Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Chapter 22 - Salvation, Where it Begins

Some of the difficulty in understanding what salvation is can be seen with two differing Christian groups. That they have names given them by each other shows the low regard each has for the other. One group called “easy believe-ism” espouses that salvation (becoming a Christian) is a simple matter of just believing in Jesus. The other group (“Lordship salvation”) advocates that salvation is to be found in making Jesus “Lord” of your life. The Lordship people feel that there is a danger in easy believe-ism that one could be mistaken about their salvation. The easy believe-ism people feel that the “Lordship” people can be mistakenly trusting in their works rather than in Jesus.

Salvation (the hope of eternal life) was originally offered to those of Israel who obeyed the law and had the promise of eternal life at their resurrection. When Jesus came and offered the kingdom to the nation of Israel, the hope of resurrection unto eternal life was changed from the righteousness of keeping the law to faith in Jesus.

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. - John 8:24

Several years later Paul announced that individual salvation to all by grace through faith was available..

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

It was perhaps because the nation of Israel was not responding to the kingdom offer through which the world was supposed to come to a knowledge of God, that individual salvation was made available so that this offer to the world could continue even if Israel failed.

This salvation had two additional elements. The first was being placed into what is called the “body of Christ”. The second was being “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. One problem many Christians have today is that they try to measure faith. Faith is simply trusting and can be as simple as trusting that a chair you are about to sit on will not collapse. It can also be as complex as a wedding vow. Paul told the Corinthians that they had responsibility for judging each other. However, faith was not the criteria (which would be impossible to measure), but rather conduct, which was measurable.

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. - 1 Corinthians 5:11

Christianity has been presented in many different ways such as the solution to feeling bad about sins, to escape the fires of hell, to gain immortality, to conform to the expectation of others, and even to achieve social prominence.

Faith is key to being a Christian and having salvation. It is also key to walking by the Spirit, having access to wisdom, and having discernment, but it is hard to nail down. There are degrees of faith as Jesus chided his disciples for their “little faith”. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith and Jesus responded with a story about servants that were only entitled to what they were due.

Faith can feel uncertain at first. However, as one grows in maturity, faith grows in certainty.


Information about Christianity and the Christian life.

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