It seems salvation has become nothing more than a few chosen words, stated at a particular time in our lives. Once we say those few chose words, we believe we have Christ in us.
Now, do not get me wrong, I came to Christ, by faith, speaking those few chosen words. But something happened months before I spoke those words. God had prepared my heart to receive Christ by showing me how evil my heart was.
Yes, I was ready, not by my choice or desire, but by His choice and His desire for me to come to Him.
How many times do we see people confess Christ and then have nothing more to do with Him? They do not attend church. They continue to live the same way. They have no desire for the Word. They have no more desire for God than they did before they made their confession. Yet, they declare their salvation to the world because we told them by saying a few words they have their fire insurance.
KNOWING ABOUT JESUS AND SAYIG SOME WORDS WILL NOT SAVE US
James writes, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder” (James 2:19 NIV).
By this standard, the demons ought to have Christ, but they do not. They know Jesus. They pointed him out. They called him by name. Yet, they do not have salvation.
THE EVIDENCE OF SALVATION
Just knowing Christ or saying some words will not save us. A change must take place within us when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our spirit. Without this change, without a hungering for God, without the acknowledgment of sin, and without faith there is no salvation.
Wait, you say, how can we know if we have true salvation? John reminds us if we continue in sin and our heart does not condemn us the Spirit is not in us.
James says people will know us by our fruit. If we have the Lord in us, we will change. We will hunger for God. Sin will cause us great pain and shame. We will no longer desire this world, but hunger for the next.
Oh, I know it takes time for some believers to overcome sin. As a Christian it took several years for me to die to pornography. Did this mean I was not saved? No. Why? Because my heart condemned me, that’s why. After the Lord received me as His adopted son, I found no joy in my sin. I hated every moment of it. I wanted to be free, but I did not know how.
GOD ENABLED ME TO RECEIVE HIS SON
When I was without Christ, pornography did not bother me. However, weeks before the Lord saved me, the Holy Spirit began working within me, showing me the wickedness of my heart.
I did not know what was happening. I just knew I was evil and something had to be done. Then, God opened my ears to the Gospel. Once I heard the Gospel I ran and embraced the Lord. No, I did not respond to an altar call. A friend led me to Christ in His office.
While I did not physically run to Jesus, my heart did. My friend had no arguments from me. I heard the Word and I believed.
This is what happens when God chooses us. He plows the fields of our hearts and makes them ready to receive Him. Yes, He quickens our Spirit so our natural man can understand the things of God. In other words, God must enable us to receive the Word (John 6:65). The word "enabled" means "to grant." Thus, the Lord grants us the opportunity to come to Jesus.
We see an example of this in Acts 13:48. We read, “When the Gentiles heard this,(the Good News) they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”
You see, those appointed to hear the gospel heard it and believed. They did not say the right words or run to the altar. They heard and they believed because our heavenly Father enabled them to hear.
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