I feel like this question has been asked a lot. I myself have asked it within my church community, and I always have gotten differing answers (that basically mean the same thing). “You are saved by your faith in God’s grace.”, “You are saved by God’s grace.”, “You are saved by faith, which is said to be dead without works.”. Those are the answers in the middle. Some will say, “You are saved if you’ve prayed the prayer.” or, “If you have prayed the prayer, you are saved. There is no need to do any works because you are saved by God’s grace.”. And I mean, to a certain extent, these things are true. But I don’t think they go deep enough. They only graze the surface. Indeed, no amount of works can make imperfect man perfect again. God’s grace however, can sanctify us and make us holy. I feel like just very recently, I’ve been able to wrap my head around the answer to this question better. I believe that you are saved if you know and have a personal relationship with God.
But what does that look like? I mean, I suppose even that statement can look somewhat “surface level”. But let me go a little deeper.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
So according to my own belief, to be saved, one must know God. To know God, one mustlove. Well then, what is love? Love seems to be a very broad term. Luckily, love is defined in the verses right after those two verses.
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
To be saved, one must know God. To know God, one must love. To love, one must love unconditionally. God loved us before we loved Him. And as it clearly shows in the verse, God’s love (the love that is requested of us) is not some lukewarm love that is all talk, it is a crazy red-hot sacrificial love that is life changing. I mean, I feel like we almost “coax” people when asking them to “pray the prayer, have faith and be saved.” Because really, we’re missing out on MASSES of information. IF you have faith in God, there is NO WAY that you can avoid experiencing God’s love. WHEN you experience God’s love, there is NO WAY to stop it from changing your life entirely. WHEN your life is transformed, THE ONLY OPTION is to LOVE people the way that God loved us!
I mean, in the end, yes, all this will be happening willingly. But at the same time, why do we give people a surface-level answer when they inquire about God? “Oh yeah, pray this prayer and you’ll go to heaven.” That doesn’t sound amazing at all! That doesn’t sound life-changing at all! The message of the good news is AMAZING and LIFE-CHANGING. Why have we converted it into a LUKE-WARM “pray this prayer once”? Are we afraid that we will scare them off if we tell them how much this decision will really “cost”? I don’t think we should be because what we gain,is LIFE, and life to the FULL. And that FAR outweighs the cost. I think either the mass majority of the church has a misconception of salvation, or is scared that the “full version” of the good news will not be accepted by the public. But I think we have also forgotten. It is not our words that convict people to follow Christ, it is the work of God and the Holy spirit. Church, do not be afraid. Preach the gospel, and preach the gospel in its entirety. Jesus WAS NOT afraid to do so,
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)
Jesus was VERY clear about the cost. If we are to follow Jesus’ example, why aren’t we?
Friends, do you know God? Have you experienced God’s overwhelming, crazy, life-changing love? Are you sharing that love with others? Are you going to heaven? Essentially, I feel that all of those questions are asking the same thing. I feel that I should share this video as well.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!