From the previous post, we concluded there is only 1 God. He gave us 1 New Testament. It contains only 1 message by which man can be saved. But, we took it one level deeper, when we stated that the saving message consists of 10 Essential Elements. I brought evidence for the first 5 of those elements in the last post, and those were 1. righteousness, 2. sin, 3. judgment, 4. Savior, and 5. Gospel. In other words, Matthew teaches what God requires, what we lack and really are, what the consequence will be; but also, how that God provided a way out, an escape. He sent His Son, and His Son did all that was necessary, on the Cross 2 thousand years ago, for us. By these first 5 Essential Elements, no one is yet saved. There are still 5 more Essential Elements to all Matthew’s message. The first of those is #6, repent. Repentance is a very strong theme in Matthew. John the Baptist opens with it in 3:2, as does Jesus in 4:17. The Sermon on the Mount opens with repentance in 5:3 thru 6a. The verses of bodily mutilation, 5:29+30 and 18:8, are pictures of repentance. Jesus reserved His harshest condemnation for those who refused to repent, as 11:20 and 12:41 state. The parable of the Two Sons, 21:28 thru 32, is about repentance. God requires that a person repent! The next of The 10 Essential Elements is that a person must #7, believe. This does not mean believe in God; that is, to say that you believe that God exists. That belief will not save. To believe is to place one’s trust in #4, the Savior and #5, the Gospel, that Christ died for my sins and rose from the dead. This is the very heart of the New Testament message. This is what historic Protestant Christianity was born on; that salvation was by God’s grace alone, thru our faith in Christ alone. This is truth!
Nothing about any of the first 7 Elements matters, if God does not respond to the truly repentant sinner with #8, the New Birth. The New Birth is one’s salvation. It takes place right here. This is when one’s sins are forgiven. This is when the Holy Spirit enters in and imparts new life. This is when God credits to a person His very own righteousness, that they might be accepted and received of Him. This is when a person is saved. Prior to the New Birth, they were not saved. They were not a Christian. Matthew speaks of the New Birth by John the Baptist in 3:11, and Jesus refers to it with 5:6b, when one is filled with righteousness. It is described in 18:3, and can only be accomplished by God says 19:25+26. Then, everything associated with the Christian life comes to the fore. Having become a child of God, one is then to commence those things that have to do with living a #9, New Life in Christ. This is when Christian instruction comes to bear. Chapter 5:13 thru 16, and all of chapter 6, and much of 7 find application here. Christian giving, prayer, fasting, exercising discernment and faith. These are for those born again to be doing. In the end, when life is over, the born again Christian believer goes home to His Father in the #10, Kingdom of heaven. This is best seen in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. There are 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message and Matthew teaches them all. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell