This essay is an original work by BertSchlossberg. Please comment only on the talk page.
The Way of Salvation
Few Christians would say that unless one believes in Christ, he cannot be saved. This is evident by the fact that there is not a resounding amen, or even a muted grunt in acquiescence, to the proposition that an infant or even a toddler, and certainly not an embryo that dies in the respective stages of its existence, all without explicit faith in Christ, would suffer the pains and pangs of eternal damnation. What Christians mean, that unless one believes in Christ, he cannot be saved, is, if one is capable, and exposed, and rejects the Christ coming to him, or quenches the very light that would lead him to Christ, he cannot be saved. This, then, is in accord, with teachings of Jesus that to him whom much is given will much be required, and is in accord with the moral sense given to man, and is in accord with much of the Biblical teaching, and all of the Biblical teaching dealing with the subject, though many Christians are paralyzed by a misuderstanding of that Biblical teaching and in strong conflict between what they sense is morally right and what they understand wrongly to be the Biblical Teaching.
The moral sense, fed and strengthened either directly or indirectly by Holy Scripture, wants "fairness" of God but the truth of their feelings that for God to consign the unbeliever to Hell, either making it happen or permitting it to happen, because he does not believe, that moral sense, must be disregarded, or treated as an attack of the Enemy, the Devil. All this because of the basic misunderstanding of what Scripture does say on the subject of salvation, the way of salvation, the role of faith, and the Atonement of Christ on the Cross itself.
One need not conclude that faith is absent in the Old Testament because it is not mentioned much, just as one need not conclude that to a fish water does not matter, since in it, there is no notice taken. As the fish lives in the water, so the Old Testament characters live in faith - without a mention, - until there is reason for it, as in the time of Abraham, the father of faith, and in that sense, the father of all Christians. It is faith that brought Abraham to acceptance with God, and that faith was expressed in obedience - obedence to leave Ur, obedience to sacrifice his son. His faith was considered his righteousness. How apt, then, that Abraham in his faith should be a pointer to Christians in their faith in Christ as their Savior, and thus their righteousness.
But, the content of faith for all of the characters and epochs of both Testaments was different, and as God revealed more of who He is and what He has done, faith itself was filled with new object and sometimes subtely and sometimes not so, changed, according to its object, and so their came "Christian Faith" changed to "fit" its object, Christ, and changed because of the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, was now penetrating and filling and vivifying faith in a way it could never be before. And so Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, Simeon, Paul, and Peter, all men of faith, and yet the requirement laid on them by the ongoing revelation of God, different for each one in each epoch as surely as the requirement of God upon the thief on the cross, Cornelius, Mary, the toddler running to his arms, and the baby in the womb aborted, we can be sure, all different one from the other.
What remains the same for all, for all times, is the one Atonement of Christ on the Cross, bearing the sins, fallibilities, sicknesses, incapabilites, incompletenesses of all, each in their own order, upon His sinless body and soul, bringing them, if they will, according to what is given them, into the loving arms of the Saviour and the Heavenly Father.
All this, so naturally and so divinely enacted by the many modulations of the Savior when here on earth, with all manners of men and women, each different, and each lovingly and accurately dealt with by the Saviour - the woman at the well, Zacheus, up the tree, the woman caght in adultery, Matthew at the tax table, leading them all to more and more of the light and toward Him, until they, too, could decide on the worth of Him and His Kingdom.
According to the Light - read the third chapter of the Gospel of John, if not in the Greek, then in the King James, which well expresses the change of the singular "thee", and "thou" to the plural "ye" and "you", expressing when Jesus stops speaking to the individual Nicodemus, and starts speaking through Nicodemus to all of the Jews of that century, and notice that it is no longer Jesus alone speaking but it is the "we" of the Church speaking. For the Light is expanding, and to him to whom enlightenment comes, from him will more be required, and to the one who is condemned, who has rejected the light, whether individual or people, it is because of the love of darkness, and that alone.
The way of Salvation as He walked it and talked it, is no different than the way of Salvation as Paul preached it and believed it.