Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Salvation: Free Gift and Fear and Trembling

 Eph 2:8-9
8    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9    not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Salvation is a free gift from God to everyone who will believe.  Yes, salvation is that simple.  The faith required to receive Christ is small.  We know this.  We teach this.  We also teach something else.

Phil 2:12
12    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

Salvation is not to be taken likely.  It is simple.  But it is not as simple as saying "I do not want to go to Hell!".  Salvation is simple.  But it is not as simple as saying "I want to go to heaven!".

How do we put these two passages together.  No doubt there has been in our history those who would emphasis the easy without much attention to the work.  No doubt there are many parents and grandparents who want their family to be in heaven.  And many times, these desires allow our emotions to control our sharing and teaching more than the Word of God.  This issue is not new.  This issue is not going away anytime soon.

As a Youth Pastor I dealt with this on many occasions.  I can remember back when we would Baptize 30 to 40 teenagers a year.  I remember a large portion of those who had "made decisions" as children wanting to avoid Hell and now as teenagers discovering that just avoiding was not the real deal.  I can still hear many parents saying "but they were Baptized...". 

I know as a Pastor the struggle of young parents wanting to answer the questions the right way for their children.  The time spent reviewing the answers before they meet with me or one of my staff.  I hear the words "they are almost there, they are getting it" only to discover that often they may not be as close as we would like to think.

I want everyone to go to Heaven!  I do not want anyone to go to Hell!  And this demands that people get a Biblical salvation.  It is simple - Jesus died to pay for our sins.  It is easy - we must simply accept through the exercise of faith in Jesus.  But it is tough - to work out the repentance aspect.  And some will say "what?"  Indeed this is what Jesus said.  

Mark 1:14-15
14    Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15    and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Without the act of repenting, there is no salvation.  This is the most difficult aspect of sharing about Salvation.  To repent means more than "I am sorry".  It is not a head knowledge of right and wrong.  It is more than realizing that we have sinned.  To repent is to see the sin in our lives as the very thing that put Jesus on the cross.  It is to see sin as Jesus sees it.  To repent is to respond to our sin with godly sorrow.  A sorrow that is deeper than regret.

2 Cor 7:10
10    For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Matt 7:21
21    "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

And now you see why though simple, salvation must be worked out within our lives.  Do we repent?  Do we have godly sorrow?  

Salvation is a free gift that requires fear and trembling in getting it right.  To miss it, is to spend an eternity in Hell with no hope forever!  To say you believe in God and Jesus means nothing.  To make a quick decision for Heaven to avoid Hell won't cut it. Being Baptized or sprinkled only gets you wet.  To say love wins out and repentance is not too difficult is to fall for the trap of this world.  

Where are you?  Do you know with zero doubts?  Are you sure? What is your connection with Jesus?  Is it His connection or your religious way?

I Jn 5:13
13    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Why and how?

John 3:16
16    "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Rom 10:9-13
9    that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10    For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11    For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
12    For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
13    For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

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