Salvation; According To Jesus

John 3:16 Is The Essence of Christian Salvation Doctrine

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.

In English:  Jesus died for my sins so that, if I believe in Jesus, I will have everlasting life. Faith in the crucifixion and resurrection is the only requirement for everlasting life.

The Truth Is

According to Jesus, the path to everlasting life is much more complex than John 3:16 implies. Jesus Himself stipulates (see Biblical passages below)  the following necessary conditions for you to have eternal life.

  • love God
  • believe in Him that sent Jesus (God)
  • believe the Gospel (Old Testament – naturally… the new wasn’t around yet)
  • do the will of his father (God)
  • be baptized
  • do good works
  • uphold “the law”
  • do from 2-4 of the 10 commandments
  • repent
  • become as little children
  • exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees
  • sell all you have and give it to the poor

The above conditions are cited by Jesus (see below) as being necessary for salvation.

JESUS did NOT say

“I will be crucified soon and that will ( somehow) atone for your sins, then I  will be resurrected three days later; this you will have to believe if you are to enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Since Jesus knew he would be crucified, he could have made that the condition for eternal life – but he didn’t.

But John 3:16 Teaches Justification by Faith Only!

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 exhort all who will listen to accept Jesus Christ as their savior and be saved. There is never a mention about anything other than accepting Jesus Christ into your life. John, however was not the originator of this approach to everlasting life. He was inspired by the writings of Paul which appeared at least 40 years prior to John. Paul originated the idea that “Jesus died for your sins … believe in Him”. (How Paul came to this conclusion is presented below. Here are the actual words of Paul that preceded John and John 3:16.

We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”Romans 3:28

or

That 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

or

“By grace are ye Saved through faith; and that not of yourselves … Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus Explicitly Repudiates  Paul’s Interpretation

What Jesus Said…

Here is what Jesus had to say about the path to salvation.

Do the will of God.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt 7:21)

JESUS says “only he who does the will of my Father” will enter the kingdom of heaven. This alone is enough to discredit the entire “sin atonement – belief only” concept promoted in John 3:16.
No more need be said; but because we know there are those who will not accept this obvious truth, we will say more.

 JESUS does NOT say

I will be crucified soon and will be resurrected three days later; this you will have to believe if you are to enter the kingdom of heaven“.

Since Jesus knew he would be crucified, he could have made that the condition for eternal life – but he didn’t.

Obey “The Law”

In Luke 10:25-37 a lawyer specifically asks what is necessary for eternal life

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
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.”

Well, not exactly good understanding of the 615 commandments contained in “the law”, and a total misunderstanding of the 10 commandments, but good enough for Jesus to confirm that love of his Father is a necessary condition and actions are sufficient to inherit eternal life.

In these passages below from Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus emphasizes that adherence to the law (all 615 of them) is what is required to be called to the kingdom of heaven… and then some.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:
but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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.

Wow… Jesus just made it even tougher! Your righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

This time a “ruler” asks what shall I do for eternal life and gets the same answer … plus a whole lot more!

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? …
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

Well OK – Jesus just added yet another requirement. Sell all that thou hast!

Believe the Gospel and be Baptized

“And he saidunto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.”Mark 16:15-16

Of course, in this case “Gospel” meant the Old Testament, since the New Testament had not yet been written.

Repent

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish:  Luke 13:3

Do Good Works

The parable of the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left ends with Jesus admonishing those who did nothing to help their fellow man

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 15: 45-46

There can be no question that Jesus taught that works were a prerequisite to life eternal. And, should you question what you just read, read the same concept again.

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27

Tend to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the unclothed, the sick, the imprisioned for those who do not minister

… shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew25:46

Forsake your wife and children in the name of Jesus (please explain, i.e. “spin” this one for us)

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. Mattthew 19:29

Be as Naive As a Little Child

Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:7

Feed The Poor

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

Be poor, not rich.

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  
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 

John Never Heard Jesus Promote Himself as the Path to Salvation

John relaxed the admission fee for the pearly gates from all that Jesus required (see above) to belief in the resurrection.

Jesus constantly and consistently said believe in my Father and you will be saved. Jesus never said “believe in ME and you will be saved”. We already have the words of Jesus when it comes to salvation (see above).  Jesus did not see himself as the savior of mankind. He came to urge his fellow Jews to honor his Father, God etc.

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 have taken John 3:16  out of context, ( something they always accuse anyone of who points out problems with their interpretation). In the well known, oft quoted (out of context) John 3:16, the word “him”  (whosoever believeth in HIM) refers to God, not to Jesus. This is the only way it can be read and be true to the actual words of Jesus as quoted above. In addition, if Jesus actually spoke the words of John 3:16, it is obvious that Jesus meant “Him” to be his father, God. Otherwise Jesus would have said “…whosoever believeth in ME …”.

Here, two chapters later,  Jesus confirms that “him” refers to God, not Jesus himself

He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life. John 5:24

And John, before he even says 3:16, has Jesus refuting the notion that belief in Him (Jesus) alone is sufficient to enter the kingdom of God.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  John 3:5

Two chapters later, John acknowledges the requirement that good works are necessary  to go unto the resurrection of life.

And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life. John 5:29

And, again,one chapter later, John reiterates the “baptize” requirement.

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

Conclusion

You can quibble about the differences but that just reinforces our point. The path to eternal life is not clear. The Bible, unbelievably,  contains contradictions about the most important concept in Christianity. Christians believe one thing (3:16), Jesus taught something else.

BTW:

We Question Why/How Jesus’ Death Atones For Our Sins

For more analysis of this absurd, but ancient concept, see bloody-human-sacrifice-atonement-mythology

Justification by Blood Sacrifice First Appeared in 5000 BC

Paul’s “idea”that Jesus death atones for YOUR sins is not new. The idea of “atone for sin, salvation through the death of a God” was commonplace in the many religions of the time. Its roots lie not in Judaism, but in mystery-religion, with which Paul was acquainted in Tarsus. The violent deaths of Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dionysus brought divination to their initiates. Before that, the Minoans, starting in 5000BC most likely practiced human sacrifice. John Hale, author of Exploring the Roots of Religion,  comments that  “human sacrifice becomes almost routine as part of the nearly superhuman efforts to glorify divine monarchs through monumental architecture, impressive ceremony, and above all spectacular funeral rites”.

We admit that Paul Does Speak Out of Both Sides of His Mouth

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

OK, only “faith of Christ” can get you into heaven but you have to be good; goodness alone will not get you there.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and WITCHCRAFT; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:19-21

 The Bible Teaches That Death Is Not Final

The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward. Ecclesiastes 9:5 ).

Here is how Paul came to the conclusion that “faith, apart from works” is sufficient to enter heaven.

  • Being a Pharisitic Jew, Paul was well aware of  legalistic practices of Judaism requiring  blood sacrifice rituals.
  • The offering of a sacrifice was considered an act of obedience to God. Paul used this “sacrifice” analogy to interpret Jesus’ crucifixion as an act of obedience to God to atone for the the sins of humankind. Paul wrote, “For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s (Jesus’) obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
  • Paul’s theory about why Jesus had to die is explained in Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome. Paul used the story of “Adam and Eve” in the Hebrew book of Genesis to explain the origin of sin and death. “Therefore sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Romans 5:12).
  • Then Paul wrote that people are saved from sin and death by Jesus’ death on the cross (his crucifixion). “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ (Jesus) died for us. Since therefore we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:8-9). Paul’s explanation of the death of Jesus was in terms of a blood sacrifice to atone for sins – not an original religious idea.

Paul’s reasoning cannot be viewed as inspired by God because:

  • It is the antithesis of what God’s son,  Jesus taught. See Jesus quotes re salvation (in red) below.
  • Paul could not possibly have been inspired by God as evidenced by his wrong teaching that the end would come in his, (Paul’s) lifetime. God would never have let Paul promulgate a false teaching. See below for more on this proof.

