Recently, I was asked a question along the lines of “What does one need to know to be saved?” Or stated another way, “Can I know I am saved?” These questions were related to others that I have heard, “Who are the elect?” Or, again, “Does God choose us or do we choose God (sovereignty vs. freewill)? Is salvation secure?”
I am not entirely sure how to answer these questions. Not because I cannot walk someone through the Romans Road. Not because I haven’t been properly informed about soteriology. Not because I’ve never considered these questions before. Not because I don’t know how to answer these questions.
These questions are great questions. They are valid. They are essential to knowing if one has a proper understanding of the Faith. I’ve known about salvation since I can remember. I grew up in the church, went to a conservative Christian university, and graduated from two seminary programs. I can spit out these concepts and ideas like butter if I have to.
But I have several hangups in answering these questions. For starters, I do not want to categorize theological ideas about salvation into theological grids that didn’t really exist when scripture was written (Like sifting salvation through Calvinism or Arminianism or anything else). I also want to avoid pacifying an idea that if you “believe exactly like me and pray this prayer you can be in my religious club.” That seems far from what Jesus was going after when He said, “Follow me.” I also have yet to find an instance where Jesus invited others to “prayer a prayer after me” and “invite me into your heart” (However, I am not denying that such prayers can be valuable in today’s world that waits for His return).
Yet the ironic thing is that there are “house rules” when it comes to salvation. While salvation is free for all, it is not a “free for all” when it comes to what you believe and how you behave in God’s Kingdom. And while salvation is free for all, not all will receive what is a free gift of grace that came with a high price from Christ. There is a way to salvation. There is a way that leads to life. So, all this has challenged me to rediscover salvation.
I am not on a voyage to find another way to salvation. I am not journeying to see if I can be the first to discover an unknown secret that nobody else has yet found out about salvation in the Bible. I am not trying to be edgy or to push the envelope on our sacred tradition. What I liken this to is rediscovering or revisiting a family vacation spot that hasn’t been visited in a while. Or better yet, remembering the first time I drove into the city I now live. Seeing it new again. Being reborn again into the faith.
Have I seen and understood everything correctly? Can I make new connections with God’s word that I have not yet seen before? Getting refreshed on what salvation is, who is involved, how the involved participate in salvation. What does salvation mean? How is the term salvation used in Scripture. Does this differ than how we view and use this concept in our church discourse today? If so, is the way we use it Biblical and accurate? Is it misled? Or wrong? Or just different than how the saints of Old used it, but OK?
So, this is the road I am traveling…you’re welcome to come if you want, to join in with your thoughts. This is the first post of a several part series. I plan to start with searching “salvation, saved, delivered, etc.” in my Bible and to go from there. I’ll plan on posting frequently as I discover God’s truth. I’m looking forward to an encouraging journey in faith and learning more about our Savior. This should be pretty amazing. Seriously, you should come too!