Posts tagged ‘salvation’
Relationships, more than any other issue, require our emotional involvement and promised commitment. They cannot survive unless people are willing to put in the time, the energy, and the effort to make a relationship work. Granted, some relationships are easier than others, but all require work to some degree. A relationship cannot last on its own without effort. It is that simple. The divorce rate in America proves it and unfortunately, Christian marriages are included in that percentile.
The Bible teaches that salvation comes from the new birth (John 3) and provides the penitent with a new legal standing before God that cannot change. He/she goes from unrighteous to righteous. But this is the beginning of our new life in Christ. Once we have salvation, we still have to choose fellowship and choosing that often means choosing to be conformed into His image through many sufferings. It is the unfortunate way the system was designed, but that is still humanity’s fault. Had it not been for our willful sin (in Adam and Eve), there would have been no need for salvation in the first place.
Did Jesus set up a corner stand with the banner stating “Free Samples of Eternal Life!” and then encouraged people to simply “try” them? If they didn’t like them, they would always reject it, right? But if a person actually becomes truly born again or born from above (John 3), wherein that person is sealed with the Holy Spirit and made partakers with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3; 4:30), how can that be taken away? How can they legally reject it? It seems as though this and other portions of Scripture we’ve highlighted are pointing to the fact that the only thing about being a Christian that a Christian can ultimately reject is whether or not that Christian makes and keeps Jesus LORD over their life daily. By stating this, I am not stating that so-called Lordship Salvation has merit. I’m simply stating that each and every Christian must come to terms with the fact that we need to submit ourselves to God in Christ daily. This is the fellowship aspect of being a Christian that rests with us. But even there, Jesus appears to have made it easier because He says He will help us.
My salvation is secure. I firmly believe that, based on what I believe the Scriptures teach. My legal standing before God is predicated only on my faith in Jesus and His work on my behalf. I cannot earn salvation and my exercised faith in Him is what opens the door to Him and His salvation (and potential fellowship; Revelation 3:20). Once I exercise faith in Him and that finished work, God grants me salvation. The first step in that salvation process is for God to change my legal standing before Him, permanently. I literally go from being “unrighteous” to “righteous.” This is a determination, a legal declaration by God that can never change, theoretically, in spite of what I do, what I say, or how I act for the rest of my life. I am saved (present-tense, ongoing). Nothing can change that (Romans 8:31).
That is the first part of the equation of once saved, always saved (OSAS). We have to ask the question, what are we saved from and how does that happen? Notice Jesus says that anyone who does not believe in the Son is already condemned? That literally means, God’s condemnation remains or continues to rest on that person. Jesus is saying that is the automatic position of every person. There is no such thing as universalism, whereby all people will eventually be saved. Jesus is very clear here in stating that in order to eliminate or come out from under that condemnation that exists on each and every person, that person must have something: belief in the Son’s Name.
Folks, if you think you will initially stand in His Presence waiting to hear “Good job!”, think again. You will initially most likely be so aware of your own sin and failures that you will likely become undone. It will only be in God’s reminder that we have been declared righteous that will help us to stand at all and only after He wipes away the tears brought on by tremendous sadness at how many times we failed Him in this life. Then, we will be prepared to hear the words, “Good job!” but knowing that anything “good” we did was only during those times we allowed Him to work in and through us for His glory.
I firmly believe that God will look for every possible way to save someone if that person seeks God. I was thinking of a few well-known people whom I thoroughly believe are apostates. My problem is that I realize what they teach today is apostasy, I have no way of knowing whether or not at one point they actually did receive Jesus as Savior and were granted eternal life. I have no way of knowing what their particular case is now. All I can do is see their lives and though they may be wealthy or seemingly “blessed,” the truth of the matter is that the error they teach has placed them on the path of spiritual death. Should they continue in that error, God may choose to remove them prematurely from this life in order to keep them from heaping up more and greater sin against themselves.