In our most recent blog series, we are discussing terms that are frequently used in church, but rarely examined for their meaning. We freely toss around this vocabulary as though we all had to hand copy the definitions from a mysterious “Church Terminology 101” book before we could be allowed to integrate ourselves into church society. We must understand these terms before they can be relevant to our church life and life outside the four walls.
The term salvation, simply put, refers to the initial moment we are introduced to a relationship with Jesus. Here’s what we know about the parameters of salvation: 1. God is pure, holy, and is eternally enthroned in heaven. 2. Man is separated from an eternal relationship with God by sin (failure to measure up to God’s goodness). 3. God loves man anyway. 4. He loves man so much that he sent his son Jesus who died on a cross to take on our sins. 5. All it takes on our part is a faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for this relationship to be restored for eternity.
What This Changes:
At the moment of salvation, we accept Christ as Savior, receive him as Lord, and repent. By accepting Jesus as our savior we acknowledge that our works could by no means earn a way for us to enter heaven. We turn from trusting ourselves and place all of our hope in Jesus’ work on the cross. To receive Jesus as Lord essentially means to allow him to lead us in our lives. We no longer make decisions based on the survival of our flesh, but on what brings him glory. (We turn our minds away from survival mode and are allowed to fulfill all we were created to be.) Finally, repentance means that we fully turn to Jesus. Sin attempts to distract us and draw us away from God’s presence even after we begin a relationship with him. As we grow in our relationship, God reveals to us more and more about the things in our lives that are distractions from him. These things we must lay aside.
Repentance perfectly transitions into sanctification, the process of our continued relationship with Jesus after that moment of introduction. God never intended just to be introduced to you, but to live in an eternal relationship with you. Jesus called this process of growing more in this relationship “discipleship.” To assist us in our growing process, I urge you to read the Bible, pray, worship, join a local church, and witness. These all assist us in our growth.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV).”
As believers we’ve been given a responsibility by Jesus to assist others in growing their relationship with Jesus. We cannot be all we were created to be without creating disciples who create disciples who create disciples….
Pastor Zac Breckenridge