Thursday, January 22, 2009

Salvation



The following post is from Simple Life in Christ. Its author has kindly granted me permission to publish it on my blog:


It is always fascinating to me how often I encounter dedicated Christians who question their own salvation. I find it equally shocking to talk to 'casual believers' who are absolutely certain they are in!

The issue of salvation is a challenging one and I hope you aren't waiting for me to tell you who is saved and who isn't, because that is up to God.

Paul tells us in Romans 5 that through Christ, believers have, 'obtained access by faith into the grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.' He goes on to say in vs. 5 that this hope 'does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us! ' In chapter 8 of the same letter, Paul assures us that when we have life in the Spirit, we have been freed from sin and death. So how can that be right!? Because I know for certain that I have sinned since I have become a Christian….many times in fact!

John can help us out here, so have a look at 1 John 1:5-10. John here contrasts 'walking in light' and 'walking in darkness'. One is the path to life with Christ, the other leads to death and separation. It's interesting to note, vs 8 says that we must be honest about our sins; they are real and cannot be ignored. But they are not ignored by God; vs. 7 says that are cleansed by Christ. An important note there that is made in some translations is that this cleansing is continual, not a one time event.

So what does all of this mean? Let me tell you what I think. I'm not going to cite passages here for the sake of readability, but if you would like references to anything I say, I'm happy to share them.

We are told in the Bible that no person is without sin. So we are not justified by our own actions. All of our justification comes from Christ, and our trust in Him. If we trust in Him, with all that we are and obey Him, we are given His Spirit and we walk in His light. While on this walk, we continue to sin, but we stand in the grace of God, and Christ continually cleanses us. Such people, though still sinning, can be confident in their salvation.

The problems come when we do one of two things. The first one is that we can consciously choose to turn our backs on God. If we do this then we walk a path that leads to death. The second problem is if we choose to put something…anything in the spot where God belongs; the dearest thing to our hearts. The Bible says that this also, will separate us from God and His Spirit.

I think the problem for those who aren't confident in their salvation as they do their best to follow God is that they are relying too much on self. When they sin, they are shattered because they believe that they must be perfect to be saved. This is ridiculous! The whole concept of Christianity is that I know I can't be perfect!! I joined my life to Christ because I need Him to access the grace and mercy of God. If you feel this way, focus more on Christ and what He has done and is doing, and trust in that. The other issue here could be that you realize that, in reality, Christ is not what's most important to you and that you've just been going through the motions. If this is true, turn back to Him! He will forgive you and give you and abundant life!

On the other hand, some walk around with the false hope that God will save them no matter what. It is true that God can and will forgive ANY and ALL sins for those who turn to Him and put their trust in Him. But we cannot just say that we believe, and then do whatever we want. We must live a life that demonstrates that Christ is our all. Christ repeatedly said that those who don't walk the walk are not with Him. Our actions are not what saves us. Christ saves us when we trust Him completely. But when we trust Him completely and obey Him, it will change our actions.

Let us turn to Christ with all that we are, and have faith in His power and love! And let's have a greater confidence in God's power and desire to save us!

Like I said, if you want to read in the Bible for yourself about this, just email me with your questions, and I'll be happy to share the passages with you.


1 comment :

  1. I can tell you I have spent decades worrying about salvation for nonChristians. It has never seemed fair to me. And what about all the people who lived before Christ?
    Then one day I read a book by a man named Punt (nonSDA). It made so much sense to me, and then later I found Adventists who believed the same way. Punt thought Adventists were one of the few religions who had beliefs that would be broad enough.The Bible tells us that nature speaks to the Gentile and that some have the commandments in their hearts (will need to find the texts). We have never taught that only Adventists would be saved.
    The secret is that the Bible tells us that Christ died from the foundation of the world. His sacrifice is for all mankind before and after the cross.
    All are justified, but not all accept it.
    I believe that we are born justified by Christ, thus children who die are saved. Even though we are born seperate from God, Christ reconciles us by His blood.
    So, yes we can say we are saved! That does not mean we are not free to choose against God, however, but we are saved at any given moment we believe.
    Salvation is by Christ alone and none of our works will save us. Works are only the fruit of the Spirit living in us.
    Yes, I remember thinking I would embarrass God because I was such a frightened young person at one time. I had terrible phobias and panics and was depressed over them. then one day a medical doctor told me I had severe thyroid disease. With medication in three months I was a new person. You see depression and all the mental illnesses will not keep us out of heaven. They are biological illnesses most of the time some with roots in child abuse or other trauma. They can lead to drinking, relationship problems, etc.
    So God does not hold us responsible for bad addictions unless we don't try to find help and just accept them as us and feel guilty about them.
    But at some point He gets through to us and changes our lives--sometimes suddenly, sometimes in Baby Steps.
    Remember He is always with you, and you are saved and loved!
    Em

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Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.