Is knowing Jesus as the Son of God a requirement to have eternal life or not?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by zrs6v4, Nov 22, 2010.

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  1. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    Awhile back I did a post searching to know the importance of knowing Jesus as the Son of God and not simply the Savior. I have been taking a course on the Gospel of John through an online college, and this issue has come to me in a knew way, and I would like to re-visit it. My focus is on the point true belief in Jesus in relation to understanding His deity.

    In John's Gospel, 20:30-31, he writes his purpose of writing the gospel:
    30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
    31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

    Clearly John's purpose is to reveal who Jesus is so people will believe in Him.

    John doesn't just write that people should believe in Jesus in a generic way, but rather says, "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God."

    I want to make it crystal clear that when Jesus is called Son of God it refers to Him as the eternal God and makes Him equal to God while being the Son in relation to the Godhead. In contrast we see Jesus as the Son of Man, making Him equal with man, and thus being man as well as God in nature. I will repeat this.

    In my personal life, I was raised by my mom and saw my dad on the weekends. I went to a Southern Baptist church with my dad on weekends. My moms side of the family have a Jehovah's Witness background, although my mom does not follow them. I say this to bring up the obvious which is that Jehovah's do not believe Jesus is the divine Son of God and for this reason we label them- cult, biblically, and I agree. Now, the Baptist's hold at the top of their confession the trinity, which again is obvious on this forum. As we clearly know by that Doctrine that Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man, making Him the God-man who is equal in the Godhead, being fully God, yet a distinctly different person (On this I agree totally).

    With that said, I have found that very few people know Jesus as the Son of God before there profession of faith, in fact most say they were saved then learned about His deity later in life (some way later :(). I have spoken to many people in Baptist churches that do not have any strong view of Jesus as not only the Savior but also the Son of God (of God, deity, not just of man). My pastor says Jesus is the Son of God and preaches His deity frequently being saved out of the Jehovah's Witness cult himself, and I am thankful he does.

    According to John, knowing Jesus is the Son of God (Jesus is God, the Son) is a requirement along with knowing He is the Christ to have eternal life. This is why, I believe, John writes the way he does lifting up the deity of Christ.
    I don't mean this is a religious systematic steps of 1, 2, 3's then poof you now have the right to be saved. What I mean is that if one truly comes to see Jesus, it seems that they must see Him as God, the Savior.

    In Kay Arthur's study book (The God Who Cares and Knows You) she quotes John 8:24 Jesus says, "Unless you believe that I am...you will die in your sins." Then she writes, "Precious one, if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is God, you will die in your sins."

    It's easy for us Baptist's to say that Jehovah's Witnesses are not saved as they reject the person of Jesus as God (among other heretical things). But forget them, what about us?

    Questions to discuss:

    1. Is meeting Jesus as God and Savior a must in order to know Him as personal Savior? Does John's statement in John 20:30-31 imply a necessity of know Jesus as the Son of God before salvation comes?

    2. What about the 6 year old who professes faith in Jesus as Savior, and has never understood that Jesus is God?

    3. What about You and Me, our profession? Did we know Jesus as the Son of God at the time we believe we were saved?

    4. If we are preaching that Jesus is Savior, and not making it clear that He is Lord, Christ, and God in our Gospel, is it incomplete in the ears of those we are preaching to? What are the implications in preaching to people who, unlike the Jews, do not understand Jesus claims of Himself (Remember John 5, they wanted to kill Jesus for not only healing on a Sabbath but making Himself equal with God...)?
     
    #1 zrs6v4, Nov 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2010
  2. kyredneck

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    Are you asking if our eternal destiny is determined by what we know (head knowledge)? Are you implying that it's absolutely essential to have the correct formula for eternal life from the scriptures?
     
  3. Jim1999

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    I grew up in a church school. It was Church of England. I was taught scripture from an early age and thought I believed all that was taught. I even believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

    At 13 I attended confirmation classes. It was at this time I actually realized Jesus as my personal Saviour. So, you might say I had a head knowledge and acceptance of Jesus, but I was not saved.

