THE BIBLE’S SIGNIFICANCE FOR SALVATION
Many people cannot accept the truthfulness of the Bible for the reason that the writings in it were only written by man and thus, the possibility of human errors committed throughout its dispensation and translation to many languages. They will argue that the Bible only contains human wisdom and knowledge presented in a very creative form of prose and literature.
On the extreme end are the people who believe that the Bible cannot contain any error for they believe it to be God’s words. They firmly believe that if it is in the Bible then it must be absolute truth, therefore, it will be impossible to have any contradictions among the canonized texts which were compiled together by the Catholic Church in the early centuries to become the Bible of today.
YOU KNOW ALL THINGS
The true disciples of Christ, having received an anointing from the Holy One can discern the inspired truth from fallacies that crept into the Holy Scriptures. How true is this statement?
(1 John 2:20-21)
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
The Apostle John BOLDLY TOLD the other disciples that because they have an anointing from the Holy One they now KNOW ALL THINGS that they need to know. Their knowledge of the truth is absolute since there is no lie in the truth. But which truth do they know that is absolute? The truth about God and His grace of salvation and in The Lord Yeshua-Christos, His way and His promise of eternal life:
Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
It is God’s delight that man understands and knows Him! If so, then the truth about God cannot be a MYSTERY, in the way the teaching of the Trinity evolved and presented. This teaching of the Trinity, which is the Christian world’s understanding of God, cannot be the TRUTH about God since it was a mystery then as it is now.
Who then can teach about God and His grace to mankind? No one else but His Son Yeshua:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
THE BIBLE’S SIGNIFICANCE FOR SALVATION IN OUR TIME
As a quick overview, the Bible of today commonly accepted both by Catholics and Protestants alike is the same Catholic Canon that resulted from the confirmation and acceptance by multiple Roman Catholic Councils in the fourth and fifth centuries. It contains sixty-six books and is divided into two major division – the Old Testament (39 books) and New Testaments (27 books with 4 Gospel books). The Old Testament contains the history of the ancient people of God, the nation of Israel. It contains God’s commandments and covenant to them given through Moses and the prophets. It also contains countless prophecies concerning the Son of God, the Messiah who is tasked by God to save the world. The New Testament contains the life of The Lord Yeshua that covers His conception until His ascension to heaven - they're all written in the four Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It also contains the letters and epistles of some apostles, including those of Paul who has the most writings in the canonized Bible. Most importantly, it contains the teachings of Christ and prophecies concerning the world and His second coming.
There are other Gospel books that were not included in the Roman Catholic's Canon of the New Testament, and in fact, were part of early church records that were officially ordered to be destroyed by the Catholic Church. They are otherwise called the Gnostic Gospels to differentiate from the Canonical Gospel books that were approved by them. Some of them were discovered hidden in a cave in Egypt in 1945 as part of what is now known as the 'Nag Hammadi Codices'. Most notable of these books are the Gospels according to Philip, Thomas, Mary Magdalene and even Judas Iscariot. Although less known and accepted than the Canonical Gospels, we also encourage everyone to also read these 'Gnostic Gospels' as they are very useful in acquiring an even deeper understanding of The Lord's life, ministry and teachings.
It is always good to read the inspirational stories of God’s people and understand their relevance to our daily life, however, we should understand that of highest importance to acquire is the understanding about The Christ Yeshua being God’s only grace for salvation. This makes everything else in the Bible secondary - for moral guidance and historical value.
THE SCRIPTURES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SAVIOR
Not the entire Bible is relevant for the attainment of salvation, a supposition that truly contradicts the ‘entire Christian’ world’s belief. In fact, believing that EVERYTHING WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE are of equal importance leads one away from reading and understanding the most important truth which is truly relevant for salvation, that is, the Gospel of The Christ Yeshua and everything about Him! The Lord has proven this fact:
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
This statement of Christ remains very true in our time. Just like the Jews who did not believe in Yeshua as The Messiah or The Christ, the ‘Christians’ of today continue to struggle to abide in all of the Scriptures believing that they have everything to do with their salvation. However, The Christ already clarified long time ago that the rest of the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, are there only as a testimony about Himself. If salvation and eternal life are not in those Scriptures how then could they be attained?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
By believing in God and The Christ through His spoken words can man attain salvation and everlasting life. How can the words of Christ give life? It is because His words are spirit and life.
THE APOSTLES ALSO TAUGHT THE TRUTH OF CHRIST
To WHOM ELSE must people listen to in order to know and receive the truth about God and Christ?
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word…
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
The Lord Yeshua taught us to ALSO receive the testimonies of His chosen ones. The ones who were sent by Christ to witness about Him should be received for in doing so God and Christ are also received. Who are they and how can we receive their teachings?
(Acts 1: 18, 21-26)
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”... “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
The apostles were chosen to witness about the life and ministry of The Lord Yeshua (read also John 6:70-71). How do they differ from the rest of the disciples? They were ‘numbered’ and there were only twelve of them, and even in heaven there are only twelve certified apostles whose names are written on the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem, the Holy City (Revelation 21:14). Even when they lost Judas Iscariot after he killed himself out of remorse for his betrayal of The Lord, the remaining eleven elected a replacement from among the living witnesses of the life and ministry of Christ.
