Monday, February 4, 2013

What does it mean to be saved?

This is my third and last post about Brother Jed's visit to my university campus this year.  Today I would like to share a little more about Jed's teachings and my arguments against them.  I blogged about this last year as well, if you would like to read that here.  I don't want to share the exact same verses again, so today's post will be a continuation of that one.

A smaller group surrounding Jed
After listening to Jed and speaking with him in a smaller group for a few hours over the last few days, his "Gospel" message seems to be an odd amalgamation of both truth and lies, which is often how the enemy works.

Brother Jed believes that Jesus died for our sins.  However, Jed also believes that after putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you must never sin again.  If you do, he says you clearly weren't a Christian in the first place.  Many times, the "quotes" I share on this blog are paraphrases as close to truth as I can remember, but after being asked by a student, Jed said, and I quote word-for-word, "No, I don't sin."  Last year, he stated that he hadn't sinned since 1971.  This time around, he said he doesn't remember the last time he sinned, but that it has been a very, very long time.

A key difference between what I believe and what Jed believes is this: I believe that after putting my faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), I am seen as pure and righteous in the eyes of God because of the sacrifice of His Son (Isaiah 1:18).  Jesus took the place for my sin (John 3:16).  However, I am still living in an earthly body (1 Corinthians 15:40-44) in a broken world (Romans 3:23), and I must strive daily to die to myself and live in obedience to the Lord.  I am now a child of God and an heir who has been given eternal life because of His grace.  I have been justified (Titus 3:7-8).

A girl in discussion about the Gospel. Click to enlarge.
Brother Jed says that after receiving salvation, we must live perfectly.  Paul the Apostle discusses the issue in Romans 7, saying, "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ... Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me."  And in this same chapter of the Bible, Paul rejoices in the Lord's salvation, saying, "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

As long as we live on this earth, we will fight the war within ourselves, against the former master of sin and for a life of obedience and purity.  And sometimes we will make mistakes.  We will falter.  This is why grace is so necessary.

Brother Jed believes you must live a life of perfection on top of faith in order to achieve salvation.  I disagree. 

Titus 3:5
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." 
Ephesians 2:8-9
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." 

One student praying; others dressing up before protesting.
Salvation is not determined by righteous works.  Romans 9:16 says, "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy."  To say that we are kept from hell because of our sinlessness is a mockery of the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross.  We cannot achieve salvation from our own effort.  He gave us the opportunity to be made sinless through Him, but because we are still human and still live on this broken earth, we may still fall under temptation.

If we have been redeemed from the consequences of sin, why then don't we turn back to sin, simply because we can?  1 John 5:3 says, "This is love for God: to keep his commands."  We strive to live righteously because we love Him who first loved us, and we should want to be more like Him.  But even if we stumble and fall, we will not be condemned.  Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

John 3:17
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him."

Students praying for our campus a small distance away.
To believe that anything other than the grace of God offers us salvation is purely arrogance.  Jesus Christ died for us, sinners, to make atonement for our sins, so that we might have salvation in Him through faith.  This, my friends, is the Gospel.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to comment below, as long as you are respectful.  And, as always, please keep my university (as well as Brother Jed) in your prayers.

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