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Doctrinal Matters: Salvation

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It is not Enough to be JUST a Creationist

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

INTRODUCTION

Origins. The mere mention of the word stirs controversy, especially in our day and time when evolutionists battle creationists in oral debates, in print, in the news media, and even in the courts. Most people understand that when a discussion centers on origins, in reality it is an entire cosmogony—a whole system of thought regarding where we came from and why we are here—that is under consideration. Evolution and creation are admittedly “thorny” topics, and often evoke very strong, deeply seated emotions, because of the dichotomy that exists between the two concepts. The Universe and its inhabitants came into existence either through natural means (viz., evolution), or supernatural means (viz., creation), those being the only two possibilities.

However, it is not my purpose in this discussion to examine either the many fallacies of evolutionary theory, or the many reasons why biblical creationism should be accepted and defended. Instead, my comments will be directed at people who accept the Bible as God’s inspired, inerrant Word, and who believe in the literal, historical account of creation as recorded in Genesis 1-2. The point I would like to make is that it is not enough to be just a creationist! Here is why I make such a statement.

IF CREATION, THEN WHAT?

James Coppedge, in his book, Evolution: Possible or Impossible?, remarked: “The growing evidence against evolution will eventually force American evolutionists to face the fact that the position is untenable. Some will then openmindedly explore the idea of creation, while others will doubtless persist in materialism at any cost” (1975, p. 180). Over the past several years, as the creation/evolution controversy has become both more public and more heated, and as the many scientific and biblical evidences for creation have come into view more clearly, there have been some who have made changes in their views on origins—abandoning their belief in evolution and accepting creation in its place. Good scientific evidence, and good biblical interpretation, establish the fact that they have made the right choice. And, of course, there always have been those who have accepted creation in the first place, and who simultaneously have rejected evolution.

But, is merely accepting “creation” enough? As unorthodox as my answer may seem at first glance, I suggest that the proper response to such a question must be an unequivocal “No.” It is not enough to be just a creationist. Please do not misunderstand. It is imperative that those people who wish to be pleasing to God accept what He has said regarding creation (or any other issue, for that matter). Henry Morris correctly observed:

They tell us not to “waste time on peripheral controversies such as the evolution-creation question—just preach the gospel,” not realizing that the gospel includes creation and precludes evolution! They say we should simply “emphasize saving faith, not faith in creation,” forgetting that the greatest chapter on faith in the Bible (Hebrews 11) begins by stressing faith in the ex nihilo creation of all things by God’s word (verse 3) as preliminary to meaningful faith in any of His promises (verse 13). They advise us merely to “preach Christ,” but ignore the Savior, and that His finished work of salvation is meaningful only in light of His finished work of creation (Hebrews 4:3-10). They may wish, in order to avoid the offense of the true gospel, to regard creation as an unimportant matter, but God considered it so important that it was the subject of His first revelation. The first chapter of Genesis is the foundation of the Bible; if the foundation is undermined, the superstructure soon collapses (n.d., p. 2, emp. in orig.).

Certainly, creation is important. But that is not all that is important. With the acceptance of either of the two systems of origins (evolution or creation) must come an acknowledgment of the implications and inferences that accompany each system. Acceptance of evolution, for example, will force an acceptance of the implications surrounding that system (e.g.: nothing supernatural exists, therefore, there is no God; man is nothing but an animal, religion is merely an “invention” of evolved man; naturalistic forces are responsible for everything we see and are, etc.). Acceptance of the biblical account of creation also forces acceptance of the implications surrounding that system (e.g.: there is a God, man is a creation of, and responsible to, that God; there is an objective, moral code given by the Creator, etc.). The question thus becomes: if creation is true, then what are some of the implications and inferences accompanying it, and how do these affect me?

IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE JUST A CREATIONIST

Acceptance of biblical creationism carries with it many implications. Space will not permit a discussion, or even a listing, of all of them. We would like, however, to mention one which we feel is perhaps the most basic of all: acceptance of the biblical concept of creation acknowledges the existence of the God of the Bible, and therefore His system of man’s salvation. In other words, my point in titling this tract as I have is this: it is not enough to be just a creationist; one also must believe exactly what God has said in regard to salvation as well. There will be many creationists who will not inherit heaven, because although they accepted God’s account of creation, they rejected His plan of salvation. That is to say, although there are many people who accept creation, who believe in God, and who claim to accept the Bible as His word, they will be lost because they are not New Testament Christians.

While it is important to be a creationist, it is more important to be a saved creationist. It is both admirable and commendable to defend the biblical account of creation, but it is of even greater importance to obey God’s commands regarding the salvation of one’s soul. How sad it will be to see those who, on the Day of Judgment, will be turned away from heaven in spite of the fact that they believed in the biblical account of creation. They were creationists, but they were not saved! Jesus Himself remarked:

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).

The Lord’s point is quite clear: there will be those people who were “good” people—doing works in “His name”—but who, in reality, had not done what He told them to do. They had built their houses on sand (human doctrines), not rock (the Lord’s commands). Consequently, their houses did not stand (see Jesus’ comments in Matthew 7:24-27).

