Do you believe in salvation? Our faith in Jesus and accepting Him as our Savior is our salvation. That’s a must for (Ephesians 2:8). Those of us that accepted Jesus as adults, in that very moment when we decided for Christ, we were momentarily in that place of calm delight (Strong’s Concordance #5479), a kind of joy you never experienced. Maybe you can remember being at peace and standing in the grace of God.
Did you get that? Momentarily in a joyful place.
The day of our baptism is a public declaration of faith (for those making the decision for themselves), and for the moment, we experienced real joy.
Wait a minute. There it is again. For the moment, we experience real joy.
Surprise! Walking with Jesus isn’t a continuous party. Quite the opposite. And that is a common argument, “I’m saved, so why am I still _______________?” You fill in the blank–lonely, angry, sad, bitter, gossiping, vindictive, unforgiving, or doing all the same things that got you into trouble in the first place.
The argument begins when we accept Christ
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV)
If God forgets the past, why do I still remember?
Your memories are part of you, but God is the giver of new beginnings (Isaiah 43:18-19). When we love God and respond to His call, everything is used for our good (Romans 8:28). Even those memories of what used to be can feed the joy of what lies ahead. Memories are not a vacation destination. They are lessons and should bring unique retrospective joyfulness because of what God has done.
We are forgiven and made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). That is what Jesus died for so that we could spend eternity, ETERNITY, with Him. But some of us don’t believe that at the outset. I mean after the initial inner glow of the salvation experience.
Not so long after that initial calm delight we experience on salvation day, we might have a failure of sorts. We gossiped about a friend, got angry with the kids, told a fib because we didn’t want to talk on the phone, or woke up with a hang-over. Then we think God made a mistake and start making the argument for our unworthiness of heaven.
If you accepted Jesus, you are worthy because He says you are. That’s it.
The argument escalates when we question Christ
I will give you one heart and a new spirit; I will take you from your hearts of stone and give you tender hearts of love for God so that you can obey my laws and be my people, and I will be your God.
—Ezekiel 11:19-20 (TLB)
Confession time, I am not a bible scholar. But when I read this passage from Ezekial, I think we can view the people God was speaking to like Christians today. We have the Holy Spirit. They didn’t. His job is to make the believer’s heart soft by piercing it with love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and JOY (Galatians 5:22).
The fruit of the Spirit grows in us, changing us from the inside out. The desire to continue down our pre-Christian path decreases over time. And just as the prophet Ezekial said, our ability to obediently follow Christ increases. Thank you, Jesus!
This inside-out change is fantastic! And I, like many others, am waiting for it to happen. But when we don’t see progress, the question of true salvation comes back to mind. It bubbles beneath the surface, prickling against our new skin, “Am I really saved?” as if salvation doesn’t stick.
We continue questioning God. How can God possibly accept me? I’ve done this, that, and the other thing. My friend, that thinking will
steal your joy bit by bit. God is disappointed by your lapses in judgment, but he is not disappointed in you.
Friends, don’t be deceived by the enemy drawing you backward with feelings of unworthiness, rejection, condemnation, or self-loathing. Nonsense! This is not from God (Romans 8:1).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
—Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
Defusing the argument
Real change takes longer than we would like but lasts longer than we can imagine. And if we would stop arguing with God on the issue, I think it’s safe to say we will experience joy in the process. In Ephesians, we read that we are hand-crafted by God, created for good works. Friends, we have our own fruit to produce (John 15:16).
Embrace your new self and stop presenting the argument for your unworthiness of heaven. God’s grace is a gift. No refunds or returns are allowed. So stand tall and start acting like He chose you to be on His team. You were not left alone on the playground after all the other kids were chosen.
You are not the consolation prize.
Jesus chose you first, even before you chose Him.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.
—John 15:16 (CSB)
- Have you ever doubted your salvation? Why?
- Consider writing out a prayer itemizing the reasons for doubting your salvation, then release every one of them God because He can take it. This may take some time, and that’s okay.
- Try keeping Romans 5:1-2 handy. Speak this truth over yourself as reinforcement of where you stand with God.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
—Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)
This post is part of the #Write28Days writing challenge. The prompt today is ARGUMENT. Check out the other great writers participating in this challenge. Thanks to Anita Ojeda for host the event.