I’m still learning…but I’m already saved.
I want to start this paper out by admitting that I’m not an expert on any of this. I’m still learning and my views and beliefs have changed accordingly over the years as is normal for someone who is growing in grace and knowledge.
Over the many years, as I’ve studied various belief systems, Christian and non-Christian, I noticed that people who dared to challenge the “Christendom” status quo often get called names and accused of all sorts of things. I’ve seen Christian people being called things like “Lost” and “Confused” and I’ve seen far worse, including “Tool of Satan” and being told they are “going to hell”. These people who are calling names often think they are trying to “save” someone when they do this.
Are they? Are they saving people this way? Are people who don’t go along with established so called “Christian” beliefs really lost, confused and going to hell and in need of some human to save them? Besides, with all the different mainstream Christian denominations out there, all of which disagree with each other on some point(s), how do we determine who is right and who needs to be saved ? Throw in the nontraditional Christians and the question gets even harder to answer. Who is right? After all, if they are saying that those who are wrong are going to hell, then I guess it’s pretty important to figure out what church/belief system is correct so we can be saved. Right?
How are we saved?
Lets look at the only source of truth for an answer…the Bible.
We’ll start off with the most familiar verse on the subject, John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Here is another.
In Acts 16:30-33 the jail keeper asks Paul and Silas (who were being held in the jail) what he needed to do to be saved. Here is their answer: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and they house.
So, in these verses we are told that we have to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. Nothing else is mentioned as a requirement.
Lets look at another.
Romans 10:9-If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Again, we are told to believe in Jesus Christ, that He is Lord and was raised from the dead, and we will be saved. No long list of things to believe, do or not do. Just believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior.
Sounds simple but many people have a hard time accepting it. Like the Pharisees of the Old Testament System, they think they have to earn their salvation by following a long list of do’s and don’ts and associate with the right people. Their human pride wants to earn their salvation. But what does the Bible say about that?
Ephesians 2: 8-9– For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.
So there it is in black and white. We do not earn our salvation by following a certain system of beliefs. No where does it say that we have to be or not be a dispensationalist, preterist, universal salvationist, or anything else in order to be saved. Rather, we are saved, as a gift from God, by having faith…by believing that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
By what authority?
So why all the attacks on Christians who believe differently than mainstream Christiandom? Where do people get the authority to tell others they are confused, lost or going to hell for believing or not believing certain things? It certainly isn’t Biblical.
Why bother then?
Okay. So then you may ask, ” If it is that simple, why bother studying any of this? Why not just believe in Jesus and be done with it?”.
I can only answer that question from my own experience.
I grew up going to various churches with my mother. We did not go to any one particular denomination. We would attend one for a while until my mother got upset with something about that church and then we would move to another. The things that upset her the most were hypocrisy and constant money begging. By the time I had reached my teens, we no longer attended church.
Though I too disliked the hypocrisy and money begging, I had other issues with mainstream “Christianity”. For instance, I didn’t understand how a God who claims to be love could send people to hell to burn forever, especially those who never had the gospel preached to them and therefore never had a chance to be saved. I didn’t understand why all these “Christian” churches claimed to follow the Bible but they all had different beliefs. I didn’t understand how God, who claims He does not play favorites, could allow some people to be born healthy and/or wealthy while others are born sick, maimed and/or poor. You get the idea. I had serious questions.
So I prayed and I studied. I wanted to know the truth. I wanted to know God more intimately. What is He REALLY like? What is He doing, and why? What happens when we die? And, yes, What all do we need to do to be saved?
God must call us and give us the Spirit.
One thing we must understand is that God has to call us and He has to reveal the truth to us. No human being wants anything to do with God on their own. We are not interested in Him, just ourselves. When God calls us, we are given the Holy Spirit and that gift enables us to learn spiritual things. Without it, we are unable to learn spiritual information and not even interested in doing so.
Here are some proof verses:
Romans 3:11-There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
Jesus says in John 6:44-“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”.
Matthew 13:11– Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given.
1 Corinthians 2:14– The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned through the Spirit.
And one more:
Romans 8:7-The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
As you can see, God has to call a person and give them the Spirit so they can understand spiritual things. This same Spirit is what makes a person even want to learn about God to begin with. Natural man has no interest in God.
We aren’t saved by a belief system but it does affect our daily lives.
So, I believe that God causes some of us to want what I call, the nitty-gritty. We want to know the truth and the whole truth…at least as much as He is willing to reveal to us. These things won’t save us. We are already saved. However, what we believe does affect how we live our earthly life, doesn’t it? For example, if you are a dispensationalist, you are waiting for the second coming of Jesus and believe some people will go to a hell and burn forever and that will cause you to live and act accordingly. Likewise, if you are a Universal Reconciliationist, you are still waiting for Jesus to return but you believe everyone is saved and that people are not sent to an ever burning hell. If you are a Preterist, you most likely believe that Jesus already returned in 70AD so there is no pressure to warn people about an approaching return of Christ.
I think you understand my point. What belief system we believe does not save us but it does affect how we live. That is one reason that people like me want to know the truth. We aren’t lost, confused or going to hell. We are searching for Godly knowledge and wisdom. My website is a place to share the things I have learned and learned from. I’m not trying to save people, just enable them to learn more about God. I will be addressing some of these belief systems and their teachings (good and bad), and more, in future posts.
What am I?
Having said that, what would I call myself? A dispensationalist? Preterist? Universal Salvationist? What?
None of those. I don’t apply any of those labels to myself because I have not found anything that I agree with 100%. In fact, the people in these groups are not even in total agreement with each other. There are various levels of understanding in each belief system I studied. Does that make them lost and confused? No, all that means is that we are all at a different level of our earthly spiritual schooling. Those of us who are studying will continue to learn until the day we die and only then, when we see Christ and our Father face to face, will we be able to get and understand the whole truth. In the mean time, I simply consider myself a Christ-follower.
In summary, what belief system we follow will affect how we live our daily life, but it will not save us. The only thing that saves us is our belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. My website is here to enable me to share what I have learned with my fellow students and to give glory to God for all He has done and will do, not to “save” people. And, along the same line, I, and others like me, don’t need others to “save” us. We are not lost, confused or going to hell, we are learning and growing in Godly knowledge. May God grant you the same gift if He hasn’t already.