Teleios recently completed a survey on the Gospel on the Instagram site, InstaPray. We had 539 participants, of whom 64% were <30 years, and 85% evangelicals. In total 92% believed they were saved by grace through faith and 44% thought they could not lose this salvation.
We asked participants what were the elements of the Gospel message they needed to transmit to an unbeliever.
We were heartened to see that generally these adolescents and young adults, when presented with a written text, agreed with the basic elements of the Gospel which included:
· 92% who stated we should tell people that they had sinned
· 83% who agreed that this sin deserved punishment by a just and holy God
· 92% who indicated that God provided his Son, Jesus Christ as a perfect sacrifice for man’s sins that when accepted by faith, is the only provision needed for salvation (Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 2:8-9).
However, 75% of participants noted that although salvation was by grace a person also needed to make Jesus lord of their life. In contrast, 17% said salvation was by grace alone.
How does one resolve the difference between the two statements that salvation is by grace but also required making Jesus Lord of your life? This is a critical question and I perceive three different answers. Let us see what scripture says:
· Work/Grace combination – This scenario indicates that although salvation is by grace, we must work to make Christ Lord of our life while receiving more grace, allowing us to better submit to His lordship.
This scenario is very close to Catholic dogma which indicates that we receive grace by the sacraments and work towards our salvation, receiving more grace as we do so, hopefully leading to salvation. There’s no basis in scripture for this belief.
· Make Jesus Lord – In this scenario, salvation is by grace but we must make Jesus Lord of our life to maintain or prove salvation.
Scripture clearly says that a true believer should show signs that Christ is Lord. This is the primary purpose of 1 John 2:4, giving tests that Christians can use to determine if someone is really a believer. Since we do not have access to the Book of Life up in heaven, while on earth we can be confident of a fellow believer’s salvation only by assessing the quality of their beliefs, obedience and love. Other scriptures also provide tests that we can use to assess others (Galatians 5:22, 1 Timothy 3).
However, to say that we believe in salvation by grace but we must work to make Jesus Lord of our life to prove and/or maintain salvation contradicts the security of our wonderful salvation in scripture on four levels.
o Perseverance – God alone causes us to persevere, not us! It is out of our hands (2 Timothy 1:12-14, Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
o Positions – We have unchangeable morphological and legal positions in Christ including being: justified, adopted, regenerated and sealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-14, Romans 3:23-26, 6:2-9).
o Insult to Christ! – Not to believe in security denigrates Christ’s gracious death for us! Otherwise, His amazing gracious sacrifice was sufficient for all our sins for all time.
Therefore, we are to ‘get over’ our past sins and leave behind the things of salvation. If we do not, and keep trying to prove ourselves worthy, we are saying to Christ that His sacrifice was insufficient and to sacrifice Himself again, putting Him to public shame. This is certainly very bad and scripture says as such (Hebrews6:1-8, 10:26-39).
· Lordship comes from regeneration – This is a vital and underappreciated biblical point. When we believe at salvation the Holy Spirit enters us and regenerates us into a new person. The old person is dead and no longer functions to prove or disprove Jesus is Lord (Romans 6:2-9, Ephesians 2:4-7, Colossians 2:11-13). There is a new person created by God who then, and only then, can be obedient and do His works.
Therefore, lordship can only be proven by the old person, being saved by grace and regenerated into a new person, and is only then able to do the works of God by His grace (2 Timothy 2:1). The work of salvation, from His gracious choosing us to taking us home to heaven, is totally a work of God, to His deserved praise and glory, not our own.
Accordingly, Teleios research has shown that people who believe in salvation by grace and in the security of their salvation report better wellbeing, anchored in the love of God and our eternal home.
Thank you for reading my blog today. Join me next week as we continue to evaluate scripture and its influence on our wellbeing.
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