Many times, people ask me for prayer, but don't seem sure exactly what to pray for. So they end up saying, "Just pray for strength." That is not a last ditch effort - that is a great prayer, and one that God wants to answer, can answer, and will answer.
Picking up from the last blog, where we saw that strength only comes from God’s grace. We can’t will it, think it, or feel it enough so we have strength - it only comes as we are branches attached to the vine of Jesus Christ.
But a lot of Christians are not strong because they don’t understand grace. When it comes to salvation, too many don’t realize what really happened through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Here are 4 common responses people give when asked if they are saved, or if asked if they are going to heaven. See if any of these fit you.
“We’ll see.” - As in, “I guess I’ll find out when I die.” Bad idea. The Bible says you can know now! Yes, now! God doesn’t want us living in the uncertainty of where we stand with Him. If we have received Christ as Savior and Lord, it’s a done deal. If you aren’t sure, you need to seek the Lord on this now! You don’t have anything more important to do.
“Hope so.” - First cousin to “We’ll see” is this guy. The problem is we use the word “hope” in a different way than the Bible does. The Bible uses hope in the sense of “we are sure this promise is going to be kept and we are looking forward to it.” But we often use hope like this: “I hope it doesn’t rain. I hope the dog isn’t sick. I hope I get that Aluma Wallet for Father’s Day.” This is just stating how we are wishing for our preferences, but we’ll see what happens. Catch the difference? Our hope is in Jesus, and we have the hope of heaven, but for God’s children, that does mean, “I am wishing to get to heaven. That is my preference. We’ll see.”
“I tried.” - This one is, “Well, I think I did what I needed to”, but with a hint of, “but I am not sure if it is enough.” I didn’t kill too may people, I tried to obey the speed limit, I was nice to my neighbor. I did my best. Salvation is never achieved by human effort. It is only attained through faith in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
“It depends.” - As in, “Whether or not I go to heaven depends on how good I am on the day that I die.” Some people believe that you can receive salvation, and then by sinning, lose your salvation until you confess and repent and get saved again. This is completely false on a thousand fronts, but here are just three reasons:
- We are children of God. Even as fallen people, when our children disobey, we don’t kick them out of the family until they repent! Nothing will ever make my sons stop being my sons. God adopts you in Christ, He does not un-adopt (John 1:12).
- We have been made alive in Christ. The Bible says spiritually we have crossed from death to life (Ephesians 2:5), but nowhere does the Bible say we can die again spiritually.
- All of our sins are forgiven. “But Jeff, I know I am saved now, but what if I commit some sin in the future?” When Christ was on the cross, of your sins were yet future, right?
How forgiven are we, anyways? The next blog will cover that topic.
p.s. - embracing the Biblical “hope” of Jesus