Growing Your Faith

Who is saved?

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom. 10:9

It has only been a few weeks since I lost my beautiful mother.  My heart is still so very tender.  I miss her.

My mother did not have an easy life, but you would not have known it if you spoke with her.  She was intelligent, strong, opinionated, and loved to laugh.  She was a wonderful mother, always sacrificing for her children.  She wasn’t perfect, but she was amazing in her strength and love.

Yet, to this day, I am not certain that she was saved.  I cannot let go of the fact that I literally sat by her bedside for 2 and a half months and did not ask her about the status of her salvation.  It was just not talked about in our family.  When I was small, she would take us to church every now and then, but as I grew into a pre-teen, I was the only one in my home that had an active faith. It remained that way.  I know she was baptized as a child – so she made the profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  I was not there, obviously, but I think I can safely assume she was sincere.  However, during the last few decades of her life, there seemed to be no evidence of it.

So, I am left to wonder…who is saved?  That long debated, age old question.  Who. Is. Really. Saved?

Romans 10:9 states clearly and succinctly, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  That seems so cut and dry. So simple.  And with our small, human understanding  perhaps it is too simple.  But I think it is the simplicity that makes it so astounding.  If it were difficult, if it took great effort, it would somehow be twisted into OUR doing, not His.  And it is, after all, only His doing.

Add to this Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” and it seems to be a no-brainer.  You sincerely get saved, and you are saved.  No questions asked – because God is just that good to us.

So why am I still concerned, and why is this such a huge debate among Christian communities and scholars?  Well, there are just as many verses that seem to refute the above point of view as there are to support it.  Hebrews 10:26 seems to support this best, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,”  Ouch.  Wow.  I have continued sinning after being saved.  Does anyone completely quit sinning?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Basically, if you even THINK about it, it’s like you did it.  Whoa!  How many Christians can say they have never even THOUGHT sinfully?  I am going to go out on a limb here and say not one.

Here is the conundrum.  If you keep on sinning, there no longer remains that sin sacrifice from Jesus, but we all still sin in some form or fashion.  So what, then, is the cut off point?  Is the guy who leaves his wife no longer saved?  What about the college student out partying every weekend?  How about the lady who gossips in church?  How bad is bad enough to lose your salvation?  According to the words of Jesus, even sinful thoughts are as bad as the sin itself.  Apparently, there is no cut off.

But Hebrews 10:26, and many other verses, are still there, plain as day, in the Bible.  And we can’t just pick and choose what we want to hear, right?

In my opinion, and mind you, I am no Bible scholar, it is about your heart.  Your sincerity.  We are all going to stumble, we all are going to make a sinful choice now and then.  Praise Jesus my salvation is not up to me.  It is ALL Him.  Jesus literally paid it all, and there is nothing, NOTHING we can do that will make us worthy.  I think it makes us feel superior, sometimes, this gift from God.  It makes us feel as if we are better than our fellow humans.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…”  (Philippians 2:3)  Oops.  We have it backwards.  We are supposed to value others over ourselves!  We are told to think of ourselves and less than!  The fact that we are saved clearly does not make us BETTER than anyone else.  

What then, is the answer?  Well, only a few, very self actualized questions can honestly answer this question…

Is my heart where it should be with the Lord?  Did I accept Him with a sincere heart?  Only I REALLY know the answer to that question.  Only I can be certain.  All the good I do, and all the bad, really means nothing, in the end.  It is all about the sincerity of my heart.  We can never absolutely know the heart of another.  They may do great works in the name of the Lord, or they may do very little.  They may outwardly sin, or they may hide their sin physically or in their thoughts.  But their heart – that’s where it is.  That is where we find, keep, and love our Lord Jesus.

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