Jesus died on the cross. I will talk about that separately in another blog. But the salvation that he provides needs to be understood. I know you would think it’s not a broad subject but you can believe all sorts of thing about God and your salvation.
Did you choose to come to God or did God randomly choose you?
Were you saved because of good that he saw in you before time began?
What if you whole-heartedly became a Christian and then fell into some sort of sin, quit coming to church and ignored God the rest of your life? Would you still go to heaven?
Aren’t we all good people? What about sweet old ladies like mother Teresa?
I will explain elements I see in scripture and try to answer these questions as good as I can see in the scriptures.
So like the over-quoted Matrix line:
You take the blue pill (hit the ‘back’ button) and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe what you want to believe.
You take the red pill (hit the Continue Reading button), stay in Wonderland and I’ll show you how deep the Rabbit hole goes.
(Strong Thematic Music comes in now)
While studying the scriptures I have seen several strong themes in scripture that are pertaining to Soteriology (A big word that just means the doctrine of Salvation). These elements have helped me to understand scripture as a whole and to follow different themes being played out.
The 5 themes I will explain are as follows:
- Our Salvation is nothing we can lose.
- We are all completely dirty.
- God has a plan for cleansing.
- Who did Jesus die for on the cross?
- God’s Grace is unbelievably good.
One Thing I have seen and affirm is that Our Salvation is nothing we can lose.
I was told early on in my life that I had to hold onto Jesus or I would become lost again. What tripped me out as a child was that I knew I did nothing to get my salvation so how could I lose it. You can’t lose something that you didn’t earn. As a child I understood this and I knew that God’s gift to me was not based on any merit of my own.
Several Scriptures that encouraged me throughout this process were:
27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
29“ My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”
35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
You might ask, what about Christians who rebel and leave the faith?
If someone truly has a relationship with Christ that is genuine and dependent on Christ work on the cross, they will persevere until the end. Their faith will prove it’s self with time. When storms and trials come, it will stand strong, be strengthened but not ever leave. Let’s say you have some friends who you have been hanging out with. You commit some type of sin publicly that is embarrassing. 5 out of 6 of your friends leave you. They completely disown you. You are repentant and seeking forgiveness. One of those friends realizes soon after leaving that he is wrong and continues his devotion to you. The one’s who left were never your friends to start with. The one who left and came back may have left you but his devotion proves it’s self through leaving and coming back. And the one who never leaves is obviously completely devoted.
Though there are probable holes in this analogy, this is how I understand the security of our salvation.
We didn’t save ourselves. God saved us from ourselves.
Another theme that I have noticed with time is that I am completely dirty.
What do I mean you ask? Well, I have taken a shower today. That kind of dirty is not what I am pertaining to.
I am completely in need of God’s intervention in my life.
The entire world should be in an AA class so that we can all admit that we have a problem.
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
But that’s not just it. It’s not that we mess up sometime throughout our lives. We are screwed up from the get-go.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
21The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.
Our hearts are completely wicked. You may think that I should follow my heart or trust it. No.
9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
What about the good things that we do? What about good humanitarian work?
Even our good is flawed. We have mixed motives. We are completely given over to our flesh in one way or another.
21“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23“All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
5Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
WE NEED GOD TO SAVE US! That is my whole point. We are completely flawed and need his saving grace.
Thankfully though, God had a plan.
We all identify with the “Once upon a time” stories where good triumphs over evil though evil seems to have the upper hand. We have heard these from our childhood and see something to embrace when we hear them. The truth is, this is our story. We are apart of the greatest story ever told.
We get confused on our roles in this story though. Because we are prideful and self-centered, we seek to be the hero of the story. We want to be Batman. We want to be the Incredible Hulk. We want to be Shrek and we really are Fiona (Been around kids a lot lately). We are the damsels in distress. We are the one’s who foolishly help out the villain then cry for help from our hero once we’ve been captured.
With understanding this story though, we have seemed to forget that that the story has been written. The writer has wrote all that will happen. The story is playing out as intended by the writer and director. God wrote this story. God is directing this story.
What am I saying, you might ask? Are we puppets that have no thought or capability to rationalize?
I am saying that God has had his hand in your life the whole time. Before there was a creation, this play was set. The actors and characters were set. The roles were filled. With that being said I will say it plainly, God chose to use you for his purposes before the world was ever created. Does that mean that you didn’t choose God at all? No. You did choose him and he did choose you. But you must remember that he chose you first.
