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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 33



What is the evidence for belief in Christ as savior and Lord?

The next chapter will consider the controversial matter of whether or not a saved person can lose that salvation. That’s an important question. But the subject of this chapter should be considered first. It is important to determine what a Christian, or believer, really is.

Who is saved?

We cannot save ourselves, and the church cannot save us.

Salvation from sin is a supernatural event, the result of God’s grace. We can ask forgiveness for sin, and accept the sacrifice of Christ’s blood, which paid the penalty for our personal sins. We can believe in the power of the resurrection. We need to do these things. But salvation is God’s work in us. (Ephesians 2:8 “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast.”)

Raising our hands, saying a prayer, kneeling at a mourner’s bench, shaking a preacher’s hand, testifying to being saved, being baptized, or having our names on a church roll do not and cannot save us, in and of themselves. (There is nothing wrong with these acts, or similar ones, and most converts ought to do most or all of them, especially baptism, but they don’t save us.) In other words, no one is saved because she thinks she is, or because he joined a church 15 years ago. If she or he is saved, it is because of God’s forgiveness:
Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit

Whether we are saved or not is ultimately a question that only God can really answer. I once heard a Southern Baptist pastor say that about 50% of the people on the rolls of his church weren’t really saved. Why did he say that? Because, although they had participated in one or more of the acts listed above, they showed no evidence of salvation. Most Southern Baptists believe that, once you become a Christian, you cannot lose your salvation. In other words, this pastor believed that about half of the people who were members of his church had never been saved. Southern Baptist churches are by no means alone. All too many church members, of whatever denomination, show no evidence that they are following Christ in salvation.

We are not the judge of this matter, God is. However, it may be helpful to examine our own lives, in light of scriptural clues that indicate that a person is a believer. Paul recommended such an examination:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don’t you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I hope that you will know that we aren’t disqualified.

The Bible never provides a list of signs that a person is actually saved, but there are clues. Perhaps the material below will be helpful. (To be continued)


The above is an excerpt from my recently self-published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series, which concluded a series on End Times prophecy, is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue the topic of this post. Thanks for reading.

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