A L V A T I O N
"God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he
There is little talk these days in the Church about Salvation. For it seems to be a given and taken for granted that we all have it Perhaps it is because we are baptized at birth, go to catholic schools, have first communion, are confirmed, attend Mass, participate in church duties, go to confession and do all that is required of us. However, if we are only churchgoers without the belief that Jesus paid the ransom for our sins, we will spend eternity apart from God and His Son in a place of torment. But if we have salvation which is the unerring trust in Jesus we have the promise of eternal life with God and His Son forevermore.
Are we positive we have salvation? Do most of us believe we do?
Many of us will give an unqualified and positive answer, while in quiet moments a small element of doubt may creep in for salvation is a term that is sometimes hard to define. Perhaps it is because of our naturally sinful nature that makes us feel unworthy. We are not born with salvation, we cannot buy it, we cannot earn it, and we cannot get it except through the Grace and Mercy of our Heavenly Father who gives it free to all who believe that His Son is the living Messiah. This strong belief is called faith. No one can give it to us. It can only be encouraged, taught, and edged along so to speak with the hope it will take root and prosper. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, "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. Faith, which is the foundation of salvation, has been termed the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It is a gift from God Himself and not a result of human striving or achievement, Once accepted it is sometimes put aside in lieu of earthly things. There buried under the sins we commit we can still find that wonderful faith which will surface if we make an effort to make things right with God. And God has given the responsibility and power to the Church to reinstate a penitent believer by loving reproof, counsel, and acceptance back to the Church family.
In His supreme love, God wants to give each of us a chance to accept His gift of repentance and salvation. And there is only one way to gain this and it is by the Hand of God, through the blood of His Son Jesus. Titus 3:5 states "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us". Our parents cannot, friends cannot, and not even the Church can give it. It is a gift of Grace accessible to all and it only comes from the Father. What the church does is nurture it, enlighten it, nourish it with truths, and adopt us into their church family while we are here on earth, until we are made part of Gods Holy family forever.
Ever notice that families seem to have a common element that binds them one to the other? First and most easily seen is the family resemblance. There is also an invisible cohesive bond families have that is readily recognizable. And they stand united if a threat is levied at any family member. They are a unit and yet they are separate. As children grow up they may take different paths and many times move away from home, but they are still a family held together by love and an indefinable sameness. They always return home to seek counsel, peace and love. This is what the Church family represents to its members. It is a haven, a place of peace and healing as well as sharing in the joy of being a believing Christian.
Most of us are familiar with the Bible parable about a rich man who came to Jesus and asked what must he do to be saved. Jesus told him to give his wealth to the poor and follow Him. The rich man walked away in sadness for he did not want to give up his wealth. (Luke18:23) Because the man was not willing to accept what was asked of him Jesus could not help him. Through his lack of faith, he could not make a commitment and therefore could not receive the salvation he sought.
The Church is ideally the human voice of God. It teaches Gods truth by applying it to our needs today. This truth does not change what the Bible teaches but makes it understandable to the Church family. Or should. It strengthens us, feeds us and serves as our conscience by making us realize what needs to be changed in our lives in order that we can have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father. But, bear in mind though the Church may teach us Gods Truth and perpetuate it, it cannot give salvation to anyone. Each of us has to make that show of faith and trust that entitles us to eternal life. It is like the old adage you can led a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. Under the guidance of the Church we grow strong because it is a home base that reflects what God wants us to be. There, the teachings of God and His Son are reinforced and shared with other Catholic Christians.
All humanity stands in need of salvation, which only comes to us through believing in Christ. We can never be free from sin except by being washed in the blood of the living Jesus and as time goes on we work to keep that faith alive. For none of us is without sin in this lifetime. We all come short of the glory of God. However through Him we are transformed and renewed.
Since we, of our own volition cannot save ourselves except through Gods Grace and the cross, once we have it can we keep this Salvation? Yes, we can, if we truly believe for we will want to do what He wants of us and if we falter, we will go to Him in prayer and seek forgiveness. The thing to remember is we can never cleanse ourselves alone. Only God can do that, again only through Grace. The Church helps us by counseling, by confession, and offering the warmth of a loving, believing family.
Salvation, then, depends totally on the graciousness of a loving God Who sent His Son to earth and is contingent on our belief in the Lord Jesus, that He died for us and rose again. It is with confidence in that faith that we are saved. And having this firmly planted in our minds there will follow a desire to do good works and follow Christ's teachings. We acknowledge that only through Christ can we redeem our souls from eternal damnation for Christian faith means full reliance on the sacrifice of Jesus and trust in His Word. The Bible has unequivocally told us that our sins were nailed to the cross with Him and cleansed with His blood. Because of this we are no longer condemned to hell for God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
How do we know we are saved? Because God promised that if we abide by what He told us to do, have faith in His Son the Saviour who made redemption possible, we would have salvation. We know we are saved when we give our lives into His safekeeping, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, live our lives in reverence and obedience to Him. We know we are saved by submitting to Gods will and accepting Christ as the Messiah. John 5:24 says "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. With these beliefs we anticipate and look forward to being in Gods Presence forever.
IF HE CAME........
you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?