Saturday, January 12th, 2013
The Question Of Salvation (Part 1)
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.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:19-20 (NKJV)
When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, 'Who then can be saved?'
Matthew 19:25 (NKJV)
To many Christians, the question of salvation is not a question. Some believe with sprinkling, immersion, confession, request, or surrender to Jesus, we are saved by faith unto everlasting life. The comfort of this faith is beyond measure--its peace is beyond understanding.
To others, a question mark remains. I am one of those others: 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!' (Mark 9:24). I am ceaselessly grateful to Jesus, but all-too-familiar with living on the outside to take any risks at all. Yet if I am a Spirit-filled believer, where's the risk? Can salvation be lost?
Consider two words: faith and works.
Jesus said, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace' (Luke 7:50).
Because 'Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him' (Hebrews 11:6).
Undeniably, faith is essential for salvation. But what about works? Can we have one without the other?
Paul says, 'By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast' (Ephesians 2:8-9). Also, 'But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness' (Romans 4:5).
And what about the sinner who was saved by faith on the cross? 'And He said to him, 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise' ' (Luke 23:43). What works did he have?
But James says, 'You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works' (James 2:18). Jesus warns, 'Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven will enter' (Matthew 7:21).
In Bible debates, I focus on 'The Mediator' (Hebrews 9:15): 'The Author and Finisher of our faith' (Hebrews 12:2). As 'The Beginning and the End' (Revelation 22:13), He not only poses every good question, but also provides every good answer.
'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven' (Matthew 13:11).
Basically, Jesus made Himself an open Book: 'And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us' (John 1:14). Then He gave us an invitation--'Come, follow Me' (Matthew 4:19). And so we will.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Question of Salvation series.