Random Theological Musings

 

If it is possible for some men to fully believe they are saved and then be surprised at the judgement when they learn they are in fact, not….

And it is possible for saved men to doubt their salvation, right up to the time of death and then be surprised when they find themselves ushered into Heaven…

It therefore stands to reason that it is possible for a saved man to know he is saved and yet not know the exact time he was/will be saved, and be unsure of WHEN it has happened/will happen up to the time of death and then be surprised when they, too, are ushered into Heaven.

A good tree is known by its fruit. Some trees are mature, and its full, ripe fruit falls readily off its overloaded branches by the scores. Other trees are just beginning to bud out, as they are just beginning their first spring season, and as yet their fruit are just tender whispers of what will be. Still others, while they are not a first year sapling, are nonetheless new to bearing fruit. Perhaps because of many years of drought or poor soil, and where other trees of the same age have branches that are overflowing, their branches are very sparsely covered. The fruit is mostly small and only a few ripen and become heavy enough that it falls of its own fullness onto the ground. Most of the fruit must either be delicately handpicked or the tree shaken in some degree in order for the fruit to become seperated from its limb and fall.

While there is only way to the Father…to Heaven… and that way is Jesus Christ, I believe there are as many ways to Christ as there are souls. No two people, or souls, are alike. We are each created by God to be unique, and as such, no two of us will have identical thought processes, life experiences and opportunities, or emotional ‘baggage’ with which we have to deal. While the only way to be saved is to believe on Jesus Christ, there are an infinite number of ways to come to that belief.

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” While it is true that we must each work out our own belief on Jesus… that is, we need to believe on Him in our own right, not just because someone else like a parent or grandparent did/does, each person must believe that “the world” and “whosoever” both include themselves personally… I find no specification as to HOW one must COME to that belief.

For some people the threat of their flesh being perpetually in flames helps them to realize that they truly are deserving of that punishment and that they NEED a Savior, and then are able to shake off the pride and stubborness of wanting to be self-sufficient and in need of no one and nothing, and so then are greatly comforted by the fact that God loved/s THEM enough to sacrifice His son, so that if they choose to believe on Jesus, they can escape that horrific fate.

For others, (and I think especially of young children, here), the thought of burning in hell never enters their thought processes. They hear that God loved/s them and that He sent His son to give them everlasting life in Heaven with Him, and that’s all they need to know. Jesus loves them and will take care of them. I think a lot of these types of people believe on Jesus simply because of His great love for them. I think, perhaps, that many never even give a thought to the ‘afterlife’ when they believe on Him, they just believe because of His love.

Still others, have perhaps resisted accepting and admitting what they know in their heart to be true because of their foolish pride in their thinking skills and remain ‘skeptical’ because…after all…no one who was around when the Bible was written or when Jesus walked the earth is around today, so how can anyone KNOW for sure it’s truth. Then something, or several somethings happen in their lives that show them that if they don’t “quit messin’ around” and just believe, their lives here on earth will only continue to spiral downward… faster and faster, until there is no way to pull their heads back up above the deep, dark abyss.

Then there are those who quietly watch believers from near or far, and notice that there is something different about them. Something different in their lives that enables them to get through even the most difficult of life’s trials with an overall sense of peace. They notice that there are many small differences in their day-to-day lives and that those differences are by and large, BETTER than what they have. Perhaps they watch quietly for years and see blessing after blessing bestowed on the believer and countless times of comfort or intervention when trouble comes their way. Perhaps they have even personally benefited from the prayers or good deeds of the believer. They watch and they eventually come to a decision that whatever it is that makes the believer different, they want the same thing, and then when they hear the gospel, they believe. Not because of fear of burning flesh and eternal suffering, but because they have SEEN with their own eyes the incredible earthly benefits of believing on Jesus.

John 3:16 has often been called the gospel in miniature; I’ve even heard it called the bible in miniature. It is certainly the greatest story ever told. Thousands of souls have been saved and had their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life with their only knowledge of God or the bible being what is expressed in this verse. It’s that powerful! It’s that simple!

