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06 February, 2013

We Need To Revise Our Definition of Salvation

When we look at an accomplished and charismatic pastor like Charles Templeton who literally fell from grace and after everything he had accomplished in the Church, (in the flesh) many of us Christians have a hard time accepting the fact that he was not saved, for two reasons. The first one is OUR understanding and definition of Salvation that we are not ready to part with and embrace God’s definition. The second reason we cannot accept that he was not a Christian, it’s because deep down within, we know if we were to accept that Charles Templeton was not saved, then that would mean we’d have to examine our walk with Him a little deeper, leave our comfort zone, changing our ways, admitting that we were wrong etc., and we are not willing to do that. Mind you after you die, it will not longer be your choice anymore.

In Acts 8:1-25 we see Philip in Samaria preaching the good news. Many believed and even Simon the magician believed and got baptized. Then, he continued on with Philip. But, Simon was amazed by all the signs and miracles that he witnessed. While Peter John and Philip were laying hands on the people of Samaria, we see Simon in verse 18-19 offering money to the apostles in exchange for the authority they have received from the Holy Spirit. “But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

You see, the Church is filled with people in the same calibre as Simon and Charles Templeton is a perfect picture of it. It does not have to be someone practicing magic but rather someone who never lets go of sin, still deeply in bondage or someone who claim to be Christian yet has no concept of what true Christianity in the heart is about. It could also be someone who has  been going through the motion of Christianity for years while in the Church and in the Bible day in day out, yet never been transformed. The bottom line here, is that Simon’s heart was not right with God and although he appeared to believe but his belief did not amount to anything because the Gospel did not penetrate his heart. When you look at what Peter said in these verses above, Simon’s heart was what Peter was concerned about. No matter how great Simon’s sin was in the past, but, when the Gospel touches your heart and you have an encounter with Him, big or small, your heart is never the same again. And Peter could tell his belief was superficial.  

Things have gotten worse the past few thousands years because, instead of rebuking people like that, today’s Church actually welcomes and rewards them to the point of promoting them. This is how pathetic Christianity has become. Even though the Bible says not everyone calling Him lord will be saved, most of us Christians are still finding it hard to admit, that it is possible to have many in the pews and the pulpits who are simply little Pharisees or Scribes in the making. And they have never found their identity in Christ’s righteousness.

Christ is looking for people who are willing to be made holy and transformed by Him while living in the new nature we received from Him as a gift. This new nature He put inside cannot live without Him. Because the new nature He put in us is His own nature it does make sense that this new nature is in love with Christ’s nature and yearn to be one with Him. It is in that new nature that Christ changes us.

We desperately need to revise our idea of Salvation and let God re-define it for us!