In contemporary Christianity it is very common to hear that someone “got saved” or to have someone tell you that they were “saved” at such and such a time. But beyond that, the concept of “salvation” remains dormant. I believe this stems from a misunderstanding of salvation, that is, salvation in its entirety.
Now, it is true that many believers can point back to a specific moment of turning from sin towards initial trust in Christ for salvation. In theology we call this moment conversion and it is also the moment we are regenerated (given spiritual birth and life) and justified (counted as righteous before God). In this sense, then, we can rightly say that we were saved upon our conversion. But the idea of “salvation” is Biblically and theologically much more comprehensive than just that one precise moment.
Ephesians 2:8 states that one is saved by grace through faith. Now, this is a relatively well known verse. And the concept of salvation by means of faith in Christ and His saving work alone is also relatively well known, at least among evangelicalism.
Maybe your familiar with this truth. I hope you are. But have you ever thought to yourself, “why faith? Why is it that faith saves as opposed to something else like good deeds, joy, sorrow, gladness, or a sense of surreal peace?” Obviously it was God who determined faith to be the means of man’s salvation; it’s not as if this was some external law or obligation that was imposed on Him. So, why faith? Why is God’s plan of saving people by His grace through faith. Why does He count those with faith as righteous (Rom 4:3; cf. Gen 15:6)?
What does it take to follow Christ? What does Christ have to say about the Gospel? The answers to these questions are hard pills to swallow, but a reality we need to be confronted with and must not ignore. This is the second of four messages I spoke at Winterfest 2011 at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp, Pembine, WI. In this message we took a look at Luke 24:15-35, as well as several cross-references, and examined what it means to follow Christ.
[NOTE: I apologize for some of the audio malfunctions. Some of the audio was lost in the file and so there are moments when the audio-only plays out of either the left or right speaker and at times neither. After a certain point, the audio is fine.]
Other Winterfest 2011 messages.
Christians have faith in a large variety of things. We are very trusting people. For example, when we go out to eat we have faith that there is nothing wrong with the food we are eating. Or, if we fly in an large commercial airplane, we have faith in the pilot whom we most likely have never met and know no very little about. When we take extended trips we trust that the gas stations we will need to continue our journey will actually have gas despite the fact we never called a head of time to check if this is so (in fact, we don’t even check to make sure there are gas stations where we are heading; we assume and trust). The list goes on. There are countless other regular things that we never doubt or have second thoughts about.
Think about this…
What I would like to do with this article is present to you some popular Gospel clichés, as I like to call them, and provide some rather brief thoughts on each—-nothing exhaustive or too in depth, but just some thoughts to make you think about them, their use, what they seem to be saying, their accuracies and inaccuracies, etc.
“I asked Jesus into my heart” / “Ask Jesus into your heart”
First of all, the Bible does indicate that Christ may dwell in our hearts (Eph 3:17). Yet we must understand that this of course is figurative and not literal and that this specific statement occurs in the context of Paul’s prayer for believers (Eph 3:17), not as an analogy of sorts of someone being saved. With that said, I have some problems with this phrase.