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The "Salvation Equation"

Most Christians have been conditioned to believe that FAITH = SALVATION + NOTHING. Salvation is a relationship with Jesus Christ, not a biblical "formula." However, if salvation could be reduced to a formula for the sake of illustration, it would be this: FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible + NOTHING = SALVATION PLUS GOOD WORKS.

We can do nothing to merit or be worthy of salvation. Nothing. That is why it is faith in the real Lord Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible plus nothing that saves us from our sins.

The FAITH + NOTHING that is false is the nothing (or bad fruit) that continues after one has has placed his faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ for his soul's salvation.

In India, the scenario of salvation often goes like this: The one who hears about Jesus Christ places trust in Him for his soul's salvation in addition to his other gods. Later on, as he learns more of the Bible, he turns away from his other gods (and stops serving him there is no such thing as having a god and not serving it) and places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ only for his soul's salvation. He then serves the one who has saved Him with His very own blood. This is when he truly sees the Lord Jesus Christ is THE Saviour and not one of many saviours; He is not one more god to add to the list. This is the point when he has been turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. At this point he knows whom he has believed. He has been fully persuaded.

In the United States we have been tricked by Satan into thinking that Jesus can be added onto our present life, and when one mentions all the teachings of Paul about how a genuinely saved person will live (or desire to live) this person will shout, "Works!"

Does Jesus Christ the Lord take the sinner as he is? Yes. The sinner is spiritually dead and is helplessly entrapped by sin and Satan. Does the Lord Jesus Christ leave the sinner as he is? No. He brings him step by step from glory to glory as he willingly walks in newness of life. God has graciously placed in His Word many verses that will help us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Why? Because faith is not a tangible thing that the human eye can see (although God can "see" it). Also the human heart is desperately wicked. Who can know it? (Besides God?) Yes, the "Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God", but we must test that spirit with the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will not bear witness that we are children of God if we violate the Word of God in our daily lives.

God placed in his Word instructions, yes, commands, for the believer to obey as he serves the one who paid for his soul with His own blood. This believer doesn't need to depend on the deceitfulness of his heart to see whether he is in the faith, because he has the objective Word of God to measure himself by. God does everything to ensure that we not be deceived about this most important matter.

Satan, through his workers, which have heavily infiltrated the church, promotes the anti-obedience lie:

If a Christian believes that God requires him to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed him with His blood, he is trying to purchase his salvation with his own works.

The anti-obedience lie is not what the Apostle Paul taught and not what I believe although people often attempt to "do away" with this scriptural truth by this argument. Testifying that the new creature will live like the new creation he that is, is not novel, but what Paul spent much of his time preaching about.

We now have a Falling Away church that is counting on a moment in faith in time which has resulted in a lifestyle that denies that faith. We are saved by faith, yes. But we stand by faith as well. Living a life serving self first and foremost in not standing in faith, but rather falling away from it.  

Our life of faith begins with that moment in time when we place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, but the life of faith continues until death or He returns. Faith is not just for a moment in time years ago, faith must continue. God is not locked into saving us in our faithlessness.

What does "continue in his goodness mean?" (Romans 11:22) It means continuing in faith . . . continuing in our relationship by faith with the risen Lord Jesus Christ (this faith isn't just for a moment but will continue for a lifetime) and believing what he told us about living the Christian life as well as becoming a Christian. What we really believe, we will do, and it is because we believe God's Word.

A little note to add on to discussing what happened "back then" regarding salvation. Just like the person in India who "tacked on" faith in Christ to his faith in other gods, its not what happened at the outset of his interest in Christ that matters the most, but what happened at the end. I think people can be on their way to being saved, saved, or opposed to being saved. If people stay focused on what happened "back then" they aren't looking at the here and now of their faith in Christ, and Paul wrote many ways this faith must be "examined."

Working out your salvation is simply living the Christian life. This life was given to the believer by God, and living for him is only possible because he has this new life from God. Since Jesus paid the price for your soul's salvation and then sent the Holy Ghost to indwell the believer, then why is there such contention about actually living for God? We have the capability and desire to obey God because the Holy Spirit lives within. So why does everyone feel the freedom to NOT do this? Is it so that grace will abound? We know what Paul wrote in response to that. (No!)

Paul explained that God will render to every man according to his deeds: "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God:"-Romans 2:7-11

Those who have faith in Christ for their soul's salvation will patiently continue in well doing; they will obey the truth because they are saved -- this is the character of one who is saved. Those who do evil (who are not saved or fall away from the faith) will have tribulation and anguish; these obey unrighteousness.

Paul did not teach that you can continue to practice sin as long as you "believe" in Christ, but if you are practicing sin and don't believe in Christ you will go to hell. Jesus' words to Paul when he sent him to the Gentiles were: "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."-Acts 26:18

Those who have turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God obey the truth, and those still in darkness and under the power of Satan obey unrighteousness.

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Liberty To The Captives Established in June 2001