Salvation does not come within one ‘magical’ single step. You will find that some, who have been baptised in water, do not bother with the burden and task of following our Lord, at least not
very much. Some don't attended Church, some just continue in old ways, such as drinking or swearing. There is a strong belief that by accepting Jesus you are saved, yet Jesus did warn us that He would say to some
that He doesn’t know them.
Salvation then is not a one step hop from sin into Heaven. These are only my views of course, views helped into focus by comments from Godly people such as David Pawson.
So, as the saying goes, "If it sounds to good to be true - it probably is".
Any decent reading of the New Testament proves that statement. What is true is that being ‘Saved’ is a gift from God and we
cannot save ourselves. We cannot be saved for example by doing good deeds or through ‘good works’.
Imagine going up to a famous pop star or celebrity and saying to them “I’m your biggest fan,
I have followed you for years, I adore you so much and I hear you are getting married, so can I come to the reception?” The reply is likely to be “But I don’t even know you and the reception is only for my family and close friends”
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we do not cross some kind of spiritual vertical line into a Heavenly Invite to a Heavenly Reception. Salvation is not about one-step it is about many steps, it is a journey along
a horizontal line. When you are baptised you are beginning your journey to being Saved, not reaching Salvation in one hit.
It is clearly spelled out in the New Testament; in fact this journey is split into three categories.
The first part of the journey is called Justification; this is when we take our first steps to a new way of acting and thinking as we accept Jesus into our life. We are then baptised in His Name in order to ‘wash away the sins of the past’. Incidently,
this is where we take up the mantle of repentance.
Repentance can be very very hard because it is a turning away from your old ways of doing things or your old ways of acting. Many can fall but falling is no problem, it
is to be expected. Falling is fine because you can be picked up again to continue the walk. Falling away is what needs to be avoided. Remember though that Justification is not the be all and end all, as Paul clearly illustrates in Romans 6, 7 & 8. Justification
is only a first-step. And, like with any genuine repentance we hope to achieve, we can only take such a step if we seek counsel with God in prayer to help us move tentatively yet bravely forward.
The next and longest part
of the journey is Sanctification; it is in this part that you need the Force of The Holy Spirit to be with you. In the early days of the Church, following Jesus Christ was simply called ‘The Way’, not Christianity, it was not religious, it was
The Way to follow God. So it is along this Heavenly route, which is The Way (or road) to Salvation, whereby we are only truly saved. The Way can last a lifetime. A journey full of different adventures and one rife with dangers. Two forces will pull and
tug, which is why Christianity is a struggle. One force is always trying to pull you back (your old self), whilst one Force is pulling you forward (within your new self).
The names of these forces are the Flesh and the Spirit.
The Flesh will pull our intentions backwards, using the five senses we are used to. It will delay our walk and then drag us into old comfortable but sinful ways, creating images and thoughts that serve to reassure us that we are ‘saved anyway’.
Acts of repentance will not last, be fulfilled or be fulfilling, the Flesh will be too strong to resist and this is because we are still living in our natural earthly and sinful bodies. It's all we know.
A question is often
raised as to whether we could lose our salvation. Apparantly you can't I guess, if you believe that just saying "I accept Jesus" is enough. But If you think of being saved by walking on a journey along The Way, then Salvation becomes much more fulfilling and
most importantly it becomes a goal to strive for. Then the question of whether you could lose your Salvation loses all merit because you can’t lose what you haven’t even got yet.
For sure a person’s behaviour
and thinking will be hugely different depending on what viewpoint is taken. Either it is accepted that The Way (Scripural) is correct or that instant Salvation through a one off Justification doorway (man-made) is correct. If we reject the second and accept
the first principle then we will grow to understand that during the long journey of Sanctification we will need power. The Power of The Holy Spirit is readily available to keep us strong and if we do fall down, we can seek the Spirit to lift us back up again.
All need the Spirit of God; many times.
It is the actual walk that is so important, as stressed throughout the New Testament. Remember that living 'right' does not earn you Salvation, you cannot earn it, ever. It is a Gift
from God. The essence of The Gift though is that we walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Some fair-weather Christians end up walking backwards in this walk, often called backsliding and, eventually, can lose everything they once had. You can fall out of
Grace! Even at the Gates Of Heaven there might be roads leading off to Hell, so it is vitally important to heed the words of Peter, who said that for some, it would be better to have never known The Way than to have set out on it only to go
back (2 Peter 2:21).
One of the Commands set to us is that we look to guide others onto the Right Path, which is The Way. Better we do this from a repentant life, one baptised in the Spirit and from a life that is engaged
in walking the walk to Salvation, rather than trying to save others when we have not genuinely repented ourselves (Matthew 7: 3-5 springs to mind).
If we accept the teaching shown to us in Scripture, one that identifies
that accepting Jesus into our lives is only the start of a journey, called The Way that after we have been baptised we need to be baptised again, in The Spirit, so that we can continue with the Power we need to complete The Way to our Salvation, then finally
we can look forward to entering what is called Glorification. This is our journey's end. None of us are there yet; no human that has ever lived has been ‘Glorified’; NO ONE. Only Jesus is Glorified. However, let’s all move towards this Magnificent
Goal, seeking the help of The Holy Spirit along The Way not only as our Guide but for Strengthening our determination to arrive at our destination in good shape. God is going to take us into a New Universe, one that is perfect, which is why we have to
be made perfect (otherwise we would spoil the New Universe within minutes). In the Book of Romans, Paul actually seems to be encouraging us to run towards Glorification.
Justification sets us free of the PENALTY of sin
sets us free from the POWER of sin
Glorification sets us free from the PRESENCE of sin.