I want to share with a problem that I have been struggling with recently. Now that I aware of it, it seems like I see it in everything. The problem I am talking about is generally called “knowledge” or if you have studied the Greek NT; it is called “gnosis.” Within the church, there is this push toward “my personal knowledge.” It’s so pervasive that it’s almost to the exclusion of everything else. Propose any problem and the answer almost always, “just read more or study more.” Are you struggling with faith? Read more! Are you struggling with depression? Read, study, and pray more! Or as one person said, “The greatest need in the church today is more knowledge.” I couldn’t disagree more! The greatest need of any generation is Jesus.
Perhaps nothing is affected more by this than salvation from our sins. Far too often, I have heard well intentioned Christians, doubting their faith and salvation because they didn’t know everything. I am sure you have heard this typical conversation in the church.
Person “A” wants to become a Christian? Before anything else is considered, the questions start flowing. Are you sure they know enough? Maybe, we need to study with them to make sure they understand all the aspects of salvation completely? Do they understand baptism completely? Do they understand that it’s immersion, for the forgiveness of sins, that is essential to our salvation? The list could go on but I’m sure you know exactly what I am saying.
So, is my personal understanding of clear bible doctrines more important? Is it more important than Jesus or his blood? I am confident you would not say that. We can all agree that what you know is important (your knowledge of Jesus and his commands) but it’s not the most important thing to know. Would you agree that believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God sent to atone for my sins, that he died, was buried, and rose again on the third day, and your desire to follow him is more important (1 Cor. 15:3-4)? I am confident you will agree that this is the essence of the gospel? Repentance and baptism are important, essential even (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16), but until we believe in Jesus (Rom. 1:16-17) and determine to follow him, they are powerless to save us.
By God’s amazing grace and through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10), we can be saved from our sins (John 3:16-17). The only other thing that we need to know is that we want to follow Him, being obedient to his commands (John 14:15-17; 15:9-11). Once we desire to follow Jesus, we will gladly submit to any and every command he gives us. Just make sure that you don’t base your assurance of salvation on what you know but on who you know.