Salvation – Part 1

You know those people who have great testimonies of radical change and total turn around? The ones who grew up without Godly influence or fell away from their family’s belief to pursue their own pleasure, only to be sought out by God and fall into His open grace and love? My dad has one of those testimonies. I don’t.

As many of you know, I grew up in a Christian home. I’ve always been familiar with the Gospel and my coming to Christ was a slow process of that head knowledge seeping into my heart. There is no specific date of my salvation or a time when everyone could suddenly see a difference in me.

And sometimes I wish it was a bit more “radical.” You know… perhaps that I had fallen a little further so that when my heart finally understood the Gospel it was more evident. But I’ve come to realize that the Gospel is evident in my life right now and that’s what is most important.

Still, there are times when people doubt my salvation simply because my lack of a date. Is there a place in the Bible that tells us to determine the validity of a person’s faith on whether or not they can remember the date and time that they came to Christ? Jesus tells us that we will know a Christian by their fruit.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. -Matthew 7:16-20

In other words, is Christ evident in their lives? Are they growing in their faith? Are their lives dedicated to the God who saved them so that they are living each day with a desire to serve Him? Is that desire pushing them to lead others to Christ? To love the unlovable? To help the helpless? To have hospitality toward others? Not to say that these people will be perfect, but that they are living differently from the world and allowing the love of God to show through them.

As I talked to a friend yesterday about controversy over having different beliefs than your friends, we considered the different ways that so called Christians handle or even seek out this controversy. In the end I determined that there two kinds of fake Christians in this world: there are those who push everyone away with their anger, bitterness, and supposed righteousness; then there are those who shy away from controversy to the point of being no different from the world, so that even if they say they are a Christian, what is the proof? And if there is no difference, then what is the point? Both of these people push others away from Christ, rather than drawing them closer, and it is these of whom I would question the validity of their salvation.

All of this revolves around a single problem: an inadequate understanding of the Gospel. Because you see, the Gospel demands a response, and those who live life as the world cannot understand the Gospel, otherwise they would live like it. But the Gospel also demands love, and those who live their lives in anger and bitterness toward the world cannot understand the great love that Christ had in giving His life for sinners, otherwise they would not be pushing those very same sinners away with their bitterness.

And if you do not understand the Gospel, can you really be saved?

In the same chapter of Matthew that I quoted above, Jesus tells us this:

“Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” -Matthew 7:13-14

And it scares me to think how many people in this world have a false security in calling themselves “Christian.” How many were led astray by someone who pushed them to say a prayer they did not understand? So that now they think they are working for Christ when they do not even truly understand what it is to be His. It scares me as I consider how many will stand before God and hear these words:

“I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” -Matthew 7:23

Stay tuned as I continue on this topic and discuss the importance of sharing your faith with a greater value of the gospel.

15 comments

  1. Rachel, my testimony of salvation is very simular to yours. I have definitely felt the same way you have about wanting to have a “radical day of salvation” to share when people ask. So I just want to say thank you for writing this, it’s encouraging to hear another testimony of a believer who was saved by the gradual working power of the Gospel. Grace.

  2. Joanna Abraham says:

    Thanks for the post, Rachel. We’ve just been discussing the passage in Matthew in our mid-week Bible Study. Growing up in a Christian home myself, sometimes I struggle with, “Yeah, sure I act like a Christian, but who wouldn’t who’s been brought up the way I have?” But like you said, the Gospel is the key.

  3. Julie says:

    Loved this post, I have a similar testimony. I go a catholic college (even though I’m not catholic) and a lot of the girls I’m friends with say that they are Christians but u can tell from their words and actions that they aren’t. Please pray for them.

    • Thank you, Julie! 🙂 I will definitely be praying for you friends. As a Christian, this is your opportunity to demonstrate to them what a true Christian looks like so that they may see that they are not truly what they claim to be. I will be praying for you as well as you do this. 🙂

  4. Ania says:

    Hey 🙂 This post is so important. I know I need it and I’m looking forward to your next one. I don’t know, I just wanted ask you to pray for me. I’m feeling like a total failure, questioning my salvation, because of all the sin I see in my life and that I don’t feel God’s closeness now… I’m sorry about writing about it here, I’m just feeling so bad and scared… anyway, thank you for this blog,
    Love,Ania.

    • Hey Ania, thank you for reading. 🙂 I understand exactly where you are, friend. It is a place that, I believe, all Christians are familiar with. Not only that, but it is evident to me that because of this struggle, you truly do know Christ. The fact that you are sensitive to your sin is testimony to your desire to be free of it. I know that you see your struggle and feel as though anyone struggling so much must not be truly saved, but this is not so! When we come to God, broken and lost, and He revives us, it is a fight against our own sin nature as we are sanctified. And if there is no struggle… no battle… then I would sincerely doubt that you were saved. Corrie Ten Boom said something in one of her books that just floored me and has since stuck with me in every trouble: “Sometimes you think that you are not a Christian when you have trouble, but I should very much doubt whether you are a Christian at all if you did not have trouble.”
      Here in this life we will struggle, Ania. We will be confronted with our shortcomings and it will be a hard pill to swallow. As God refines us, our sinfulness is brought to light. But it is a reminder to us that God is the one who is good and He deserves the glory. Because as we see our own weakness, we see His strength and it is a reminder that without Him we are nothing. It is a reminder that God did not choose us because of our righteousness, because our righteousness is worthless. He chose us to impart His righteousness to us so that in our weakness, He might be glorified. Another time, Corrie Ten Boom says: “We will see more and more that we are chosen not because of our ability, but because of His power that will be demonstrated in our not being able.”
      God does not love you less because you are sinful. He has loved you at your very worst and will continue to love you as He always has. That’s the way He is. His love does not change because we fail in our love for Him. When we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). That is the God we serve. The one who takes us, unworthy as we are, and loves us nonetheless – in spite of all our sins and shortcomings.
      As you work at overcoming your sin, my dear, remember that your salvation is not based on your own righteousness. While it is true that God’s presence in your life will result in sin being put to death, you will not automatically be made perfect. You will struggle, you will battle, you will fall, but God is your help and with Him you already have the victory. These struggles give us a greater desire for the time when we will no longer struggle. When we will love and worship God as we ought and serve Him perfectly in Heaven. One day, my friend! For now, His grace is sufficient as we struggle to put our sin nature to death and mirror the glory and righteousness of our Lord.
      You are in my prayers, Ania! <3
      Love,
      Rachel

      • Ania says:

        Dear Friend, thank you so much for answering my comment and for you encouragement. It means a lot, thank you for that verse (2 Timothy 2:13). I just read a few verses in Ezechiel and they really struck me. The first one is Ezekiel 20:44 – And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds.
        That was so comforting and then there is Ez 20:12 – I am the LORD, who sanctifies them.
        I realized that I have to look to the cross, where my debts have been paid and where my sould has been freed.

        So thank you thank you thank you again for writing back and praying. You are such a blessing <3

        I'm so thankful for you,
        With love,
        Ania. (I'll be sure to remember those quotes, they're so true.)

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