True and false salvation!
If you are genuinely seeking to be saved (have your sins forgiven and go to heaven), then this is written for you. No short cuts will be offered, and no quick formulas will be presented here. There is a proper way to be saved according to the Bible and often in our days this is rarely taught or preached. What we do see however is “easy believism”, mere “mental accent”, or just “try Jesus”, and other similar “quick fixes” for salvation. Although this may bring lots of people into church buildings and fill offering plates with money, yet it won’t save you from sin and hell. Here, I want to expose the false and unbiblical ways of salvation and in contrast show the true way of salvation.
First, is man born innocent or guilty at birth? A common view (original sin) teaches that mankind is born totally sinful, genetically and physically deformed with a sinful nature. In the Catholic view, this deformity results in babies being lost in hell if they die before baby baptism. Some Protestants hold this as well, while others tweak it and alter this view by suggesting that Christ’s death covers infants until the age of accountability. Irrespective, the Bible shows man being born innocent until he actually becomes guilty of sin. We cannot blame Adam or our forefathers according to Ezekiel chapter 18! The Bible says the “soul that sins shall die” (Eze. 18:4). Rather than being born sinners the Bible says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps.139:14), and “God hath made man upright” (Ecc.7:29). We also know that little children are born innocent because Jesus said “suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.19:14). If babies were born evil, then why would Jesus compare the kingdom to little babies that are supposedly born alcoholics, drug addicts, porn addicts, murderers, or sexually perverted from the womb???
So, then, when does mankind begin to sin? This takes place after the soul starts to know the difference “between good and evil”. Please read Deuteronomy chapter one where this it shows that God did not hold the younger generation guilty like the older generation who knew what they were doing. Sin, therefore, usually begins early in life “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen.8:21). Without the knowledge of sin and the law being revealed to us (Rom.3:20 and 7:18) we remain innocent. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “I was alive without the law” convicting me of my sin (Rom.7:9). Furthermore, Psalm 51:5 is not talking about King David being born a sinner at birth (which is how many misinterpret this verse) but about his mother’s condition during birth: “in sin did my mother conceive me”. And even though (another misinterpreted verse) Psalm 58:3 says “the wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies”, this cannot be taken literally as new born babies cannot yet speak, therefore, this is merely emphasizing that eventually all souls will sin and go the wrong way. Therefore, you eventually sinned by choice and not by birth. As such you must take responsibility for your actions. The truth is you can’t blame Adam, nor your parents nor the Devil! The Bible says, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze.18:4).
So the fact that you have eventually sinned and need salvation is stated many times in the Bible. The soul of man is said to be “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1). It says “your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isa.59:2)! Also, you “were by nature (constant habit, not born in it) the children of wrath” (Eph.2:3) from the time you started going astray, because “all we like sheep have gone astray” (Is.53:6) from our innocence. Furthermore, how “then may we do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jer.13:23)? So, in our evil lifestyles and sin “we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses as filthy rags” (Isa.64:6), and are all “alienated and enemies in our mind by our wicked works” (Col.1:21). As a result “there is none righteous, no, no not one” (Rom.3:11), and “there is none that doeth good, no, not one”(Rom.3:12), and “there is no man that sinneth not”(1 Kings 8:46). So, is there a remedy for sin then? Yes!
Jesus Christ himself said “the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (Matt.18:11)! If we were sinless and could save ourselves, then Jesus Christ didn’t have to come to save us. Yes, Jesus came “to seek and save you” (Luke 19:10)! Jesus said “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt.9:13). Therefore, what hope is there for you unless you see the blackness and wickedness of your sin??? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it” (Jer.17:9)? God wants to show you by the preaching of the gospel and conviction of the Holy Spirit your true condition: that you are lost!!! Like the leper in the book of Leviticus we must cry “unclean, unclean” (Lev.13:5)! In other words, we must acknowledge and realize our sin.
