Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Instant Christianity?

This article is also available in Urdu here.

Instant Salvation

“For he delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption—the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

The moment we put our faith in Jesus and turn to him for salvation we become members of God’s kingdom—citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20). We are rescued from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and death, and transferred into God’s kingdom of light and life.[1] How amazing is that!

At conversion, our spirits are regenerated (born again) in a moment, even if we are not aware of that precise moment.[2] Our eternal life has begun. Our salvation is a done deal, so it would seem, with the Holy Spirit living inside us and testifying that we are truly children of God.[3]

Continuing Salvation

But there is more to it than that. While many verses correctly speak about salvation in a past tense: he rescued us; redeemed us; we have been saved, etc, there is also a continuing aspect to salvation. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, in a continuous present tense, that we are being saved. Likewise, 1 Peter 1:9 says that we are receiving our salvation.

We are continually being saved and sanctified[4] and (hopefully) becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. Christ-likeness is God’s purpose for us and the goal of salvation.[5]

As children of God, we need to be “growing up in our salvation”, as 1 Peter 2:2 put its. We should be behaving as God’s children—children of holiness and light.[6] We should be reflecting the likeness of Christ with ever increasing glory.[7]

A.W. Tozer said that the problem with being content with the notion of “instant salvation” is that it makes the salvation decision final, “and so smothers the desire for spiritual advance. It fails to understand the true nature of the Christian life, which is not static but dynamic and expanding.”[8]

Future Salvation

Instant ChristianityThe Christian life is a journey of wonderful discoveries in God, of determination aided by the Holy Spirit, and of decisions that should keep us on the path toward Christ-likeness. We must persevere to the end to receive the fullness of our amazing salvation and to receive the eternal inheritance which has been promised to us in the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a kind of seal, pledge, or deposit guaranteeing this future fulfilment which we have rightfully fixed our hopes on.[9] (Please read: Romans 8:23-25) We need to persevere to receive the final “instalment” of salvation. If we drift away or turn away from God we may fail to receive the consummation of salvation.

John Stott wrote, “The New Testament authors insist that although God’s people have already in one sense been saved, in another, their salvation lies in the future. We are given the promise that one day our bodies will be redeemed. . . And in this final redemption, the whole creation will somehow be involved.”[10]

We need to endure to the end to ensure that our salvation is completed. Our salvation will be fully and finally complete when Jesus is revealed at his return to earth (1 Cor. 1:8). Or when we die. At that time, Christ will be fully formed in us (Gal. 4:19). It is also then that our bodies will be finally redeemed (Rom. 8:18-23).

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the his glorious body, by the exertion of the power he has, even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

Perseverance

God promises to keep us safe and strong until Jesus returns (1 Cor. 3:8-15). Nothing and no one can take us away from God unwillingly. Our salvation is guaranteed as long as we abide by the “ifs” in the New Testament:

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word . . . otherwise you have believed in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:2
. . . if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel . . . Colossians 1:23
. . . if we hold on to our courage and the hope . . . Hebrews 3:6
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first.  Hebrews 3:14
. . . but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off . . . Romans 11:22

Our goal should not be just to bring people to a decision to “accept” Jesus as Saviour, our goal should be to nurture and disciple and encourage each other so that we will all thrive and grow in our Christian walk, endure to the end, and receive our full inheritance with rich eternal rewards (1 Pet. 1:4-5).

18th century theologian, Jonathan Edwards, once said that every sermon was a “salvation sermon” not just if the aim was to convert “sinners”, but also if the aim was to encourage the devotion of Christians and confirm their calling; if it kept Christians persevering in their relationship with God, it was a salvation message.

So keep persevering in your Christian faith and walk with God, because, as the apostle Paul said to the Christians in Rome, “our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed!” Romans 13:11b.

Read more verses about continuing Salvation here!

© 26th of March, 2010; Margaret Mowczko

Instant Christianity


Endnotes

[1] See Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:8-11; John 5:24 and 8:12; 1 John 3:14.

[2] See John 1:12-13; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1& 5-6; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3,23; 1 John 2:29, 5:1&4.

[3] See Romans 8:9-17 and Galatians 4:6.

[4] Sanctification begins when the Holy Spirit comes within a brand new believer and sets that person apart as especially belonging to God. Sanctification continues as the Holy Spirit works within the Christian and helps them to become spiritually mature and more and more like Jesus.

[5] Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 4:13

[6] Ephesians 5:1-12; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:14-16.

[7] 2 Corinthians 3:18; compare with Galatians 4:19.

[8] A.W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian  (Harrisburg: Christian Publication, 1964)

[9] 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30.

[10] John Stott, Understanding the Bible (Homebush West: ANZEA Publishers, 1984) 14.


Related Article

Unbelief: The Ultimate Sin
The Kingdom of Heaven in the Here and Now and Future

Posted March 26th, 2010 . Categories/Tags: Christian Living, Christian Theology, Salvation and Eternal Life, , , ,

Unkind, judgemental, bizarre, and off-topic comments will be deleted.

11 comments on “Instant Christianity?

  1. Caleb says:

    Great article! Thanks!

  2. […] Instant Christianity […]

  3. […] Instant Christianity? […]

  4. […] Instant Christianity […]

  5. […] Beauty, Marriage, Motherhood and Ministry Is motherhood the highest calling for women? Busy at Home: How does Titus 2:4-5 apply today? Working Women in the New Testament Gender Obsessions: Emphasizing our Differences or Similarities? Role or Rank? Instant Christianity […]

  6. Judy says:

    Hi Marg, just read this and I’m curious, does this mean you don’t believe in the OSAS teaching?
    Thanks

  7. Marg says:

    That’s a tough question, but my short answer would be a tentative “no”. I do think the New Testament teaches about endurance and perseverance in the faith.

  8. John says:

    Ga 3:3, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
    Ga 4:9 “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
    Ga 5:5 “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
    Heb 7:19 “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2009–2016   Margaret Mowczko | Powered by WordPress

More in Christian Living, Christian Theology
Saving Faith in Action: James 2:14-26

This essay takes a close look at James 2:14-26 and explores the link between genuine Christian faith and compassionate, ethical deeds. Continue reading»

Close