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Posts Tagged ‘Salvation’

Understanding the Theology of Being Saved

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir

  

“Repent and be saved!” This is a phrase we hear so often, but, have you considered its origins? Is this in the Bible? Surprise…NO, it is not! We may say it with genuine good intentions as both ends of this phrase are very Biblical and essential. We need to repent, and we need to be saved. But, this phrase is actually backwards! It should read, “Be saved and then repent!”

Why is that? Repentance is the result of the acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us, and not the cause of Christ giving grace to us. That is, we do not have anything to do with our salvation other than to accept it and live it by faith. We do not initiate or cause it, or just perchance receive it in some way (Eph. 2:8-9). That would mean that we had worked for our salvation; and, if that were possible, the cross of Christ would have been unnecessary (Ephesians 1:314; 1 Corinthians 1:182:16; 15:18)! Something else happened to cause it, and that is what Christ did on our behalf on the cross. His righteousness transfers to us, and then we receive His salvation—we are “saved;” The proof of that receiving is our repentance; we “repent.” Our receipt for His purchase of our souls is in our repentance. Repentance does not save us; it is the proof that we have been saved and reconciled. Only Christ saves us (Romans 10:1417; 2 Corinthians 5:166:2).

For the rest  visit www.intothyword.org

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Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 7: Election

Election [or choosing] is God’s unchangeable purpose by which he did the following:

Before the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, he chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race, which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin. Those chosen were neither better nor more deserving than the others, but lay with them in the common misery. He did this in Christ, whom he also appointed from eternity to be the mediator, the head of all those chosen, and the foundation of their salvation. And so he decided to give the chosen ones to Christ to be saved, and to call and draw them effectively into Christ’s fellowship through his Word and Spirit. In other words, he decided to grant them true faith in Christ, to justify them, to sanctify them, and finally, after powerfully preserving them in the fellowship of his Son, to glorify them.

God did all this in order to demonstrate his mercy, to the praise of the riches of his glorious grace.

As Scripture says, God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, so that we should be holy and blameless before him with love; he predestined us whom he adopted as his children through Jesus Christ, in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, by which he freely made us pleasing to himself in his beloved (Eph. 1:4-6). And elsewhere, Those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified, he also glorified (Rom. 8:30).

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What Does Believing In Jesus Really Mean? I

Acts 16:31, after Paul and Silas are miraculously released from prison, the jailer obviously impressed with fantastic occurrences that freed them asks the simple question “what must I do to be saved?”  To which they gave an equally simple answer, “believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved”.  Simple.  And isn’t that in line with modern day prescriptions?  No need to break down the 10 theological points or the 4 spiritual laws or taking them down the Romans road.  For it is a simple belief in Jesus that will unite you to God and that’s all that’s needed.  Or is it?

I think we live in a day where it is easy to confess Christianity, to say that I believe in Jesus.   When asked “are you a Christian”?  Response…yes, I believe in Jesus.  One may even go so far as to claim the sinner’s prayer as their rite of passage into Christianity.  I believe in Jesus because he died on the cross for my sins and I’ve asked Him into my heart.  Well, then it’s a done deal.

But I think a further examination of what believing in Jesus entails and also what transpires in the Acts account of the jailer.  For it is interesting that, despite the simple prescription that Paul provides, vs. 32 indicates that they spoke the word of the Lord to him.  My Expositor’s Bible commentary indicates that speaking the word of the Lord to him was to explain the good news of redemption in Christ for them in terms they can understand.  It sounds like there was more to believing in Jesus than just saying, yes I believe in Him.  The had to break it down for him and unpack  what believing in Jesus meant.

I think this is significant.  It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that in an effort to accommodate seekers of Christianity and not make salvation invitations too burdensome, that we’ve lost this very important explanation process.   They just need to know that Jesus died for their sins.  Why bore them with details.  What is even worse are the “altar calls” that I have heard that doesn’t even include this basic point.  Your life is not going right?  You know something is missing?  You want to get right with God?  Come to the altar.  Now I am not saying that every situation is going to warrant a long diatribe, but if an offer of salvation goes forth, isn’t it fair for people to know what we are asking them to believe?  Are even professing Christians aware of the basis of their belief?  Does the simple message of  Jesus dying for sins really get the point across, especially to an unchurched, badly-churched or other world-view person? Will it really get to what is being asked of people to put their trust in?

And trust is a key factor in belief.  Now I am a lowly 2nd semester greek student, but I find it interesting that the root  is the same for both the verb “believe” and the noun “faith” (if would learn to type in unicode I could actually put the greek word here).   The BDAG Greek-English lexicon provides these explanations for the verb, believe as the following:

  • to consider something to be true and worthy of one’s trust
  • to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence

So believing in something means that there must also be trust.  I think many people are aware of the events concerning Christianity, especially those who have been grounded in church.  But giving something a intellectual assent is not the same as believing.  I can look at a chair and believe that it is a chair and that it is designed to hold me up when I sit down it.  But the use of the chair will not be activated if I don’t have faith in the chair that it will in fact do what it is designed to do.  It will not be valid for me unless I place my trust in it.  So belief in Jesus Christ must entail an element of trust.

