From a Biblical perspective, the only way a person can be saved is if they believe in the Son of God. So that means that there is no salvation for those who do not believe. This is what the Bible states:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. (John 3:16–21)
The reality is that it is impossible for a person not to do evil at some point. Even to doubt the integrity of God is evil. Therefore to believe that the Creator does not exist is evil.
What is evil? Evil occurs when we deny the natural rights of another.
To put this in a human context, evil occurs when a child disobeys its parents or when a parent neglects to adequately provide for a child.
Some people like to think that they have never been evil. Personally, I have yet to find such a person who is morally perfect and who has never committed any evil, even though I have known some people who are close to perfect. But being nearly perfect is not the same as being nearly evil.
The suggestion that a person might be nearly evil sounds ludicrous, for a person is either evil or morally perfect. But being nearly evil simply means having the capacity to do evil, only the person has not done evil. Once evil has been committed, the person who commits evil can never be morally perfect by anything the person does.
To use an analogy: for anybody to be nearly perfect is the same as not possessing the ability to be light and relying upon the light of other sources to see in the dark. If one is the light, darkness is dispelled without the need of another source to see where one is going.
From what the Bible teaches, we could say that the first man and woman created were nearly evil because they had yet to commit evil. At the same time, they were nearly perfect because, even though they had never sinned, they still did not possess the ability to live forever.
The equation: an evil thought plus action multiplied by sin equals death still stands. Or as the Apostle James puts it:
Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. (James 1:14–15)
The question you ask is Can one be saved if he only accumulates good deeds without doing evil but does not believe in God?
The above is predicated upon the assumption that you mean saved from death, which means eternal banishment from the presence of God and the thrill of being a dill on one’s own for eternity.
Lonesomeness has it problems. Inner loneliness is terrifying. Inner loneliness for eternity is not something one wants to contemplate, but this is the only option for those who reject the bliss of God’s presence. I have experienced the terror of inner loneliness for a brief moment. If not experiencing the terror of inner loneliness for eternity is what you mean by being saved, then you need to know God and have a relationship with Him.
However, you did not say from what you were expecting to be saved if you did not believe in God.
The Bible says that slavery is a natural condition when it comes to man being enslaved by sin, because every human being has been born into a world that is governed by Lucifer, who has taken the planet Earth captive. As individuals who are born into captivity, we all become slaves to our captor
However, there needs to be clarity in respect to whether you are talking about spiritual slavery or the fact humans become slaves of other humans.
Everyone who works for wages is really a slave of his employer. The difference between being a slave who is given food and shelter and being set free to pay wages is that the person who is free can be laid off, whereas a slave cannot. Being laid off and not being employed can itself be a worse condition than being a slave. This is especially so when a person has no money, no food and no shelter.
In the Old Testament, a person could sell himself as a slave (Leviticus 25:39) but on the year of Jubilee, the person was to be set free (Leviticus 25:38-43). That is, unless the person decided that he would rather serve as a slave because of the favorable conditions bestowed upon him by his master (employer).
When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for life. (Exodus 21:2-6)
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul states that, if possible, every slave ought to obtain his freedom. But more than this, if a person is a Christian, the person is not to become a slave, except to righteousness rather than sin.
Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (I Corinthians 7:21-23).
In the Old Testament, slavery is acceptable, not because this is an evil abusive lifestyle where people are enslaved against their will. Rather, slavery is recognized as status where people who are unable to help themselves can find a means of being helped. Unfortunately, people misconstrue what slavery ordained by God is really about. Justice and responsibility are hated by those who hate God. This is because at heart they are evil and hate the truth. Many claim they want justice, but when it comes to being responsible and upholding justice, they compromise and become corrupt.
A slave owner who adheres to God’s principles is just and responsible in his treatment of his slaves. Those who are not looking to our Heavenly Father, of course, do not care about humans, because they see them as mere animals without a spirit and a soul. These people view anyone who cannot give them what they want as lesser individuals. Slavery to these individuals does not prohibit being merciless and cruel to people. This is what happens when godless dictatorships reign or people who have no fear of God, or eternal judgment, reign over others. From what I have been told, ten pin bowling originated from the Caribbean, when slave owners buried wayward slaves in sand up to their necks and bowled coconuts at them and thought it good sport.
However, slavery is found in many parts of the world. There are sex slaves on every continent. There are slaves who are in jails on every continent. There are slaves who spend most of their time at their jobs on every continent. And when all said and done, everyone is a slave to sin and death, unless they can be set free from sin and enter into eternal life.
When talking about slavery, one really has to differentiate between treated as slaves by employers, slaves who are purchased, slaves who are born into captivity, slaves to sin and death, and slaves to righteousness. In fact, we could also add to this, we are slaves to the urges of our body—indeed, bodily functions have a habit of holding us captive.
Overall, one would have to say, the Bible does indicate slavery is a natural condition—the question is though: Natural in what regard?
The question whether the teachings of Jesus are compatible with the Old Testament is one that many people have. For many it is difficult to understand how the Old and the New Testaments have continuity and compatibility.
