Are we missing something?
Important: Please make the effort to read the Bible references provided as this will help clarify the points made. Please also note that most of the things that we have heard about salvation in our churches are true. I am, in this article, dealing with the things that we might not have heard or rarely hear.
– Who then can be saved? The disciples asked.
– With man, said Jesus, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:25-26)
The Scriptures teach us that we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ to be judged for the things that we had done in our earthly body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27), and also that vengeance will be inflicted, in flaming fire, on those who do not obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). The Bible also tells us that we have all sinned and that the wrath of God is against men for their ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 3:10, 23; 1:18).
With all these charges upon us, who then can be saved?
2. The meaning of salvation
Before we answer the question above, let us be certain that we clearly understand what it means by being saved. Salvation is deliverance from sin and, therefore, from the subsequent wrath of God and the punishment that is rightfully reserved to the ungodly in the eternal fire of hell (Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).
But it seems that today, almost all Christendom has agreed to a more relaxed meaning of salvation; preferring to keep sin, yet wanting to be delivered from the consequences of disobedience to God. Many have come to believe that a continuous life of sin does not affect our relationship with Christ and have found ways to accommodate sin in their lives and the lives of their followers, having misquoted the Scriptures and rejected verses that do not support their theories. But, if Jesus is truly our Lord, wouldn’t our deliberate disobedience towards Him demonstrate that we are not His servants and that He does not Know us (John 10:27-28, 1 John 2:3, 5:3)? Didn’t Christ Himself question His Lordship over the children of disobedience when He said: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say (Luke 6:46)? You see! You are not any servant of God and are not saved, when you rebel against Him and wilfully disobey Him (Hebrews 10:26-29). That makes you His enemy (Luke 19:27, Philippians 3:18).
Let no one deceive you, the wrath of God is reserved for the children of disobedience (John 3:36, Colossians 3:5-6, Ephesians 5:1-9). Yes, them that act in that manner, the Lord will reject in the day of judgement saying: I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:23).
By this, we should also understand that the sinner’s prayer, which I describe as man’s strategy to get pass God’s righteous judgement for sins and to be counted worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, might not be the plan of God for salvation. So, let us carefully examine the Scriptures and find out what they actually say about being saved.
3. Who then can be saved?
According to the Scriptures, salvation is impossible with men. It is so expensive that no man’s effort or riches can afford it. For that reason, our God, who so loved the world, freely gives it to whoever believes in His Son (John 3:16, 18; 16:16). Salvation is in Christ alone: To be saved, you need to believe that Jesus is Lord and that He died for your sins. Faith in Christ Jesus is what is required in order to be justified in the day of judgement and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:18, Romans 3:22).
Truly, whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. But, what it entails to believe is, I suppose, the biggest question that today’s Christianity will have to answer. Believing in Christ implies that we also follow Him and obey His commands. For, as we are guided by what we believe, walking contrary to the commandments of God and not feeling any remorse about it, is certainly the proof that we do not truly believe (1 John 2:4-6). Don’t you know that salvation is a journey? Yes, a walk that begins when we enter the narrow gate; continues through the restricted path and ends when Christ returns (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:24-28)? If you truly believe, the Spirit of God shall dwell in you, keeping you in the path of salvation and performing through you the walk of faith, the works of a living faith (James 2:14-26, Philippians 2:13). And, these include repentance from sin (Acts 3:19), baptism (John 3:3-8, Romans 6:3-4), abiding in Christ (1 John 2:6, John 15:10, Ephesians 2:10), etc. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father” (Matthew 7:21), Jesus said. Do you see by this that believing is not simply what you thought it was? And, knowing that the demons also believe and even tremble with fear (James 2:19), what then does it serve us to have faith which lacks works (James 2:14)?
4. Do we then have to work for salvation?
We must be very clear about this: Salvation is free. It is a free gift from God; it is not earned with our works. We are in no way saved by the things that we do. We are saved by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5). Good work is but the consequence of salvation, the product of the saving faith (Titus 3:8). It is the evidence that we have received the grace of God, and that not in vain but unto salvation, and also that our faith in Christ is indeed alive (2 Corinthians 6:1, James 2:14-26). When a person actually gets saved, he becomes a new creature who naturally and gradually desires to walk with Christ, to do the things that are pleasing to God. This is not on his own; but he is guided by the indwelling Spirit of God, who produces in him the desire and the power to do the will of our Father in Heaven (Philippians 2:13, Galatians 2:20).
