For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Christians cite this verse from John and contend that the only way to be “saved” is to believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins.
The Truth Is
There are many (contradictory) ways to get to heaven. Jesus proclaims many of them. None of the ways described by Jesus involve believing that he died on the cross for our sins. It seems to us that what Jesus said supersedes the methods espoused by the apostles, two of whom never even saw or heard Jesus speak. All of their “knowledge” is by word of mouth, i.e. hearsay.
How to Be Saved
According To Jesus as reported by Apostles
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged. Matthew 7:1
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
So… all you have to do is ASK for salvation
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
Contradicts the idea that the way to salvation is through Jesus!
He That endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified. Matthew 12:37
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16.27
WOW – Jesus says that those in his audience will “see the Son of Man” in their lifetime!
AND… be rewarded according to his works!
That sure makes John out to be ill informed doesn’t it?
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 19:17-19
Why doesn’t Jesus indicate ALL of the commandments?
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:23-24
Oh Boy… the Tea Party Evangelical one percenters aren’t even going to make it.
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Matthew 19:29
Nothing in the sayings of Jesus, as remembered by the writer(s) of Matthew, say anything about Jesus dying for our sins or that in order to be saved, we have to believe it.
John – wrote 20 years after Matthew and 60 years after death of Jesus
John appears to be greatly influenced by Paul’s writings of 50 years earlier. John is the only apostle who writes that “belief” alone is sufficient to attain everlasting life. These are not the words of Jesus; in fact, they are contrary to what Jesus said according to Matthew, Mark and Luke. They are John’s version of the idea initiated by Paul at least 40 years before John. Contrast this singular thought with all the other suggested routes to everlasting life and it is just one more in a confusing litany of prescriptions for everlasting life.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5
Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
(If Jesus spoke those words, then the “him” refers to God, his father; not Jesus! This would be consistent with Jesus’ message that you must have faith and belief in his Father. It is also consistent with the first part: “For GOD so loved the world that HE sent his only begotten Son. Now, “him” clearly refers to God, not Jesus. Jesus himself confirms this in John 5:24)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life John 3:36 (Just John saying this; no one else).
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:29
(What the….? It appears John is changing his tune.)
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:53-54
Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God. 1 John 4:7
(all you need is love in case you missed it)
Non Eye-Witness Apostles
Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:17
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Mark 16:16
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
…thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.— Luke 18:18-22
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged. Luke 6:37
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Mark 13:13
But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Luke 6:24
Ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. James 5:1
man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? — James 2:14
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. Luke 10:26
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13-14
Non Apostle Ideas
Paul’s Ideas About How to Be Saved (in the order in which they were written)
Paul wrote about 20 years after Jesus’ death. He never saw or heard Jesus during Jesus’ lifetime Yet, Paul wrote at least 20 years before Mark and about 30 years before Matthew and about 40 years before John. Because Paul admits that he has had no message from God or the Holy Spirit, nothing that Paul says should be taken seriously. This is especially reinforced because Paul preached that the “end times’ would occur in his (Paul’s) lifetime. He was wrong – thereby confirming that his preaching is based on the meanderings of his ancient lore filled mind.
Here’s what Paul came up with about salvation. Remember, none of what Paul says conforms to what Jesus said.
Who will render to each one according to his deeds. … For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified. Romans 2:6, 13
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5:10
A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Romans 3:28
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:15
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:16
For by grace are ye saved through faith Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved Acts 16:31
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus
Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved Acts 2:21
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life. Revelation 22:14
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? Corinthians 15:29
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing. 1 Timothy 2:14-15
For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. Romans 9:11
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Help from those who were not Apostles
When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Ezekiel 18:26
Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Ezekiel 18:27
The Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work.1 Peter 1:17
For you render to each one according to his works. Psalm 62:12
I the Lord … give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:10
And Then, There is the Downright Outlandish Stuff From Revelation
Revelation is believed to have been written by John. In it, he mostly repudiates his “how to” of John 3:16. In Revelation, one’s works are what gets you to heaven.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12
I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Revelation 2:2321.
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. Revelation 14:4
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. Revelation 20:12-13
‘I will strike her children dead so that all the churches will know that I repay each of you as your deeds deserve.’Revelation 2:23
On the other hand, none of the above is relevant. Maybe your path to salvation is predetermined. The Presbyterians think so. There are ample passages in the bible that support this position, most of them from the maverick Paul.
2 Thessalonians 2:12 God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(So how can I know the “truth” if God makes me believe a lie?)
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
(Ah, there’s the answer…. it doesn’t matter since God chooses from the beginning).
Romans 8:29-30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate … Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Ephesians 1:11 – In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Ephesians 1:4-5 – He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us … according to the good pleasure of his will.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Mark 4:11, Matthew 13:10-15 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
(For the love of God, would someone explain that passage to me?)
It has been shown that, according to the bible, there are multiple contradictory paths to salvation. For an even more comprehensive list of conflicting salvation requirements, see Steve Well’s compilation of 189 biblical requirements for salvation. Basically, Jesus says works (as in sell all you have…) are necessary. John, taking a page from Paul, says faith in the resurrection of Jesus is necessary and sufficient. These are mutually exclusive methods. Ergo one of them has to be wrong. Ergo, the bible is shown, once again to be wrong.
NOTE: Paul wrote at least 5 years before Mark. Thus he had no idea that Mark would totally contradict his stream-of-conscious ramblings. It is also apparent that the authors of John were not familiar with the writings of Matthew, Mark and Luke for the book of John totally contradicts what Matthew, Mark and Luke say.