Jesus is the Son of God through Whom all things exist and through Whom have come into being— that is everything except evil. Evil is the only thing that God has not created. Evil came as the result of entities having freewill and choosing blindly rather than wisely. Pride blinds and prejudices individuals so they cannot think rationally, even though they think they possess an excellent rationale upon which to base their decisions.
For instance, full of pride, atheists see themselves as possessing the answers that only someone with infinite knowledge could have, yet when it comes to infinity they are merely a speck of dust.
The Son of God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. The Son of God gave to Moses the purpose for the plan to bring about his own death and resurrection, so that he could establish the eternal Kingdom at Pentecost. This also included the eschatology that is about to be ushered in. Yet so many people have no idea of what is really written in the Bible.
One thing that unenlightened people do not realize is that Israel was created as a nation so the people could demonstrate how righteousness wins the day. Unfortunately, the people rejected God’s way and delighted in the hedonistic highway of violating their relationship with God and each other. God’s name was blasphemed among the nations rather than honored.
Somehow, people violating covenants is seen as no reason for justice to be executed. Too many wimps say it is okay to violate people’s rights because they are afraid to show any integrity and speak up for the truth and demand justice. (This is why it is alright to bomb people in public and the media decide to send their investigative journalists to find out how mushrooms grow. No wonder they come back claiming they could not see anything worth reporting, like no ambulances sighted for 50 injured people at Orlando, June 12, 2016.)
God demands justice. And justice will be executed. For Jesus spoke of justice in the New Testament, stating that there will be a time when everybody will have to give an account of every careless word uttered, unless they repent. Just as Jesus, the Word of God, was instrumental in seeing that justice was carried out in the Old Testament, so too, in the New Testament He warns of justice coming. This will be a time when everyone will be called into account for what they say and do. A time when each person will receive their just deserts, be it an eternal reward or eternal punishment.
The love of God was shown in the Old Testament. Adam and Eve were clothed by God. If God did not love them, he would have killed them. From that point on the love of God has been evidenced throughout the Old Testament. Unfortunately for some people, they do not like justice and think that when it is executed, this is unfair. We can lay the blame for this upon corruption. Nevertheless, even though corruption is at the heart of the problem, we are also accountable for our own corrupt acts.
Corruption distorts people’s thinking. Instead of acknowledging the simple truths of life, the corrupt look for alternatives and come up with shades of darkness. In reality, one is either in the light or in the darkness. Tragically for the clever fella’s, twilight is not the same as being in the light. But do not tell that to a philosopher, or to an ideologist, or someone who thinks the Universe came about by chance. These finer points, seem too difficult for them to comprehend. Instead, these naysayers will insist that the obvious is superstition, whereas, on the other hand, their imagination works wonders.
The Bible is a complete unit. The sixty-six books of the Bible that consist of the Tanakh (thirty-nine books of the Old Testament) and twenty-seven books of the New Testament are predicted by typology that is found in the instructions given to Moses.
A New Testament quote from the Old Testament is found in the following instruction by the Apostle Paul to those who have encountered Lord Jesus Christ or who have begun to seek Him:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. (Romans 12:9)
As for compatibility, the Apostles taught out of the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul stated on a number of occasions that Christians were not to go beyond what was already written, always referring to the Old Testament. This is because the Old Testament consists of instructions for salvation and is profitable for teaching, for revealing what is evil, what is right and what is just, so those who love truth can understand the privileges that are rightfully theirs and live a meaningful life (2 Timothy 3:16-17) in this world, in preparation for that which is to come.
God has been very tolerant. But where is the justice, if people are permitted to harm one another, and the bully always gets to be the main dog. For those who do not believe in God, wild dogs ravaging one another is acceptable. For those who accept that human beings are created in the image of God and therefore are rational beings who have to give account of themselves, only justice will suffice.
Justice is the underlying thread that unifies the Old Testament and the New Testament. The justice of God to come, as revealed in the New Testament, is what is prophesied in the Old Testament. Often the compatibility is expressed in this way: The New Testament is the Old Testament fulfilled—only, in this sense, we are not necessarily talking about writings, but covenants.
The Gospel of Mark, history tells us was written down as dictated to Mark by the Apostle Peter. The Gospel of Matthew was written by the Apostle Matthew so that others would know what happened when he knew Lord Jesus. The Gospel of John is an eyewitness account written with an emphasis on what the Apostle John thought was important. The Gospel of Luke was written so an accurate record of events could be meditated upon by Theophilus.
You quote from the Gospel of Luke and desire to know how is it possible for a person to write down how other people told him what happened. One of the eyewitnesses told Luke what he or she observed when Jesus demonstrated that He had the capacity to read the minds of other people, in this case Pharisees, via the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is worth noting, Lord Jesus Christ has the power to read people’s thoughts today. In fact, the Bible teaches that Lord Jesus searches the hearts of people (Revelation 2:23) to discern the purity of their thoughts and intentions (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Just because somebody writes about what another person did, this does not mean that the person did or does the same thing.
When to comes to what people do, why questions are always difficult to answer because this presupposes that the someone else knows the reason for another person’s decision. I did not know Elisha, therefore I do not know why he did what he did. I can only surmise possibilities.
