Reducing salvation to a doctrine regulates it to a religious tenant rather than a lifesaving encounter with God. The Church specializes in the “doctrine of salvation” despite the various doctrines espoused therein, but Jesus is often lost in the theology.
As soon as salvation becomes about a doctrine, a particular intellectual way of belief, people are robbed of its full reality. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father, but by me.” Believers on a perpetual mission of evangelism often forget that we are not the way. We are not to be harbingers of neatly crafted doctrines that people can adopt to find their salvation. We are, however, harbingers of the supernatural God.
Believers are a reflection of who Jesus is to the world.
When we make salvation about doctrine, we communicate that belief in Jesus is about a belief in a religious concept rather than in an actual person.
Anytime we make the answer to salvation more complicated than Jesus, we corrupt the Gospel. Unbelievers, even ex-Christians, are under the impression that believers want people to believe Jesus lived, died, and rose again for their sins without any encounter with Jesus or any hope for such an encounter. They believe we want them to exercise faith that it is all true and believe real hard and then trust that that makes them saved. They aren’t buying what we are selling, because they can see it lacks credence and authenticity.
If we concerned ourselves more with Jesus than with the lost we would be in the proper position to be what the lost need. We would be walking in the righteousness, peace, and joy that the world will envy. The lost are not fools. They know the real thing when they see it, the problem isn’t that they don’t want Jesus; it’s that they don’t see Him.
Christians like to grasps hold of natural methods of conversion, but conversion is anything but natural. When Jesus gave people reason to believe, it was born out of miracles, signs, and wonders. He healed the sick, raised the dead, multiplied food, calmed storms, and loved sinners. He demonstrated the Kingdom which he spoke of rather than expecting people to accept that which had not been demonstrated.
Salvation is in Jesus.
It is not something He gives away because we pass the proper doctrine test. It is found only in Him. This is why there is no substitute for Jesus. Jesus is salvation.
Jesus – The Way, the Truth, and Life
The Bible points beyond itself to Him. We are to point beyond ourselves to Him. What people need is Jesus, not doctrines. Let us give them Jesus and only Jesus.