So the first step of salvation is that you see your miserable condition: lost in sin, wicked, lying, cheating, breaking the holy commands of God, going in the opposite direction, walking in darkness, and not living like Jesus Christ and hence living like the Devil!!! The Apostle Paul said that he was commissioned to “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). Even though the Bible says that “with his (Jesus) stripes we are healed” (Is.53:5), yet many people don’t know how spiritually sick they actually are. Their eyes must be opened. Compared to other people they may think they are good enough, but compared to Jesus Christ they all fall short! The scripture that says “publicans and harlots go into the kingdom before you” (Matt.21:31), is meant to show that the self-righteous are unwilling to repent or to admit how bad they really are. So, do you understand the severity of your sins??? Can you admit that you deserve hell? Jesus said the following about a women in the Bible who understood this: “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47). Therefore, once you see your need for repentance and forgiveness and turn to God, then and only then will you be ready for salvation. Then you must place your “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
Jesus said “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), and “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:5). So, after realizing your condition, you must repent once you realize you are going straight to hell in your current condition. What is repentance? Jesus said “the men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation (the Jews of the first century), and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas” (Matt.12:41). How did they repent? What did that look like? “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way” (Jonah 3:10)! Simply then repentance means stopping that sinful life! Some people that claim they are believers but in reality have never repented are said that “in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). (By the way, this is not saving ourselves thru religious observances such as is done in Judaism, Islam, and Catholicism, and other religions, because it’s “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5)). So, unless you likewise stop your evil ways by turning to God, you have not really repented yet.
One day Jesus went to the home of a sinner (Luke 19:7) and said that he found salvation (Luke 19:9). Why do you think Jesus pronounce this man saved in this scripture? Because he stopped his lifestyle of dishonesty and greed! “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8). Not only did he quit the lifestyle but also performed restitution proving the genuiness of his repentance. The Bible says we must “bring forth fruits meet (in keeping with) for repentance” (Matt.3:8). “Even so faith if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). If your repentance is real then you will stop all the wrong you are involved in. And God won’t do this for you. God did His part by sending Christ to die for you. Since you have a free will repentance is something that you must do. God does not “command all men everywhere to repent” and then do the repenting for you. Repentance is the condition God requires for true salvation. The blood of Jesus Christ saves you, but you are commanded to repent, which is your part. You must repent to meet that condition! You must stop all known sin! You must turn to Jesus Christ and His shed blood, and forsake your lifestyle. Then when your eyes are opened and Jesus comes to you and shows you the way out, you must obey and stop! “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”! (Acts 2:21) The Bible says, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11), and “sin no more, lest a worst thing come unto thee” (John 5:14), and “these things write I unto you, that ye sin not” (1 John 2:1), and “awake to righteousness, and sin not” (1 Cor. 15:34)! These are just a few verses of the many that show what true salvation looks like when you really get it.
True salvation is not just a onetime quick little prayer, but rather a total commitment to Jesus Christ when “you believe with all your heart (Acts 8:37). For the true believer this will include denying yourself and taking your cross daily and following Jesus (Luke 9:23), and enduring to the end to be saved (Matt.10:22)! You must love God supremely because Jesus said “if ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), and you cannot be “ashamed of me and of my words” Jesus said (Mark 8:38)! Jesus also said you must bear fruit because “every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away”(John 15:2), and if they are not truly living the lifestyle then He will “cast them into the fire, and they are burned”(John 15:6). In other words, true salvation produces obedience in “true holiness” (Eph.4:24), not fake holiness. Jesus said “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye will in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
