The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is accepting Jesus a necessary condition of being saved?

There are several things about this passage that are important to understanding it.

  1. Probaton, the word translated “sheep”, would be better translated as “flock”, for it refers to any small 4-legged animal, not just sheep.

  2. Eriphos, the word translated “goats”, would be better translated as “kids, baby goats”, which is what Eriphos specifically means.

  3. Ethnos, the word translated “nations”. It occurs 164 times in the NT and is translated in the KJV 93 times (57%) as “Gentiles”, 64 times (39%) as “nations”, 5 times (3%) as “heathen”, and only 2 times (1%, this one passage) as “people.” Most “assume” that Jesus is speaking about God judging individuals; this perspective is even “translated” into this passage by translating ethnos as “people”. And yet, Jesus very well could be talking about groups of people, whether that be nations, communities, or ethnic groups. Or Jesus could be talking about Gentiles as opposed to the Jews. Jesus does not specify whether He is speaking of Gentiles vs. Jews, Gentile nations vs. Israel, or individuals; and yet this one fact is extremely important in understanding Jesus’ intended meaning of this passage. Is Jesus speaking of judging “individuals” or “nations”? And is he speaking of God specifically judging Gentile nations?

  4. Who are “the least of these my brothers”? Many assume that because Jesus speaks of the sick, hungry, stranger, prisoner, thirsty, or naked, Jesus is speaking literally of the poor and disenfranchised of society; and this is possibly what He meant by “the least of these my brothers”. However, earlier in Matthew 24 Jesus is warning of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, and throughout scripture the word “nations” (ethnos, Gentiles) is often set in contrast the “Jews”, God’s “chosen” nation. So Jesus could be foreseeing the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews being scattered to the nations. And recalling God’s promise to Abraham to bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him, Jesus could be warning of how God blesses the nations that bless the Jews and punishes the nations that mistreat the Jews.
    In Matthew 24:9 Jesus also specifically warns His **disciples **that they will be persecuted by all nations because of following Him. “IF” Jesus is referencing this distinction then He could be warning of God blessing or punishing nations or individuals based on how they treat Jesus’ followers, Christians, the least of these His brothers. This is certainly reflected in other passages of scripture meant to encourage persecuted believers.
    Jesus could also be speaking of social justice, how individuals or nations treat the poor and disenfranchised of society among them. Scripture is certainly replete with admonitions to and promises for taking care of the poor, the sick, the strangers among us. And if this passage was in Luke then I would think this would be Jesus’ intended meaning because Luke has a theme of social justice. But this is Matthew who wrote primarily to the Jews. But then again, in this passage Jesus is speaking to His followers, the disciples, and might be literally warning of how we, his disciples treat the poor and disenfranchised, “the least of these”.

  5. Kolasis, translated punishment, specifically means remedial punishment and would be better translated as chastizement.

So the shepherd separates the kids from the flock so that the kids can be chastized, trained. Why? So that they can function well as part of the flock. Goats are very independent and need training to be more communal. This fits with the “maturity” issue of people who are so self-centered that they don’t even see the needs of people around them, much less seek to meet those needs.

Frankly, the more I study this passage and the more I study Jesus’ teachings, the more I think that Jesus used this non-specific language to speak of diverse but similar messages, all of which are true! In other words, in this passage Jesus is warning of at least seven different but similar perspectives. He is warning Gentile individuals and/or nations to be careful of how they treat the Jews among them. Jesus is also warning people, individuals and/or groups concerning how they treat His disciples. And Jesus is warning everyone, individuals, nations, and especially Christians concerning social justice, how they treat the poor and disenfranchised of society! Seven similar but diverse messages, like facets of a diamond, they are diverse colors but from the same light! Different perspectives but all true!

Is it any wonder then that Jesus would use the non-specific wording of aionian life and aionian punishment to reference God intervening in a person’s, nation’s, or church’s life based on how they treat people, especially the Jews, Christians, or poor and disenfranchised. Included in this Jesus could even be warning majority Christian groups about how they treat minority Christian groups, the rich about how they treat the poor, the in crowd about how they treat the ones on the fringes. It is a powerful passage! And to interpret it to be about those who are saved vs. those who are not-saved is to nullify it of it’s power! Believers say to themselves “Hey, no worries for me, I’m saved.” And unbelievers say to themselves either “I don’t care what is says,” or “Look, I’m just as good as most believers I know, so I’m good to go to.” So it speaks to no one if interpreted to be about saved and unsaved.

