Eternal Salvation: Are you Okay? Thank you, Authors’ Lounge, for this opportunity to share Eternal Salvation: Are You Okay? The query as to whether a person is “okay” concerning their eternal salvation might be offensive to some. There are many teachers who confidently declare that those who subscribe to their teaching will be assured of an eternal hope. In fact, that was my state for more than forty years and I vigorously promoted my understanding and entreated people to enjoy the hope that I had obtained.
However, the basis for my confidence rested in the teachings of others whom I had allowed to shape my beliefs. Having been challenged to critically examine my understanding according to all the Scriptures, I have come to the realization that many myths and a great deal of false teaching floods the Christian community and that many people have endorsed an understanding of the means of eternal salvation that lacks Biblical support. This is tragic for those who are sincerely seeking God’s eternal kingdom. Those who earnestly seek the kingdom of God must love him with all their heart, mind, body, and soul.
This teaching needs to be taken literally. There will be no place for those who are “lukewarm” in their commitment. (Rev 3:16) Everlasting destruction and separation from God’s presence is promised to those who do not “know” him and who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus. (2 Thess 1:8−9) Knowledge of him comes from an intimate relationship with him—from knowing his heart, his purpose and goals, his righteousness, and his commitment to his Father and to you as he conforms you to his likeness. Those who “know” God must by faith, evidenced through obedience, commit to seeking truth. Paul cautioned his readers not to be deceived (Gal 6:7−8) and prophesied about the time when people would not put up with sound doctrine but would surround themselves with teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Tim 4:3) They will choose to reject truth in favor of a “gospel” that appeals to their ungodly hearts.
A form of godliness but denying its power will also exist and Paul also cautioned his readers to stay away from its practitioners. (2 Tim 3:5) Religion without These prophesies have been revealed for the protection of God’s people. All those seeking God’s kingdom must take responsibility for the accuracy of his or her own understanding to avoid being deceived. There is only one true gospel and it has been revealed by Christ. Over the years, many assumptions, presumptions, and even errors have infiltrated teaching of the “truth”, leaving it twisted (Isa 24:5 NLT) by the philosophical construct of “the wise’’ –doctrines and ideas constructed by the minds of philosopher-theologians to allow conformity to their own theological dispositions.
One such teaching concerns God’s supposed “unconditional love.” God’s love is not unconditional. The Lord stated, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. Just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (Jn 15:10 NIV) This often-accepted construct has lulled many into a state of complacency. Other philosophical constructs have framed understandings related to God’s grace, works, and to the nature of gift when it comes to eternal salvation. Doctrines concerning the necessity for obedience and of the reality of the coming judgment are often neglected or distorted to fit favored theological perspectives. Pardon for sin is often the dominant theme of gospel teaching; however, what God seeks is a transformed heart and soul which is the accomplishment of the Spirit following the confessor’s pardon.
God’s struggle through the ages was, and remains, the heart of humankind. The book of Genesis has revealed that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth and his heart was filled with pain.” (Gen 6 5−6 NIV) It was because of the “pain” brought to him that he issued the Great Flood to destroy most of humanity. The giving of the Law was another attempt to rehabilitate people. Finally, Christ was commissioned with the task. Pardon for sin is the first stage in preparing people for God’s eternal kingdom, but it is not the full gospel.
A pardon by itself does not transform a wicked heart. (Eternal Salvation “I’m Okay! You’re Okay!” Really through Authors’ Lounge will alert people to the measure of their fitness for the kingdom of heaven.) Does your theological perspective consider Paul’s admonition “continue to work out (finish, complete) your salvation with fear and trembling”? (Phil 2:12 NIV) Or, do you consider it worked out? Reflect on the Lord’s revelation: “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” (Mt 13:41 NIV) A person’s presence in his kingdom will depend upon their doing not upon a confession of faith. Faith is not real until it is proven in practice; obedience is faith in practice.
The process of “becoming an offering acceptable to God” (Rom 15:16 NIV) completes the gospel. In the end, a person’s eternal salvation rests in his or her own beliefs and practices which are honed through faith and the power of the Spirit into conformity to those of the Son of God. (Rom 8:29) Each person is personally accountable for his or her faith and spiritual health. The wise will not let their hope rest in the understanding borrowed from another but will take personal responsibility for their faith. Believers need to invest in discipleship, which requires time and effort and a Spirit-filled, discerning mind, for their own edification and peace.
In the end, a person’s eternal salvation rests in his or her own beliefs and practices. Careful consideration needs to be given to that which a person accepts as truth. I have found an understanding that is consistent with the Scriptures and provides peace for my soul. Like myself, you are not just dealing with a life and death issue but with your life and death. Are you “okay”? Explanation of the topics raised in this writing can be found in Eternal Salvation “I’m Okay! You’re Okay Really? at Author’s Lounge.