spaghettipie

Salvation – Part I

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had been mulling over the concept of salvation a lot lately. I’m not quite ready to post anything on it yet, but I’m at a point where I would like to do some further study. Please don’t misinterpret this; I’m not questioning my salvation or belief in Christianity. I’m trying to understand it better, deeper.

So, I’m turning to you, my virtual community, for your input. Would you post in the comments your thoughts around the following questions:
a) What is it that triggers, if you will, the moment of salvation? By salvation, I’m meaning the point at which you are saved from eternal condemnation, which I believe happens at a specific point in time, one time. You might not agree, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on that too.
b) What are the bare essential elements to “becoming saved”? What I’m trying to get at here is what is the core of salvation? I think we often add a lot of extra stuff to salvation, and sometimes don’t even realize it. So, what are the basic pieces – that if you took any of them away, you wouldn’t be saved?

While I’d love to know your thoughts and conclusions on this, I’d also appreciate the Bible references that you feel back up your ideas. Additionally, I’d also appreciate any other suggested reading material. If you have friends interested in discussing theology, I’d love for you to ask them to join in the discussion.

Of course, I imagine there are varying viewpoints on this and my intent is not to create divisiveness in the Body. As usual, please be respectful.

Thanks for your help and input.

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9 comments

  1. Bill G

    I agree: salvation is a point in time event, though it often feels more like a sunrise than flipping on a light switch.

    I once asked an 87 year old pastor, and the founder of AWANA, your question about the precise dividing line.

    He answered: “Where is a person’s hope for eternity? Is it in Christ or is it somewhere else?”

    His name was Lance B. Latham and that statement changed my life.

    Salvation occurs at that moment when you shift your faith from anything and everything else to Jesus alone, no matter how imperfect your knowledge is. Jesus is my only hope to reach God, heaven, forgiveness… all of it.

    Faith is trust. What/who are you trusting to bring you to God?

  2. Llama Momma

    Whoa. Light and easy question, ay?

    The simple answer is: “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.” (Romans 10:9)

    And I suppose it is simple, sort of, except that it hasn’t been for me, which makes me re-think my answer!!

    Let me think about this and check back in later…

  3. Craver Vii

    I was looking for something similar back in August, and I only got two responses for my post called splish splash.

    I lean towards something like this:

    * God is perfect (holy). (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8)
    * I don’t deserve heaven ’cause I’m not perfect like God is. In other words, I’m a sinner. (Romans 3:23)
    * But Jesus died on the cross to forgive me for all my sins, then He rose from the dead. (Romans 5:8 and 10:9)
    * I trust Him because He is the only one who can save me, and give me new life. And I want Him to be number one in my life. (Acts 4:12)

    That’s what I would be looking for if I was to hear it from someone, but my own profession of faith was even simpler. I prayed, asking Jesus to be the #1 motivator in my life. (Someone spent hours sharing the gospel with me the day before that, and it all of the sudden made sense the day I prayed.)

  4. spaghettipie

    B – Thanks so much for stopping by, and I appreciate your comments. Do you have any particular verses that you find useful in thinking about what salvation is?

    LM – Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. It’s supposed to be simple, and yet because it’s so profound I think we try to make it more complex…

    C – Thanks for the verses and thoughts. I like the frame of reference (being saved as a child) in helping understand the core of it.

  5. L.L. Barkat

    John…

    “if you believe in him, you will not perish…”

    Now, what does believe mean? That’s a trickier question…

    “if you say you love me, then you will do what I command…” (don’t know the reference)

    In the end, maybe only God knows who believes. Except of course those cases where we see someone actively defaming Christ with their words.

  6. Llama Momma

    LL’s thoughts resonate with me. Yes. What does it mean to believe?

    I prayed a prayer, saying I believed, a hundred times before I actually did. I cannot explain God’s work in my life, I only know He is present to me and changing me, and I do not deserve all of this attention.

    My husband often says we’ll probably be surprised who we see in heaven. I think he’s right.

  7. Craver Vii

    I agree with Llama Momma’s husband. We may be surprised to see who’s in heaven, but God won’t be surprised. That’s because he chose us before we were saved. (Ephesians 1:3-14).

    Ultimately, what causes us to be saved is that God, as an act of grace, plucked us out of the path of destruction and gave life, through the seed of His word, even though we were stillborn, dead in our transgressions (Colossians 2:13). At that moment, we had “the great Ahaa!” finally “getting it” and responding to His irresistible grace by some token of trust (Ephesians 2:8-9), such as a prayer, or walking an aisle, or some kind of profession of faith, or even baptism. But our response is not what earned it for us; it was God’s initiation, His work, His will, His choice.

  8. Mark Goodyear

    Intriguing and bold question–one that I’ve seen start many an angry conversation at family reunions.

    I like Bill G’s statement that it is more like a sunrise than flipping on a light switch.

    It is also a little bit like being healed. Or maybe exactly like that. Sometimes God heals people instantaneously. In my experience, more often God heals people slowly with prayer and medicine and rest and physical therapy. He knows which processes of healing each person needs, but in the end each person is healed.

    About the role of Jesus in salvation:
    I have many many universalist friends, and I rely on Peter’s comments to the Sanhedrin in Acts 4: “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed…. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

    About what belief looks like:
    In Mark 12:29-31, Jesus said, “The most important [commandment] is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    My salvation is not something that occurs when I die. Heaven is not only a kingdom I enter when I die (though it is also that).

    I believe the Kingdom of God is near. It lives in our hearts. And it lives in the world around me in as much as I love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, strength and love others as myself.

    For me, that’s the gospel. That’s the good news. The Kingdom of God is here and possible now. And it is going to become even more real as God continues to do his work in the world.

    My work is to align myself with God’s work.

    My belief (and my salvation?) is that God’s will and God’s work are more trustworthy than my own will and my own work.

    And Jesus is the Son of God, the Living Word, the embodiment of the Father who teaches us who God is.

  9. spaghettipie

    LL and LM – I agree; there seems to be something more than “believe” that happens. (James 2:19 – Even demons believe…). At the same time, if only God really knows, then how can we be assured of our salvation?

    C – You’re sound like many of my friends here 🙂 Not that I disagree, but I’m working through some of the points that you mention…

    MG – Thanks for all of your thoughts. I totally agree that we seem to think of eternity starting once we get to heaven…but it starts now. You’re starting to get at what I’ve been thinking in my head. I’ve been exploring this perspective of Christ’s death being for the purpose of our redemption and restoration. So once we say, yes, God! I want to be restored to what you originally intended before sin totally screwed things up – that’s when salvation occurs and then we begin the process of working out our salvation (meaning restoration to God’s intended creation) – which is not fully complete until we get to heaven.

    Great thoughts everyone. I’d love to hear more if you’re interested, but I really appreciate the input (and the respectfulness!)

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