By John LaVier
That there is religious confusion among the “churches” no thinking person will deny. On every subject in the Bible there is a diversity of thought, and this applies even to the most fundamental doctrine of all, that of salvation. In answer to the age-old question, “What must I do to be saved?,” it is possible to get a score of different answers. Some would tell us to keep the Law of Moses. Others would refer us to the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount. Many would tell us to be good, or to do the best we can. Still others would insist that we must submit to some rite or ceremony, such as water baptism, and they might quote Acts 2:38, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
Do you ask why there is such confusion and division? It is because practically all, including the religious leaders, have completely overlooked the fact that God ushered in a new dispensation with the Apostle Paul. Because of failure to recognize this cardinal fact they are continually going to the wrong portion of the Word for their instructions.
When the Lord Jesus Christ was here upon earth, He was here as a minister of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8). He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 15:24). After His death and resurrection the twelve apostles continued to deal with the Jewish nation, calling upon the nation to repent, and holding forth the promise that God would send Jesus Christ back again to establish the prophesied Kingdom (Acts 3:19-21). Israel was the God-favored nation, but when they refused the call to repentance they became the God-forsaken nation. It was then that God set aside the ministry of the twelve apostles and raised up another apostle, the Apostle Paul, and sent him forth with a proclamation of grace for all the world.
God’s message for this dispensation is not to be found in the words which Christ spoke while here upon earth, but in the words spoken from the Father’s right hand in the heavenlies. These words were spoken to and through the Apostle Paul, who said: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Eph. 3:1-2). Through Paul, Christ revealed the unmixed message of grace for this dispensation.
For fifteen hundred years prior to the Cross, God had a religious people, and many things were required of them. Today, God does not want His people to be religious, but righteous, and this righteousness He provides as a free gift. The good news that He wants made known is that the guilty sinner may be declared righteous by faith alone in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not saved because of our morality or character, nor because of so-called good works or religious ceremonies. Salvation is on the basis of grace alone, through faith in the finished work and precious shed blood of God’s Beloved Son.
“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.” (Eph. 2:8,9)
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1)
Christ is the sinner’s only hope. Come as a sinner, trust Him as your Saviour and Lord, and know the joy of sins forgiven.