How Salvation Works
Salvation is the most important event that can ever take place for a human being. Yet, many people really do not understand what that word means, much less, how to obtain it.
Just what is eternal salvation anyway?
Well, for one, it's an expression generally used by Christians when they are talking to other Christians. If you have never been around Christians very much, then this expression may be foreign to you. On the other hand if you have been attending a Christian church all your life, there is still a chance that you do not fully understand what salvation is. Those who have never had any exposure to Christian teaching what-so-ever may ask, "Salvation from what?". Others are just too busy trying to deal with the circumstances in this life to worry about the next one, especially since most of the time there is really not a lot of physical evidence for life after death. Others believe that there is definitely no life after death. They believe they will live a certain period of time and die and that's the end of it. During my life time, there seems to be a growing number of people who just don't know whether they will cease to exist, or not, when this physical life ends, so they try to be as good as they can, and measure their progress by what others in their sphere of influence are doing. These are usually the same people who believe that what ever works for you is okay as long as you don't try to tell me what to believe. Also, let me not forget to mention the very bright intellectual minds who believe the very idea of salvation and eternal life is just a silly idea held by naive people, who choose to believe in archaic myths instead of science. So, you see, there is just a lot of confusion about the term eternal salvation where humans are concerned and I haven't even mentioned the conflicting beliefs of other religions.
To make Salvation even more hard to accept for many people is the proclamation by the bible that not only will one not be able to receive eternal life through any other means than Jesus Christ but it also states that all those who reject him will go to hell and experience nothing but eternal torment and death. How is that even possible? Most people cannot even begin to wrap their mind around that statement. How can the bible say one will die and at the same time be tormented in hell for all eternity? To the carnal mind, this statement just doesn't make any sense and is by no means a message that most people in today's effluent scientific societies of the world find easy to believe. However, just because this idea doesn't match modern day logic, is that necessarily a good reason to not objectively consider what the bible is saying? At one time most people believed the earth was flat. Over time people have believed a lot of things to be true which later proved to be false especially where science is concerned. Here is the catch when it comes to choosing not to believe the bible. The laws of God are based on everlasting truth itself and not perceptions of truth that change from generation to generation. Choosing to believe there is no hell is the result of mankind following his own interpretation of how he believes things should work according to his five senses. Do you really want to put your trust in anything humans want to affirm about eternity when they obviously make so many wrong choices in the here and now? One has only to look around the world today and see that it is really hard for modern societies to get anything right, much less being able to figure out how eternity works.
I cannot show you hell but you cannot prove there isn't one. As for me, I would rather choose to believe the ancient writings of the bible than the suppositions of those around me who barely live sixty or seventy years. Making the mistake of believing in Jesus Christ and a real hell will only be a mistake I will have to live with for a few years. What harm will that do? On the other hand, if I choose not to believe the bible and get that wrong, I will spend all eternity in hell. There is no third choice and no shades of gray. The bible says you either choose the free gift of salvation through Christ while you are alive here on this earth or else go straight to hell. The bible also says we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and any little sin whatsoever will send us to hell forever. Rejection of Jesus Christ, as Lord of all means one will wake up to eternal death spiritually and eternal torment of the soul. For me, it seems like a very logical choice for people chose to error on the side of caution and receive the free gift of salvation. I did, and when I did, a very remarkable thing happened. My eyes were then opened to a completely new understanding, of not just how things work on a spiritual level, but also how things work in the material world too. I have peace with God and mankind. How about you? Is your life peaceful and less stressful or are you experiencing crisis after crisis with a little break in between, spiced up by your favorite flavor of addictive behavior?
If what I have said already hasn't made it impossible for most to choose to believe in Jesus Christ, as the only way to receive eternal life, then this will. The Bible says that without Jesus Christ, one is already spiritually dead and the spiritually dead cannot make sense of anything I have just said. They can hear it but they cannot understand it. Why? Because real spiritual understanding only comes through Christ. (1 John 5:20) The Bible says it is nothing but nonsense to them. (1 Co. 2:14) I say again, there is not enough proof in the world to convince a spiritually dead person of what I have just said about eternal life, death, hell and eternal torment. A dead person is incapable of being convinced of anything. So where do we go from here? How is anyone able to receive eternal life through the salvation described in the Bible?
Well, to start with, understanding salvation is not an intellectual endeavor. It's not a mind game. I can only point the way to salvation for those who are receptive enough to choose to reach out like a child and accept it as a free gift. No matter how smart, how educated or even how willing a person is, the truth about salvation cannot be intellectually understood until after one has received it. Intellectually speaking, I cannot give enough proof to a spiritually dead person to convince them to believe what the bible has to say about anything. Although there is a mountain of proof in the bible, it will never be enough to convince the dead that what I am saying is true, and make no mistake, as some presidents like to say, if you have not been born again in your spirit, you are spiritually dead. The only way to receive understanding of the things which have eternal value is to choose to believe what I am saying beforehand, because, frankly, "you can't handle the truth" if you are not born again. It's only after believing that the lights come on. Then, and only then will the eyes of one's understanding be opened.