Some will argue, of course, that there are many good and sincere people today who are creationists. That is no doubt true. But “sincerity” or “goodness” alone is not enough. No doubt Uzzah was “sincere” when he stretched forth his hand to steady the ark of the covenant of God as the oxen stumbled, and he thought the ark would be destroyed (2 Samuel 6:6ff.). But God struck him dead, because he disobeyed a direct command not to touch the ark (Numbers 4:15). Saul (later called Paul) was “sincere” in his persecution of the church, and even did what he did “in all good conscience” (Acts 22:19-20; Galatians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9), yet God struck him blind (Acts 9:3-9). Paul later would admit, in his own writings, that he was sincere, but sincerely wrong. God does not want just sincerity. He wants obedience (John 14:15).

It is by the Word of God that we one day will be judged (John 12:48). That being the case, it behooves us to ask, “What does the Word of God say about my salvation?” Fortunately, the Scriptures are crystal clear on this important point. God has not left us without divine wisdom regarding what to do to get out of sin and into Christ. He has told us what to do to be saved. God wants creationists, yes. But God wants saved creationists! He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet only those who come to Him in the way He has stipulated will enjoy eternal life (Acts 17:30; John 14:6).

WHAT MUST ONE DO TO BE SAVED?

Jesus Christ, speaking as the Son of God, said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus invites all men everywhere to enjoy salvation in Him (John 3:16). He came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Since “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), all are lost and in need of being saved. What, then, must one do to be saved?

Obviously, one who accepts creation, and who wishes to seek the God of that creation, wants to be pleasing to that God. Hebrews 11:6 then becomes important: “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing to him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.” How, then, does one build such a faith? Romans 10:17 provides the answer: “So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Thus, faith is built by the Word of God. In addition, however, there is the important step of believing that Jesus Christ is Who He claimed to be—the Son of God. John said: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He also stated: “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life” (John 3:16,36).

Hearing and believing, however, are not enough according to the Scriptures. Repentance also is necessary. “The times of this ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth all men everywhere that they should repent” (Acts 17:30). Jesus Himself said: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish” (Luke 13:3).

Once a person has heard the Gospel message, believed in Christ, and repented of his former sins, he then must be willing to confess publicly that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. “Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).

This person, then, who has heard, believed, repented, and confessed, is faced with one last, and very important question: How do I get rid of my sins? To a person who wishes to become a New Testament Christian, this is the single most pressing question in his or her life. What must a person do to get rid of sin? Once again, the answer is provided by Scripture. Examine Acts 22:16. What did Ananias tell Saul to do to get rid of his sins? “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.” Saul was told rid himself of his sins through baptism. Jesus Himself said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16, emp. added). On the Day of Pentecost when the church was established, Peter commanded those people who wanted to know what to do to be saved, to “repent ye, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38, emp. added).

Where is salvation found? Salvation is found “in Christ.” Paul stated in 2 Timothy 2:10: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (emp. added). Where are all spiritual blessings found? Spiritual blessings are found only “in Christ.” Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (emp. added).

The obvious question, then, is: How does one get “into Christ”? Baptism brings us “into Christ.” Paul told the first century Christians in Rome:

Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).

He told the Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27, emp. added). Peter said it was baptism that saves us (1 Peter 3:21). If we do as God has commanded, then his grace saves us because our faith has brought us in line with His teachings (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism, of course, is neither more nor less important than any other of God’s commands regarding what to do to be saved. But it is necessary, and without it, one cannot be saved. One thing we know for certain—“faith only” is not enough. Belief in Christ is simply not enough. John 12:42 makes that clear. The rulers “believed on him; but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess it.” James said their “faith alone” did not save them (2:19). In fact, James even went so far as to say: “Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith” (2:24, emp. added). One must undergo baptism (immersion) in order to: (a) wash away sins, (b) get “into Christ” and (c) come into contact with the cleansing blood of Christ.

After a person becomes a New Testament Christian, the Lord Himself then adds that person to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47; cf. Romans 16:16), not any man-made denomination. That person becomes a member of the one church established by Christ (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:24; Ephesians 1:22; 4:4-6). He then is commanded by Scripture to live a faithful life, which will be followed by a crown of righteousness in heaven (Revelation 2:10).

It is not enough to be just a creationist; one must be a saved creationist. This article is written with an urgent plea to those who may be “creationists,” but who are not saved creationists. Many creationists will not enter heaven because they have not obeyed God’s simple commands regarding their own salvation. I urge you to consider your salvation. Have you done all that God commands in order to secure that salvation? If not, please read, and then re-read the Scriptures mentioned in this article, and come to the Lord in humble submission to His will, so that you can be a New Testament Christian as well as a creationist.

REFERENCES

Coppedge, James (1975), Evolution: Possible or Impossible? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Morris, Henry M. (n.d.), “The Gospel of Creation and the Anti-Gospel of Evolution,” Impact Article No. 25 (San Diego, CA: Institute for Creation Research).




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