One of the items I mentioned in a previous post that I have doubted for most of my life is my own salvation. In the meeting group, scriptures were not taken literally that tell us about how to secure our salvation.
There was an odd phenomenon in the group: You professed because you were afraid of going to hell but then you spent the rest of your life doing everything possible to still insure your salvation because it was not a secure thing; not at all. Then, however, when you died, if you had remained in the group, if you had been faithful throughout your life to get to all the required meetings, if you were indeed ‘separated from the world’, if you ‘fit in’; then suddenly, upon your death, you made it to heaven and the workers could preach about the fact that you were, indeed now in heaven. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and knew, even more than ever, what they now needed to do to arrive at the same desired destination. Maybe.
Jesus wanted his followers to believe Him and to trust Him. He wanted them to have peace, rest and joy. He wasn’t offering salvation as a series of complicated hoops to jump through. It was very simple actually and required a willing mind and a heart commitment, and a confession of our sins. He did the hard part, the complicated part, for us. He didn’t ever offer his followers an ‘ify’ hope but a confident one. A sure deal. He wants us to have that confidence and assurance. The uncertainty of never knowing for sure kept the legalism alive and it ironically kept the focus on us and our works, fears, and unworthiness rather than on Christ and His worthiness, work, love and gift. Over and over again I have seen how the meeting group keeps the focus on them rather than on Christ. It is a tool Satan has mastered the use of in that group and it is tragic. God meant for believers to have the assurance of their salvation in this life so that anxiety and stress about it would not be present. It is not presumptuous to think we are saved; it is part of the amazing gift of salvation that he offers.
Acts 4:12 speaking of Jesus Christ “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
I Corinthians 1:28-31 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’
Note from NIV Life Application Bible: Paul continues to emphasize that the way to receive salvation is so simple that any person who wants to can understand it. Skill and wisdom do not get a person into God’s kingdom – simple faith does- so no one can boast that his or her achievements helped him or her secure eternal life. Salvation is totally from God through Jesus’ death. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation; we need only accept what Jesus has already done for us.
John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Note from NIV Life Application Bible: How do we get eternal life? Jesus tells us clearly here – by knowing God the Father himself through his Son, Jesus Christ. Eternal life requires entering into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
1 John 4:1-4 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
Note from NIV Life Application Bible: Through the centuries, many heretics have denied that Jesus was both God and man. In John’s day people had trouble believing he was human; today more people have problems seeing him as God. But Jesus’ divine-human nature is the pivotal issue of Christianity. Before you accept what religious teachers say about any topic, listen carefully to what they believe about Jesus. To deny either his divinity or his humanity is to consider him less than Christ, the Savior.
The Gospel of Peace did not come to add to our stress level; our anxiety level. It is about peace of heart and mind. Where we will spend eternity was not meant to be an unknown.