What is Salvation?, Pt. 3

Scripture: Revelation 3:15, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:13
Jesus saves us completely and totally, but it is also true that we have a role in staying surrendered to Christ. We have the freedom to walk away from Christ. But does that mean we have an up and down, insecure relationship with Jesus?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts, Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi friends, and welcome to Bible Talk, where we talk about what the Bible has to say to us today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs. Hi, Gary.

Gary Gibbs: John, good to see you here again today.

John: And again another great subject. The last couple of Bible Talks we've been talking about salvation through Jesus Christ.

Gary: We have and we've learned that Jesus saves us completely and totally, but you've also pointed out something very important for a lot of Christians to understand.

John: When it comes to salvation, it's true that Jesus pays it all and Jesus does it all. But it's also true that we as Christians have a role in salvation and that is staying surrendered and being surrendered to Jesus and accepting everything that he's done for us.

Gary: And you pointed out, John, that the Bible says it is possible for us, as we're walking with Christ, to actually make a choice to walk away from Christ.

John: And the Bible is full examples of people who have done that and full of verses that say that it absolutely is possible. And the flip side of that is come to Jesus, make your trip down to the altar and, then, live how you please and still expect to be saved. And I don't think that too many reasonable people believe that to be a possibility.

Gary: I think you've shown in the previous programs that this concept that's often called once-saved-always-saved really isn't biblically accurate. It's not what the Bible is talking about.

John: No, the Bible teaches, come to Jesus, get saved and stay saved. Jesus said abide in me, live in me, dwell in me, remain resident in me. Just like a branch is connected to the vine, Jesus says, that is how I want you to be connected to me. And it's a privilege to enter into that relationship.

Gary: John, I've been thinking about this conversation that we've been having over the last several programs, and I grew up in a church where I was taught this. And so I understand the reasoning behind this doctrine of once-saved-always-saved. And I'll tell you one thing John, that I don't know that we've adequately addressed, and I want to pose this question to you. Because if you're telling me that, at my choice, my point of choice, I can be lost, and I make choices all day long and with everyone all our choices are not righteous choices, they're not always the best choices to glorify God...

John: That's true.

Gary: ...well, if I'm bumping in and out of being saved, and being lost, being saved, being lost, that's going to make me a neurotic Christian.

John: Now wait a minute. No one talked to you, no one mentioned here, on this program, that you're bumping in and out of being saved and lost, saved and lost, every couple of moments.

Gary: But if I'm choosing sin, am I still saved in my sin? You're saying if I choose sin, the choice of sin is a choice to leave God.

John: Isaiah said that sin separates us from God. So, to choose sin is to break the commandment that says, have no other gods before me, because at every moment of our lives we have got a choice to choose Christ or choose against Christ. When you understand that choice and you consciously choose against Christ, then, certainly you are erecting a barrier between you and Jesus.

Gary: OK, but I'm having to be re-converted every time. So, I choose to entertain a bad thought as I'm walking down the road. And now I repent of it, I come back to God. Here's where I really want to go with my question - we ought to come back to just that topic alone and discuss it, if we have time in this program.

John: Sure.

Gary: But here's where I really want to go. It's this whole issue of security. If I'm going through life wondering whether I'm saved or I'm lost - and I may have a prevailing sin, John, in my life, I may have a bad temper or something that keeps coming back on me. And I say, well, I'm making a choice not to follow God, and glorify God in these things, then I'm lost. If you take away the security from a believer, you just rip out their foundation for their ability even to walk in God and to want to be a Christian.

John: Now what, though, if that security is lousy security. We now live in an age where security is a big deal. Who wants that sort of false security? Have you ever stayed in a room, maybe in a motel or a hotel, where there are bars on the windows?

Gary: I was over in Africa, I spent a month in Africa and there were bars on the windows. And I was there by choice, it was a hotel room, it was not a prison! [laughs] I didn't get into any trouble.

John: I just realized that what I said, I wasn't trying to allude to any dark chapter in your past here.

Gary: I've never been in prison, except the prison house of sin.

John: That's right. And thank God we're out of that. But most of us I'm sure stayed somewhere where's there's bars on the windows for security purposes. Now, when you were staying in that hotel with the bars on the windows, did that security give you security? Did that measure give you peace of mind?

Gary: It did because I knew that people could not break into my room and steal what I had there, or break in during the night and harm me.

John: Right, strong iron bars give you security. Right?

Gary: Hm-mm.

John: Now, how much security would you have had if those bars were made out of paper or cardboard?

Gary: It just would have been a show.

John: It would have, that's right. And you could have gone to bed at night pretending that that security was helping you, but it wasn't. And there are those who claim, in the name of security, the security of the believer, that it's OK to go on living in sin and that life - choosing sin before choosing Jesus, offers no one any security at all.

Gary: No, it doesn't. But, I think, aren't we talking about, there are two degrees of sin? For instance, you might...

John: Wait, wait. Two degrees of sin? Now is this creative theology or what?

Gary: Let me tell you what I'm talking about.

John: I can't wait for this.

Gary: I was holding a revival seminar, actually a Bible seminar, in a town and I had this man come to my meetings and he introduced himself as a pastor.

John: OK.

Gary: So, there he is, he's a pastor. The only thing was, his breath reeked of alcohol.

John: Alright.

Gary: So he tells me he's a pastor and I think if he was partaking of the communion where they use real alcoholic beverages, he stayed at the communion table much too long.