It sounds like believing is more than work, doesn’t it? Where is then the place of grace? Would you ask! Most certainly, salvation is work, but definitely not ours (John 6:28-29). It is the Work of the Cross producing in you the faith that makes you acceptable to God; a person cannot even believe except by God’s grace (John 6:44, John 6:37). Faith is born of grace. Was it man’s personal effort or his own decision to believe, many believers would have ‘grown’ their faith to become bigger than a mustard seed! It is God who gives faith by the manifestation of His Holy Spirit (Romans 12:3, 1 Corinthians 12:7-9). In short, salvation is the supernatural work of God in us through the Spirit of His Son. It starts with grace and ends with grace; work is but the consequence of salvation: A born again person does good works not in order to be saved, but because he has been saved. And, that not by his own might, but by the Spirit of God working through him that which is pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:21, Ephesians 5:8-10).
5. Examine yourself!
Saved but no personal relationship with Christ? Saved but no visible sign of the Spirit of God working through you? Saved but still enslaved by sin and behaving as though everything was normal? Brothers and sisters, please examine yourselves to see if you truly believe (2 Corinthians 13:5). For, true faith is the key of salvation. Was Abraham’s faith, by which he was qualified righteous before God, empty of works (Galatians 3:6)? No, the saving faith would lead you to do something as it made Abraham obey God even when he did not know where God was sending him (Hebrews 11:8, James 2:14). Therefore, let us now ask ourselves which work our faith performs through us! Is it ‘continuous deliberate sin’ in order that grace may abound (Romans 3:8; 6:1-2, 1 John 1:6-7)? Did Christ pay the price for our sins so that we may freely continue to sin (John 8:11)? If we have truly accepted the hand of Christ to save us from sin, how can we still live in bondage to it (Matthew 1:21, Ephesians 2:1-5)? Wasn’t our ‘old man’ crucified with Him (Romans 6:6-7, 18, 20; John 8:34)? I do not mean, by this, that a born-again saved Christian does not sin; no, no one is without sin (1 John 1:8, Romans 3:10). But, how repentant are you when you realise that you have ‘missed the mark’? Is the Spirit of God so present within you to convict you so that you would run to Christ for mercy (2 Corinthians 7:10-11, John 16:8, Galatians 5:16) like King David did when he exclaimed: “Lord, have mercy on me: for I have sinned against You” (Psalm 41:4)? Does the Work of the Cross produce in you the desire to repent from an unrighteous way of life and does the Spirit of God convict you of righteousness so that you may see the need to live a life worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10)? Do not be deceived, a dead faith is like a broken key; it will not save you (James 2:14, 17).
6. Know Christ and let Him know you!
Brothers and sisters, I did not write this to make you sad or to deny the freedom that you have in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Galatians 5:1), but to make clear to you the way of our salvation. I have declared this truth to you with the hope that the Lord Himself may touch your hearts and draw you to His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (John 6:44). For, the grace of God, by which we have been saved, was revealed with the intent that we may live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-15). Having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should do (Ephesians 2:10), how can we reconcile salvation with a kind of life that is spent on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-23)? Don’t you know that you are children of God, predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, called to be holy (Romans 8:29, 1 Peter 1:13-16)? Why would you be deceived, and believe a lie, and reject the truth by which you have been justified and embrace unrighteousness with them that perish (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, 1 Corinthians 15:33-34)?
Separate yourselves, I urge you, from the Gnostic doctrines, which have legalised sin among believers, leading them to eternal damnation (Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22). Make yourself known to the Lord; He will save but those whom He knows (Matthew 7:21-23). Seek the LORD while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near (Isaiah 55:6). For, how can you believe in whom you do not know? Search the Scriptures for yourself and have the true and intimate knowledge of God and of our Saviour, Jesus Christ through whom the secret of eternal life was revealed. “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
Now, how do you know that you know Him? – 1 John 2:3
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good work and word!” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). Venu20140812
Note: “These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in Him” (1 John 2:26-27, John 14:26). I exhort you also, brothers and sisters, to find a good church that you may share and build yourselves up in the fellowship of them that love the Lord, to the glory of His Kingdom (Matthew 22:37-39, John 13:34, John 14:15, 21, Acts 20:26-27)