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Saturday, July 28, 2012

True Salvation

As I've been growing in my walk, I've been impressed upon the most important topic of all- salvation. It has come to my attention of late that many of us are deceived concerning the salvation of our souls. I find that quite disturbing. As I look into the eyes of the people I know and love, the thought crosses my mind, "Could they possibly be truly lost?". I'm not asking that because I criticize their lifestyle or their testimony, I've just come to the realization that we can be deceived into believing we are saved when in fact, we are not. Over the years I've heard many salvation testimonies. And many of them have caused me great distress, as they were not in accordance with the Scripture. The only place I have found testimonies to be sound according to the Scriptures are through the Unshackled! program on the radio. That brings me relief, but I wonder why are there so many testimonies that are off? What do I mean by that? Well, I know a person cannot tell if others are saved, but salvation testimonies that are not based upon Scriptural doctrines cannot be considered a true salvation testimony. I'll give a few examples

 1.) I was saved at 5 years of age, led a good life, then at 13 I said, "God I am going to see what the world has to offer, do my own thing, and then come back to you." So for ten years I did whatever I wanted, lived a very ungodly and immoral lifestyle, then came back to God. I've been saved ever since I was a little girl.

 2.) I have been in church my whole life, one day I just believed in God. OR I have been in church my whole entire life, and then one day I just knew I was a Christian.

 3.) I came to know Christ as my personal Savior at a young age, then in my teens I rejected God, became an atheist, and it wasn't until years later that I came back to God. I've been saved since a young girl.

 Those are just a few of the salvation testimonies similar to what I've heard. These testimonies are very disturbing. I'll explain why each one was wrong according to the Scriptures, in case you didn't catch what was wrong with them. Concerning the first, Christians bear fruit after salvation, that is how we know we're saved.

 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (Joh 15:8 ESV)

 A saved person does not willfully decide to go against God and live their own life, then choose to come back to God.

 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. (Mat 13:7 ESV)

 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Mat 13:22 ESV)

 An unfruitful life is an unsaved life. The first testimony was basing their salvation off of the time when they were 5, despite there being absolutely no fruit at all. Just because you come back to God at a certain age, doesn't mean you are saved or were saved. It's clear there needs to be a belief in God for salvation, repentance, and sorrow over sin. You cannot decide to just come back and go to church and do good things, expecting to go to Heaven.

 The second testimony relies on just believing in God for salvation. You must also repent in order to be saved. See this verse-

 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder! (Jas 2:19 ESV)

 We all know that the demons aren't going to Heaven, even though they believe in God. They have decided to flat out disobey God and serve Satan, so they are not ever entering Heaven, despite their belief in God. The second part of the testimony states that the person just knew one day they were saved. This is the most unbiblical of all, since it asserts salvation based off of feelings, and it doesn't even show a belief in God, a repentance to God, or a sorrow for sin. The Bible says this about feelings

 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer 17:9 ESV)

 If we cannot trust our own selves, then we can definitely be assured our feelings about things in life can be deceitful and lead us astray. Never base your salvation off of the way you feel.

 The third salvation testimony is similar to the first in that it turns from God but asserts that they were saved even then. That is clearly contrary to the Scripture about bearing fruit. As it is also contrary to this:

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Co 5:17 ESV)

 This testimony also concludes that you can fall away completely and then come back to God, basing your salvation upon your profession of faith as a child, believing you were saved while living in direct disobedience to God. This Scripture identifies that is NOT what salvation is:

 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Act 26:20 ESV)

 Here is what salvation is:

 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mar 1:15 ESV)
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luk 13:3 ESV)

 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9 ESV)

 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2Co 7:9-10 ESV)

 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Rom 3:28 ESV)

 This is salvation. I would urge you to take a look at your salvation testimony to see if you are in the faith. Does your testimony match up with what the Scriptures say? Do a close examination. Remember your motives. Were you saved just because it was something to do? Were you saved because you wanted a ticket to heaven but were unwilling to change your lifestyle? Don't deceive yourself. Truly examine yourself. There's nothing wrong with realizing you're not saved. In fact, it's the best thing to find out now and be spared of God's wrath, rather than going into eternity deceived. Don't be one of those who is shocked that they aren't in the Book of Life.

 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2Co 13:5 ESV)