Have you noticed something interesting and universal about smart people? They exist among every race and religion, whether male or female, and among young and old alike. In other words, your IQ is not determined by your race, religion, gender, or age. Your "IQ," or "Intelligence Quotient," is "a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person." The higher the number, the higher a person's IQ.
If man had nothing more than a brain and lacked an immortal soul, then I suppose one's IQ might be the greatest indicator of one's intelligence. But since man does indeed have an immortal soul, we need to consider what I will call man's "SI," or "Salvation Intelligence." A person with a high IQ but a low SI is in danger of losing his most important asset. Jesus of Nazareth summed it up this way: "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?" (Mark 8:36)
Your soul is "the real you." Take away your body, and your soul remains. It is impossible to extinguish your soul. The real you will exist forever in one of two extreme eternal destinations, (Daniel 12:2; Matt. 7:13,14) and so you would be wise to pay much attention to the needs of your soul.
Thankfully, Scripture is able to "make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 3:15) If a person chooses to criticize the Bible, he lacks discernment and appreciation for the truthfulness of God's Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to produce salvation intelligence within man's soul. Faith in Jesus is the key to being saved and forgiven of your sins. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given by men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Apart from salvation through faith in Christ, a person remains lost in sin with a low SI. What does that mean? Well, it means that unless you "improve your score" so to speak, you will stand before God one day without any covering for your sin. And the outcome is horrible for anyone who stands before God without faith in Christ.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. (Genesis 3:6,7) They felt "spiritually naked" before their Creator, and it produced shame in their hearts. The same thing happens today.
When we sin, it produces guilt and shame. However, when a person's heart becomes hardened and callous toward his Creator, he feels no shame in sinning. This spiritual condition does not bode well for anyone who enters God's courtroom on Judgment Day with a low SI. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:10) You are destined to eventually appear in God's courtroom, and nothing in Heaven or on Earth will stop your divine appointment from taking place. This sober reality should be a monumental motivator that stirs you to be deeply concerned for the eternal well-being of your soul.
So how do I increase my SI? How can I be prepared for my appointment with the Lord at the end of time? There is only one way to be prepared for Judgment Day my friend. You need to be introduced to Jesus by the Holy Spirit. After all, "the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14) Without the Holy Spirit working in your heart and mind, your SI will be meager and your soul will remain "dead in your transgressions and sins." (Eph. 2:1)
The Apostle Paul explained how people who are spiritually dead become spiritually alive. Paul wrote, "Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions ... it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph. 2:4-5,8-9)
Those who receive the free gift of salvation by faith (John 1:12) will then begin to experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23) and the light of Christ in their life, attitudes, behavior, and speech. (Gal. 5:24,25)
You see my friend, "Salvation comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) And "no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor. 12:3)
A person could be as smart as Albert Einstein, and yet have a very low SI. The Bible uses the following terms to describe anyone who is wise for salvation: believer, saved, Christian, justified, redeemed, born again, and forgiven. Such a person is ready to stand before God on Judgment Day and be welcomed into Heaven.
What about you? Do you have an impressive IQ, but a dismal SI? Is your soul lost, or have you been saved, redeemed, and born again through faith in Jesus Christ? Are you trusting in your works to save your soul, or in the blood of Jesus that was shed for your sins on the cross 2000 years ago? Are you relying upon your adherence to the Law in order to be saved, or upon God's special promises regarding the free gift of salvation found only in the Gospel?
The phenomenal message of the Gospel is that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Meanwhile, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse." (Galatians 3:10) That is to say, those who are attempting to earn their way into Heaven by their own efforts, works, and religious deeds are under a curse. They lack belief in Christ as Savior, which is another way of saying they lack salvation intelligence. And without spiritual conversion through faith in Christ, a person cannot begin to walk in "the obedience that comes from faith." (Romans 1:5)
If you would like to instantly raise your SI and be saved, then simply turn to Christ as you repent of your sin and believe the Good News. Trust Jesus to wash your sins away. If you would like to receive Jesus as your Savior, these words may help you to express faith in Christ as you communicate your honest convictions to the Lord:
"Lord Jesus, I recognize that like Adam and Eve, I, too, have sinned against you. And it causes me to feel guilt and shame. I want to be forgiven. I want to be saved. Please forgive me for my sins. I believe that you died on the cross to take away my sin. I turn to you now Lord in repentance and faith. I don't want to pursue sin any longer, but instead, I want to follow you in everything I do. Help me Lord to live in a way that is pleasing to you. Cleanse me and make me your disciple. Thank you Holy Spirit for opening my spiritual eyes to see Jesus my Savior.
"Thank you for giving me 'salvation intelligence' to trust in Christ alone as my Savior from sin. Fill me Holy Spirit with power to tell others the Good News I have come to know through the promises of Scripture. And help me connect with a group of Christian believers where I can grow in my faith in a Christ-centered church. Thank you Lord for creating 'the real me' when you created my immortal soul, and for graciously giving me the free gift of eternal life in heaven where I will live with you and all believers forever in Paradise. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.