Monday, March 30, 2015

The Savior that Saves

Though all professing Christians—regardless of religious affiliation—would readily confess Jesus Christ as their Savior, what most of them really have in mind when they say that is that Christ has done certain things to open the gates of heaven for us sinners (like dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins) but the rest is still up to us. This idea is very prominent among the cults of Christianity; e.g. Roman Catholicism, Iglesia ni Cristo (1914), Ang Dating Daan, and many others, each of which has its own version of a redeemer that attempts to save sinners only half-way through the process (if not most of it) then it's all up to the individual sinner to complete his own salvation—either by joining a religious organization, or by dedicating one's full allegiance and loyalty to a self-proclaimed apostle or prophet, or by doing good works, or a combination of all such things and what not.

Sadly, the idea of a halfway accomplished redemption (a heresy, by the way, since it is a blatant denial of Solus Cristus) is rampant among so many evangelical churches, too. God respects our freedom because He is a gentleman and would never save us apart from our willing cooperation; so goes the argument. God is viewed as merely attempting to save sinners by eliciting their cooperation (their final 'Yes') but actually powerless to make their Salvation a reality since He is supposed to "respect" their so-called freewill. Here we have God making good plans for man but it is man's freewill that prevails. Quite the contrary is what we find in Proverbs 19:21 NIV which says:
"Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
We possess no freedom of any sort to which the sovereign will of God is bound to concede. God rules over all things (Dan. 4:35). He is the Potter and we are the lump of dirty fallen clay at His disposal (Isa. 68:4; Rom. 9:18-23).  The course of our actions, therefore, does not determine the will of God, but it is the other way around. For "who," asks Paul, "has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:35-36 NASB). 

The truth is, God does not respect our moral freedom because we don't have such freedom in the first place! For "Very truly I tell you," Jesus told the unbelieving Jesus, "everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (Jn. 8:34 NIV; see also Rom. 6:20 & 2 Pe. 2:19). If we have any freedom of our own apart from the liberty that comes from Christ (Jn. 8:36), it is but a freedom only from righteousness (Rom. 6:20 KJV). We are void of all righteousness and our minds are hostile to God (Rom. 8:7-8).  Without the quickening power of the Spirit, we would never "accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to [us], and [we are] not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14). We are all "dead in the trespasses and sins" and "by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Eph. 2:1-3). Salvation, therefore, cannot be up to us in any way. It's rather all up to Him who says, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion" (Rom. 9:15; cf. Exo. 33:19). 

A low view of Sin gives birth to low view of the gospel and of Christ's redemptive work. Many evangelicals have completely lost sight of how amazing God's grace is due to their shallow understanding of Sin and depravity. They have arrived to an erroneous view of our moral condition based on the presuppositions of various humanistic philosophies which aim to elevate the dignity of human beings beyond and contrary to what the Scripture actually describes us to be—that is, creatures that are fallen, totally depraved, and absolutely in need of a Savior that does not merely render salvation possible, but actually saves certain people to the uttermost by an atonement so powerful and sufficient that even the gift of conversion, together with all other graces necessary toward our final glorification, is guaranteed by it (Rom. 8:32-39, Eph. 1:3, 2:13; Heb. 7:25, 9:12, 12:2).

In this coming Holy Week, we will be commemorating the passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as we contemplate on the things that had transpired toward the climax of his redemptive mission here on earth 2000 years ago, always keep in mind that "it is finished" already (Jn. 19:30).  No merit of your own and no works done by your sinful hands would add up to what Christ has already accomplished for the Salvation of those who would put their trust in Him (Rom. 3:23-25).

- Jeph

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commenting Rules:

1. No trolling or baiting; submit relevant responses to appropriate blog-posts.
2. No name calling, bashing, flaming or posting of any ad hominems or personal attacks or insults of any kind
3. No spamming, advertising or soliciting.
4. No littering in the comment-box (multi-posting or cross-posting).
5. No blasphemous post and no links to occultic and cultic materials and immoral sites.
6. No negative one-liners.
7. No impersonating
8. No heckling; harrassments
9. No posting in all caps; no posting in all bold letters
10. If you're posting Anonymously, please provide a name so you can be addressed properly.

*All mature, sensible, and honest comments are welcome and encouraged. Comments will be filtered by the blog-owner before granting them to be published.