Many traditional churches teach that once you've said the sinners prayer and confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life you are saved, period ! No matter if you backslide, return to your worldly ways, live a sinful life, refuse to go to church and fellowship with other believers, etc you remain saved and go to heaven.
What is wrong with this theology and what does the bible say regarding this statement ?
I feel like Grandpa sitting in a room while all the children talk about him as if he can't hear... lol just kidding. There is a bit of theology in my earlier response, but my point was and still is... Unless you live a separated life and are completely sold out to live for Christ.... bzzz you lose. Now I will be glad to, in another forum, get into the "Oneness of God" should someone wish to go there.
My friend Michael Cornett has got it right. A lot of "Christians" are not sold out. The Muslims are absolutely sold out in their belief. They of course are dead wrong but they are sold out. The Amish, Mennonite, Buddhist... they all live a "Separated" life. We are in this world but we aren't to be OF this world. We like Paul need to "Buffet" our flesh daily. With Fasting, prayer, reading His word and meditating on it (not just reading). Striving to be Holy and acceptable unto Him.
This is a far cry from "Once Save Always Saved". We sin every day and fall short of the Glory. So we therefore must constantly be on our knees asking for forgiveness. Thats why I say that "OSAS" is a very dangerous teaching. It leads people to believe that once they repeat this little sinners prayer that they are "IN". Kinda like joining a club or something. You don't have to attend our meetings or pay any dues... you are good to go. We are called to be ministers as well. Would you say that everyone that claims this "OSAS" theology is ministering? I bet not.
I understand that one may argue...if you are truly saved then you will want to stay saved yada yada yada. Well I agree and disagree. I've met several in my daily walk that profess to be saved yet nothing in their actions tell me that they are. They curse ever other word, Party like there's no tomorrow, gawk at women or men, are effeminate or homosexual, lie, cheat, steal... But yet they believe they are saved. Someone has misled them. The blood is on someone's hands.
I don't want to sound as tho I am perfect because I am far from it. Thats why I fall on my knees or lie prostate before him and humble myself daily.
I am saved by the Grace of God. And it is my calling to win the lost. To share this good news (GOSPEL) to a lost and dying world. So that no man will fall short of the Glory.
Getting saved is easy.. staying saved is an everyday challenge. God Bless
I have just spent the last hour reading this discussion thread and thought I'd add my two pence (or two cents, for the Americans reading!) to the conversation.
I have to admit I do have an issue with this topic of "Salvation". "Salvation", in my humble opinion, has been a buzz word within the church for far too long. This has led to what has been referred to as "Pie in the Sky" theology. Essentially, what I'm saying is that there are too many Christians who either treat their faith as an insurance policy (as has previously been mentioned), ensuring a place in heaven when they die, or who alternatively spend their life struggling to live in such a way that ensures their place in Heaven when they die.
The issue of "Salvation" is muddied by the fact that some people simply don't know at what precise point in time they were "saved". There are people in church today who have simply grown into a relationship with God over a long period of time and are so close to Him that no one can believe it when they say: "But I never said 'the prayer' " Are they saved? What about people who were once ardent christians, burning with the fire of God and who are now just quiet church members who sit at the back of church week in week out, and who no one notices slowly slipping further away from God in their relationship with Him.
Would it not be better perhaps not to focus on salvation, but rather in relationship with Him. God doesn't want people hounded into "giving their lives to Him" out of fear of hell when they die. God did not create Adam and Eve in order that they would go to Heaven when they died. He wants a living relationship with us. A close strong relationship with us. He doesn't want people to enter into a relationship out of fear, after all Jesus never turned around and condemned people. Jesus never outright said: "You are sinners, you better stop sinning, otherwise you will die and go to hell".
Quite to the contrary, Jesus went around preaching that the Kingdom of God is for everyone and that all people have to do to enter into a relationship with God is to follow Him, (this would include praying to God like he did, i.e. frequently) and that if we turn towards Him, this will lead to us turning away from sin. Repent literally means "turning away from". By turning towards Him, we repent of our sin. By repenting of our sin, we are turning towards Him as He is the direct opposite of Sin.
At the risk of throwing a spanner in the works, and maybe upsetting a few people, (I am not writing this in order to upset people, only to stimulate thought and discussion) I would like to suggest the following:
Jesus message was not about what happens to us after we die. He made it clear that the Kingdom of God is for everyone, and He was not referring to Heaven, but rather God's Kingdom on Earth (as in the Lord's prayer). I believe that it is more important that people know that God, who made them, loves them and want them to be in relationship with Him. Once people realise and understand that then people slowly start to turn towards Him and away from how they may have been living before.
Jesus death (and the oft unmentioned resurrection!) was more than just a sacrifice made for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus death was God's way of showing how much He loves us. In any relationship there is one partie who loves the other more. The one who loves the most has the least power in the relationship. Jesus spent His life teaching that the Kingdom of God is for everyone, regardless of status, gender, race or wealthiness. He spent His life showing us how we should be living, both in terms of His actions and His relationship with God the Father.
His death showed us that HE LOVES US MORE THAN WE COULD EVER LOVE US, becoming powerless on the cross to the point of being put to death. His resurrection proves that He is the Messiah and that everything He did and said was true.
None of us are free from temptation. We all often give in, some in bigger ways than others, but sin is sin regardless of size. Thankfully we are in a relationship with God who is our Father and regardless of how far away we turn from Him, when we turn back He welcomes us with open arms. This, however is by the by. We as christians should be less focussed on "Saving" people and much more focussed on helping people, including those of us who are already "saved" to be in a closer relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Style of worship is irrelevant. Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant or Pentecostal, it is irrelevant. We are here to be in a relationship with God, which in itself will teach us to live more like Jesus. The closer we are to God, the more like Jesus we are and the more we can change the World and the more like Heaven it will become, until such a time when the Kingdom of God is here and Heaven and Earth will be indistinct.
