What draws most people to become involved in some “religious movement” or church affiliation? Well, it may be at the urging of family members or friends; a tragedy or misfortune in their lives; maybe a fear of a “wrathful” God assigning them to the flames of “Hell fire? As you know, there are a lot of ideas being presented by thousands upon thousands of various “evangelists” or church organizations, in an effort to get people “saved”. They plead and cajole others to accept their way, leading to some sort of “salvation”. (I remember that one of my friends was concerned about my “eternal life” and the way I was living, back in my early twenties!) The mainstream religion of this nation is still some form of Christianity. And, of course, the central figure or Savior is Jesus Christ. Their main thrust is to get you to “accept His name” and you then may be saved through that acceptance. Is that ALL there is to it?
Yes, we certainly must accept Jesus Christ as our Personal Savior, our Lord and Master, our High Priest and our soon coming “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. We must believe in His Holy Name and believe in His shed blood for forgiveness of our sins!
BUT THERE IS MUCH MORE INVOLVED IN OBTAINING ETERNAL LIFE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
Positively, we do need to establish in our minds the absolute Authority, the necessity of the Name of Jesus Christ in God’s Plan of salvation for everyone, EVENTUALLY! Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (If you read this entire passage of Scripture, you’ll see that Peter was giving a prophetic reference from the Book of Joel 2:30-32, concerning the time of the “last days“ and the “day of the Lord”, which will include those in the coming Kingdom of God. (verses 16 - 20).
Acts 4:10 “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel (not just Judah), that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
I want to point out that, in this prophecy in Joel 2, people will “call upon the Name of the LORD” (Jesus Christ of the New Testament) to be saved in the coming Kingdom of God. Undoubtedly, it appears, the faithful saints of Hebrews 11 will accept that Holy Name, Jesus Christ, who was LORD of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ doesn’t change in the method of salvation! Notice this: John 1:11 “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. 12. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His NAME.” John 20:30 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: 31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name.”
There are numerous references to the Name of Christ and it’s absolute importance in being given eternal life. We do NOT diminish nor disparage that Holy Name. But some will try to tell you that acceptance of that Name is the only requirement for salvation. One particular world famous evangelist wants to stress this point in his “Answer”. We must be very careful when reading certain passages of Scripture. For instance, in Paul’s writings: Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto RIGHTEOUSNESS; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Let’s pause here and ask the question: WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS? Well, it is a reference to KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD! Psalms 119:172 “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for ALL THY COMMANDMENTS ARE RIGHTEOUSNESS. Verse 1 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the Law of the LORD. 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” Kind David, “a man after God’s own heart” continually stressed obedience to the Ten Commandments. Psalms 119 is full of his love of God’s Law! There is more to salvation than just “accepting” the Name of Christ and yet denying the fact that we must OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS!
BELIEF, ALONE, IS NOT SUFFICIENT FOR SALVATION!
Let’s continue in what Paul is teaching us in Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Paul warned in II Corinthians 11:4 that another Jesus was already being preached by Satan’s false ministers in verses 13,14). So you can’t “call on Him”, if you’ve not heard of the real Jesus! Furthermore, it must come from a true minister of Jesus Christ!! Verse 15. And how shall they preach, except they be SENT? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the GOSPEL OF PEACE (the good news of the Kingdom of God), and bring glad tidings of good things.”
Peter wrote about Paul’s writings: II Peter 3:16 “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
What Did Christ Himself, Teach?
Matthew 19:16 “And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17. And He said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. 18. 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, 19. Honour thy father and your mother: and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
So we see here where Christ enumerated five of the Ten Commandments so as to be no mistaking that He was speaking of ALL the Commandments. (Some try to pose the ridiculous idea, that because He didn’t mention the fourth, Sabbath Commandment, we are no longer obligated to keep it.) This is one of the most asinine arguments against God’s Commandments that carnal human beings could ever conjure up! Do you think that when He didn’t mention the ones about “having no other gods before me; making graven images of false gods and bowing down to them; taking the Name of the LORD thy God in vain” are no longer relevant in worshiping the True God? Of course, ALL TEN are still applicable to receiving eternal life! The young man being taught by Jesus tried to say that he had kept all the commandments, but Christ knew that he still was COVETOUS (verses 20 thru 22).
THE CARNAL, UNCONVERTED MIND LITERALLY HATES GOD’S LAW!
Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God : for it is not subject (not willing to submit itself) to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (This is just the opposite attitude that David expressed in, Psalms 119:97 “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”) 8. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of God, he is none of His. 10. And IF Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. (Because of living according to, in obedience to God’s Commandments.) And what is the result of having Jesus Christ IN YOU, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? 11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT that dwelleth in you.” You will be in that “better resurrection” at the return of Jesus Christ!
What else is required to be given the Gift of the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom God hath given to them THAT OBEY HIM” As Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong used to say (and the Bible agrees with this): “God will not save anyone He does not rule over”.
You are kidding yourself - deceiving yourself - if you believe that some SHALLOW repeating of the Name of Jesus Christ will bring you GENUINE SALVATION! Yes, that is the beginning step toward receiving eternal life. But, as we’ve seen from God’s Word, there is much more required of a TRUE CHRISTIAN. The Apostle John had much to say about this: I John 2:3 “And hereby we do KNOW that we KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. 4. He that saith (confesses the name of Christ), I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, IS A LIAR, and the truth is not in him.” This is the final proof of True Christians: that they not only BELIEVE and ACCEPT THE NAME OF CHRIST, but they also BELIEVE they must KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, (Including His true seventh Day Sabbath and Annual Holy Days.)
God’s definition of sin is found in I John 3:4 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: For sin IS the transgression of the law.” John sums it up in the following verses: Verse 22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His Commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23. And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ (first step), and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 24. And he that keepeth His Commandments (additional steps) dwelleth in Him, and He in them. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by His Spirit which He hath given us.”
Some Final Thoughts
John was also inspired to write in the last Book of the Bible some serious warnings to those who refuse to believe the things I have given you in this message. Revelation 22:11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 14. Blessed are they that DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, that they may have right to the TREE OF LIFE, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
This idea of being saved by merely believing in the Name of Jesus Christ permeates nearly all of “Christendom”. It’s Satan’s clever way of deceiving that segment of mankind, just as he has deceived the “whole world”. And many nominal “Christians” fervently believe in the false hope of going to Heaven, if they only believe in the name of Christ for their salvation.
Don’t forget what James wrote: “---even the demons believe -- and tremble!”