Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

I’m not sure.

I was raised in a church that taught (but denied that they taught) you had to basically work your way to Heaven. I haven’t been involved in that congregation for almost three decades, but my siblings still are. As a teen I walked away from God and the Christian religion and practiced paganism for over three decades. I never was fully satisfied with my search for spiritual truth and ultimate peace by alternate means and about ten years ago, after some hardships, I was convinced to give the Christian God another try and as soon as I did, he saved me from the burdens and issues I had drug along with me. So after I gave myself to Him, I realized that I had arrived back full circle to the place I had basically started as a child. Subsequently, I decided that I was going to prove the teachings within the scriptures to myself through prayer and an expositional journey through My Lord’s word.

When I started this process a decade ago, I didn’t believe in the rapture, I didn’t believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and I had no idea what religious affiliation my mentor, Chuck Missler was…I went in blind…but open to learning. I quickly found out that Chuck Missler believed in these things but he also encouraged disbelief so we would figure it out for ourselves (Acts 17:11) and I appreciated that. I had not encountered a teacher with that attitude before (the church of my youth, if you didn’t walk lockstep with their teaching they would virtually break your bible over their knee and drum you out of the doors, locking them behind you). In the decade I have grown to understand more about the scriptures than I ever imagined I would and it is a very enjoyable journey. I now am down with the concept of the rapture as well as the separate destinies of the nation of Israel and the church. I find the scriptures are plain and open for all to see about the teaching of the continued presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives and the existence of spiritual gifts (unlike the legalistic, work based, replacement theology that the church of my youth taught). A few months ago, I really started to grasp and understand the difference between tongues…IE, the tongues of interpretation and the tongues of fire, or prayer language. I have my mind solidly wrapped around the predestination-free will argument that seems to bumfuzzle so many. The rapture of the bride of Christ is there in black and white and in some ways, and buried in the word by patterns and example in many locations of the bible. The book of Revelation can be a little scary, but not in an intimidating way, it is a very forceful and straight blueprint of the past, present and future condition of the church and the nation of Israel laid out in a surprisingly plain way, once we get rid of all the cobwebs of allegorization and fallacy swept out from within our minds. I have also found a home at a small, but swiftly growing, full-gospel congregation near my home and I feel I am on the road to salvation.

What about salvation? Chuck Missler makes it plain that he believes that once you accept Christ and achieve salvation that you are locked into a seat on the glory train…but I’m not so sure…I still think there are some situations, noted in the scriptures, which make it seem you can lose your salvation.

The church of my youth had a roulette wheel, sort of view of salvation…you are saved until you sin, then as soon as you commit a sin, you are condemned to the lake of fire, until you repent, then you are OK…of course until you commit the next sin, then you are destined for hell again…and on, and on, and on. I don’t believe that point of view in the least. I do believe in the assurance of salvation through the mercy and grace that Our Lord assures us of…but the scriptures do indicate that it is not a free ride. The bible definitely teaches we have a personal responsibility of obedience and to produce fruit for the Lord. But what if we don’t? Is it the gallows?

At this point in my journey I haven’t digested the New Covenant enough to have come to a conclusion. I tend to concentrate on sections and themes of the bible related to those sections that are pertinent to the book, or books of the bible I am currently working on in my journey and at the present I am in the minor prophets of the Old Covenent. I feel The Lord is providing me information as I need it and since I was compelled to answer this discussion question, even thought I wanted to stay away and not have anything to do with it, tells me it is His will that I start paying attention to it.

Let’s look at the word salvation. In the Old Testament the word salvation is normally taken from a feminine noun derivative of the base yasha which means to save, be saved, be delivered. In the New Testament, the word seems to consistently be the Greek word; soteria which means he who brings salvation, the hope of future salvation, a deliverer and is apparently the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew yeshuw’ah which means basically the same thing.

OK, let us start with some verses that I believe can cause confusion.

Romans 10:13 says: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (KJV) I know of some denominations that base their gospel upon this verse. I have to say, in my life I have grown very gun-shy about well-intentioned folks creating doctrine from single sources within the scriptures. My mother is a prime example of the danger of this for she believes if you are not an active member of the Church of Christ, you are hell-bound because they build different doctrines upon different single sources and this particular one came from Romans 16:16 (they handily ignore the name The Way from Acts and the Church of God which is all through I Corinthians…)

What about those that hear the gospel and are drawn to profess and call upon the name of The Lord and feel the Holy Spirit…but then they never turn from their sinful ways…they exhibit no change within their lives. If an ax murderer fell down on his knees and called on the name of The Lord…but he remained an ax murderer…if he only gave credence to the word but never submitted to the Lordship and therefore never started to grow and mature, he never yielded to The Lord…has he still achieved salvation? Also, then what about the apparent ‘unpardonable sin’ of blaspheming the Holy Spirit that we find in Luke?

Christ is pretty clear about what He expects and He says in Matthew 7:21-24 that not all that cry Lord, Lord will receive a ticket on the glory train but those that submit and yield to the Lord’s will.

Matthew 7:21-24 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (KJV)

I believe the answer is not as simple as calling upon the name of The Lord, but apparently salvation is dependent on those other conditions that Christ outlines. I personally lean (I’m not sure why) toward Chuck Missler’s view and I feel that it is possibly conditional on The Lord’s knowledge of our heart and our giving up of our pride (which in Isaiah is considered the base of all sin) and yielding to the will of Our Lord to achieve salvation…but I am going to have to absorb and digest more of His precious word before it ‘clicks’ with me.

What about Hebrews 6:4-6 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame. (KJV)? To take it out of context and to look at it by itself (which unfortunately some churches do) it would seem to create a conundrum. Unless this same viewpoint is clearly covered somewhere else in the scriptures, in my thinking it doesn’t mean what a lot of denominational leaders think it does. So, what does it mean? Was this passage a special judgment reserved for the apostolic Jews? Possibly. We know that God had harsh rules design just for His people that weren’t levied on the Gentiles, such as death penalty for not observing the Sabbath properly, among others. Does it mean something else? I just don’t know…the jury is still out…but now that the ramifications about salvation on my radar I will come to a solid, teachable conclusion within a short time, The Lord willing.

God Bless, Jim