Do you have saving knowledge? Do you know everything you need to know to be saved?

Nearly every Christian in the world just shouted a resounding “absolutely!”

And all of them are dead in their sins. Because saving knowledge does not exist. It’s a myth. It’s as likely to save you as the Easter Bunny.

You believe that you have the right doctrines for salvation; and you couldn’t be more wrong. Salvation actually has very little to do with beliefs, and everything to do with belief. And almost nothing to do with doctrines.

Revelation 2:24-25 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

Why didn’t God care more about making sure they had all the “necessary doctrines for salvation”? It wouldn’t have been that hard, so why didn’t He care? Because knowledge doesn’t save you. What does knowledge do?

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

Knowledge puffs you up. Knowledge makes you proud, makes you boast above what you are worth (2 Corinthians 12:7). See, pretty much everyone has the wrong idea about the true religion. They think there are a finite number of things you have to know to be saved. A recipe of sorts, a checklist God marks down.

For example, you have to know about the resurrections, then you have to keep the sabbath and holy days, unclean meats, and be baptized. And if you know all of “the basic doctrines”, and practice them until you “die in faith”, you’re saved. Bang, boom, that’s it.

This is a hugely popular doctrine because it’s extremely comfortable and very flattering. It’s comfortable because it means that once you figure out what’s expected of you – the routines of church, pray, tithe, fast, feast, volunteer, raise kids so they can rinse and repeat – once you do that, you’ve got it made.

It means that you have found the special formula for heaven, the magic incantation that, when recited correctly for a lifetime, requires God to give you immortality. And it’s flattering because you’re part of the only church who knows it. And everyone else is dead in their sins because they lack this special recipe for deity!

This belief is absurd – you already know it’s wrong, you just haven’t thought about it. If true, it means that you’re saved by works. That you are saved because you knew, and practiced, the correct “works”. What else could it mean? You had “saving knowledge” which led you to do all the correct “saving rituals”, therefore you are “saved by works”.

Is that what you believe? Do you believe that everything God has to say that matters can be understood in a matter of a few years?

So you see, you don’t believe the core assumptions in the statement “we have saving knowledge”, so how can you persist in believing you have saving knowledge?

SAVED BY DOGMA

Do doctrines save you? Does God save people who know all the right dogmas? All the right observances, all the right facts?

Philippians 3:5-6 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

You probably couldn’t be more perfect, doctrinally, than Paul was. And the funny part is, his dogma actually was TRUE – it came from Moses. But it wasn’t the whole answer! Because no one has the whole answer, which is why we PRESS ON to find it!

Paul, before his conversion, was so certain that he had ALL knowledge necessary for salvation that he murdered people who disagreed with church dogma! It took an enormous attitude adjustment for God to get it through his head that he didn’t. Is that what you want? It took decades for Paul to realize…

Philippians 3:11-14 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, …I count not myself to have apprehended: …I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Most people who have saving knowledge haven’t even read the entire Bible. Therefore, their “saving knowledge” is based on knowing doctrines, not the word of God, but special conclusions, dogmatic beliefs, drawn by other people.

Paul had been in the third heaven, taught personally by Jesus, and knew hundreds of times more than you do about God and the Bible, and HE still pressed on, growing in grace AND KNOWLEDGE, in the hopes that he MIGHT win!

So the statement “We have saving knowledge”, is among the most arrogant statements ever to pass human lips. And what’s more, completely wrong, since no such thing exists.

WHAT SAVES YOU

You might try to rephrase your belief at this point, and say “well what I mean is, if I died tomorrow I know everything I have to know to be saved”. Again, you’ve missed the point. You aren’t saved by what you know.

You aren’t saved because you know Jesus is returning, or because you know the dead will live again.

You aren’t saved because you know to be baptized or because you know not to keep Christmas.

You aren’t saved because you call Jesus your Lord, believing He died and rose again, believing He loves you… none of these save you!

No, you’ve missed the entire point of salvation and – ironically – proved that you don’t have saving knowledge!

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

You believe you have already attained perfect knowledge – or at least, are pretty darned close to it. You’re wrong, but even if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be saved because knowledge doesn’t save you!

Because you can have all knowledge and yet be as nothing. Therefore, knowledge doesn’t save you!

