Introduction to the Gospel Study
In the early Fall, I began to gather passages from the Gospels that I judged to be the direct references to salvation and what it took to get to heaven. I highlighted in yellow the references that explicitly spoke of salvation or life and merely copied the references were obvious but indirectly spoke of salvation through analogy. There may be ones I missed. Once I collected them, I organized them into 23 categories. About a third of the passages fit into several categories so they are repeated. Some of the categories probably will be combined in the future. Most of the categories have clear teachings from the Writings that help characterize their nature.
Where it might go from here:
The study began out of the need to have the passages ready at my fingertips for my dialogues with our internet contacts. Yet, after repeated readings, I am still moved by the text and the power inherent in their being bundled together. I expect I will extend this study into the Old Testament and into the Epistles in order to build out a bigger picture. And then, ultimately, I hope to couch this study in a paper on the New Church Doctrine of Salvation. I hope that it might be of use to you at this early stage and that you might feel free to share thoughts and insights so that I can improve its insights and usefulness in the future.
A final thought before we begin: The fundamental focus of the priesthood is the Lord and His salvation of souls. To the degree that we focus our attention on this most holy use, the Church will be in order and function in a robust and healthy way. The Priesthood represents salvation. This is taught in AC 9809. The good of the priesthood is the salvation of souls (Life 39; HD 317; AC 10796).
In the doctrine of Charity we read of charity in the priest. This passage makes clear how important the subject of salvation is to the priesthood and thereby to the church as an organization. We read "If [the priest] looks to the Lord and shuns evils
as sins and sincerely, justly and faithfully performs the work of the ministry enjoined upon him, he does the good of use continually and becomes charity in form. And he does the good of use or work of the ministry sincerely, justly, and faithfully when he is affected with a desire for the salvation of souls. And in proportion as he is so affected, he is affected by truths, because by means of them he leads souls to heaven; and he leads souls to heaven by means of truths when he leads them to the Lord." (Charity 160)