True Biblical salvation is an instantaneous experience and not a lifelong progress or process, nor being liberated from sin little by little. In other words, you don’t get saved in your sin! I must add here that I do not deny that one can sin after salvation nor that one must mature and grow, but those are different topics. When it comes to salvation one theology (Calvanism) teaches you are saved in your sin and will continue to sin until you die, implying that you never get the victory. Another theology (Wesleyanism) teaches that you get saved in your sin and then sometime later you have your heart purified with another experience. The Bible however teaches salvation purifies your heart immediately from sin. The Apostle Peter said “seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth... being born again” (1 Peter 1:22, 23). Regarding the Gentile converts Peter also said that God “put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). You don’t get saved then get purified. Salvation is purification. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers that they were immediately saved and purified when he declared “and such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor.6:11). This all happens at the moment of salvation. The Apostle Peter says “for if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world (this is a clean break from your old lifestyle) through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are again (this is failing to resist temptation after the clean break occurred) entangled therein, and overcome...” (2 Peter 2:20). The ancient Israelites got a clean escape out of Egypt but subsequently many of them fell when tempted in the wilderness. The reality is they never had to give in because “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Therefore, salvation is immediate, and not some lifelong process, and heart purity comes right away. If you fall it’s because you gave into temptation and must be cleansed by the blood. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
In true salvation “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” from their bondage and slavery to sin (Acts 2:21; Matt.1:21; Acts 3:26) , and will be forgiven their past sins (Rom.3:25), they will pass from “death unto life”(1 John 3:14), and “be delivered from the power of darkness and be translated into the kingdom of his dear Son”(Col.1:13) and be “born again... by the word of God (not through water baptism)”(1 Pet.1:23), and be quickened by the Spirit (Eph.2:1-6) which is your the first (spiritual) resurrection (Col.2:12; Rev.20:6). Furthermore, your name is written down in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev.20:12) and there is joy in heaven over your repentance (Luke 15:7)! Moreover, your sins are washed away (1 Cor.6:11; Rev.1:5), and you are now “dead to sin” (Rom. 6:7, 17, 22) and your new life is now begun (1 Cor.5:17). The blood of the innocent Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was not only shed for you but also sprinkled (in the Old Testament the blood of animals was applied for forgiveness of sins) on the altar in heaven to purge your conscience from dead works and cleanse you of sin (Heb.4:15; 9:14,22). Nothing else can wash away sin but the blood of Jesus!!!
But, before you get excited and commit to any of the above, and say “I do” to follow Christ, first make sure you read the fine print (only so called because many preachers hide this information or totally exclude it from their sermons)! Jesus said “which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it” (Luke 14:28)? “Or what king, going to war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand” (Luke 14:31)? You must therefore consider the cost of following Jesus before committing, lest you be embarrassed and cannot finish the race (Heb.12:1). So what is this cost in following Jesus Christ?
It may cost you your life physically and you may be hated by all nations (Matt.24:9)! Your family may disown you (Matt.10:36)! Persecution is also guaranteed to come if you live a godly life in Christ Jesus (2 Tim.3:12)! You will go through much tribulation (Acts 14:12) to enter the kingdom! And at times you may suffer for the cause of Christ, to despair even of life (2 Cor.1:8)! Furthermore, you may face many situations that will perplex, distress, and trouble you (2 Cor.4:8). On top of that, your best friends and closest companions may desert you, especially when you may need them the most (2 Tim. 4:10)! And, the thing that is most dear to you in this world may have to been surrendered to God and given up (Gen.22:2; Phil. 3:8), whatever that may be for you such as loved ones, assets, possessions, hobbies, idols, relationships, etc. In short, unless you are willing to forsake all, you cannot be Jesus Christ’s disciple (Luke 14:33). There are simply no short cuts. Whoever is not telling you about the persecution, suffering, rejection, ridicule, trials of many kinds, and the need to walk in holiness in a perverted world, is nothing short of a liar and a false preacher. Don’t let them fool you with prosperity, wealth, happiness, and an “easy pathway” to heaven! Don’t buy this false and fake gospel salesmanship! Jesus called it a “narrow way” for a reason! Remember, Jesus said “broad” is the way that leads to destruction (Matt.5:13)!
So, do you want to follow Jesus Christ no matter what the cost? Do you want to become a Christian? Are you ready for the life of dying to self so you can live eternally with Jesus Christ? Are you ready to die to the sins and momentary pleasures of this world? Are you ready to abandon in-laws and out-laws if need be? Are you ready to live a life of total surrender to Jesus Christ? If you try to hang onto your life then you will lose it. If you die to self (surrender all to God) then you will live in HIM! “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt.10:39)!