Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. (I Timothy 3:9 NKJV)
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 NKJV)
Whenever I attend a funeral, someone seems to always say, “At least they are in a better place now!” Most of the time they say this not knowing what they are really saying. It is a wish based upon their assumption that being good in life is good enough. But, Andy Alcorn says this based upon the wisdom of God’s Word: “For Christians, this present life is the closest they will come to hell. For unbelievers it is the closest they will come to heaven.”
Without getting into deep theological explanations or disputes, how can we best define what happens to lead one in the ‘salvation process’? That is what I want to simply illustrate in this article.
But first, let’s look at the fact that we don’t understand everything about salvation. The doctrine of salvation is referred to many times in the Bible as a mystery. We have multitudes of terms to describe someone who is ‘saved’, everything from born again, redeemed, believer, righteous, saint, etc, all the way to being a child of God. It is something that takes place in our heart and no one can look into our heart except the LORD. Of course, a person who is saved should outwardly bear fruit that they are saved. As some say, we are called to be fruit inspectors (Matthew 7:17, 20), but even fruit inspectors cannot tell how sweet a melon is on the inside. What we do positively know is that salvation isn’t because someone belongs to any particular church.
Second, let’s look at the fact that people of different theological backgrounds argue about whether or not a person has any part in accepting or rejecting salvation. There are those who say, “Once saved, always saved.” Then there are those who think that, because of free will, someone can walk away from the faith and be no longer saved. You have those who adhere strictly to Calvinism and then you have those who strictly adhere to Arminianism.
All these things complicate the discussion of salvation and causes us to deeply delve into the Bible to find the answers, but none of these things detracts what ‘being saved’ actually is.
Let’s go now to the illustration I want to give on the ‘salvation process’ that I believe we can all agree upon in the evangelical realm.
The Holy Spirit begins to convict us of the sin we have in our life by placing God’s mirror in front of us. This mirror allows us to see ourselves as God truly sees us. We are hideous because of our sin. Romans 3:23 tells every one of us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then we realize that we are destined for eternity in Hell because of it. Romans 6:23 warns, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We realize that this sin must be dealt with and the only one who can do that is Jesus Christ because of what He did for each and every one of us on the cross. We ask Jesus to wash our sins away and accept Him as Savior and LORD.
There is no magical prayer or formula. The realization of sin when we look in that mirror drives us to the only solution which is Jesus Christ alone!
“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NKJV)
Salvation is not an ends. It is the beginning of a new life living as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).