Three editors from The Babylon Bee, a Christian organization that produces satire, recently conducted a mostly-serious interview with Elon Musk.
Near the end of their 90+ minute podcast, the three hosts from this Babylon Bee ask a series of ten questions which they’ve been asking all of their guests since they started. Question #10 is “Will you accept Jesus as your lord and savior?” That leads to some confused looks from Elon Musk but he does offer a somewhat serious answer followed by some more jokes from both him and the hosts.
Click here to watch the entire 1.5 hour discussion.
Musk’s body language changed to arms crossed in front, and he was momentarily at a loss for words. Everyone laughed at the ridiculousness of asking this man to “do us a quick solid and accept Jesus as your lord and savior.”
Musk replied: “There is great wisdom in the teachings of Jesus and I agree with those teachings. … Things like turn the other cheek are very important. … Forgiveness is important. … Treating people as you would wish to be treated. … Love thy neighbor as thy self is very important.”
The questioner replies: “So it’s like a 60% or 70% yes?”
Elon continues: “As Einstein would say, ‘I believe in the god of Spinoza.”
Then comes Elon’s response to the invitation: “But hey, if, um, you know, if, if Jesus is, uh, saving people, I mean, I wouldn’t stand in his way, you know, like, sure, I’ll be saved. Why not?”
That response brought the celebration to the Babylon Bee interviewers: “Sweet. I think he just said yes. Praise the Lord.” And that was pretty much the end of the interview.
In a totally cringe-worthy final question, one interviewer asks Elon… “We’re wondering if you could do us a quick solid and accept Jesus as your lord and savior?”
As much as I enjoy the Babylon Bee’s typical satire productions, that interview segment was profoundly disappointing to me. The interviewers made light (even a mockery) of being “saved,” which is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not a laughing matter. Life is serious and there is not a more serious or important issue in life than our response to Jesus Christ or, more specifically, what we do with the gospel of Christ. Our eternity is in the balance.
Unfortunately, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a vague concept in many people’s minds. Even many church-going Christians have trouble putting the gospel into words. Here it is in three short sentences…
Jesus Christ died for sinners. You are a sinner. Believe in Christ and you will be saved.
Those three short statements can be expanded (and certainly have been) into volumes of commentary based on the Biblical record. The Bible is, after all, beginning to end, the story of Jesus Christ and the gospel of Christ. If we leave the gospel out of the Bible, we miss the whole point of what God wants us to know, and to our detriment.
It is worth noting that the gospel of Christ is not something that God pleads with people to accept. The gospel, properly understood, is a non-negotiable declaration of what God has done for every human being; but every human must make a personal decision. Take it or leave it. And it’s a 100% decision, not 60% or 70%.
Isaiah in the Old Testament sums up our human situation when he says “…our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (link) Righteousnesses = good works. In other words, God’s not impressed with our good works when it comes to a salvation “grade.” Not even a little bit. We fail.
Paul in Hebrews (link) reiterates our true human condition before God: “There is none righteous. No not one,” and, “There is none that doeth good. No not one.” And later on in the same chapter: (link) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
That’s our bottom line reality. It’s the harshest reality any of us has to face. It’s harsh because our lack of goodness before the holy God of creation condemns us to an eternity apart from Him. More specifically, we are destined for hell, and deservedly so. Hell is every person’s default destination. But… there is the good news of the gospel of Christ.
The eternal wrath of God against sinners was poured out on Jesus Christ when he voluntarily died on the cross. Jesus didn’t deserve the wrath of God, but that was the plan.
God himself, in the form of his son, would lower himself to our estate and allow himself to be brutally killed. In so doing, Jesus took upon himself the eternal penalty for the sins of those who would, thereafter, put their faith in him as their Lord and Savior. This is the incredible (but true) love of God manifested through Christ.
When Jesus said to his apostle, Thomas (link), “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” he was declaring the gospel. This reality is underscored by Paul in the book of Acts (link) when he says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Based on the Babylon Bee interview, I can say with certainty that Elon Musk is not saved (not yet). Acknowledging that Jesus Christ existed does not save anyone. Acknowledging and honoring the wisdom and goodness of Jesus’s teachings does not save anyone. Early church experiences (Musk attended Anglican Sunday school as a youth) don’t save anyone. Even nobly striving to save humanity from an extinction event (a good work for certain, and Musk’s life goal) does not save anyone.
Biblically speaking, it is the acknowledgment of one’s sins, the turning away from sin (repentance), and trusting faith in Jesus Christ that saves a person. If you have a saving relationship with God the Father, through Jesus, you know it. You know if you are a true follower, or not.