[Papercut Press] 2000-09-26 - A Census

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Summer is over. But I still wish to take a few more weeks and work with a few of the questions I have received. So I plan to do that. However, this week, I would like to toss in a new kind of question, one that I asked. I did a little sociological experiment Monday (9-25-2000) and I would like to share with you the results.

I went online under a ghost name on AOL in the Born Again room. I was curious what people in the room would answer to the following question, "What is the verse you would point someone to as the key verse, or verses to sum up salvation?" I asked the question when the room was full, 23 people including myself. I asked it at 7:30 am. I got five (5) responses. Here are the results in the order that they appeared on my screen.

  1. John 3:16. I kind of expected this as the obvious answer and I was not disappointed It really is a great verse, but must be taken with the verses that follow it.
  2. Matthew 6. This response is a little confusing. It is the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, including the popular Lord's Prayer. But this passage, while a very helpful passage, is not really focused, when taken in its whole, on salvation.
  3. Psalm 41:1-4. I'm not sure why this passage was chosen. Verse 4 does ask that the Lord be gracious to the writer of the Psalm, but there is no Christological reference in this passage. It would be hard to understand how someone could understand salvation, from a traditional Christian-Biblical perspective, outside of Christ.
  4. Matthew 18:19. OK, now you have done it. You have hit a cord with me. This is the most misused verse in all of Scripture. This passage is about church discipline. It is a passage about confronting someone who is in sin. It is not a verse about salvation. It is also not a verse about fellowship. It is a sobering passage about confronting, before the Lord, the sin of another believer.
  5. Matthew 22:34-37. This is the greatest commandment passage. Again it has no reference to salvation directly. Sure it points us toward a righteousness that we all should strive towards, but it betrays the first point, which is that we can never follow the commandments until we have new hearts.

So that is the result of my unscientific on line survey. When I decided to do this I intended to share the results no matter what I got. I must say that I am embarrassed by the results. They are frankly pathetic. I also noticed that the normal chat conversation in this room was about the kind of coffee each was drinking and the weather in each individuals respective location.

Christians! We need to know more about our faith than we do. I know that many of you who read these devotionals could walk someone through the Bible and show the way to Christ through the Scriptures. Of that I have no doubt. But it is precisely those of us who know these things who are apparently not doing our jobs. Because we are not training up others in these things.

The answers I received in the Born Again room were really sad. In many ways it seemed to me to be a call to discipleship. Those of us who have some knowledge must share it, and all of us need to seek to learn more about our faith from others.

To know the basics of Biblical salvation is really one of the first aspects of the Christian faith. There are many answers, besides John 3:16 to my original question. Romans 10:9,10, Titus 3:5, and a host of other verses focus on the redemption that is found in the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. These truths need to be at the tip of our tongues. May the Lord bring these truths to the forefront of our lives.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] brutefact@hotmail.com