So, this whole idea of “atone for sin, salvation through faith” is totally a figment of Paul’s imagination and his knowledge and understanding of universal religious practices. Nowhere does Paul claim that this “atone for sin, salvation through faith” idea of his was relayed to him by God or Jesus. In fact, he says that other than his vision of Jesus, he acted quite alone.

The passage from John 3:16 then, is a restatement of Paul’s self-deluded theology. Paul articulated this “atone for sin, salvation by faith” doctrine at least 40 years before John penned his now famous verse, 3:16.  Paul dreamed up the idea of “died for our sins, salvation by faith” and John popularized it with  3:16.

Paul’s Authority Is Discredited

Paul’s many writings are accepted by Christians because they believe his words were {inspired | guided | written | etc. } by God or the Holy Spirit. Accordingly all of Paul’s writings should be without error since his inspiration, God,  has perfect knowledge; i.e. is omniscient. Thus Paul’s writings should be perfect and contain no error. But Paul’s writings do contain errors. The most obvious and incontrovertible one is that Paul preached the end times would occur within the lifetime of his audience (ignoring the fact that Jesus said the same thing) . Paul invented the concept of “salvation through faith”  totally out of hole-cloth, not through any guidance from God or Jesus. He interpreted the death of Jesus to mark the beginning of end times.

No Doubt: Paul Believed the End Times Would Occur Within His Lifetime

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord  Thessalonians 4:15-17 “

“We which are alive” can mean nothing but those who are standing before and hearing Paul; they will be caught up together. “Them in the clouds” are those who had died before Jesus returned. Paul says that all of you hearing me will be caught up with the dead and WE will ever be with the lord. There can be no interpretation other than that Paul believed the end would occur in his lifetime. On the other hand, Paul claims that this is “by the word of the Lord”; but of course it couldn’t have been since it was wrong.

Wait, there’s more

But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none.” — 1 Corinthians 7:29

 “That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. — Philippians 1:10

 “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son….” — Hebrews 1:2

 “But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” — Hebrews 9:26

Any one hearing Paul’s words could reach no other conclusion but the end times would occur within their lifetime.

PAUL WAS WRONG!

Well, it didn’t happen. The end times did not occur withing the lifetime of Paul’s audience. If Paul was wrong on this one, most important, fundamental issue, why should anything he says be believed? He obviously was not inspired by God or he could not have misspoke.

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 2:13

WHAT? Here we have Paul contradicting himself. It appears deeds ARE necessary. So which is it Paul?

7 comments on “Salvation; According To Jesus

  1. Doug Mason says:

    I am aware that the following comments do not directly address the topic of soteriology, however I wish to add to the mention of “monotheism” that has been made.
    ———–
    Monotheism became the dominant force among the Jews only after the return of the exiles from Babylon in the 6th century BCE. Only after that time did the “Yahweh-alone” party came to the fore, along with its demand that all worship be centred in Jerusalem. A very different Judaism emerged from the neo-Babylonian Captivity (see Ezra).

    Prior to the 6th century Captivity, the Yahweh-alone group fought a losing battle against the polytheistic worship practised by the people of Israel and of Judah. The writers of what became the OT defined any monarch who did not fully support their “Yahweh-alone, Jerusalem-centrist” ambitions as “evil” (hence every monarch of Israel and most monarchs of Judah/Benjamin).

    The ancient Hebrew writings are thus the propaganda views of this monotheistic minority. They were the only people who could both read and write (two very different disciplines), so theirs is the only opinions we know.

    Prior to that time, the Hebrews practised a polytheistc religion that included Asherah as the wife of Yahweh. Husband and wife were worshiped together. The dominant force was a group known as the People of The Land but since they were not literate, they left no written account, although some things about them can be gleaned from the OT. They might have been a group of powerful land owners.

    Perhaps having a sacrificial system in which the priesthood and the temple were the controlling focus provided a means for exerting power and authority.

  2. dinoconstant says:

    Hello Readers!