    My answer is yes, you must receive Jesus for whom He is; God, revealed in the flesh; the Saviour.

    My knowledge kept me on the straight and narrow, but it took an act of grace to bring me to Him in salvation.

    If one does not accept Jesus as God, then what is the point of accepting Christ? What would you be accepting? The same as me; a head knowledge only.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. SRBooe

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    I, too, "accepted Christ as my Savior" at an early age. Unfortunately, I didn't really know what that meant. I did what my emotions told me to do. I knew I was guilty of something and I didn't want to go to hell.

    It took another forty years for me to realize that I needed salvation. Now, I KNOW who Jesus is and what he did for me.

    The word "accept" in English does not really convey the idea of salvation.
     
  5. annsni

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    If one is trusting in a Jesus that is not God, what Jesus are they trusting in? I do believe you need to know that basic fact because otherwise, a Jesus who is not God could not atone for our sins.
     
  6. HankD

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    If the proper seed has been sown and cultivated, the proper fruit will appear in due season.

    Ecclesiastes 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

    HankD
     
  7. Jim1999

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    The point is, it goes beyond mere knowledge and belief in Jesus as God.

    Without the originating grace of God, one can believe all they wish. It is a first work of God in the soul of man, bringing about regeneration and a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that effects salvation.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. Steven2006

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    What if a child is old enough to understand sin, heaven and hell. Understands God, and Jesus is His Son, and that Jesus died for his/her sins and rose again in three days. He/she trust in Jesus as the only way to be saved from sin and to go to heaven. However the child is still to young to understand the Trinity and doesn't grasp that Jesus is not only the Son, but also God. Now this child will grow up and gain more knowledge and understanding, and will eventually grasp that Jesus is both the Son, and also God as he/she is older.

    Is this child saved? I would think yes, but according to some definitions on this thread, the answer would be no.
     
  9. Amy.G

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    Steven, this is true also of a lot of adults. I didn't understand the deity of Christ and what it meant to be the Son of God. I knew that I needed God and cried out to Him. I was under conviction for my sin and asked God to forgive me. I knew I was going to hell without Him. But that's about all I knew. It wasn't until I began to study His word that I learned all about Christ.

    Maybe I'm not saved? :tear:
     
  10. Steven2006

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    LOL, I don't really see in scripture that grasping a lot of theology, and achieving a certain level of head knowledge is required to be saved. I do remember reading something to the effect that we must have a childlike faith. :jesus:
     
  11. Amy.G

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    I agree, but some of the posts so far seem to be saying otherwise.

    I thank the Lord for accepting me in spite of my ignorance.

    I :love2: :jesus:
     
  12. Steven2006

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    I am with you on this one.

    I would agree with them on this though. That once someone does understand, if they choose to refute that Jesus is God, they are not saved. That however is entirely different to what has been implied on this thread to this point.
     
    #12 Steven2006, Nov 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2010
  13. OldRegular

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    If Jesus Christ is not the Son of GOD then HE cannot be your savior!
     
  14. Amy.G

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    True.


    ..........
     
  15. zrs6v4

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    Sorry everyone for not being involved in my thread, I just got home from work..

    I do not believe our eternal destiny is determined by head knowledge, in fact, that is probably why many people who think they are saved are not saved. I do believe when we have "heart knowledge" that it includes knowledge in our entire being rather than merely intellectual.

    I do not know what you mean by correct formula? I don't think that when we are saved that we have to know everything, although from John's Gospel it seems that the object of our faith must be Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.

    I do hold that we must have the heart knowledge of the gospel. If we don't, then how do we know who we are believing in? I think that is why John wrote his gospel so we would come to know Jesus, the Son of God.

    The question still stands, Can we have saving faith and actually meet Jesus without knowing who He is? Another observation is that in John's Gospel there is a progressive belief that occurs much like the account of Abraham.
     
