Misunderstanding the Bible vs Salvation
The question that this article will answer is; Can misunderstanding the bible cause us to be lost eternally? That’s a serious thought isn’t it? I’m not talking about a willful decision to disregard the teachings of the bible. Though some don’t believe it, disregarding what the bible says, WILL cause us to be lost eternally. Just like remaining “Willfully Ignorant” of God’s word will also cause us to be lost.
But what I’m talking about here, is an “honest” misunderstanding of what the bible teaches concerning our beliefs and conduct relative to receiving the forgiveness of our sins, and salvation from God. When I say, an “honest” misunderstanding, I simply mean that it’s a fact that we misunderstand. We’re not just claiming to not understand. We may claim that our hearts are sincere, and that we WANT to do God’s will, but we misunderstand what His will is. Can that cause us to be lost?
A question that we might ask in regards to understanding a specific topic discussed in the bible is; Is this topic a salvation issue? And what we mean by the phrase “a salvation issue”, is.. does this topic topic have a direct bearing on our salvation. For instance: There are some things that the bible mentions, but yet doesn’t give us enough information about, for us to have a full understanding of the subject. Therefore if God has chosen not to give us all the information on the subject, it can’t possibly be something that will affect our salvation.
An example is the question of what will our spiritual body be like, when we’re resurrected? Concerning our body, the bible says in 1 Cor 15:44; “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” Verse 37 had said; “And that which you sow, is NOT the body which is to be..”
But aside from that, we’re not told much more about the spiritual body that we’ll be resurrected with. As a matter of fact, we’re told in 1 John 3:2; “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has NOT appeared as yet, what we shall be. We know that when He (Jesus) appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”
We know that our spiritual body will be immortal, and it will be imperishable, but that’s about all we know about it. Therefore, understanding exactly what our spiritual body will be like, cannot be a “salvation issue”, because God has ordained that, “it has not appeared as yet, what we shall be.” In other words, He hasn’t told us.
But what about subjects that God HAS given us sufficient information about? Subjects that we CAN know God’s will about? Are those subjects, “salvation issues”? I just recently completed an article that shows how God REQUIRES us to know His will. You can review that article if you wish, by clicking on “Sins Of Ignorance – Part 2”.
We’re told in 1 Tim 2:4, that God.. “desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” Knowledge of the truth, is directly connected to salvation.
God gave us His word and He wants us to know it. Jesus said, in John 8:31 & 32; “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus assures us that we CAN know the truth. As a matter of fact; If we abide in His word, we SHALL know the truth. And by knowing that truth, it can free us from sin; IF we abide in His word.
The bible Teaches Us Salvation
The word of God teaches us very specifically, how to conduct ourselves, and how to be saved. But if we don’t understand God’s word sufficiently, we won’t know HOW to properly conduct ourselves, so as to BE saved.
An example of this is the subject of baptism. God’s word has much to say about baptism. However many people have never studied everything that the bible says about this subject, and so they have an incorrect understanding of the truth concerning the purpose of baptism.
Here’s why this is so important.. 1 Peter 3, verse 21, tells us that “Baptism now saves us. Not the putting away of the dirt of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”
So we can easily see that there is a direct connection between baptism, and salvation, because the scriptures say that “baptism now saves us..” Now that’s important!
And then there’s the verse in Acts 22:16, where Saul was told; “And now, why do you delay? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on Him.” We can easily see from this verse that it’s baptism that washes away our sins. How could you possibly be saved, without washing away your sins? You can’t, that’s all there is to it.
Then there’s the words of Jesus in Mark 16:16, when He told His apostles; “He who believes AND is baptized, shall be saved.” So we can see that Jesus says it takes MORE than just belief to be saved. And one of those other things that it takes, is baptism.
Now those are some pretty important verses that teach us about the purpose of baptism. And there’s more verses on the subject too. But many people have either never studied those verses, or they somehow “discount them”, because someone has told them, that baptism isn’t necessary for salvation. But who are you gonna believe? Are you going to take the word of a mere man or woman, or are you going to take the word of GOD?
