Thursday, July 21, 2016

Are They Really Saved?

The term Christian is used very loosely today.  Some would even say that we are a Christian nation, but there is not much evidence any longer to convict us of that fact.  If we were to ask people that we encounter if they were a Christian many would say yes.  However, when nothing that they do looks "Christian" in nature then the evidence would suggest that they do not really understand who Christ is and thence they do not really know Him.  Christ says that, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).  If Christ's own children don't listen to His voice or follow Him then what evidence is there that they belong to Him?  It could be better asked, "do they having a saving faith"?  Scripture tells us that, "even the demons believe and tremble" (James 2:19).  Many throughout history have acknowledged the person of Jesus Christ and some would even say that He is the Son of God, but they never counted on Christ alone for the salvation from their sins.

Scripture often uses two words that speak about coming to Jesus Christ.  They appear to be repeated often, consistently, and both are necessary.  We are to repent (Mt. 4:16-17) of our sins and to believe (Jn. 3:16) in Jesus Christ for His work on the cross for our sin.  I believe that Christians grow into a knowledge of their salvation (2 Pet. 3:18) and they are to "work out their salvation with fear and trembling," which means they ought to live out their faith before God.  It is possible to be sorry for our sins but not believe in Jesus Christ alone as the only way for forgiveness of sins.  Some may even strive to be a better person and never accept the free gift of salvation that Christ alone can give.  As well, some can say that they believe Christ died on the cross and they can even believe that He loves them and yet never repent of their sinful condition

It is my firm conviction from Scripture that both are necessary for salvation. They work in tandem with one another.   I'm careful crediting salvation to everyone who says "I'm a Christian" without seeing a sensitivity towards sin or the Fruit of the Spirit growing from their Christ-centered life.  Being made in the image of God allows even non-Christians to do good things and love others but it is not proof of their Christian faith.  While it is impossible to truly know another person's heart, repentance of sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone for the work that He accomplished on the cross of Calvary is the only means of salvation.  In fact, genuine Christians continue to live a life or repentance (Mt. 6:12; 1 Jn. 1:9) and trust in Christ (1 Cor. 13:13).   It is the Christian's lifestyle and not just a moment in time. 

Christ Himself assures us that on the day of reckoning, when He judges the world, many will claim that they knew Him but they really did not (Mt. 7:21-23).  There may have been a "head" connection but there was never a "heart" connection.  As result, they will be cast into hell for failure of coming to Him as their personal Savior.  We cannot preach a Gospel that fails to include repentance or a gospel that leaves out the work of Jesus Christ alone for our sin and salvation.  Both are needed and necessary.

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