As we continue to study and learn this whole meaning of true salvation versus a false salvation it brings me back to a few years ago in my life when we were in the midst of a large church split over one major issue. Our pastor was a strict “if it’s not found in scripture it is not truth” preacher. We had recently discontinued a large production of a passion play that we did every year in recent memory and it was not sitting well with several members. The previous year’s production we changed from a highly emotional invitation where people just raised their hand and we counted them as “Saved” to one where there was a personal invitation where people would meet individually with the pastor or other church leadership to discuss the reality of true salvation with them. It was such a radical change in numbers of “people coming to salvation” from 250-300 to 4-5. This was causing tremendous “heartburn” among many members and it was the start of a large church split for the 2 years that followed. You might be one of those who think the way several families did throughout the split process, that we were no longer really evangelizing when so few people were truly coming to Christ. . We MUST look at what the ONLY authority we have says about this, The Bible.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NASB)
1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
There is nowhere in all scripture that says salvation is from emotions or feelings but is from faith in the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross.
Ephesians 2:3-10 (NASB)
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
You can easily see here that it is not about what we do or do not do. It is solely about God’s amazing love and grace. We can present the gospel, give the good news, but we cannot change a person’s heart I have such a fear for many of my friends from that church that still believe in the emotion, which is short lived, and not the faith and trust of being a follower of Christ. It is obvious that their lifestyle shows no evidence of them being saved. There was no change except on Sunday and Wednesday when they were involved at church. Unfortunately these members and families have not benefitted from all the gifts God has for them because they were not willing to give up their lifestyles and die to sin.
Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Romans 6:12-14 (NASB)
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Salvation comes from faith in Jesus and following all of his commands. It is not an emotional or philosophical thing that we make happen but only a sovereign work of the Creator of the universe. There must and will be a total change in one’s life when true salvation occurs. This is a hard subject to ponder but it is one that we can never just accept that when someone says a sinner’s prayer that they truly are saved. This is where the true believer needs to follow the Matthew 28 command that the Lord gives us before he ascends to the right hand of God waiting for His ultimate return.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Are you making disciples or just allowing people to think they are saved when they really are not? Their eternal destiny may rest on that.
Till next month