So then, if the bible is actually the truth (which of course it is), then we can easily see that a misunderstanding of the purpose, and of the NECESSITY of baptism, will indeed prevent you from being saved.
If baptism saves us, and if baptism washes away our sins, and if Jesus says; “He who believes AND is baptized shall be saved”, then if we don’t understand that, we WON’T be saved! That’s all there is to it.
Still, Misunderstanding Persists
Even though that sounds pretty easy to understand, people persist in their misunderstanding of it, and they continue to be lost.
Do you remember the question at the beginning of the article? “Can misunderstanding the bible cause us to be lost eternally?” After viewing just this one example of baptism, the obvious answer is; YES, misunderstanding the bible CAN and WILL cause one to be lost eternally.
What about the bible teaching concerning immorality and covetousness? We’re told in Eph 5:5; “For this you know with certainty; That no immoral or impure person, or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
What if we don’t understand, which things God says are immoral, or impure? Our society has a different opinion than God does, about what is moral and what is immoral. What if we continue to practice what God specifically says is immoral, just because someone has convinced us, that God’s word doesn’t apply any longer, to this generation, or it doesn’t apply to this society? Well, we will then “misunderstand” the word of God, because we put more trust in some person, than we do in God. And then, we’ll be lost.
What about covetousness? What if we don’t even understand what covetousness is? Covetousness is an inordinate desire for something. An desire that puts that THING that we covet, ahead of all else, even ahead of God! But God’s word tells us to “Seek first HIS kingdom, and HIS righteousness..” Mat 6:33
Like the verse in Eph 5, verse 5 told us; The covetous person is an idolater, because he “idolizes” things, instead of idolizing GOD. But what if you don’t take the time to study the bible enough to know what it means to be covetous, and you just go through your whole life, BEING covetous? Well, you’ll be lost eternally as a result of that, won’t you?
There are so many things, that the bible spells out explicitly, but still, people misunderstand. And therefore, people continue to die, in an unsaved condition. And once you die, your condition can never be changed, no matter what some “person” may tell you.
And that brings up another example.. Some religious groups teach the idea of something called “purgatory”, where sins can be “purged” after death. But that concept is completely foreign to the bible, and thus foreign to God, and thus, it will cause you to be lost. But what if we misunderstand that? What if we put more trust in what mere men say, and NOT in what God’s word says? What if we die, believing that we’ll have another chance to cleanse ourselves of sin in this place called “purgatory”? Then we won’t put the proper emphasis on doing what we need to do, to be saved during THIS lifetime, and consequently, we’ll spend eternity in hell; That’s what will happen.
Forgiveness Is During This Lifetime Only
Sin is unrighteousness (1 John 5:17), and so if we die without being cleansed of our sins, we’ll die in an unrighteous condition. There’s a verse in 2 Peter 2:9, that says; “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to KEEP the unrighteous, unto the day of judgment, to be punished.”
I put the word KEEP, in bold letters because it’s critical to understanding this verse. The original Greek word that we translate “keep”, means.. “To be kept in the same condition”. So in other words, when we die, the Lord knows how to KEEP us, in the same condition in which we died, until the day of judgment, when the unrighteous shall be punished eternally, and the righteous will be rewarded. God keeps us that way.
If we die in an unrighteous condition, we face the judgment in an unrighteous condition. If we die in a saved condition, we face the judgment in a saved condition. It’s that simple. But many people don’t understand that, because they either haven’t studied the bible enough, or they’ve simply put their trust in a the opinions of a mere man. And they go to the grave.. Lost!
Reasons We Misunderstand the Bible
Throughout this study I’ve given two reasons for misunderstanding the bible. One is that people simply haven’t taken the time required to study the bible enough, so as to know all that it says about various given subjects. Consequently, they never come to a knowledge of the truth, and so they continue to misunderstand. You know, sometimes we become content, to misunderstand, or to always question some bible topic. When all it really takes is just more study, and deeper study, so that we CAN understand.