Elisha could have decided to ask for a double portion because he believed, in a spiritual sense, that he was like the oldest son of Elijah’s. This may have been the reason why he thought that he ought to ask for a double portion. For when we ask for something, usually we have to believe that the reason for our asking is justifiable. Therefore by faith, Elisha believed that he was justified in making his request.
We might ask for something because we believe that unless we ask we will not know whether we would have been turned down. Salespersons are told, if you do not ask, you will never know whether the person is going to say, “Yes,” or “No!!” However, when talking about God, we also know that He sees our hearts, so we cannot be a fickle person if we truly expect to receive what we ask from Him.
Elijah said to Elisha that if his eyes were opened then he would receive his request.
And when they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” He said, “You have asked for a difficult thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:9–10)
The reason Elijah could not give what only God can give is he was merely a servant. Therefore, by stating what he did, Elijah was letting Elisha know that which comes from God does not come from man. Only God gives the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
However, Jesus said that the pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5:8). Although, Elisha did not see God, he saw into the realm the spirit, the realm of God—the realm of true realities. This suggests that Elisha was spiritually mature. One thing we know from reading 2 Kings, chapter two, Elisha was committed and, because of this, he was not prepared to leave Elijah until he obtained his request.
The New Testament was not written to offset the perceived harshness of the Old Testament. That is a false premise peddled by people who do not understand the Bible, or if they do, they have another agenda.
The Old Testament tells how people treated God. Many people think that this was harsh. The New Testament tells us how God has treated us; for rather than judge us, as we would judge God, love was shown to mankind through the death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ and promise of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the New Testament is seen to be not as harsh as the Old Testament—God is love, humans are cruel.
Nevertheless, suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. Hope does not disappoint those who reach out to God and establish a relationship with the Father through the Son, because He pours love in the hearts of all who become recipients of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:1–6)
Was God harsh because He delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, when they were enslaved and desired to be free? Was God harsh when he advised people not to hate (Leviticus 19:17), but to love one another instead (Leviticus 19:18)?
There were many harsh statements made by Jesus. He did not back down when it came to the subject of eternal punishment. Jesus is recorded as having spoken more about Hell than any other person. Since He was God manifest in the flesh, maybe He had good cause to warn people that eternal punishment is real and nobody really wants to be sentenced for eternity (Matthew 10:28).
From a human point of view, the reason why the New Testament was compiled is disciples realized that the letters that were written ought to be saved because the eschatological references to the return of Lord Jesus Christ might not be as imminent as previously thought.
The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were written by physician Luke to provide an eyewitness account for Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4). In the book of Acts, Luke begins “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach ( Acts 1:1) and then jumps straight into stating what happened.
The letters of Paul to the Churches all are addressed to them. Romans is written to those who at Rome. The letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians were written to the saints at Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonica, respectively. The books of Timothy, Titus and Philemon were letters written by Paul to individuals.
The book of Hebrews is a treatise written with the aim of proving that the Son of God came to do away with the impotent sacrifices of the Levitical Priesthood in order to re-establish the Melchizedek Priesthood through His death and resurrection (Hebrews 7:11;Psalm 110:4).
The letter of James is addressed to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion (James 1:1)
The Apostle Peter wrote a letter to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Peter 1:1) and a general letter to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with him by the righteousness God and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1).
The letter of First John is written for everyone to read, so that the joy of the Apostle might be made complete, as he shares what he has witnessed and come to know (1 John 1:1–5). The letter of Second John is addressed to an elect lady and her children who love the truth. (2 John 1:1). The letter of Third John was written to a man of the name Gaius (3 John 1:1).
The letter of Jude was written to those who are called “beloved” in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1).
The book of Revelation has been written for the servants of Lord Jesus Christ, so they might know what is to happen prior to the judgement of mankind, the destruction of the current Universe and the creation of a new Universe (Revelation 1:1–2).
The Gospel of Mark begins by stating, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” and appears to be a general record of what happened after Jesus had made himself known to his disciples.
The Gospel of Matthew appears to be a record of the purpose of Jesus’ preaching, death and resurrection and what it means for the Judahites.
The Gospel of John provides a theological worldview of the purpose of the pre-incarnate Word of God’s appearance, preaching, death and resurrection.
The evidence is the Apostles preached and taught out of the Old Testament, as did Apollos from Alexandria (Acts 18:24-25 ), who only knew the baptism of John the Baptist, as this was the only Scriptures that bore witness to the salvation provided by God through Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God (2 Timothy 3:15). In fact, the Apostle Paul exhorted disciples of Lord Jesus Christ not to go beyond what was written 1 Corinthians 4:6. This is because:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
When reading the New Testament there is no evidence that it was written because of a wrongly perceived harsh tone expressed by God within the Old Testament at all. Rather, we learn that the Old Testament is vital for learning about Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation from sin and death that He brings to mankind. The Old Testament also included the actions of evil men that needed to be addressed within an Earthly context. The New Testament, on the other hand, has Jesus stating how the actions of evil men and women are addressed eternally.