Salvation: Why are so many Christians confused about the most crucial decision of all time?
A recent conversation got me to thinking: there is a lot of confusion over salvation; confusion to such an extent that there have been splits in denominations, congregations, and even personal relationships. Not only does this grieve the heart of God, but it empowers Satan in his quest to steal, kill, and destroy all that he can. Understanding this one topic is the deciding factor in one having either eternal life, or eternal death. There is a war going on around us, fighting over the souls of humans, and that war is at a critical point.
While Walking In Hope is a birth and photography business, it is also my business given to me by God, and this is something on my heart that I feel I need to write, thus I have to respond in obedience. This year has brought about great stress on individuals and families, including birthing families that I am working with. This year has had many asking questions about these Biblical-type global events. Of course, conversations of salvation naturally follow. My desire is to hopefully bring clarity to those who are unsure of their personal salvation, or who want to know how to become saved. Through this we all may find peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Before diving in, I must first answer the question, “what does it mean to be saved/what is salvation?” For those who have little to no understanding of this topic, we must start at the beginning – In the beginning...
The story begins with God creating the heavens and Earth, all that is in the Earth, and then the extra special creation of humanity. After each step in his perfect design, he called all things good, except for humanity; he called that which he created in his image (Genesis 1:26), to have personal relationship with, very good (Genesis 1:31). While all of creation was spoken into existence, God reached down and formed humanity with his own hands (Genesis 2:7). His relationship with us was intimate from the very beginning. He loved us, and longed for us to love him. In order for us to truly love him, we had to have the ability to choose love: obedience or disobedience. Knowing what would unfold, he also wove into his creation, a promise for redemption. Humanity chose disobedience, sin and death entered God’s perfect world, bringing separation from God. Thus, the timeline to salvation began.
Disobedience to God is sin. Sin separated us from God (Genesis 3:23&24). This was not God's will though. He created us to have relationship with Him. So, God gave us a collection of texts that we know as the Bible (here's a fun throw-back song Basic Instructions) to help us navigate our way through this life to salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ - God's only begotten Son, restoring fellowship with our Creator forever (John 3:14-21).
Sin cast the world into spiritual darkness, and now, unlike anything we have seen, are we seeing such a vast spread of this darkness, evil, perversion, chaos, hatred for one another, and insecurity in our future. However, Jesus came to be the light of the world, so that those who follow him, will not have to walk in the darkness (John 8:12). The Bible also says that Jesus is the good shepherd, using the shepherd and the sheep as an example that people would understand. A good shepherd devotes his life to caring for his sheep. His sheep know his voice. At night, when the sheep are in their fold, the shepherd sleeps in the doorway, so that no predator can get to them without crossing him first (John 10:7-18). And, the ultimate love is the willingness to lay down one's life for someone else (John 15:13).
As sheep, we come to points in our life when we feel lost. In John 14:6, we are told by Jesus, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." When we submit our life to Jesus and allow him to be Lord, he will guide us through this life, but most importantly, into eternal life.
Pastor J.D. Farag has put together a simple break-down of salvation that he calls the ABC's of Salvation. In summary, Jesus came and lived a perfect life, was crucified as the final blood sacrifice, paying our debt from sin in full; he was then buried and rose again three days later, having conquered death, hell, and the grave so that we too many have ever-lasting life. This is the good news for the world! He took it all on him so that we could be free from the burden of sin, and live free! To do this, all one has to do is:
Admit that you are a sinner. We all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Even the most righteous of people still are not "good enough". We cannot be. We cannot reach God on our own works.
Believe with all of your heart that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead. Through this, we too can live anew! (Romans 6:1-11)
Call upon His name. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and savior! Romans 10:13, "For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." When we ask Jesus to be the lord of our life, we are asking for him to be our master. However, unlike the dictators and slave-drivers that come to mind when we think of a master, Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30