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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Our Goal Is To Be Saved
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22—NIV)
We are in the midst of a reformation of Christian thinking, a reformation as needed, as sweeping, as unsettling as the change from the Law of Moses to faith in Jesus Christ; as the change from penance and indulgences to the abolition of these in favor of the concept that we cannot earn God's favor by abusing our flesh.
In Paul's day the problem was an emphasis on obedience to the statutes of Moses instead of obedience to the new covenant. In the days of the Protestant Reformers the problem was the payment of indulgences and the performance of penance instead of a full acceptance of the atonement. Today the problem is that of viewing salvation as a ticket to Heaven instead of a lifelong struggle to pass from the chains of sin to untroubled rest in the Father through Jesus Christ.
Consider the verse above. "He who stands firm to the end will be saved."
All I am going to say in this briefest of essays is embodied in this verse. If we are to be saved we must stand firm to the end. We must endure every kind of hardship. We must enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation.
In America today salvation (defined as going to Heaven when one dies, which is an unscriptural definition of salvation) is given to us as a gift when we "accept Christ," taking the "four steps of salvation." It is true that one could support this procedure by removing a few verses from their context, but the bulk of the New Testament does not confirm this viewpoint.
Salvation is not a ticket that one obtains by taking the correct theological position, although it remains absolutely true that the wickedest of people can come to the Lord Jesus Christ and instantly receive forgiveness of his or her sins. The problem in Evangelical thinking has to do with the next step after receiving forgiveness of sin. By the way, when forgiveness of sins was preached as described in the Book of Acts it was accompanied by an insistence on repentance, meaning the new believer was to demonstrate his receiving of Christ by turning away from his former manner of life. He was commanded to do works suitable for repentance.
We are teaching today that once an individual receives initial forgiveness he is qualified by this to enter Heaven when he dies. Although the teaching of "eternal security" may not be regarded as a cardinal doctrine of major Evangelical denominations, it appears that few Evangelicals really believe an individual can be "saved," as we use the term, and then be lost.
This, of course, is denied by numerous passages of the New Testament.
In addition, we view "being saved" as something that happens at a point in time, so we can say "I was saved three years ago." This is not at all a scriptural viewpoint. One cannot be saved yesterday. Salvation is a process.
I do not mean a person is saved, and then lost, and then saved, and then lost. The problem here is that when we raise this argument we are not using the term "saved" correctly. Let me explain.
To be continued.