John: Way too long. [laughs]

Gary: Right. So, then he sits in my meeting. And I'm upfront, John, I'm preaching.

John: OK.

Gary: And as I'm preaching, this guy goes into a drunken stupor. He's kind of half passed out.

John: And he's a pastor.

Gary: And he's a pastor. And I know he's not speaking in tongues, because I can understand what he's saying.

John: OK.

Gary: And he's saying and I can't say it here, but it was something like [making rumbling sound] and there were words that should not be used in church.

John: You had the capacity to understand all that.

Gary: Right.

John: OK.

Gary: And so we had to help him leave Church that evening.

John: Sure.

Gary: Well, you know, there is a guy, that some people would say he saved. I think most people though would say he really never was saved or he isn't saved now, but that's not the guy I am talking about. That's one degree of sin. [overlapping talks] He is a flagrant sinner out there and just open sin.

John: Open sin. Sure, OK.

Gary: I am talking about the guy who is going along with more acceptable sins. Loses his temper every now and then. He kicks the dog, he yells at the baby. I am talking about the guy that may have a lot of vice, here or there, you know. But they are vices. We could go way off on this John.

John: Sure.

Gary: That vice might have to do with surfing the Internet and places he shouldn't be surfing. It might be tobacco, it might be alcohol, who knows.

John: I want to stop you right here. You know what you are doing here and what a lot of people are doing. You are trivializing really important things. It is like the drunk. OK, he was a real bad sinner. But the guy who yells at his wife, kicks the dog and screams at his kids, really that's not so bad. I would contend that if you are connected to Jesus, he is going to work those things out of a person's life and you are going to grow in grace.

Gary: All right. Well, I agree with you. But at what point is that person saved? I mean, is the Lord accepting him while he is surfing areas of the Internet he shouldn't be. Or he or she is drinking and doing things, relationships maybe, that they shouldn't be or they in a say relationship because they are going to Church every week.

John: OK, I am going to give you a great non answer here when I don't mean to give a non answer. But let's be honest and say that to a certain extent we cannot know. I can't say this guy is saved or lost. This guy has got a little vice, so I am disqualifying him from Heaven. We look on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart. But we know that Jesus came into this earth to save us from our sins. I think, Gary probably this depends on what is honestly going in the heart. If someone is having a real honest struggle and they are giving it to God and they are pleading for help, that's one thing. But another one says, oh I am a Christian, so it doesn't matter if I go to these dirty websites. It doesn't matter if I beat my wife. It doesn't matter if I cheat on my taxes. That's presumption and God won't turn a blind eye to that and we shouldn't pretend that he will.

Gary: OK. So what you are saying then is that even though I might be, through my growth in Christ might be struggling with things, I can have security of some sort. But if I am just out there continuing in the same old sin flagrantly, deny Christ and doing these things we are talking about.

John: No security.

Gary: Then it is better for me not to have security.

John: Absolutely.

Gary: Because then I sense my need of Christ and I need to come back to him and repent and reform.

John: Revelation 3:15, and this is profound. You know there is a place in the Bible where God says, "I would rather you are lost." He says, "I wish you are hot or cold." But hot, like I said, that's full on for Jesus, right. What's cold? Full off.

Gary: It's completely off.

John: Sure. But he says there is a group of people that are in worse shape than that. And they are the lukewarm ones. And they don't even know about their need. They don't know how lost they are. And people who deceive themselves by saying, "It's OK if I dilly dally around with sin", are in that category what Jesus said, "He is going to spew them out of his mouth." And I hate it sounds so severe because Jesus wants that all be saved and none be lost. There is no doubt about that.

Gary: So you are saying then, just because we don't believe in once saved, always saved. It doesn't mean that we can't have security.

John: You could have the utmost security. And every Christian who knows Jesus ought to know that they have full security.

Gary: What type of security is that?

John: The Bible says in Philippians 1:6, 'being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.' Security comes from Jesus being in your heart and working his life out in you.

Gary: Yeah. I like that text because there is a beginning point and a completing point. Says he who began, I guess that beginning then would have started when I gave my life to the Lord or maybe even predate it when he was bringing me to conviction.

John: Yeah sure, either way.

Gary: And then the completion point is when he performs it onto what did it say?

John: It says in verse six, 'until the day of Jesus Christ.' So God is going to keep on working in us all the way till Jesus comes.

Gary: And so I am in this process with him and as long as I keep connected to the process, I can have confidence.

John: As long as you are like that branch connected to the vine, then the life giving sap if you like of the Spirit of God can flow through your spiritual veins.

Gary: Yeah, I think about my little daughter. She started to walk about six months ago, probably more than that. She is 21 months old now. So she started walking 11 months ago. I didn't expect here to start running marathons right away.

John: That's right.

Gary: She was perfect at that stage of growth. I mean, she is right there with the charts that say what a child should be doing at a certain time. And now she is starting to talk and she says snakes she says it "nake".

John: That's right.

Gary: There is no S. I am chastising her because she doesn't say snake. So what you are saying is we can have the assurance as we are in that process God accepts us, keeps working with us as we are maturing and growing with him.

John: Anyone growing a garden accepts his little broccoli plants that are growing even though they are little. But they are growing, aren't they? They are growing and that's what God wants from us. Let me read one more verse Philippians 2:13. "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Try and keep turning your heart to God. If you fall, get back up, cling to Jesus and allow him to work out His perfect will in you."


And join us again next time for more. I am John Bradshaw with Gary Gibbs. And thanks for joining us today here on Bible Talk.

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