THE BIBLE AND SALVATION By Wilmer Hechanova “ . . . you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
Introduction (Parable of the Three Travelers) An eastern story tells of 3 horsemen who traveled through the desert at night. Along the way, a stranger stopped them and told them that they would passthrough a dry stream, a dry river. “When you arrive there,” the stranger instructed, “you get off your horses and fill your pockets and bags with stones from the river bed. At sunrise, examine the stones you have picked up. You know that you will be both glad and sorry.” As the stranger predicted, the three travelers came to a very dry river bed. In a spirit of adventure, they put just a few of the many stones and pebbles they found scattered, into their pockets and bags. And they continued their long journey. At sunrise, the next day, they arrived at a place in the desert to rest. They examined the pebbles they had picked up. To their great surprise and amazement, they discovered the stones they picked up were transformed into diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphire, pearl and other precious stones. They recalled the words of the stranger in the desert. They understood what he meant. They were glad for the pebbles they had picked up but sorry they had not taken more. Knowing the Scriptures is a life-long journey. It’s an experience that is likened to the journey in the stream in this parable. Each day, we invest our time knowing the Scripture, studying and praying. We dismount from our busy schedules. We stop for a while, just pick up some nuggets of truths here – teachings there. Only to discover, the spiritual wisdom are so precious that cannot be compared to any other wealth of this world. So precious becauseit leads to our Lord JesusChrist – our Salvation. Our pearl of Great Price. We will discover later, if we have only picked up more nuggets of wisdom from the Scriptures, it will be our security for a lifetime. The problem is, we are sorry becausewe have not taken more. We have not taken the time to dig deeper. We have not really invested our time to it, becausewe are busy in our journey. The Bible and Salvation
What is the relationship of the Scripture to salvation? The Bible leads us to salvation. Salvation is the very first purpose of the Bible. We are saved by believing the Christ who is presented in the Bible. Scriptures tells us that Satan knows the Bible; he quoted it with mastery – to suit his purpose to deceive. Remember the temptation of Christ story in Matthew 4? Satan’s processis called “eisegesis”. Proof texting. He put his own meaning to the text. In comparison, Christ “exegeted” the Scriptures. He allowed the Scripture to say what it means. There are three (3) declarations as to the relationship of the Bible to Salvation as set forth in 2 Timothy 3:15. The first declaration is: I – The Declaration of Value. (15a) “ . . . you have known the Holy Scriptures” The truth is, Timothy knew the Scriptures since childhood. Timothy’s “Lola Lois and “Mama Eunice” faithfully taught him the Scriptures. Timothy continued in what he had known. There’s value in knowing the Scriptures. Some people may say, “That’s good for Timothy, but for me, the Scripture is irrelevant.” Sunday School for little children is a must. But for older people, it’s not anymore applicable. It’s not the trend. It’s out of style. “I’ve learned enough.” This is a perfectly a wrong attitude. This is dangerous. We can never outgrow the Word of God. Even if we know the Scripture in our tender age, the more we need the knowledge of the Bible in our teen-age years. Much more, in our maturing years. Why? Becauseyoung and old face more temptations and face more decisions and choices in life. The Bible is always there. It’s like a treasure waiting to be discovered. You have “known”. From the original, it means, “to perceive in the eyes of the mind”, “to be acquainted with understanding.” Some church people will say, “I know the Bible, from cover to cover, including the cover.” The Pharisees, the theologians of Jesus’ day, were like that. “They knew the Scriptures like the backs of their hands – instead of knowing it in the fronts of their hearts.” Why should we know the Bible in the fronts of our hearts? This leads us to our 2nd declaration. II – The Declaration of Reason (15b) “ . . . which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation.” (GNB) “ . . . which are able to make you wise for salvation.” (NIV) A pastor conversed with a man who professed to be a Christian but does not practice his faith. A professing but not practicing Christian. His reason? His example: the dying thief on the Cross. The pastor asked him, “Sir, are you attending a Bible study, a core group or growth group Bible Study?” “No, Pastor,” the man answered. “Why not, Sir?” the Pastor asked.
“The dying thief on the Crossnever attended Bible studies and he went to heaven. He was saved.” And the man continued, “In fact, he never congregates with a church, no membership 101, he was saved.” “So, are you baptized, Sir, according to the Scriptures?” “No, the dying thief was never baptized and he went to heaven and was saved.” “Have you given to missions?Have you given your tithes according to the Scriptures?” “No, the dying thief on the Crossdid not. He was not judged by his tithing. He went to heaven.” “Have you committed yourself to serve in the church, according to the Scripture?” “No, the dying thief on the Crossdid not, and he went to heaven.” The pastor could not hold it any longer. He looked at the man straight to the eyes and said, “Well, Sir, the difference between you two is this, He was a DYINGTHIEF,and you are a LIVING THIEF. The Scripture gave wisdom to Timothy that led to his salvation. It was a living faith founded on the living Savior. “It makes you wise enough for salvation.” (CEV) The Scripture revealed to Timothy his need of salvation. It is a mirror that shows our sinfulness before God. The Bible explains that everyone is a sinner. (Rom. 3: 23) Everyone falls short of God’s glory. The Bible explains that every lost sinner is condemned now. Every lost sinner – “dying thief or living thief” cannot save himself. The Bible gives us the assurance of salvation (1 John 5: 9-13). The Bible becomesour spiritual food to nourish us – that we might grow in obedience to Christ. It means that the wisdom that comes from the Bible has the function of showing people the way to salvation. Let us take note: The Holy Scriptures in itself does not bestow salvation but only points to it. The experience of salvation comes through faith in Christ Jesus. This leads me to my last declaration as set forth in 2 Tim. 3:15. III – The Declaration of God’s Plan ( 15c) “ . . . through faith in Christ Jesus.” The word “faith” here is subjective. It refers to “trust in” or “commitment to” JesusChrist. The literal rendition therefore is,
“which are able to give the wisdom, to believe in Christ Jesusand be saved or to let him save you.” One of the most profound truths in the Bible is to understand that we do not earn our way to heaven. Our salvation is by faith in Christ Jesus.And accordingly, “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ”. (Romans 10: 17 NASB) What of those who have not heard of the Scriptures or the Gospel in particular? Is it fair to condemn them? Acts 17: 26-27 In the context of Paul’s debating with Greek Philosophers in Athens, he pointed out God’s Sovereign plan in creation. “He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (v. 26 NIV) And “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him.” (v.27) In other words, God knows. He puts us in a position where we might seek him. Wherever we live – in whatever culture, tribe and nation, He is within reach to every one of us. There is always the possibility of a person to “call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.” (Rom. 10:13) This is beyond our understanding. This is grace! Conclusion The Scriptures brings Salvation only when one placeshis faith in Christ Jesus. Timothy was raised on the Holy Scriptures in a godly home. Yet it was not until Paul led him to Christ that he was saved.