Likewise, you can have all faith and be as nothing. Therefore, faith doesn’t save you! (James 2:17).

Knowledge, works, even faith is not what saves you. But a certain amount of knowledge, like a certain amount of works, and a certain amount of faith is required to be saved. John never moved a mountain, yet was saved (John 10:41, Luke 7:28).

Yet you could have all faith, and all knowledge, and be “as touching the law, blameless” and still not find salvation! So what is the key to salvation?

1 Corinthians 13 implies that you are saved by your “love”… which is correct, but misleading. It gives absolutely everyone the absolutely wrong idea. They all conclude that if you’re just a “loving person”, you don’t have to keep the law, or have knowledge, or have faith – you’ll just be saved.

You can’t understand 1 Corinthians 13’s answer unless you pair it with 1 John 4:8 – “God is love”. Adding Romans 13:8-10, we see that “love is the fulfilling of the law”. And if you add that to Genesis 1:26, you have the complete answer.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Confused? If you had saving knowledge, like you think you do, you wouldn’t be.

Of course, you wouldn’t be saved because you had that knowledge, but you’d know what you’d have to be like to be saved. And that’s why knowledge is required.

WHAT YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE

God didn’t create salvation to send men to heaven to live forever. He isn’t doing this to heal the sick, raise the dead, or convert the sinners. If He was, He’d be here Himself, doing the job right and not trusting your church to do it!

Salvation isn’t a prize God gives people who are “good enough”. Salvation is the first step in the purpose of all creation, which is to create incorruptibly righteous beings who look like God AND act like God – and then are “saved”, when they are made of the same materials as God is!

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

So in order to be like Him, we have to act like Him. Since He embodies love, love is the most basic rule of His nature. And since whoever keeps the law has shown love, then the law – kept in its fullest sense – is love.

God didn’t give us the law as the price we must pay for salvation. Everyone believes the doctrines, laws, and dogmas from (or sort-of-from) the Bible are the price God asks for salvation and that isn’t true.

God gave us the Bible to help us see what He was like, so that we could practice being more like Him. He gave us the holy spirit so we could understand it better and become even more like Him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

It is “being like Him”, that merits salvation. Not keeping the right day, being baptized in the perfect manner, or knowing the precise instant the holy day begins. It’s not what you do, but changing who you are to be like He is, to act like Him in every situation!

NOT SO FAST

That does not mean that you don’t need to do those things right. It means that doing those things right won’t help unless you act like God while you’re doing it. And one thing God wouldn’t do is say “I have all the knowledge I need to be saved”!

It also doesn’t mean that you can stick to the “basics of faith”, and ignore the rest of the Bible. Because God wouldn’t do that! And the purpose of this is to learn to act like God!

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

God commanded us to “Grow in grace and knowledge”, to “hunger and thirst after righteousness”, and does saying “I know enough for salvation right now” reflect a hunger for more knowledge? Or does it reflect complacent self-satisfaction that you are good enough for God right now?

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Are you really INCREASING in the knowledge of God? Yes, I’m sure you are – in the same way a glacier moves down the valley. But NOT the way an Olympic athlete runs towards the finish line!

The common attitude in the church is “I’ll do whatever I have to do, as long as I get there, I don’t care; I just want to do whatever I have to do to get there”.

See how much emphasis there is on do and not become in that sentence? “I’ll DO whatever rituals You want, God. I’ll put in the time, whatever You ask, I don’t care.” If that’s your attitude, you’ve missed the point!

If your son comes to you and says “I can’t take any more studying, I don’t care how good I do, I don’t need to understand how math works, I just want to memorize the answers so I can pass!” …Would you say “sure son, you know enough right now to pass the test and get a D – so go out and play!”

Would you really? Any parent who loved their children would tell them that memorizing the answers is not the point! If that’s all you want, if you’re that person who wants to do the bare minimum to squeak by into salvation – then you would HATE the Kingdom of God, because you are nothing like God!

Can you imagine God is the sort of person who aims for the bare minimum? Salvation is not about putting in time, finding the right rituals, the perfect prayer, the holiest church, the most selfless sacrifices. This is about changing who you are. One piece at a time, line upon line and precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10).