Okay, now let us get down to the nitty-gritty of how salvation works. Here is what happens when a person chooses to confess that Christ Jesus is lord of all and chooses to believe that God raised him from the dead. (Rom. 10:9) At this very instant, one receives a new spirit and a new heart. (Eze. 36:26) This new spirit is completely innocent of all sin and eternal life is the gift that comes with this new spiritual transformation. (2 Cor. 5:17) This free gift of God, which is the new birth of one's spirit, makes us a new creature. (Rom. 5: 15-18) (2 Corinthians 5:17) Christ provides the flame that lights the candle of our spirit. (Pro. 20:27) Christ's spirit joins with our spirit and we are now saved from an eternity of corruption and and hell. (1 Pet. 1:23) Man is a tri fold being, body, spirit and soul. (Th. 5:23) The body remains the same. A baby Christian will largely still think the same. However, that part of us which the Bible calls the spirit is a brand new creature. All things are new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Legally, we have just become innocent of all sin, past, present and future. Not only is the spirit part of us perfectly innocent but it also possesses the nature of Christ, himself. Now, it gets even better. The bible says that the Holy Spirit seals our spirit, so sin cannot touch it. (2 Co. 1:22, Eph. 1:13, 1 Jo. 3:9) Wow! we are now free from sin in our spirit man forever. What a gift. The Spirit of Jesus, himself, is now our restitution. (1 Jo. 2:2) Jesus verified everything I have said here when he said that we must be born again of the spirit, to enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5). Put very simply: All the reader has to do is confess that Jesus is Lord (ruler) over everything and everyone, and then choose to believe that God raised him from the dead, and he or she will instantly become that new creature in Christ by receiving the gift of eternal life, which I have just described. The greatest gift ever given is also the most simple to obtain.
This does not mean that we automatically stop sinning. Actually, the battle for the sanctification of the mind is just beginning at this point and it will be a life long process of renewing the soul which is the mind, will and emotions of a person. (Rom. 12:2) (2 Th. 2:13)
The bible does say that one should repent and be converted but repent from what? (Act. 3:19) Interestingly enough, there is not a single scripture in the New testament that tells one to repent from a list of sins in their life before he or she can be saved. Besides lost people have little conception of what sin is and is not. (Heb.3:13) Many times people feel like they are very good people and there is really nothing they need to feel sorry about. So, They don't. Besides, it is just simply impossible to repent of every sin, especially by God's standards of right and wrong. Certainly fornication, lust, idolatry, tempting Christ and murmuring are considered to be very wrong, by God, but so is any action or inaction which is not of faith. (Romans 14:23) The bottom line is this. Just one act of ungodliness, in the otherwise best person in the world would be enough to send that person to hell. The bible says if he or she breaks just one law they are guilty of all. (James 2:10) So here it is, simple and plain. To be saved from hell, the only sin one needs to repent of, is the unpardonable sin of unbelief in Jesus Christ. Acts 17:30 is simply saying that everyone everywhere in this day and age need to repent of their unbelief and turn one hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction and believe on Jesus Christ. This is something anyone who has heard the gospel can do.
God always gives us a choice. If He had not given us a free will to choose, we would be nothing more than robots. Believing or not believing in Christ is a choice which one willing chooses to make, where one says, "Yes, I choose to believe" or "No, I choose not to believe". It's as simple as that, but it's a choice that comes with profound consequences.
Interestingly enough, choosing to believe in Christ has nothing to do with how much faith we have. Nowhere does the bible say we need to have faith before we come to Christ, because unbelievers don't possess the supernatural faith it takes to have a relationship with Christ in the first place. This supernatural faith which empowers us after being born again is a gift from God. (Eph. 2:8) It originated from Jesus, himself. One has to believe in Christ first before they receive supernatural faith and this can be a real stumbling block to unbelievers when they see this supernatural faith exercised in the life of a believer. Here is why I say this. The exercising of supernatural faith in a believer’s life brings about very favorable results which can solicit several false beliefs in minds of unbelievers who they associate with. It is easy for unbelievers to think that Christians they observe being successful in life are just operating under favorable natural circumstances which just happen by chance. They may see them as smarter, luckier, more talented, more educated, richer, better looking, healthier and so on. For many unbelievers, the last thing in this world they can accept is that there is a God who loves the world so much, that all anyone has to do, to start enjoying an incredibly successful life here on this earth, is to believe on his son Jesus Christ.
DO YOU BELIEVE?
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is
fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe
8:12 Those by the way side are they that
hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their
hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 4:20-25 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be
converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Gal: 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Hear is one last thought. Telling a person to ask Jesus into their heart is not the way to get people saved. Telling people to say, "I make Jesus my Lord" is not the way to get people saved either. Who do we think we are? We don't make Jesus Lord of anything because he is already Lord of everything, including that rotten stinking heart of an unbeliever. Instead, the bible makes it abundantly clear that the sinner needs to simply confess to what is already established in heaven and earth, that Jesus Christ is already Lord of everything and then chose to believe God raised him from the dead. So, next time the reader wants to lead some one to Christ, here is a novel idea. Don't do what you have witnessed so many other ministers do, which is to tell people to repeat meaningless Christian Rhetoric. Instead, ask the following question of the person seeking salvation. Ask, "Do you chose to believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again"? If they say yes, then you can continue, by asking them to confess Him as Lord over everything in their life as well as everything else, everywhere and I mean everywhere. If they can do that, then look them straight in the eye and say the following. "You sir or miss or boy or girl are now a new creature in Christ and your life will never be the same." If they answered you truthfully, you may now be assured that you have just led a sinner to Christ. By the way, has the reader done this in their own life?