s Greek lexicon. All other texts will be cited.
The number one response, “Salvation by grace.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Ephesians 2:8
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” Titus 2:11
“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,” 1 Peter 1:10
What is God’s grace? In the Greek χάρις, Transliteration charis, Pronunciation khä’-rēs.
Properly as used in secular writings from that age, grace: that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech. Also broadly thought of as good will, loving-kindness and favor.
When used to speak of God’s grace it is the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.
So this dispensation of God’s grace has been given to man, therefore by grace we have been saved through faith in Christ Jesus.
“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
Ephesians 1:10 KJV
Easton’s Dictionary defines Dispensation: (Gr. oikonomia, “management,” “economy”).
(1.) The method or scheme according to which God carries out his purposes towards men is called a dispensation. There are usually reckoned three dispensations, the Patriarchal, the Mosaic or Jewish, and the Christian. These were so many stages in God’s unfolding of his purpose of grace toward men. The word is not found with this meaning in Scripture.
(2.) A commission to preach the gospel (1Cr 9:17; Eph 1:10; 3:2; Col 1:25).
This salvation was spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament and Moses as well. Speaking to the Religious leaders of His day The Lord said to them,
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me”
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Now what must we do to be saved? Recall the incident with the Philippian Jailer, ”
And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.
“Believe in The Lord Jesus and you will be saved…”
It is believing in The Lord Jesus that is essential to salvation, for as Peter said, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Paul proclaimed to the assembly of saints in Rome, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
Some may try to profess Jesus Christ with their lips, but it is believing in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord that brings about salvation. As The Lord said, “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
God can not be gamed, you can’t get into the Kingdom on a technicality, by membership in a church or a special dispensation of your own. The great mystery that was hidden from the sages of old has been revealed in His Son Jesus the Christ. He has given this dispensation of grace for all men at all times, for Jesus Christ is the Beginning and the End, the Author of our salvation, the Savior of the world.
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
May The Lord be with you and keep you in His ways.