The Doctrine of Salvation 3


salvation-march

Hebrews 3:14-16 tells us,

 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,

Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? (NKJV)

          Who are these verses referring to, the Christian or the unbeliever? It seems like these verses are speaking to the believers. So then, we can harden our hearts as believers, but we don’t have that ability to so as unbelievers? The Calvinist doctrine tells us that no one can resist God; that He is in control and that He knows that his elected will come to the feet of Jesus as established by God before the foundation of the earth. So, are we really free? The Bible tells us in Acts 11:15-18,

 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (NKJV)

         We could get lost between Calvinism and Armianism, but it is important to establish that without repentance, salvation can’t take place. Therefor, the very act of salvation can’t possibly be a decision; salvation is a conversion. Repentance is a gift from God; that means that we do not have the ability to repent on our won; what we have is an unbelievable ability to justify our sin.

         You do not make up your mind in order to assist God in your salvation. You make up your mind to the realization that you are a disgusting and pitiful sinner. That is when the grace of God comes running to release in you, the God-giving ability for you to be able to repent of your sin. After you see the monstrosity of your sin, God’s Spirit releases faith in you so that you are able to trust Christ. 

         Salvation is brokenness; tears and the realization that even when we were yet sinners sinner, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). With salvation, our spirit comes alive and is activated and released from the legacy of spiritual deadness that the first Adam left us. We are now free to worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

         Here we start the process of loving God above all things, we instantly become holy or separated for God and the sanctification process is activated in our lives. Salvation does not give us perfection, but instantly causes tangible and visible changes in our walk.

         Salvation is so powerful that it instantly changes your personality. We become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your fruit should speak of your salvation (Matthew 7:16). Salvation is indeed a visible thing.

         It is not the sinner’s prayer that saved you or me. The sinner’s prayer becomes a reflection of your newfound faith. The sinner’s prayer is the prayer of a man or a woman who is now spirituality alive. That is why the Bible tells us in Romans 10:9-10 that we must believe in our hearts.

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (NKJV)

          The word “confess” it does not refer to just a simple prayer that we pray so that now we can call ourselves saved. This word means,

      “To concede, admit, confess to confess publicly, acknowledge openly, profess. To confess Christ personally, meaning to profess or acknowledge Him. To acknowledge in honor of someone, meaning to give thanks, to praise.”[1]

 To confess Christ, as Lord and Savior is to change the way we talk; our confession now acknowledge and honors Christ.

         The word believe here means, “To believe, to have faith in, to trust, to be firmly persuaded as to something.”[2] With this newfound faith our whole believe system is changed radically. Nothing can change a human heart as radically as the born again experience.      

         Faith comes by hearing this message (Romans 10:17); not by hanging around us, not by opening our church for little community programs, festivals or even our charity efforts. Faith comes by hearing the Word. That is one of our greatest responsibilities as Christians. In John 14:6 Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (NKJV) Jesus must be presented. The fact that you are a Christian is not going to save anybody; the fact that you are a nice person is not going to change anybody.

         Some people think they can present the Gospel without having to talk about Christ. So they develop a very low evangelistic standard. They are satisfied with people recognizing them as Christians, but they are fearful of presenting the Gospel. They use expressions such as I don’t have to beat nobody with the Word, or expressions such as, I am the Bible they will be able to read and such. But it is all a copout from our responsibility as Christians. We must give people an opportunity to receive this Gospel by presenting what the Word has to say about Christ. God is going to confirmed His Word, not anything that we have to say or do outside of His Word. Mark 16:20 says,

 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (KJV)

          Can you see? They went and they preach; that is our job. Then the Lord confirmed His Word with signs.

         I do not claim to have all the answers; beloved we all know in part; so is it ok to say that it is impossible for us to figure everything out. But do you know the basics. Also, God is available to take us deeper according to First Corinthians 2:10.

         I hope this series of articles brought some clarity to the doctrine of salvation. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at angelcasiano@aol.com. God bless you!

 

 

        

          

 

 

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[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[2] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

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