Let's stop focusing on whether or not we can gain or lose salvation, but more on how we can be in, and lead others into, a closer relationship with God...
Thank you brother Alex,
We're getting into a bit of "semantics " when we start splitting hairs over the appropriate word to use here. The fact is that everything you said is what I believe; it's just that getting into that closer relationship with God is being "saved". Salvation is that process of coming out of being lost in the world and finding our new identity in Jesus Christ.
Whereas, all we used to think about is ourselves, through Jesus we begin to grow into more caring, considerate, kind, gentle, forgiving, joyful, patient and loving people. We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds, through having a hunger and thirst for righteousness, more eager to study and understand the teachings of Jesus Christ and in this process we grow and mature into the kind of people God created us to be in the first place - Christ-like.
The great challange in my way of thinking, is to somehow get out of the traditional, chuch box that is known as christianity, and begin to become more focused on the "kingdom of God" like Jesus was. We need to be building his kingdom and not another church kingdom as we each find our new identity in Christ and start to do the work of the ministry. The many denominations are the training grounds for young believers, but at some point each of us has to get back to what Jesus has asked all his followers to do, which is to "follow" him. We need to do what he did, say what he said and act like he acted. He expects us to do "greater things" than he did, you know !!!! There is a world out there that is lost, confused, dying and going to hell because they don't know who Jesus Christ is. How are they going to meet him if nobody tells them about him ?
The world doesn't want to join a church, they need a savior, Jesus, to come into their life and rescue them from their sin and evil ways. Our work as christians is very much about saving the lost, and then discipling and training them to be like Jesus, so that they too will one day continue the work of saving the lost and discipling them to be like Jesus.
How did we get off into talking about music ? Granted alot of the traditional churches tend to stick to the hymn books and there's nothing wrong with that; however, the young christian people will not be attracted to the old-fashioned music no matter what we say. I've played alot of hymns in my day, but I can really worship better myself with some of the new, contemporary praise and worship music coming out these days. Not all of it is based on the word of God like you said, but I like the ones that are. Sometimes I'll hear a song and I just begin to weep because it resonates within me and it moves me. It's the same with some of the books I read.
We christians are searching for a connection that we can trust to be real, that we know is from God, that touches us in our broken and hurting places. We put on our game face and go at life with all we've got, but the battles are rough on us, we take hits and see so much suffering around us that it's hard not to be affected by the struggle of life. With the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we have a comforter, a councelor, a voice of truth, a loving father to help us make the choices and decisions each day and to strengthen us as we fight our battles in this world we live in. Jesus has made a way for each of us, where, before we knew him, there seemed to be no way. Paul said that we should become all things to all people that we might win some of them for Jesus.
Here's my dumb question---
If faith is the only means by which we are saved, and we are not saved unless we
have faith, then how can "love be the greatest of these three (faith, hope and love)"?
I'm not trying to be a smart a**, I've just really always wondered about that.
Not to be over-simplistic, but I believe one reason is that there won't be faith or hope in heaven.
We will no longer have faith because we will have sight.
We will no longer have hope because we will be in the eternal present (and hope concerns the future).
But there will be love in heaven for all eternity.
Also because love is such an essential part of God's nature that there is a verse that says "God is love." (and there are no verses I'm aware of that say "God is faith" or "God is hope."
Just a few thoughts...
It's like turning on a CD player. Faith is what turns on the CD player. There's more to the player than turning it on, but if you don't get started you cannot move anywhere anyway.
And when people try to move on in salvation but in a way that weakens or destroys faith, it's like unconnecting the player from the power source for the sake of the advanced programming functions. You may feel you have grown, matured and all that, but you fall flat on your face once you press < play >... :)
Thank you Alex and Junjie for your wonderful insights concerning Diana's question. Here's my 2 cents worth on your question Diana - Without faith we won't even believe there is a God in heaven who loves us as his children and forgives us of our sin when we turn away from it and seek after Jesus Christ. There's nothing we can do to earn a relationship with God or Jesus because it's freely given to all who have the faith to believe that it's real.
After we have that kind of faith, then we get saved and born again into God's kingdom and his Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us and then we are filled with the " love of God " and begin to help others find their way to salvation. The love is the proof that we're filled with the Holy Spirit, because we can't fake it in our flesh. It's the love that proves to the world that we're disciples of Jesus Christ. It's what sets us apart from those who are lost and confused, including the ones who feel that they're saved christians, and yet act just like people who are unsaved.
Hebrews 11:6 says Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who 'comes to Him'.....must 'first believe' that He 'exists'.
This is just so simple...that first little step that we take toward God, is our first step of faith. Verse 6 continues to say that : He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. One of the simplest and most beautiful of these 'rewards'....is that we get to 'live' this life of faith, that we are building with each step toward Him. When others around us fail and lose hope, we have hope. When everything 'seems' to be falling apart, 'we' do not fall apart...because we have 'faith' in something others cannot see....because they simply do not believe. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. I find it absolutely amazing....that these things have been in my bible all along. But because my eyes were closed, I could not see them. God's rewards are like little 'treats'...sometimes like a tasty little morsel, a 'sweet'. He delights in our delight that we turn to Him. He really wants to fill us with Joy, He delights in us when we 'discover' how much he loves us and that He wants to 'please' us. All of creation 'groans and travails'......just waiting for 'us'. And finally brethren...Boing, Boing, Boing....We 'get it'. Hallelujah Hallelujah (hosts of angels singing)