I'm taking a short break from my series assessing independent Baptists, but this is still related to part four. I wish more interest would spread about the subject of that part in the series.
Men are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Men must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. This is different than merely receiving Him as Savior. A lot of people are interested in being saved. A lot of people agree that Jesus is the way of salvation. A lot of people then are glad to ask Jesus to save them and receive Him as their Savior. Does that mean they're saved? I wouldn't be convinced that they are. They could be, but it is troubling in its absence of more important and necessary truth about Jesus.
I've taught through all four gospels very slowly at least once now and I'm working through them again. I've taught the life of Christ as a class several times. Jesus will save. He's the Savior, but the thrust of His saving message wasn't about Him as Savior, but Him as King, as Lord, as God, as the Son of God, as the promised Messiah.
When you read through John, you recognize that John is mainly a series of signs that Jesus is the Messiah, so people would believe in Him. They are saved, not by believing He will save. Sure, you have to believe He will save, or why believe in Him? But you are really believing in and receiving Him as Who He is. He's God, He's Lord, He's Savior. You are not receiving Him if you detach those things from Him. You believe that He is the King promised in the Old Testament, the one who fulfills the Davidic covenant.
The biggest reason why people won't believe in Jesus isn't because they don't want to be saved. Most people want to be saved, once they recognize they need to be saved. What they don't like is having someone else in charge of their lives, so they don't like believing in Jesus, which is the only way how they can be saved. You don't know who Jesus is if you don't understand that believing in Him means you're ceding control of yourself over to Him. If you really do believe in Him, you believe He is King, which means He is in charge of you. If you believe that, then you want that. You will leave that part out either because you aren't saved, you are ignorant, you are an evil pragmatist, or all three of those.
Not doing what Jesus (God) wants is sin. Salvation is saving you from sin. He doesn't save you to continue not doing what He wants. That's not being saved from sin. It's not as though you can reject that part or even not agree with it, and be saved, only to acquiesce to what He wants sometime down the road. No, you're giving in right away.
I recognize that churches in their "evangelism" or salvation plan mostly don't include what I'm writing above. They include the Savior part and then hope that they'll persuade the candidate to obey at a later date. In their system, someone can remain a rebel and still be saved.
Man became lost because He didn't do what God said. That was sin. He doesn't go from lost to saved without a recognition that he was wrong to be doing what He wanted instead of what God wanted and the acknowledgement and acquiescence that now He would be doing what God wanted. Before he was saved, he was doing what he wanted, but believing in Jesus (God) is believing that Jesus is in charge now. If someone doesn't think that Jesus is in charge, He doesn't believe in Him.
Everything I'm saying here is very simple. One might even call it easy. If it's so easy, why is this left out in people's preaching to the lost? The reason is because this is the issue that people have with the gospel. If it's left out, then they'll pray or make a profession or "get saved." These folks want people to get saved, so they leave it out. The problem is that by leaving it out, then it isn't the gospel anymore. It isn't believing in Jesus.
If you believe what I'm writing here, then you know you've got to stand against those who don't believe this way. There aren't two options on salvation. "They're just not as clear as I'd like them to be" is just a cop out. When you fellowship with them, you are contributing to their false gospel, to their negligence, to their horrific blinding of men to the truth. You can't and you shouldn't be neutral.
Let me give you a 'for instance.' There are people on the FBFI board who believe what I'm writing and there are people on that board who do not believe it. I'm not writing about the FBFI in particular because "I have it out" for the FBFI in some unique way. I don't. It just doesn't make any sense. Sure, there are other examples of coalitions besides them, who do the same. Can they really stay in fellowship when they differ on this? What is the basis for staying in cooperation and association? Is this nothing more than semantics?