what is salvation

just a small little no big deal question to get your week rolling. let’s ask along with the Philippian jailer, What must we do to be saved?

Here is a response in the negative from Jonathan Dodson (the rest of the post is good too, especially the resource jonathan links to in the comments from Joe Thorn):

Reflecting on the nature of faith in a recent sermon, I pointed out that believing that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead is not sufficient for saving faith. Too many people in America believe that they are Christians, that they are “going to heaven” simply because they believe the facts of the gospel. That is not saving faith. Faith is requires more than agreement with the facts of the gospel; it actually treasures a Person, Jesus Christ.

Agree or disagree? what does the Bible say? (incidentally, do you treasure Jesus? what would that look like? Are you interested in trying do so?)

Look at this for a minute. Reflect on it. Think about each word and what it really means. don’t just scan it because it is familiar. We will wait for you to get back……

ok, what actually has to be done to be saved? Do you believe it? Is this different than simply believing that Jesus died for your sins on the cross and rose from the dead? If you think it is different, what is the difference?

now go read this whole thing. Here are the first three introductory paragraphs, but go read all of it with the scriptural support and tell me what you think.

The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 7:13-23).

Present-day evangelicalism, by and large, ignores these warnings. The prevailing view of what constitutes saving faith continues to grow broader and more shallow, while the portrayal of Christ in preaching and witnessing becomes fuzzy. Anyone who claims to be a Christian can find evangelicals willing to accept a profession of faith, whether or not the person’s behavior shows any evidence of commitment to Christ. In this way, faith has become merely an intellectual exercise. Instead of calling men and women to surrender to Christ, modern evangelism asks them only to accept some basic facts about Him.

This shallow understanding of salvation and the gospel, known as “easy-believism,” stands in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. To put it simply, the gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority. This, in a nutshell, is what is commonly referred to as lordship salvation.

Do you agree that our church culture has cheapened/weakened the gospel? What do we do about it? What do we do about evangelism to avoid this problem?

This is the most important and basic component of life with Jesus. It is essential that we reflect on it and look very carefully at what the Bible actually says, not what some preacher we heard as a child said it said.


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