THE SCRIPTURES ARE THE SOURCE OF SALVATION
The Spirit revealed the Scriptures, and the Scriptures are the Source of man’s salvation. The Scriptures reveal God’s Law to men so that they may obey it. They tell men what they must do to be converted and be saved: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psa. 19:7). David also wrote, “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Psa. 51:13). Notice that conversion requires teaching the ways of God! Peter wrote that Christians “…have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (II Pet. 2:20, emphasis JPH).
Paul called the Gospel the power of God unto salvation: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16, emphasis JPH).The word “power” was translated from the Greek word dunamis, from which the English word “dynamite” was derived. One might say that the Gospel is the “dynamite of God unto salvation!” Because of this, Paul knew that “speaking” to the Gentiles was necessary to save them: “Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved…” (I Thess. 2:16).
Paul also described the Word of God as the “word of reconciliation,” because without the Word, no person would be converted to Christ, and thus reconciled to God: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (II Cor. 5:18-19).
The Spirit-inspired Scriptures reveal the Gospel, or good news, to men, teaching them about their sins and the sinless Savior (Rom. 3:23; 5:12; I John 3:4; John 5:39; I Cor. 15:1-4; I Pet. 1:18-19).
If one will receive the Word of God with a penitent heart of humility and meekness, he can be saved by the Word: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
However, James went on to write that men must actually obey what the Word says to be blessed: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:22-25).
Jesus described the conversion process as being “born again” (John 3:3). According to Jesus, the birth of a new Christian requires the right Seed and the right soil. The Seed which produces salvation is the Word of God, and the good soil is the “honest and good heart” which will “keep” the Word (Luke 8:11-15). Peter described Christians as “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:23). Peter wrote that the Word of God is alive, everlasting, and able to produce Christians— it is not dead, obsolete, or powerless as some may claim. In fact, Satan knows the power is in the Word, even if men do not! Jesus said, “…then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts…” (Luke 8:12). Why does the devil take away the Word? He knows that Seed has the power to save men’s souls! When that Seed is planted in the right kind of soil, it produces Christians (cf. James 1:18; I Cor. 4:15). This is the new birth, which, by the way, requires water (John 3:5; Tit. 3:5; Gal. 3:26-27). The Spirit has a role in this conversion, or new birth, because the Seed came from Him, and the “implanted” Seed is “able” to save men’s souls (James 1:21 ASV).
The Scriptures also fully equip Christians for every good work, so they can know how to live the remainder of their lives faithfully after obeying the Gospel: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:15-17; cf. Psa. 119:11; Matt. 4:4; Acts 20:32; I Tim. 4:13, 15-16; II Tim. 2:15; II Pet. 1:3; I John 2:1-5).
Jason Hilburn is a minister at the Nesbit church of Christ in Nesbit, MS.Read Part 1 of this article here. Read Part 3 of this article here.