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09 January, 2013

Salvation is a Gift from God….Not From Us!

There is a late Christian television show, I do not usually watch it, but once in a while I will check it out hoping it will be that day the host will have a nugget to share. It has not happened yet. A few weeks ago a young man called his show; he was upset with the direction of his life i.e., drugs, women, late parties, lots of personal problems etc. He mentioned he just came home where he is living alone, he was flipping channels and when he saw the show on television he decided to call in too. It is usually infomercials or his show if you do not have a good cable package.

While the caller was going on and on about his problems, the host mumbled something like Christ can take it all away. The caller continued talking, while wallowing in pity as if it was someone else’s fault. There was no awareness of his sinful nature. I have to give the host credit for saying something to the effect that we are all sinners but the caller did not hear him. In the meantime, the host not paying attention that the caller was talking his head off already started to say the sinner's prayer. The pause from the host came when he wanted the caller to repeat after him and the caller was still going on about his problems and loneliness. The host had to interject more than once with those words “I need you to repeat after me” Finally the caller realized the host wanted to say something. Before he even had time to breathe he was repeating the sinner's prayer so badly with a question mark and disappointment in his voice.

It was really bad to watch. The caller did not find what he was looking for, a sympathetic set of ears. So, to wrap it all up the host told the caller that he was now a Christian and he has been sealed with the Holy Spirit and he is now a child of God and can never lose his salvation. It was horrible! This host was satisfied with himself. You could tell he is totally blind to the fact that salvation is a gift from God but not from us. He was clueless to the fact that he jammed his salvation idea down the caller’s throat in less than 2 minutes. It was clear to anyone with an ounce of the Holy Spirit that the caller did not call because he was prepared to receive salvation from God.

The whole thing was sad. The Church is so corrupted with false doctrines and hollow rituals that it is painful to watch how we are destroying ourselves along with other people. We misunderstand the word grace and how it works from God’s viewpoint. We are spiritually ignorant and blind. We think just because the word of God says “call onto me and I will answer thee” this gives us the right to make a mockery out of the Gospel. When we are manipulating people (knowingly or not) to say the sinner's prayer, they are not calling upon God. Beside this verse has many implications that there is more than one sermon written about it. Even when we do not fully understand what we are dealing with, we can call on Him and He will answer. But, we call on Him because we have the desire to call and we are done with idolatry and worshiping false gods. We call on Him to deliver us because we are aware to some extend that He alone and no one else can help us. We call because He has given us some sort of light to see our spiritual need. Etc.

Some say well the Gospel say “believe and you will be saved” It is true the gospel says believe and you will be saved, I know it first hand. But, not when someone else is doing a bad job of believing for you. How convenient, when we quote this verse in Acts 16:31, we completely dismiss the unbelievable job that was done by Him to prepare the jailer for the Gospel. We missed out on the fact that the jailer had acquired a repentant heart because he could see his need for God, and we miss out on the fact that he became aware of his own depravity. This jailer had an encounter with God that was so powerful that he did not care what the Romans would do to Him if they found out he went with the prisoners. He did not even care that he left his post and did not bother about the state of the jail. – Because we miss the work of God in the process, we are not giving Him His glory back. But, then again, it makes sense we cannot see all these things if we are not walking with Him and never have an encounter with Him.

One can only believe when God gets involved and it does not take a genius to see in many cases God is nowhere to be found in our transactions. We are so deep into cheap grace we bestow on ourselves we are sharing it with others with no clue of the abomination of our acts. If we could learn to examine ourselves better, we would learn to deal with our need to bring people to Christ as if we don’t do it, Christ will not find them. Salvation is not a numbers game either. Our job is to make sure we are walking with God so closely and so unhindered that we are there for each one who is ready to accept Him. He alone prepares their hearts for us. How can we not see the difference between our shoddy jobs and the Spirit’s job is beyond me. Yes we do not know the heart, but where He is leading we do not have to worry about anything.

Some of our problems are the fact that we are not even aware that He is not leading. We are living fabricated lives with a man made understanding of righteous living and commitment to His truth. We are not aware that we are not living out His purpose for our lives. We are not aware that we are saturated with our sins, our disobedience and stubbornness and we are not aware of His life in us.  Yet while this life is completely elusive to us, we are happy in our assumptions that we must be okay. We have to get to know Christ a little bit better for ourselves first; we have to learn to walk with Him as our Master, not just as a savior before He can use us to save people through us. If you ever experienced God working unhindered through you to get to other people, you would never do anything in your own power anymore. Furthermore, you would repent for having done so in the past when you did not know Him well enough. The element we are missing out is “Him doing the work through us

If the Holy Spirit ever showed you what the Word of God means by “being saved by the skin of your teeth” you would first of all shiver and remain speechless for a while. Instantly you would get out of your system, the idea that a shoddy salvation job is better than nothing. And you would make it your goal to stop working for Him and stop living out your own desires, goals and purposes. It is such an abomination to God when we are living out our own wishes and desired goals that we would never take our surrender to His will for our lives, lightly. This is more so for people who put themselves in teaching and leadership positions in the Church, this includes those who built their empires through television.  

If you believe that God called you to be in some sort of teachings or leadership position in the Church, yet, after years and years you are still spiritually blind, this should be an indication that you have moved forward with your own understanding without waiting for Him to make things clearer for you. Sadly, our pride won’t let us accept easily that we have messed up.

May God have mercy on us!