Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 13, 1964

Bible Answers

Gene Frost

1900 Jenny Lind, Fort, Smith, Arkansas Question: Will The Honest Be Saved Whether They Do Just What Christ Commands Or Not?

ANSWER: There are honest people, no doubt, who embrace every form of religion. The mothers who sacrifice their babies to the waters of the Ganges, the islanders who sacrifice the flower of their people to the yawning volcano, the orientals who prostrate themselves before the Buddhist idol, and the European pantheists who reverence the material universe; all may be honest. But will their honesty save them without obedience to Christ?

Man is lost because of sin. (Isa. 59:2, Rom. 6:23, Eph. 2:1) And "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) Christ came to save sinners. (Matt. 18:11, I Tim. 1:15) If men could be saved by reason of their honesty, then there would have been no need for Christ. But He came and shed His blood in order that we might have a remission of sins. (Matt. 26:28) Without His vicarious death, there could be no forgiveness. (Heb. 9:22) Christ is the Saviour of the world (I John 2:1,2), in fact of all who obey Him. (1 John 2:3-6, Heb. 5:9)

One might even be zealous in worship to Jehovah, but unless this worship is according to truth, it is vain. (John 4:24) The Jews had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge — they were lost. (Rom. 10:1-4) Jesus had before told them that to worship after the commandments of men is to worship in vain. (Matt. 15:9)

Worship — reverence paid to worth — is of two directions with two results. It is either directed of God and acceptable, or directed of men and vain. The former is revealed in the Bible, furnishing man completely. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31, 32) It is by this truth that we will be judged, according to whether we live in obedience or disobedience. (John 12:48, 2 Cott 5:10; James 2:12) The latter, worship directed of man, is vain. Paul refers to it as will-worship, or self-made religion. (Col. 2:18, 22, 23) Any worship which embraces doctrines or practices introduced by man as the author is vain worship. For this reason it behooves us all to examine our worship, every item, and determine whether it is of God. (1 Thess. 5:12) If the doctrine or practice cannot he found authorized in the Bible it ought to be discontinued.

In the judgment there will be a number of people, apparently honest, who will be lost. Jesus says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23) Iniquity here means lawlessness (R.V.), the condition of one without law, i.e., without authority. These people are evidently honest in their intended service and honor to Christ, but they are lost. Why? Because their service was not according to the law of Christ; they did not do the things that Christ authorized. They possibly could argue that they thought their service was as good as what Christ commanded, that they were sincere, etc. But they are lost. This answers the question: honesty in disobedience (failure to obey) cannot save. Christ is the Saviour, and He saves all who obey Him. (Heb. 5:9) There is no other way. (John 4:6)