Wednesday, Feb. 22
Theologians have grappled for years as to how the gospel should be presented to non-believers. No one really likes a set formula, yet every one wants it to be totally accurate in terms of what part is God’s and what part is man’s. The issue is one of grace vs. works. A person can think he’s a believer and act like a believer without being a believer. Likewise, a person can be a believer without clearly demonstrating it, so the issue is relevant. The Old Testament doesn’t focus on repentance unto salvation, trusting Jesus, accepting the gift of salvation, etc., but the core issue is not ignored, either. The issue comes up with the very first two born into this world, Cain and Abel, one representing human effort (works) and the other a dependence on God (grace). The issue evidently was well known during the antediluvian world. Only Noah’s family was spared, and that on the basis of believing God. Abraham lived in about 2000 B.C. That’s several hundred years before any of the Old Testament was written. Paul says that Abraham was “reckoned” as righteous in Rom.4:3, and that it was because he believed God. Belief is the core issue for being accepted by God in all of Scripture. It seems fairly simple. It is something that comes from the heart, not always clearly observable by man, but no problem to God. Many people that Jesus met obviously were welcomed into the family of God without going through any set pattern. Maybe we should focus on belief and dispense with the rest.