Through the valley’s and mountain tops of life, his control over us and our situations is never faltered at all.
4just as He chose us inHim before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.
God has complete control over all of his creation. But while you get the privilege of being apart of the story, you must remember you didn’t earn your role. Your role was given to you without you deserving of it at all.
His choosing was not based on anything of our selves.
2 Timothy 2:9
9who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.
But like Ephesians 1 above say’s, his choosing was based on the intentions of his will. His plan is for our best and his glory. He is deserving of all glory and will get his glory.
We are his sheep though and we must remember that the plans of the good shepherd are for our own good. We don’t like thinking about ourselves as sheep because those who have worked with sheep know that sheep follow and seem at times mindless. They go wherever the wind blows. He talks about this in John 10 for us to understand who we really are. But as well, we must realize that the sheep who are his answer when he calls for them.
Some other verses regarding Gods giving of salvation:
- John 1:13
- Mark 13:20
- Revelation 13:8
- Revelation 17:8
- Romans 10:20
- 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
- 2 Timothy 1:9
- Exodus 33:19
- Deuteronomy 7:6-7
- Romans 9:10-24
- Acts 13:48
- 1 Peter 2:8
- Romans 8:28-29
- John 6:39
- John 17:2
- John 10
Another theme regarding God’s choosing for salvation is that God’s love is general and specific. He has multiple intentions for his death and sacrifice. This is where I will talk about who Jesus died for.
This is a tough subject because the real question I am going to go into is; did Jesus die for everyone or just the people he would save?
The reason this can be such a difficult issue is because in essence, you could be saying that either God died for people he wouldn’t save and wasted his blood or that he didn’t die for your grandmother or little sister. Regardless, it is way too much for a 27-year-old to act like he understands but in the same way I love the scriptures and believe them to be perfect for answers.
Gods death on the cross was for all mankind in his capability to deliver the sins of the world on his shoulders. He did die for all mankind as the savior of the world.
10For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
Christ death was for all. He died for the sins of the world. His love is not limited to strictly those he would save.
1 John 2:2
2and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Jesus’ death was given to all mankind. But his death was as well specially given for his bride. He didn’t just simply die for all and few got saved. He didn’t endure the suffering of everyone though he only chose some to be saved. He has an unlimited bank account. He has the capability to write a blank check. And the check is blank until it is deposited. Until then, we know that it has a number. We know that the number has the capability to cover any amount that he chooses. As well, we know that the number was written before time began though we can’t know it.
This is a complicated issue but it is dealing with the tension of two different spheres that scripture is clear on. Scripture is clear that Jesus death was for his bride. He sacrificed himself for his bride. But as well, scripture is also clear that his death was for the entire world. He died for the sins of all mankind. He loves all.
Some more scriptures to consider…
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
With the multiple intentions of the cross, there is one more to consider, Jesus death was also to reconcile all things to the father. What does this mean you ask? I mean that Jesus death was to fulfill scripture, to reconcile the saved to God, to provide a route for all men to reach God and to reconcile all creation and order to the father.
Examples would be:
20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
His Rule as king of his creation
1 Corinthians 15:24-28
24then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
All creation becoming subject to him (pre-fruit garden of Eden type of world)
20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
And lastly, this verse summarizes the reconciliation of all things to the father.
19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
And lastly, I believe that God’s grace is unbelievably good. This is a statement that any evangelical would affirm, but I mean more than just good. I believe that it’s something one cannot push aside.
This is a pretty simple concept that can easily become complicated. All that is simply being said is that Gods saving you is based on when he reveals himself and draws you by his grace. Consider the following verse.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
God draws you to him. He brings you towards him. It is not like many of us think regarding us walking down an aisle and grabbing onto him. Though we do grab him and hold tight, like Psalms 37 say’s, when we fall we will not fall far because he holds our hands. His grasp is good and firm. Nothing for us to worry about.
Thankfully he drew us to him with his grace.
His grace is really amazing. I can’t go much into it but I do understand that idea.
This is the conclusion of my YIBWIB regarding Salvation. Hopefully this will challenge you and make some type of logical sense.
Feel free to respond to this with disagreement or need for clarity.
And be on the lookout for my next topic…