The question that constitutes the title of this article was submitted recently to this writer. It is an inquiry that is not infrequently posed by those who deny the exclusive nature of the Christian system.Perhaps any person who ponders this question could discern the answer for himself — with just a friendly nudge.
Questions for Personal Reflection
Do you believe that you are a part of the “saved”?
If the answer is “yes,” here is a follow-up question. Do you believe that those not of that group (i.e., the saved—the group of which you are a member) are lost?
If the answer is “no,” then obviously you are a “universalist,” holding the conviction that all will be saved ultimately — regardless of what they believe or how they live. In that event, there would be no reason whatsoever for evangelism. To such a one the Bible has no relevance at all. Elsewhere, see our article, The Growing Trend toward Universalism.
On the other hand, if your answer reflects the conviction that those outside of your group are lost, then you appear to suggest that only “your bunch” will be saved, because the plain logical fact is this: people either are inside your group, or outside your group. If this is not the correct conclusion, perhaps you could explain the matter.
Now that we have disposed of the question in an ad hominem fashion (i.e., by pressing one to see to the consequences of his own “logic”), we can get to the heart of the question, and let the Bible itself address the issue. Let us consider the following propositions.
New Testament Truths for Consideration
First, Jesus Christ declared that he is the exclusive way to God. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes unto the Father, except by me” (John 14:6). One may dispute this statement if he wishes, but there it is — uncompromisingly stated.
Do you believe that the only way to obtain salvation is through Christ? If not, the biblical record ceases to be the standard of authority, and further discussion in this vein is useless.
Second, the Scriptures clearly teach that some belong to Christ, and others do not. Some are his “sheep,” the saved, while others are “goats,” thus are lost (Matthew 25:31-46).
Third, though one is not required to understand every aspect of Christian teaching (no one does), or be perfectly obedient in all matters (none ever will be), in order to be saved, there is a threshold degree of understanding pertaining to elementary gospel truths that one must possess, and a certain level of obedience that one must render, before he or she can belong to Christ.
Did not Jesus teach that those who refuse to “understand” will not be able to receive the “healing” (i.e., the salvation) he offers (Matthew 13:15)? Further, are we not taught that Christ is the author of salvation to those who “obey” him (Hebrews 5:9)? What would be the reverse of that affirmation?
Did the Lord himself not say, “He who believes on the Son has eternal life; but he who obeys not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36 – ASV)? Did Jesus not declare that those who claim identity with him, but fail to “do” (i.e., obey) God’s will are lost (Matthew 7:21-27)?
Fourth, did not Paul, an inspired apostle, declare that Jesus Christ is “the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23)? Is there any text within the framework of Christian doctrine that provides hope that some will be saved who are not of that “body”? If so, where is the passage?
Fifth, does not the same apostle, in the very same epistle, instruct that there is “one body” (Ephesians 4:4), and, as he emphasized elsewhere, “but [i.e., only] one body” (1 Corinthians 12:20)? Would this not imply that if a person is saved, he or she would have to be in that “one body”?
Sixth, did not Paul also define the “one body” as the “church” (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18, 24)? Would this not signify that all the saved would be in “one” church (cf. John 10:16; 11:52)?
Seventh, is it not a fact that the apostle also taught that it is by the Spirit (i.e., through the instrumentation of His instruction via God’s word – Ephesians 6:17) that one is baptized into the “one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. Galatians 3:26-27)? See our article, The New Birth: Its Necessity and Composition.
Finally, is it not the case that this baptism must conform to the New Testamentpattern of doctrine—with reference to the appropriate subjects for baptism, as well as the mode, and purpose of the rite — in order for it to be valid (cf. Romans 6:17; Acts 19:1-5)?
Do these points not answer the rather sarcastic (though perhaps genuinely motivated) question that constitutes the title of this article? Realistically, we do not expect it to satisfy those who are not sincerely in search of truth—though we will try nonetheless.