The term binary is not a new one, but it has made its way into our everyday vocabulary thanks to computer technology.
Here is how the word is defined by the Oxford dictionary: “Relating to, composed of, or involving two things.” Much of life is binary: two things paired together in a way that brings focus and clarity. Up or down, east or west, black or white, in or out, active or passive, true or false—they are all binary.
The beauty of binary is that there is no wiggle room. Nothing is fuzzy or unclear. In binary computer code, ones are not zeros, and zeros are not ones. This binary nature is what makes the true Gospel clear in contrast to religion, which clouds the issue regarding eternal life. While religion blurs the edges, the binary Gospel brings life into sharp focus. Let’s take a look at a few binary statements made in Scripture about the Gospel.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Here you have two binary opposites. You have either passed from death to life and will escape judgment, or you haven’t.
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:24). Binary again. You either have the life in the Son or you don’t.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” (Colossians 1:13). You have been rescued or you haven’t. You are in the Kingdom or you are not.
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). You are either born again or you are not.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). You either have peace with God or you don’t. Starting to get the picture?
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). No middle ground here. You are either condemned or you are not.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). You are either saved or lost. Zero or one—not both.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). You are saved by faith or you are not. It is a gift or it is by works. It cannot be both.
I could keep going, but I think you see my point. The default mode of the human heart is to blur the lines, and the lines will always be blurred when human effort or good works are involved. Note how fuzzy things get if we were to take any of the above verses and add the haze of religious effort to it. “For it is by grace you have been saved—as long as you go to church and occasionally drop a twenty in the offering plate.” “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God—unless he tries real hard to keep the Golden Rule.” Is it grace or good works that saves me? And how hard to I have to try to keep the Golden Rule?
I often wonder at the heart of man, that he feels such a need to help God out by adding to the clarity of His Word. When Jesus said “It is finished” at the cross, why do we think we need to add a few finishing touches? Would we try to improve a Rembrandt? And if we did, would it enhance or detract from the masterpiece? The question is rhetorical, but the answer is not: Christ has already done it all on my behalf. What could I possibly add to it?
So if you find yourself struggling, just remember this: God did not send His Son to leave us confused about our eternal destiny. You are either condemned or you are not.
You’re either in the kingdom, or you’re out of it. You are saved by grace through faith or you are not. You either have the life in the Son, or you don’t.
While religion will always cloud the beautiful clarity of the binary gospel, the Scriptures are clear; it’s all of Jesus, or none of Him. IT’S BINARY.