No, their actions did not back it up, but can they be blamed for not knowing that helping the poor was equivalent to helping Jesus? After all, the sheep didn’t know that either, as you acknowledged above. And not knowing that is why the sheep were clueless about why they were being favored.

But if it is the addressing Jesus as Lord that signals acceptance of Jesus, as you maintain, then both groups are in the same category with respect to acceptance because both addressed him as Lord. If addressing Jesus as Lord does not signal acceptance, and I don’t think it does necessarily, then the only clear difference between the sheep and the goats is helping the poor: the sheep helped, and they were saved while the goats did not help, and they were not saved. So, as I said before, this parable seems to be a case in which acceptance is not a necessary condition of being saved.

A few points , maybe i wasn’t clear before. IMO the sheep were clueless only about the fact that in helping the needy they were directly helping Jesus. That is all i see that they were confused about. That was what their question was to Jesus, “where were you.” Calling Jesus Lord is not enough to be a Christian but it is also the fact that Jesus called them “sheep” that indicates his validation of them and their good works. They called him “Lord” and he reciprocated and called them “sheep” and since he is the Good Shepherd that seems convincing to me.
The goats apparently did nothing except call him Lord so clearly calling him Lord is not enough. Just calling him Lord is not acceptance in the heart. The sheep’s good works were the fruit of salvation whereas the goats bore no fruit.

I like that interpretation. I agree that the critic of Universalism does not stand on firm ground in drawing soteriological conclusions from the last verse of this parable:

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

How one defines “salvation” is foundational to answering this question. Many evangelicals think of salvation as “the assurance of getting into heaven someday.” I believe salvation speaks of the present reality of being reconciled with God, restored to a healthy relationship with our Father, to be translated from the kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom of light. A good discussion would be, What is Salvation, or how do you define/understand salvation?

In order to answer the question, we must first understand what it is from which we are saved. Are we saved from hell? Or are we saved from sin? An angel answered this question when he announced to Jacob, “You will call his name “Jesus” (saviour) for He will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)

The second thing to understand is that no living person has yet been fully saved from sin. Thus salvation is a process.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1Col 1:18 ESV)

The third thing to understand is that some day the process of salvation will be completed.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Php 1:6 ESV)

The fourth thing to understand, is that when those who had called for Jesus’ death were cut to the heart and asked, “Men and brethen, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), Peter, who had been speaking to them, didn’t say, “You must accept Christ as your personal Saviour”. Rather Peter said,

“Repent [have a change of heart and mind] and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forsaking of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

It does seem to me that the word accept is perhaps not a helpful one to use in this context. In the context of acceptance the Bible mostly uses the term in respect of God’s acceptance of some person or offering. Maybe it is a word that fits a Arminian view since for me to be in a position to accept connotes free will to some degree. Perhaps the acceptance needs to be more focused on my need as a sinner rather than on my accepting Christ?

As I said above, what I mean by the word accept here is along the lines of “confessing that Jesus is Lord and believe it in your heart.” That is patterned after Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

I understand the usage ok lancia it’s just my quirky mind looking at things from a differing angle, perhaps I too am diagonally parked in an adjacent universe? :laughing: :laughing:

This has got me wondering a bit about what it means to accept Jesus as Savior. Is it just a moment you accept that Jesus is the savior? Is it accepting some formulaic sinners prayer? Is it taking on a more Christlike set of behaviors and attitude? Is it surrendering loyalty to a particular Church? Or is it something that transcends what we can speak of? I will admit this question has been bugging me for a while.

Notice that those who received Him (accepted Him?)—those trusting (or “believing”) into His name didn’t instantly become children of God. They only received the authority to become children of God.

What else did it take to become children of God? They had to become disciples of Christ. And that required forsaking their self-serving lives, and learning from Christ, following Him and obeying Him. This was a whole new way of life.

It begins the moment we believe, and as we continue believing, it grows(through trial and difficulty, faith and grace) and becomes more and more evident in our character- fellowship with Jesus being the source and the means of continuing salvation. The end result is the manifestation of Him in us- love, truth and eternal life.

It depends on your perspective. Exclusivism, Inclusivism and Puralism are all three historical and contemporary approaches to salvation. They answer the question of how one is saved, or how one is saved in Christ. Universalism addresses the question of how many are saved, which many here adhere to. You can Google or Bing these terms for more info. Or just view terms.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened…

…32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.<<<<<<<<<<< Works of Tash in the name of Aslan ;o)

Ro.2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: (served Aslan, not knowing his name):o)

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

2Tim 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.(Whether they know it or not) And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.(let them that know walk like it.)