    I have found the Bible of little use to form any concrete views about God. I consider it to be a compilation of literary works, and none of it, the Word of God, if He has the attributes assigned to Him: omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omnibenevolence, and infinite in nature.

    Words are a human construct for communication between humans. If God had all the attributes assigned to Him, He would not have a male gender, and would not need words to communicate with us. If He exists, and wanted to communicate with us, it would probably be through our emotions. Modern experimental psychology has shown by empirical evidence that our thoughts and decisions are largely governed by our emotions – MRISs do not lie.

    All of God’s said attributes can be challenged by reflection on relevant passages from the Bible. For example, from Genesis 3, we can question His omnipresence and His omniscience:

    9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?”

    10 And he said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

    11 And he said, “Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

    Also, we can question the validity of blood sacrifices to “atone” for sins from several viewpoints:

    1) Serving a penitence, similar to the modern practice of community service, would be more edifying to the sinner, and more useful to the community;

    2) An animal should not need to be killed, even if it depletes the man’s wealth, to appease God;

    3) Psalm 50 suggests that God does not require it –

    9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.

    10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

    I question the need for Christ to be sacrificed at all. It would have been better if God had provided a learned follower of Christ to write what He may have said at the time He was preaching. I suspect that the practice of animal and human sacrifice was a legacy of paganism, not needed in times of monotheistic beliefs.

  3. Doug Mason says:

    I would be surprised, even amazed, if Paul and the writers of the Gospels were in complete agreement. From its very beginnings, the followers of Jesus splintered into separate movements. Clearly there were differences between them.

    Not one of the NT writers or their contemporaries had seen or heard Jesus. Neither Jesus nor any of his immediate followers left any written record. The earliest writings come from Paul, about 20 years after Jesus’ death. The Mark Gospel was written shortly after Paul’s death, perhaps to provide alternative views.

    The other canonised Gospels were written decades later by a range of separate groups, including the Jerusalem party, the Johannine community, and at least one Gentile party (Luke).

    The Gospels are not literal records of Jesus’ actions and messages. Rather, each Gospel is the story of the later community that created it. Thus John 3:16 is the belief of the late first-century Johannine community, not of something supposedly stated by Jesus to a mythical (symbolic) Nicodemus or something that Paul countenanced; he died in 64 CE.
    In view of the variety of views expressed by each community, it is only natural that disagreement exists, including on the subject of Salvation.

    Other non-Paul writings included the Pastorals (Timothy, Titus); Ephesians; Colossians; 2 Thessalonians; The Shepherd of Hermas; The Didache; The Gospel of Thomas; and the writings of Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, and Marcion.

  4. Sam Massey says:

    Isn’t the belief of six hundred+ laws really 613 laws ? Not 615?

  5. usor says:

    The end times Paul was anticipating came in AD70. You have to read the new testament as a jew in the first century! Tsk! Tsk! The same goes with anything in the bible. It is not of our culture or value system. It has to be read with a different mindset to ours. Johns writing was of the jewish “apcalyptic style” and a reflection of that found in various parts of the old testament. It was not literal “stars falling down” etc but represented the end of THEIR WORLD, the jewish world, and it was. Be very careful when reading the bible. Find out what the jews really meant when they said something rather than what a person means today.

  6. usor says:

    Gospel is greek for GOOD NEWS. it does not mean the old testament scriptures.

    The new testament does not contradict itself – Paul is hard to understand as is stated in one of Peter’s letters. And I’m afraid you don’t understand him but yes, you are right, some, many Christians of the protestant denominations think that intellectual ascent to two or three new testament facts concerning Jesus will yield eternal life. That’s because they have been mislead by others or because they have neither read nor understood the new testament for themselves.

  7. Kevminator says:

    Yeah, I have a friend who was once studying to be a priest but was kicked out because of his views of the Epistle Paul and liking of the teachings of a Priest called Chardin. He said that the teachings were more based upon what Paul thought Christianity should be and not what the Bible says that Christ’s teachings were supposed to be. He claims that Christianity should be called “PAULISM”! LOL!

    Just had to share!

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