The other reason that I’ve cited is that people put more trust in the words, and opinions of other people, rather than putting all their trust in God’s word. Isn’t it strange how we can acknowledge that the bible is the word of God, but then we choose to accept someone else’s words as truth, instead of accepting the very words of God that are written in the bible?
But I’d like you to consider two other causes for misunderstanding what the bible teaches.
Many people simply do NOT have a desire to know the truth! God knows how our minds work, because He created them. And here’s what He says will happen to us, if we don’t have a desire to know the truth..
2 Thessalonians 2, verses 9 & 10 speak about the spirit of evil, which is called “satan”. And it says; “..in accord with the activity of satan, with all power and signs, and false wonders.. And with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved.”
“And for THIS reason (the reason being, that they did not receive a love of the truth), God will send them a deluding influence, so that they might believe what is false. In order that they all may be judged, who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” V’s 11 & 12
So then if we don’t have a LOVE of the truth, and a desire toKNOW the truth, God WILL “send us a deluding influence so that we might believe what is false.” In other words; God will allow the spirit of evil, which is active all around us in this world, with “power and signs and false wonders”, He’ll allow that spirit to come upon us, and to influence us, so that we believe it’s lies.
Here’s something else that will cause us to misunderstand the bible. Our own lust! That’s right, our own personal desires will cause us to misunderstand what the bible teaches. Take for instance the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. The bible is actually very clear in giving God’s laws concerning this subject. We’re told in Gen 2, verses 21 & 22, that God formed the first woman, from the flesh and bone of the first man.. Adam.
And Adam said in Verses 23 & 24; “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. For this cause, (because she is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh) a man shall leave his mother and father, and shall cleave to his wife, (he shall stick to her) and they shall become ONE flesh.”
How long do you keep your own flesh? You keep it all your life, don’t you? Sometimes you might WANT to trade it off for new flesh, but you can’t. You keep it all your life. That’s why Jesus said in Mat 19, verse 6; “Now they are no longer two, but ONE flesh. Therefore, what God hath joined together, let NO man put asunder!” Let no man separate.
Then Jesus says in V-9; “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality (that means adultery), and marries another woman, commits adultery.” So then, the only reason that God accepts for divorce, is the unfaithfulness of one’s spouse. If someone divorces their spouse, and marries another, they become an adulterer. That’s pretty plain and simple.
God’s word says, in 1 Cor 6, verses 9 & 10; “Do not be deceived!” (remember how the spirit of evil will cause us to be deluded and believe a lie, if we don’t love the truth?) So then; “Do not be deceived! Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God!”
But our own lusts, will cause us to conveniently, “misunderstand” God’s very plain teaching about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, and we can become adulterers, and be lost eternally. Remember; No adulterer shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. I know that’s not a very popular fact, but it’s God’s fact, directly from His word.
And of course, the one other reason that God allows remarriage, is because of the death of a spouse. The remaining spouse can then remarry with God’s blessings.
Many Ways To Be Lost, One Way to Be Saved
There’s so many ways, in which misunderstanding the bible will cause us to be lost eternally. Our prayer should always be that we will ALL … “Study to show yourself approved unto God. A workman who needs not to be ashamed, correctly discerning the word of truth.” 2 Tim 3:16
When we do study the bible, we find that there are things we must do to receive initial forgiveness. And complying with these “musts” is the “one way to be saved”. Faith in God and His word, repentance of sins, confession of your faith in Christ, and being buried in baptism for the forgiveness of your sins, are the very steps required by God, for anyone to receive the forgiveness of their past sins. And then of course continuing to live a life of obedience to the rest of the new testament, is also a “must”. But then, the reward of heaven will be unmatched, and it will be eternal.
May God bless you in the continued study of His word, and may we all be blessed by God with an understanding of His will for us. And may we always remember that our sincere love of the truth, will be the thing that insures us, that God’s providential care will oversee us.
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