Well done, EW. :slight_smile:

Acceptance of Jesus is necessary.

How are you going to be born again as Jesus says we must do in John 3 without accepting him as Lord and Savior as directed in Romans 10:9?

A whole new nature called the Fruit of the Spirit is given to us by Jesus when we are born again.

But don’t confuse this with eternal torment.

The verse you quoted in Matthew is a mistranslation. It is not eternal it is age- during.

An age can vary in length but it is not eternal.

So yes we need to get Jesus. It has ramifications for our spiritual birth. It doesn’t mean God will torture anyone for failing to do so.

Young’s Literal with the Matthew verse: … ersion=YLT

There are two resurrections and we should be making sure we have Jesus to have a shot at the first one. It is the better resurrection and the blessed hope of Paul the Apostle to make it to the first one.

And important question is is being Saved synonymous with “coming to the Father” Revelation 21 says there are nations of the Saved outside New Jerusalem, yet lots of Christians ignore that and talk like New Jerusalem being The Lamb’s Wife is all of the Saved.

And important question is is being Saved synonymous with “coming to the Father” Revelation 21 says there are nations of the Saved outside New Jerusalem, yet lots of Christians ignore that and talk like New Jerusalem being The Lamb’s Wife is all of the Saved.

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Sometimes i wonder if being saved is different from inheriting the kingdom.

That certainly is, from my position on Eternal Security. Universlaism is an issue I’m still studying. But I certainly believe many believers will lose their inheritance but cannot lose their Sonship, like the Prodigal Son. That’s what the Outer Darkness refers to in Matthew, the Outer Darkness is not the Lake of Fire or Hell.

Just a few thoughts, opinions.

What is “being saved” and when does it occur.

God has bound up all in disobedience that He may have mercy on all(Ro 11)

“All” is the original parameter and intention. Disobedience in Adam(sin/chaos/futility/death) and its consequences is what we are saved from(in short). Union with Christ and being “gathered into” the all in all through submission/connection to Christ is what we are saved into.

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:(Eph 1)

The soteriology as it relates to “all” plays out as both what and when.

"As in Adam all die so also in Christ shall all be made alive, but each in his own order… For He must rule until He has put every adversary under His feet… And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The what is to “be saved from this perverse generation”(Acts 3-saved out of Adam) becoming a part of the new creation “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation”(2 Cor 5)

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Rom 8)

Futility/chaos/death/sin entered through Adam. The “glorious liberty” of the children of God entered through the second Adam- Jesus Christ, and all will be gathered/grafted into the new creation, the True Vine.

“Every knee shall bow whther in heaven or on earth or under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”(Phil 2)

Every knee will bow and tongue confess… to me that is “accepting Jesus”… confessing His Lordship and believeing that God has raised Him from the dead is a package deal involving connection to the True Vine by grafting into the new creation, which (imo) “IS salvation”.

This happens for different ones at different times and they are gathered/subjected/grafted each in his own order in the administration of the completion/fulness of time until God is all in all.

Those from the ages who never heard of Christ or were not a part of the commonwealth of Israel are, as has already been shared a couple times, introduced to the suffiency of Christ at the Great White Throne, whatever that actually is in the spirit, Romans 1 & 2 covers the principle of it well… basicly…

All are without excuse because God has clearly displayed His divine nature and eternal power thru the things He has made(Ro 1) and those who were without the law will be judged without the law their conscioences(the books will be opened) either excusing them or accusing them on the Day when God judges the secrets of men’s hearts through Jesus Christ(Ro 2)…

Those who rejoice to see Him and bow the knee will be “saved”…grafted into the all in all.

Some will not bow so easily and will experience aionian kolassis, testing/purging/exposure in the fire of His presence, until every knee has bowed, and as each knee bows(imo) the soteriological event will take place in that heart…delivered out of Adam and into the new creation in Christ.

“If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me”(john 12)

“Behold I am making all things new”(rev 21)

The problem hellist(ET and ED) theologigians have is not so much misunderstanding soteriology in the how and what…

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Col 1)

Their problem is the limited scope they apply to “why” and “when”:

They cannot see the verses that state clearly that God created all things as a repository for grace and renewal. They do not see the ages. They do not see the progressive nature of the “seed” having been planted through the sowing of Christ’s body and becoming a matrix of life and light that eventually spreads throughout the whole creation like a fire transforming all things into conformity with His glorious life…

Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,** so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus**.8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;…
(Eph 2)

Even tho it is referenced right there in the middle of the most fundamental and frequently referenced soteriological statements of scripture.

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”(mt 13)