I preached on salvation yesterday. It was a great reminder for me of the centrality of the Gospel Message to our life and our communities. Allow me to boil the sermon down to a paragraph and then add some comments.
Faith in Christ’s life, death, resurrection, ascension and impending return is the basis for salvation. True faith goes beyond head knowledge. It is a commitment which shapes and directs our thoughts, words, and deeds. Faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit, always leads to works and fruitfulness or it is not faith but something else which falls well short of salvation. Faith, by God’s grace, places us in a relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which results in salvation from sin and death and for abundant life. Salvation always begins with today and lasts for eternity. Or in other words, salvation is not something we wait to die to receive. It is more than a heavenly destination. It is therefore an earthly reality too.
And this is why, in my opinion, salvation is the central message and mission of the Church. It is the one thing that we focus upon that leads to all other things. Or as I sometimes say, it is the deep that leads to wide.
Therefore, salvation, and its impact upon our lives, is something we need always to be reminded of, be grateful for, and share generously with others. Or else, we risk grieving the Holy Spirit and walking away from the very faith that brought us out of sin and death and into abundant life.
And that leads me to assurance of salvation. How do we know? How can we be sure? It is more than saying a prayer. But it may very well begin there for you. It is more than knowing a day and time. But if you do I am happy for you. Assurance of salvation is found in our relationship with Christ and the resulting work of the Holy Spirit within us. The fruit in our lives is our assurance. The visible signs of a relationship with Christ are promised throughout Scripture. Are you increasing in love? Do you have joy? Is your heart filled with compassion? I could go on, but perhaps a reading of Galatians 5 would be most helpful. These signs throughout the moments of our life are the assurance we need to be confident that we are children of God.
Are you saved? The most important question we all must wrestle with in our lifetime. I pray the above has been a helpful reminder, primer, and confidence builder.
Here are some Scriptures that form the basis of the above for your further review and help.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [John 3:16-18 NRSV]
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. [John 10:10 NRSV]
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. [Acts 1:8 NRSV]
10 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” [Romans 10:14-15 NRSV]
9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. [Romans 10:9-10 NRSV]
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. [James 2:14-17 NRSV]
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us. [1 John 3:23-24 NRSV]