And you can never stop doing that if you expect to be saved. You have no idea the depths of evil that still lurk in your heart which you have to overcome. You don’t know where it will strike next, or how much more work you still have to do. You won’t know that until you look in the Bible and compare it to your actions.

How do you know that understanding the symbolism of the temple won’t show you a deep flaw in your character? How do you know that fully understanding the meaning of Leviticus 16 won’t provide you with an essential key to overcoming your selfish nature?

How do you know that fully understanding Psalm 69 won’t totally revolutionize your understanding of the nature of Christ – and therefore, completely revise your idea of what God wants you to be like?

Dismissing anything you don’t know as “not necessary for salvation” is like burning all the books because you already how to read.

“BUT I’M NOT A SCHOLAR”

“That’s no big deal, you’ve only been coming to church for a few weeks, these things take time. The Bible is a big book. Oh… you’ve been coming to church for 30 years. Umm… that’s different, because it’s not that big of a book. What have you been DOING with your time??”

Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

“I don’t care about knowing the deep things in the Bible, I’m not a scholar”; “I disagree with you, but I can’t prove it because I’m not a scholar”, “I don’t know chapter and verse, but I know what it says”. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard this in the church. Solomon heard it too, and said…

Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

You believe that the basic principles of the doctrine of Christ are “saving knowledge”. But Paul said those are only the merest foundation, the jumping-off point of “perfection”. And anyone who settles for them is lazy, conceited, and arrogant.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore LEAVING the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Every church I’ve ever attended has a few dozen topics they rehearse over and over, week after week, time after time. Faith, brotherly love, forgiveness, salvation, thankfulness, reconciliation, mercy, you know the drill. These are all the most basic doctrines.

How long are you planning to hang around in those comfortable basic principles, hearing them read and re-read every week, until you “go on to perfection”? Your entire church should have moved beyond these – and every member should have been ready to teach them to others – YEARS ago! Because there is SOOOOO MUCH more to know!

Isaiah 28:9-10 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

You CAN’T understand what you need to know without moving BEYOND these kindergarten doctrines! You act like you have the “saving knowledge” to graduate college… but you aren’t even ready for the first grade because you still suckle milk week after week!

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Polishing a mirror for a telescope involves taking a lumpy, opaque, and scarred piece of glass and scratching it in a very controlled fashion. Once you have it consistently rough scratched, you scratch it with dozens of ever-finer grits, until to the naked eye it’s flawless. But it’s not flawless, not even then – it’s usable, even “good”, but it’s not flawless – just flawless to your human senses.

Your Christian life is not a short checklist of “must-do” acts and “must-know” doctrines, and “must-believe” articles of faith you must confess. That’s what false Christianity is – a list of things to do, know, and confess.

Instead, your Christian life is about changing to be more like God with every moment. That means your life is an unending chain of revelation, and each new piece of understanding must be compared to your actions and then you must change accordingly.

Each new piece of understanding must be allowed to correct you, and change you, and this process will never stop. Each new piece of understanding is truly life-threatening, for at any point if you say “I’m good enough now, this last piece doesn’t matter”, then that piece matters more than any other piece ever has.

God doesn’t care which doctrines you believe in. Doctrines are there to help you act like Him, nothing more. Because of that, the right doctrines are very useful – because they point the way to God. But keeping the doctrines won’t save you, it just makes it a little easier to see what you must be like to be saved.

God doesn’t care how much you know. He cares how well you obey what you already know, and how eagerly you seek to know more. As long as God is convinced that you will continue diligently searching for knowledge indefinitely, and will gladly embrace any correction you find in that new knowledge… that’s all He needs.

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Because Abraham had done this, God knew there was absolutely and literally nothing Abraham wouldn’t do to obey the truth – and therefore, that Abraham was completely like God.

Not in doctrine, not in faith, not knowledge… but Abraham acted completely like God would have acted under those circumstances.

Knowledge and salvation are as connected as oil and automobiles. Sure, you need some oil to keep a car running – but to say you have oil, therefore you can make an automobile is idiotic. So is everyone who says they have the necessary knowledge for salvation.

There is no such thing as saving knowledge, because the knowledge that is required for salvation…

Is the very next thing God teaches you.

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