In the opening letter to the Galatians, written by the apostle Paul, Paul tells us the Lord Jesus Christ "gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God and our father." Gal. 1:4
Today we often have a cheap grace preached. We have a lot of professing Christians who have just enough knowledge of God to be dangerous and still hellbound.
They have a little salvation in their soul and a lot of hell in their head and their heart. If you were to ask these individuals if they believed they were going to heaven they would say "Yes, certainly."
Because they made a decision for Jesus that's why.
They responded to an altar call.
They were led through the A, B, C's of salvation. ACCEPT, BELIEVE, and CONFESS and then they were given assurance that they were saved.
But no man can give you assurance. No man can give you an assurance because no man really knows your heart. Only the Holy Spirit can give you the conviction that you have been delivered from the wrath to come- that you have indeed experienced a true repentance and that this repentance is evidenced by a saving faith manifested by good works.
You see our faith is not the cause of our salvation. When a person is told to put his faith in Christ it is pre-supposed that he has faith to trust in Christ to lay hold on Christ. This faith is actually the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ which is a gift.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I LIVE BY THE FAITH OF the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." Gal. 2:20. The expression "I live by the faith of" tells us the origin of this faith which justifies. Rom 5:1; Gal. 2:16. "By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8,9
Grace is the cause of our salvation. Faith is the means of our salvation. "For by GRACE are ye saved, through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES, it is the gift of God; NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." We often have this backwards and say that we are saved because of our faith implying this faith resulted because of something in us as though it were an act of our doing and our free will.
Wait a minute. Where did this faith come from? Did it come from our old man, i.e. our old nature? No! We were DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS. We had NO FAITH of ourself. Eph. 2:1
The problem we have today is that people don't really believe that God must punish sin. They respond to a salvation message often times based on an emotional appeal. The preacher or the evangelist or the crusade leader happens to be charismatic, very personable, very dynamic, very articulate. very persuasive. (All the things that make up a good salesman frankly.)
The fact of the matter is that the sinner has not come to know his sin and misery. He hasn't really come to know himself. Oh yes, he knows his marriage is failing. He knows that his finances have sunk low and so he's told Jesus can help him and that Jesus is the answer to all his problems.
But the one problem that we have is the sin problem and we can't answer that problem of ourselves. Christ came to answer that problem. What we need is a vital living union with the Son of God.
Christ is the Lord of all of life. He is our Creator to whom we have to do and therefore, we must trust Him and believe His word.
Now some only believe for a time and then go their own way despising the Holy One of Israel. Such professing Christians only have a temporary faith. To these individuals Christ will say at the sentencing of judgment on the last day "Depart from me ye that work iniquity or lawlessness (Matt. 7:23) for "not everyone who says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt.7:21)
When Jesus asked his disciples will you also forsake me because there were many of his disciples who said, after they had heard him teach that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. "This is a hard saying. Who can hear it?" they said. John 6:60
Later after being offended by Jesus' words that no man can come to me except it were given unto me of my father many of his disicples went back and walked no more with him. John 6:66
verse 67 "Will you also go away?" asked Jesus.
Then Simon Peter answered him, "Lord to whom shall we go. Thou hast the words of eternal life. John 6:68
When a person gets to the point where he knows this Jesus Christ is in fact the Son of God and he knows that he is a sinner (he's broken God's most Holy law and that God is a righteous judge who will and must punish sin because he is holy and we are unholy) and when a person can say I am abiding in Christ and his doctrine and shows the fruit of the Spirit that is, love, joy, peace, goodness, meekness, etc. THEN we can say there is some evidence for salvation. Reason testifies that such a one may be saved from the wrath of God and eternal damnation that results from the sin of unbelief.
Let us not be so quick to pronouce a person saved. For many have false conversions who come into the local church who are really tares amongst the wheat.
Oh, that preachers would preach on hell and the justice of God once in a while. They might empty their churches over night. That's right!
Now hell is not a pleasant or popular subject and yet most men, as Jonathan Edwards once said, flatter themselves that they shall not go to this terrible place of torment. The liberals have tossed out this doctrine of hell long ago and now I fear some so called conservative churches are departing from the gospel and the whole counsel of God and are making this same fatal error.
People are being saved, we are told, but they don't know what they are saved from. They're told to come to Jesus but they don't know who this Jesus is.
Our Lord asked a vital and pertinent question of his disciples. "Whom do men say that I am?" Some say you are John the Baptist and others Elijah prophet. "But WHOM DO YOU SAY THAT I'AM?" Mark 8:29
I can almost hear Peter's quick and holy zeal proclaim "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God."
Peter knew Jesus was not just an ordinary man; He wasn't just any prophet but Jesus was the Messiah, THE ANNOINTED ONE. Jesus was no less than deity incarnate i. e. in the flesh.
Before we call people to Christ let us make certain they know what the Bible teaches about God, about Jesus Christ, about man, sin and redemption.
For Christ did not come to save us in our sin BUT he came to SAVE US FROM OUR SIN and to deliver us from this present evil world and the evil one Satan. Matt. 1:21; Gal 1:4; 1 Jn 3:5,8
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See his videos on www.YouTube.com. Type in LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.com
Read more articles by Carlton Pruitt or search for articles on the same topic or others.