Is Salvation Real or Just a Belief?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 1, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

We just celebrated Easter Weekend and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most Easter services will have spoken about how salvation is found in Jesus Christ. But what is salvation? Unfortunately, it is a word tossed around so much it becomes common place, and few really understand what it means and what it does. I have seen many who claim to be Christian and claim to be saved, but show no evidence for it. Then when I question if they are saved, they get extremely defensive, saying, “How dare you question my faith?”

This is a serious question we need to ask. Is our salvation real or is it just a belief? You can believe just about anything whether it is true or not, but faith in Jesus Christ is not mere belief. The Bible’s take on salvation is much more than just a belief, but something real. Something you can grasp. Something you can own. It’s not something you can earn, but it is something you can own. And it is something you can live.

In a sermon jam YouTube Video called “The Revival Hymn”, AW Tozer (I believe) says this (1:30-1:40 minute mark): “If I were to ask you tonight were you saved, do you say, ‘Yes, I am saved.’ When? Oh, so and so preached, I got baptized…and. Are you saved? What are you saved from? Hell? Are you saved from bitterness? Are you saved from lust? Are you saved from cheating? Are you saved from lying? Are you saved from bad manners? Are you saved from rebellion against your parents? Come on, what are you saved from?”

There are too many people who claim to be saved but they show they are not saved from anything. They still strive to rule their own lives. They show no hint of struggling against that which God despises. They still lie. They still gossip. They still lust. They still rebel against authority. But if you ask them if they are saved they will say, “Yes, I am saved.” I am not calling for a slate of perfection. I am not saying if you struggle with anything that you are not born again. But I am saying that if you are not struggling against that which God clearly states is sin, if you embrace it, consider it as part of your identity, and show no desire to change, then I have good reason to question the claim of salvation.

Last week, I spoke about the resurrection, the gift of life. It is a free gift. But it is something that must be received. It is also something we must work out. One friend of mine gave me an analogy of an IKEA kit. You can get the kit, but you need to work it out to produce what it was intended to produce. Too many just want a “get out of hell free” card. They want to be saved from the consequences of their sin, but they don’t want to be free FROM their sin. Paul repeatedly warns against this, particularly in Romans 6:1-2. We are to be dead to our sin. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are saying that our old self, our sinful self-serving self, is to be put on the cross with Christ and then a new self will be born-again.

Does our proclamation of faith have any value? James told us that, “Faith without works is dead.” “Show me your faith with your works.” He is telling us that if our faith is legit, we will show it through our lives. Our faith in Christ is not blind and it is not a mere belief. It is much more. It guides and directs our decisions in life, both major and minor. It guides and directs how we engage with people, and what we do with your time and resources.

If we say we are saved, does it show? Just claiming it does no good in the long run. It may make you feel good for the moment or for a season, but if your salvation is not real, it does not change you and It does not help you. No greater evidence for salvation is made in this comparison: “I once was________, and now I am ________”. Just fill in the blanks. I once was lost, but now I am found. I once was blind, but now I see. I once was deaf, but now I hear. I once was angry, but now I am peaceful. I once was a gossiper, but now I speak honor. I once lusted after others, but now I respect them. I once rebelled against authority, but now I honor the position. Shall I go on?

Is your salvation real? Did it change your life? Do you walk in that salvation? Or it is just some lofty idea that you like to think about but has no power in your life? It is one thing to aspire to Godliness. But it is something else to walk in the power of the Gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit. Too many of us think that such living is beyond our grasp. Why? If we are born again, does not the Holy Spirit live in us? Is not our position in Christ where we have access to the throne of Heaven? The reason we don’t live it is because we don’t believe it. We should, but we don’t.

It is not hard to grasp the reality of salvation. It is not something we have to earn and work to get, because such a reality is not us doing it. It is Christ doing it in us; all we have to do is surrender. Truly living salvation is us partnering with Christ. He does all the work, we just get the joy ride. It is not always easy because we have a lot of opposition. But when you allow Jesus to live his life through you, any opposition you get will seem like trifles. So do not be afraid.

Let us live our salvation. If we aren’t going to live it out, why do we even bother to claim it? The militant anti-theists hate the so-called Christians who are lukewarm and make a claim without showing any fruit of it. They don’t like the real ones either, but they actually respect them because they are consistent. Let us be consistent. If we are going to claim it, let our lives show we actually believe it. If our salvation is not real, it will show. If it real, it too will show.

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