Taking The Sum Of God’s Word

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” When it comes to what conditions a person must meet in order to be saved, some are confused by the fact that one passage will state belief is necessary without mentioning repentance or baptism (for example, John 3:16), one passage will say repentance is necessary without mentioning belief (Luke 13:3), and a third passage will mention that baptism is necessary without mentioning belief or repentance (Acts 22:16, I Peter 3:21).

Taking the intersection of all such passages won’t work, because their intersection (what they all have in common) is equal to nothing. Instead what we should do is take their union, that is, all of what God’s word says on the subject of salvation. This would be analogous to a man saying he caught a bass with a Zebco 202 fishing reel. The next day he might say he caught that same fish with a 5 pound test line. And the third day he might say he caught it with an artificial worm. One way of putting it doesn’t rule out the truth of the other sentences. In this case, we would all understand the man used a Zebco 202, a 5 pound line, and an artificial worm (all three) to catch that bass.

There isn’t just one passage that tells us everything about Jesus’ death. We learn the whole story from taking all of what the Bible says on the matter. It is the same with what a sinner must do to be saved. We must take all God says on the topic. A sinner has to believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of his sins (Acts 2:38), and be baptized (Mark 16:16) in order to be saved. There is no inconsistency whatsoever.

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