Let’s break the six simple phrases into three parts. (Three, as opposed to six, because the last 3 phrases are very much dependant on each other…intertwined like a finely made rope.)

For Godevery man is created by God and the knowledge of the existence of God is ‘built in’ at creation. Every soul knows on an instinctual, primal level of the existence of God.

so loved the world- just as every soul knows on an instinctual, primal level of the existence of God, so too does every soul realize on that same deep level that they are a creation of that God…that without that God they would not exist. As they mature, and are able to begin reasoning, they go on to realize that if one creates something, they are bonded to it…they love it. If they did not love it, they would not have created it. Therefore, on the most elemental level, every soul is already aware that God loves not only them, but all souls that He has created. (This would include unborn children.)

that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.- This is the part of the verse that men are NOT born knowing in their own hearts. This phrase, along with the rest of the verse is why it is most necessary for believers to share the gospel with others. The first part of this verse men know instinctually. Unless someone who has already learned it themselves shares this knowledge with them, they will never know the story of God’s son. They will not know that He exists, nor why it was necessary for him to lay down his life for the men of this world. While each soul, will know instinctually that God is better than s/he is, that they are in comparison- bad, the knowledge of what this means has NOT been instilled in them at their creation. Somebody will need to tell them that God has a begotten son. Somebody will need to tell them that WHOSOEVER believeth in this begotten son, will have everlasting life.

While there are many doctrines contained in the bible, and many, many more lessons for a soul to learn about God and His son, Jesus Christ, the small amount of information (which is the greatest truth in all the world) contained in this one verse is all that is necessary for a soul to know in order to receive eternal life.

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1 Response to “Random Theological Musings”


  1. 1 David Dickerson November 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    The only part of this I am am reluctant to agree with is the “will be saved” comment. If a person believes they have to wait until they get to heaven to see if God thought they were good enough, then they are not saved unless at some point they trusted Christ and then were deceived by false teaching. What I mean is that the basis for their salvation could not have included waiting to see if God will accpet them, because that is trying to offer up merit for salvation. Then can be no merit of our own involved (Isaiah 64:6). Yes, I agree that in each of the top three instances a person can be confused about their savlation, because we are human and can become confused. Perhaps some people even have mental trouble and suffer from doubt because of this or are suffering from attacks of Satan. The key point is that we can know.

    We do not depend on experiences. We must trust the Word of God. A person may be confused about the exact time it happened, but if they are saved there will be some of the evidences of that conversion according to I John (keep in mind we established that a person can become confused about it and doubt). The human mind, memory, emotions, and any other earthly thing is fallible and cannot be fully trusted. We must rely on the gospel now. We can trust Jesus now. Once that is clearly understood it provides great peace. At some point a person must have trusted Christ with this matter. If a person does not know of a time they have trusted Christ then it would be very dangerous to not make sure of it. To not know that everything is right between them and God is a risky way to live. When I say make sure of it I mean trust the Word of God now and use that as their title or “deed” to salvation. It does not take a great faith, but a simple faith.

    There is no doubt about how to be saved. It is through Jesus Christ’s substituionary atonement for sin. The way we receive it is through repentance and faith in Christ. The point is if a sinner has realized their need for salvation and trusted in Christ alone for it. In this way a person is both repentant and trusting. They are repentant in that they wish they had not sinned against God and they are trusting in that they have accepted Christ’s sacrfice alone for forgiveness and a new spiritual birth.

    I agree that the motives that bring about this conversion vary from person to person. What prompts a person to be saved is the Holy Spirit using the gospel to convict them and change their heart. They may have been thinking about hell or simply that they want to be reconciled to such a great and holy God. Regardless of what they were thinking the key point is that they have believed the gospel truth (Romans 1:16 & John 5:24). A person either has Christ or not (I John 5) They may doubt it or not understand what moment He became theirs, but He MUST be their Savior. We must base our assurance on the Word of God (I John 5:13). In I John there are evidences given to us that we are saved. For example: Love of the brethren, the Holy Spirit within, keeping God’s commandements. All these are evidence. They do not save us and we can get backslidden and misunderstand or forget these things.


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