  16. zrs6v4

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    Jim, I do agree that mere head knowledge of Jesus to whatever degree isn't enough. I'm sure there are even theologians who have great depth of Scripture who don't know God. With that said, your rhetorical questions are good, and I have been encountering professing Christians who don't understand who Jesus is- God, but they only know Him as Savior of their sins. The question is, is that an insufficient gospel message to only know Jesus as Savior? I agree with you on the helplessness of sinners apart from God's grace, but just as God's grace will not save someone apart from the gospel, will He not save someone apart from the true identity of Jesus? Most kids who profess do not know Jesus as God or Lord for that matter yet call Him their personal Savior.

    I am saying all of this because it seems like many have either been really blind of the truth (even head knowledge alone) or their teachers have really neglected to glorify Jesus in their teaching.
     
  17. zrs6v4

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    I totally agree, I could get real off topic here but we are saved by the work of God through the Gospel.

    Let me put it this way to clarify my thinking. We know that God saves whomever He wills. Yet, God does not save somebody apart from the Gospel. Salvation by the work of God will include knowledge, assent, and trust (belief). We all agree that God only saves through the preaching or hearing of the Gospel, yet will He save apart from the understanding of knowing Jesus as He claims to be?
     
  18. zrs6v4

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    Steven, you repeated my thinking in one of my questions from the OP, and your view is equal to mine and most everyone's. But...

    The issue is with John 20:31, where he says that knowing Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God.

    This is why I am testing my beliefs because I want to glorify the Lord and who He is. We shouldn't withhold the truth about Jesus to young children or hinder their coming to Him. The last thing we want to do is give them a shallow gospel, tell them to pray, and then walk them up front on Sunday to get baptized. I was led this way as a child and was lost. I don't want to sound like I am trying to box God's message into a science that saves. My point is that does God work through a shallow Gospel that does not include the revelation of Jesus as the Son. What good is it to call Jesus the Son of God if we don't know what it means or who He is?

    Now, to take it to the extreme. Can a child who never heard of Jesus at all cry out to God and be saved? No. Take it to the next level, can a child cry out to Jesus and be saved not knowing who He really is?
     
  19. zrs6v4

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    Your post Amy is exactly why I wanted to start this thread. I don't want to condemn or tell people they weren't saved. It is in fact possible that many of us were saved at a later time than we thought we were.

    My stepmom and dad have been going to church for 40+ years and did not know Jesus was God. That is not a good sign of loving Jesus! That scares me. Many of my close church going friends did not understand Jesus was God, and one of them (granted he has a mental handicap) thought Jesus was God's created Son. When I told him Jesus was the eternal God he was astounded. This friend of mine was 33 and had been in church for 20 years! I don't want to judge them or get all bound up, but what I do want to do is make the person of Christ very clear and glorify Him much more making it clear who He is. Even to 5 year olds.

    Amy, I don't want to be your judge, but I don't believe anyone can be saved apart from hearing about Jesus. I am going further in this thread by saying that we must really know who we are believing. I don't mean every detail, but at least the 2 most important- He is Savior and God.

    I am not 100% yet, but we will see as we go on how this plays out.
     
  20. John Toppass

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    It seems that it was so important to God that He sent His Son to be our Saviour. So, I believe it is just as important for us to know who this Jesus is. God saves all who accepts His gift of salvation! God wants all that would choose Him and He gave us the ability to choose. This is not a work it is merely accepting the Gift that God has made available to all. After all it is God's will that none would perish and that all would would repent. God gave us the free will to choose life or death and He even tell us we should choose life!
    God is so sovereign that He abides by what He has created. God is so sovereign that He makes salvation available to all, but accepts only those who choose to accept His Son Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. I know many here disagree with this, but they will not be disagreeing with me for this is what the scriptures say. No matter how the Word is massaged and twisted and in some instances even ignored, this is what is written in the Word and it all meshes without contradiction.
     
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