Thursday, October 6, 2011
When Are We Saved? Do We Really Know?
It is always a pleasure to repost the works of our dear friend, Alf Hutchinson, who ministers in South Africa. Brother Alf, a disciple of Christ who has been blessed with Holy Spirit wisdom, always provides us with unique Bible insights that edifies and enhances the Kingdom of God. Enjoy!
WHEN ARE WE SAVED?
We know beyond doubt that we are saved by Grace EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, …note that we are saved by grace THROUGH FAITH …. How many times have I heard people saying “I am saved by grace and grace alone”.
When we are called by God, a process is put into action …the first step being an inexplicable urge within us to turn from your sinful, wicked ways (in many spheres this is known as Prevenient Grace); and it is the initial prompting of the Holy Spirit of God for us mere sinful mortals to ask for forgiveness and turn to Him; a process referred to as repentance; this happens after hearing or reading of the Kingdom and Jesus’ work on Calvary’s cross… we may respond immediately to this anomaly; or it may takes days, weeks or even months for us to respond…or we may never respond. ROM 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Jesus referred to this process in His parable of the Sower Matt 13:18 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
13:20 "But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
13:21 "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
13:22 "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
13:23 "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
From the above parable we can see various ways that the message (seed) is received and our subsequent responding to it by faith. We must ask ourselves the question “Were those that received the word by the wayside, or on stony ground, or among the thorns saved, and then subsequently lost their salvation?” How many times have I heard the argument “Oh he or she obviously was not saved in the first place” or “If they were truly saved they would never have done that”…
Jesus never ever said that ‘being saved’ would be easy and He tells us this inMatt 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
7:14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. That is correct dear reader THERE ARE FEW WHO FIND SALVATION.
We as believers get so hooked up on certain elements of doctrine that sometimes we are blinded to the truth…we are so frightened of this word ‘works’ that we believe that we can do nothing to enter into salvation it is solely by grace … well possibly we are wrong. Paul tells those at Philippi 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
John writes in his epistles of the importance of loving our brothers and he goes on to say 1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. The inference here is that there are some who did not continue to believe and no longer have eternal life…
James tells us categorically that we are justified by our works
James 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble!
2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
2:22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.
2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Jesus tells all the believers Matt 24:12 "And because lawlessness will abound,the love of many will grow cold.24:13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Please note that these are true believing Christians Jesus is referring to, not some group of ‘Left behind’ Jews as some Dispensationalist preachers would have us believe in there false “Rapture’ doctrine.
Here Jesus is talking to the likes of you and me and He is saying “Keep the faith….keep going in spite of all tribulation…Love your God with all your heart mind and soul…love your neighbor as yourself …do unto others as you would have them do unto you…THEN YOU WILL BE SAVED….
Paul did exactly that until he breathed his last and fell asleep 2TM 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Jesus paid the price for our sins upon Calvary’s cross, this gift comes with a price (nowhere does it say that it is a FREE gift) Love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart and soul and your fellow man as yourself…If you are not doing that, then I would suggest you start right away…remember well what happened to the man who never used his Talent?
Matt 25:30 'And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
There is no better time than right now to spread the Gospel; why not do it?
Yours In His Name
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Joe Ortiz has the distinction of being the first Mexican American in US history to conduct a talk show on an English-language, commercial radio station. He began his broadcasting career in 1971 at KABC TALK RADIO 790 AM in the highly competitive Los Angeles media market. He went on to become an award-winning broadcaster, news reporter and newspaper columnist in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Semi-retired, he promotes his three books on theology, is the President of the "Official Tom Flores Fan Club" and manages several blogs and web sites, and his public relations consulting company at Joe Ortiz Associates ~