Three Tests of Truth


Elder Michael L. Montgomery


Most people probably agree that salvation is by grace, but there seems to be quite a bit of variation as to what “salvation by grace” truly means. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 3:27-31, gave us three ways to test our view on salvation so that we may know if it is right. Verses 27-28 contain the first test. Verses 29-30 contain the second. Verse 31 contains the third. The proper view of salvation by grace…

            1. Gives no room for boasting.
            2. Requires no exceptions to save anyone.
            3. Establishes the true purpose of the Law.

Let us look at each of these in a bit more detail. First, in verse 27, Paul asked, “Where is boasting?” He was asking if it was right for the saved person to take credit for their salvation. Paul emphatically answered that salvation by grace excluded any boasting. If “the law of works” saves us, we would have reason to boast because our salvation would be partly or totally based on something we did. If God owed us salvation, we could boast about it, but Paul made it clear in such verses as Ephesians 2:9 and Romans 4:2 that salvation is not of our works “lest any man should boast.” Nothing we do -- even believing the gospel -- obligates God to save us. Rather, by believing the gospel, God blesses us to see that God saved us solely for Christ’s sake.

Second, some make an exception for the salvation of those who never had the chance to hear the gospel. In Romans 3:29-30, we learn that God is one; that He is God of all;  and  that  He  shall justify the Gentile the same way as the Jew. God’s way of saving requires no exceptions, regardless of anyone’s circumstances.

Third, Paul said in Romans 10:4 that Jesus Christ was “the end of the law for righteousness.” By this, he meant that Christ not only fulfilled the law but that the law pointed to Him as its fulfillment. In Romans 3:21, Paul said that the righteousness of God without the law has been fully manifested once and for all by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The law and the prophets bore witness to His person and work. The gospel of salvation by grace declares not that God arrived at a better way to save people than the Mosaic Law. Rather, it declares that God saved His people through the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the Law and the prophets attested to this all along.

To summarize, if your belief about salvation fails any one or more of these three tests, then it cannot be right. If, however, it eliminates any chance for boasting on your part, requires no exceptions for how God saves certain segments of mankind, and fully supports and finds full support in the oracular writings of the Law and the prophets, then it passes all three tests of scripture.