But what are we trusting in?  Christianity has gone through 2,000 years of historical development through which many deviations from the central message has occurred.  What do you imagine they explained to this jailer of what believing in Jesus meant?  I believe the accounts in Acts clearly outline principles that incorporate this element of trust into what believing in Jesus really means.  And when reconciled with the whole counsel of Scripture  identifies key elements that incorporates a faith in Jesus Christ.

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Augustine: God Determines Conversion

“As to the reason why He wills to convert some, and to punish others turning away, – although nobody can justly censure the Merciful One in conferring His blessing, nor can any man justly find fault with the Truthful One in awarding His punishment (as no one could justly blame Him, in the parable of the laborers, for assigning to some their stipulated hire, and to others unstipulated largess), yet, after all, the purpose of His more hidden judgment is in His own power. So far as it has been given us, let us have wisdom, and let us understand that the good Lord God sometimes withholds even from His saints either certain knowledge or the triumphant joy of a good work, just in order that they may discover that it is not from themselves, but from Him that they receive the light which illuminates their darkness, and the sweet grace which causes their land to yield her fruit.
…For God is put to no shame or trouble when we do not obey Him, nor are we able in any wise to lessen His very great power over us.”
–Augustine. On Merits, Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism. Book II, chapter 32; 36

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Augustine: God Determines Conversion

“As to the reason why He wills to convert some, and to punish others turning away, – although nobody can justly censure the Merciful One in conferring His blessing, nor can any man justly find fault with the Truthful One in awarding His punishment (as no one could justly blame Him, in the parable of the laborers, for assigning to some their stipulated hire, and to others unstipulated largess), yet, after all, the purpose of His more hidden judgment is in His own power. So far as it has been given us, let us have wisdom, and let us understand that the good Lord God sometimes withholds even from His saints either certain knowledge or the triumphant joy of a good work, just in order that they may discover that it is not from themselves, but from Him that they receive the light which illuminates their darkness, and the sweet grace which causes their land to yield her fruit.

…For God is put to no shame or trouble when we do not obey Him, nor are we able in any wise to lessen His very great power over us.”

–Augustine. On Merits, Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism. Book II, chapter 32; 36 View article…

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eternal-presentLordship Salvation, Free Grace, and Easy-Believism

C Michael Patton

 

I was watching a gospel presentation on the web the other day. You know, one of those dynamic slide presentations that have a nice piano playing in the background, warm colors, and leaves you wishy washy at the end. Well, this site walked people through the Gospel telling what Christ did and how it is we can have eternal life. At the end of the presentation people were called upon to say this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and don’t deserve eternal life. But I believe you died and rose from the grave to purchase a place for me in heaven. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now trust in you to save me. I accept the free gift of eternal life.”

So far so good, right? Well, yes . . . but . . . I am not going to pick the prayer apart with a theological fine tooth comb, but I do want to show you what the next slide in the presentation said. Here it is:

  • If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sins
  • Placed your trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death
  • And received the gift of eternal life
  • You are now a child of God forever.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that first bullet point has me slightly concerned. Now I am not sure I am a child of God. Has anyone forsaken their sins? I have and continue to try, but no luck yet.

Yes, this is the infamous (and often nauseating) Lordship salvation debate. How much does one have to do, believe, and change to be saved? No, I am not a proponent of Lordship salvation or its so-called opposite extreme called “easy-believism.” I can be often found eating popcorn right in the middle. This does not mean that I don’t have any convictions about the issue or that I think it is unimportant, it is just that I think that both sides have their points. In fact, I hold to a more mediating position called “Free Grace.”

Let me give you some brief definitions:

Lordship Salvation: The belief that salvation involves both a belief and repentance of one’s sins. Repentance is the “turning away” from all known sin, giving complete (not partial) “Lordship” of our lives to Christ. Without this full commitment, one is only a nominal Christian and has yet to experience true conversion.

Free Grace: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is and their general attitude toward sin (i.e. that sin is bad and we don’t like it). This change of the mind will necessary bring forth the fruit of a change life, but one cannot determine what aspects must change or when the Holy Spirit will bring certain changes about. Christ is our “Lord” in the sense that he is God, not in the sense that we have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.

Easy-Believism: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is. This change may or may not bring change in the life of the believer. Christ is “Lord” in the sense that he is their God, not in the sense that they have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.

Back to the prayer . . .

Bullet point one: “If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sin [you are a child of God]”

Do you agree with this statement?

Can one be saved without “forsaken” their sins?

Have you forsaken you forsaken your sins?

Thoughts?

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