Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Get Saved or Get Lost!

What does it mean to "Get Saved?"

I don't know how this is going to go, but I'm going to do a few posts on the nature of salvation. This is much heavier post than a cool video clip or the latest music review, but I hope you'll jump in with me on this one.

(If you want something to get your mind running before you take the plunge, take a look at Rob Bell's Nature of Salvation Part 1 & Part 2 as blogged by Soul Renovatus.)

I read an article today about a funeral message that was troubling to me. I'll try to deal with this in more detail with another post. But for now let me just say that this started my mind on this whole idea of the nature of salvation.

I am beginning to think that the way the church looks at salvation is changing. In my early experience salvation was mainly about "getting saved." On the surface this was the idea that you made a mental affirmation to the facts of the gospel and if you believed they were true, repented of you sins, said some sort of prayer, then you would go to heaven when you die.

Some people added things to this idea. If you cussed, or drank, or did some terrible sin and you died without asking forgiveness, then you would be lost. Or on the flip side, you needed to do good deeds, read your Bible, come to church, give, pray etc... in order to maintain God's favor and your hope of heaven.

Mr. Forlines, one of my favorite college professors, had a term for this. He called it "Cheap Easy Believism." Fill out the card, come to the altar, say the prayer, or get dunked under the water, it basically reduced salvation to a formula.

Other people in my life soon taught me that doing good deeds had nothing to do with maintaining God's favor or your entrance into heaven. They knew that there was more than this, they knew this had to be accompanied by significant change - regeneration. These things were secured by Christ and the grace of God, not by any effort on our part.

So how do we prevent people from trusting the "steps" to salvation instead of trusting the Savior? An even more basic question would be, "are there 'steps' ?" Can you "get saved" if you don't say the sinners prayer? What if you don't confess your sins? What if you don't walk down the Romans Road? In the next post I'll explore these questions.


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