The thought has been running through my mind lately about what exactly is (or causes) the tipping point between one’s damnation and salvation. While it is true that many have a lightning bolt experience, like me, and others have a more gradual awaking of their salvation, akin to a sunrise, the fact is that something has changed. Whether one can pinpoint the exact moment or not is secondary to the fact that there was a defining change.
As you know, I am of the opinion that scripture tells us this whole process is God’s doing, not man’s. Yes, faith is the requirement of salvation, but I believe that scripture is clear that even our faith is God’s gift. In fact, our sin is so engrained in us that we are incapable of seeking God on our own. Being religious is not the same as being saved. All we need to do is look to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time to know that religious people may be far, far from God. It’s no different today.
Some religious people, including those who fly under the banner of “Christian”, believe that it doesn’t really matter what you believe because there really is nothing to worry about. Others do believe that heaven and hell are real. These folks generally care about another’s status in Christ, and there are all sorts of views about exactly how one obtains that Golden Ticket to Heaven. Some say it’s as simple as infant baptism. Others say that is just the first step and that one must be very careful to tow the line. Still others say all this is unnecessary because God has already decided before the earth was formed who would and who would not occupy heaven.
At face value, this last one seems utterly ridiculous and is discarded without consideration. I get that. I did the same thing. Still, there were all those nagging verses about election from the beginning of the bible all the way to the end that I simply couldn’t ignore. There is great debate about this. It all boils down to this: does man have an active role in his/her own salvation or not. One camp says that, indeed, he does and without it no salvation is possible. After all, we are required to believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus was raised from the dead and is Lord, right? (Romans 10:9). Others say that this action is merely a response to grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Who is right? Does it matter? Many would categorize this as secondary doctrine, non-vital to salvation. Virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus would be examples of necessary doctrine. Still, these two views are very much in conflict with each other. Both can’t be right. If Jesus is Truth, should we not seek Truth? Of course, we should.
What does our spirit tell us about this? I don’t know if this is defining, but it should serve to give us pause for thought: What do we instinctively do when our child is not a Christian? We pray that the Lord may soften his/her heart, don’t we? We pray that the Lord may place godly workers in her path to share the gospel with her. We plead with God to do whatever is necessary to wake this stubborn young man to his senses. We cry out to God to please make this child understand. We seek others to pray with us. Why, God, won’t my child see what is so evident to me?
Do you see what we are admitting in all this? We are admitting that salvation is beyond our efforts. We are admitting that it takes a miracle. We are admitting that it takes God to get through to our children. We are admitting that we cannot do this for them. We are also admitting they cannot do it for themselves. Finally, we are admitting that we cannot do it for ourselves, either.
If this is not true, we have no business praying to God to do something that we are fully capable of (and responsible for) doing ourselves. Right?
Don’t skip over that.
On the other hand, if it is true that only God can unlock that door, then we need to change the way we think.
So, tell me. Do you pray for your children’s salvation?
Father, teach me to pray. I want to understand your will so that I know how I should pray. Show me. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers