Salvation, in my opinion, isn’t as easy as western Christianity makes it out to be. As Christians we need to be careful not to allow our culture to infect our religion, but in the most integral aspect of our faith it has, and dangerously so.
Many modern-day churches make the call for salvation in the form of a prayer. “Everyone, close your eyes. If anyone wants to accept Jesus Christ, raise your hand. I see that hand. I see that hand. Okay, now everyone repeat after me.” If you’ve ever heard that style of salvation, approach your pastor and tell them that they need to rethink their station. Just like the Salvation Prayer the citation of, “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,” is misused.These statements contradict everything the Bible says. If you’re thinking, “how can the Bible contradict itself?” hold onto your seat.
Let’s take a walk back to Sunday school where you learned about the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27). Jesus didn’t quote Romans 10:9 to him. The answer he gave the rich young ruler was much more demanding than the modern interpretation of that scripture. So, why didn’t Jesus tell the rich young ruler, “Hey! You’re the best non-Christian I’ve ever met. You’re pretty much there. Just say out loud that I’m your lord and then believe that I’m going to die for your sins and you’re golden.” I mean none of us can lay claim to that rich young ruler’s virtues.
I’ll ask this question again, in a different way. When Jesus talks in Matthew 16:25-26 he says nearly the same thing. Why is that? Why isn’t Jesus telling people “salvation is easy?” Why is he telling people “to be saved that have to sacrifice?” Again, he didn’t say to his disciples “Oh, it’s easy. Pretty much make a bunch of sounds with your mouth that resemble my name and then believe in your heart that I’m going to be raised from the dead and then shazam, you’re saved. Oh and yeah, you’ll see me physically raised from the dead later on down the road so don’t sweat it. Except for you Judas,” as he gives Judas a leery look.
Why do Jesus’ interpretations of salvation never line up with the modern-day conception of what we believe it takes to be saved? Simply because they don’t. You can’t reconcile these concepts together. One is obviously being mistranslated to our modern-day English. The real reason that it has become mistranslated isn’t because the translators are using the wrong words, but because we as 21st century Americans don’t have a concept for what is being stated here.
What Paul in Romans is trying to say isn’t that making noises with your mouth and believing with your heart will get you anywhere nearer to the Kingdom of Heaven than building a tower that reaches heaven. James 2:19 throws the believing thing out of the water, and Jesus takes the confessing with your mouth part, throws it on the ground and tramples it into oblivion. Why? Because the gate is narrow (Luke 13).
The truth of the matter is the verse that is so often used to show people what it means to be a Christian is taken wildly out of context. When Paul writes: confess with your lips, or however you want to translate it, he means confess in a true sense. Paul didn’t write “say;” he used the word “confess,” which means to admit something to be true, as in to stand before a jury and say, “okay, yeah, I did it.” To understand what Paul is saying, we would have to live in a time where we are under persecution. We aren’t. America is the place to be if you’re a Christian. Someone might make fun of you, maybe. Odds are, though, you’re too afraid to confess to your non-Christian friends that you are a Christian.
I have a friend who often cites a story where she was being serious with a friend of hers, and that friend looked at her and said: “I didn’t know you could be serious.” It’s the same thing with our faith. It’s important that people know we are believers. If you can’t profess your faith to the people around you, in the safest environment on earth, how could you stand before a jury, facing the penalty of torture or death, and say “Jesus Christ is Lord?” People around you should know you’re a Christian, just like my friend failed her friends by not letting them know she was capable of being serious. If you want to be serious, make serious conversation. If you want to be a Christian, make it known.
As Christians we shouldn’t be afraid of our faith. If you are, when you get to heaven be prepared to hear, “I never knew you.” Now, read these scriptures and come back: Mark 10:17-27 Matthew 16:25 Luke 13:22-30 James 2:19 Luke 9:23.
If what these say is true, salvation isn’t a one time occurrence, but instead it is a way of life. We need to walk in the freedom of salvation. We can’t turn from the left or to the right. Salvation isn’t something that is earned, but it is something that needs to be maintained. We have grace, don’t forget that, but the bible says that God will spit the lukewarm from his mouth. It is imperative that we as believers should seek to walk in the fullness of our salvation. (Rev 3:16)
I say all of that to say how important it is that we remember that our salvation is a gift. If you receive a gift from someone, say a nice shirt, you don’t walk into their house and pour wine down the front of it. You don’t wear it as a headband while you work, getting it dirty. You treat it with the same respect that you would treat that person, because that gift is a connection between the two of you. Salvation is the same way. Don’t take it for granted and use it as a safety net or you may be one of those who say
Jesus also said in 1 Confabulations that you should follow me on Twitter.