Out of the twelve apostles, only four have left us with their written testimonies about the life and teachings of The Lord Yeshua namely, James, Peter, John and Jude. Their writings and epistles were made part of the present day New Testament. One thing about their writings is that they mirror the words and teachings of Christ particularly concerning his teachings that centers on love, to God first and foremost, and to men. Not one of these apostles’ writing contradicts any of the teachings and parables of The Lord Yeshua. Thus, it is imperative that we also believe in their teachings about Christ and His salvation.
PAUL’S WRITINGS REQUIRE SCRUTINY
Most of the New Testament writings were written by Paul. He has introduced himself (self-proclamation) to be an apostle of The Lord and the prophesied ‘light to the Gentiles’ (Acts 13:47 compare with Isaiah 49:6). However, there are many aspects in his writing that contradict the teachings of The Lord Yeshua-Christos. Of most notable contrast is his very judgmental outlook that only exposed his continued adherence to the precepts of the Pharisees which he continued to practice even when he was already preaching about The Christ (Acts 23:6 / Philippians 3:5-6). He also believed in The Christ as the creator (Hebrews 1:8,10), a teaching that contrasts with The Lord Yeshua’s teachings as well as His apostles’. This could be the single biggest reason why the Catholic Church included possibly all of his writings in the New Testament Canon of the Bible, as the Catholic Church is the formulator of the ‘Trinitarian’ doctrine of God. There is then a need to deeply scrutinize the writings and teachings of Paul and compare them with those of Christ’s and his apostles’. Or to play it safe, the New Testament is just fine and even better with the absence of Paul’s writings.
HOW CHRIST WANTS US TO CHOOSE ONLY HIM
(Luke 5:33, 36-39; ALSO Matthew 9:16-17 and Mark 2:21-22)
Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”...
Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was takenout of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’
The Lord Yeshua addressed this parable to the Jews who questioned and compared His ways to those of John the Baptist's and the Pharisees. The Jews then could not accept what seems for them are radical thoughts and unorthodox ways of teaching which were different than what they are accustomed to. Since the beginning of The Lord's ministry on earth, the unbelieving Jews did their best in trying to compare His teachings to that of the commandments of Moses and the prophets.
In this parable, The Lord Yeshua compares His teachings and ways to that of a NEW GARMENT and NEW WINE. A new garment should not be used to patch a tear from an old clothing, nor new wine be stored into old wineskins. Doing such would not be very effective as the unshrunk garment will only make a tear, in the same way that the new wine, as it still continues to ferment and expand, will burst the old wineskins and the wine be spilled. For the new wine to be enjoyed it has to be stored into new wineskins.
The old garment and old wine very well represent the old teachings and commandments that were upheld by the Jews then and even at present time. The wineskins represent the people who receive the new wine or non-judgmental teachings of The Christ. Even Paul, the New Testament writer,presented this correctly:
(2 Tim 2:20-21)
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
A WINESKIN is a VESSEL, and as Paul confirmed one can become a vessel for Christ’s honor to be sanctified and useful for Him. In the context of this parable, a new wineskin is a vessel of Christ's mindset and teachings. In order for one to benefit from the righteous and non-judgmental (impartial/fair) teachings of Christ, he must be renewed as a vessel or wineskin - he needs to be changed from having a judgmental (partial/unfair) outlook to having a non-judgmental outlook.
While this parable is applicable in every way to the Jews during Christ's ministry in Israel, it remains to be very applicable in our time as majority of the people who consider themselves 'Christians' or Christ followers picked up on the old commandments and mix-match them with the teachings and commandments of Christ. Take note how The Lord Yeshua wants us to obey only His teachings and discontinue basing our belief on salvation on anything else including the commandments of old simply because it is now His time to be God's salvation to man (Isa. 49:6).
How else does The Savior emphasized on the importance of adhering with His teachings alone being
(Mat 13: 44-46)
”Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
The Lord Yeshua wants us to be like the man who found treasure in a field and to be like the merchant who found the one pearl of great price. In our time, churches claim to follow Him and yet continue to base their belief on salvation on the laws and commandments of Moses and the prophets, as well as with the teachings of Paul. To make matters worse, the Catholic Church added traditions to the equation while the Latter Day Saints added the Book of Mormon and other books, as basis for faith and Christian tenets.
The Lord only wants us to hold on to His teachings only, and forsake everything else like the ones mentioned. After all, He is the ONLY WAY for salvation (Jer 6:16; Jn 14:6; 10:7,9) and only through abiding in His words can one become and remain His true disciple guaranteed friendship with Him. Otherwise, we will be like the scribe who cannot make up His mind on which to follow:
Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
The fact that the Bible contains God’s words for salvation does not already mean that EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE SHOULD BE USED AS BASIS FOR SALVATION. It also does not mean that the present Bible does not contain any error at all. Case in point would be the writings of Paul that contain multiple precepts that contradict the teachings of Christ. Only one thing is a requirement in our time, that is believing in Christ and His words!
In matters of faith, salvation and understanding of God and His Son Yeshua-Christos, the true disciples of The Lord are given the understanding and divine wisdom in order to discern the things in the Bible that are significant in serving mankind the truth about God and Christ that will lead them towards the attainment of everlasting life.