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Salvation: a one time choice or a journey?

#1Ininja2000Posted 8/9/2011 1:30:30 AM
I used to believe salvation as it is preached in most churches, that you receive it by coming to God in prayer and asking for it. However, I was listening to a preacher that pointed out, that nowhere in the bible does it say we are saved by praying a prayer.

The more I read Jesus' teachings, the more I have come to believe that salvation is a journey. When He gave the parable of the sower and the seeds (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus said there are those who

"hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away"

This implies that you can accept the truth and then fall away from it, which leads me to believe that salvation is not a one time act of receiving but an act of receiving and walking out your faith.

Jesus also compares it to a road (Mathew 7:14), and New Testament Authors reference it as a race on multiple occasions (Hebrews 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:24) which leads me to believe it's a journey.

Discuss.
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For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
#2AtomicItalianPosted 8/9/2011 2:16:30 AM
True salvation is a process, but God's sovereignty assures us that those who are saved, will be saved. Or, in other words, those who fall away were never going to persevere in the first place. They liked the message, but didn't have the stomach to actually go through the process of transformation that is the mark of salvation.

Think of salvation like this--

You're on the top of a burning building. On the ground is a team of firefighters with a big cushion for you to leap onto. When you step off the building, are you saved? Barring a low flying jet hitting him or something, yes, you are. You're going to fall to the ground and hit the cushion. While you're falling, are you saved? Again, barring some crazy thing happening, yes, you are.And when you hit the cushion, are you saved? Yes again.

Salvation is sort of like a process. Stepping off the building is like conversion, falling through the air is like sanctification, and hitting the mat is transformation. All are aspects of salvation, but they occur at different times.

Now, the root that gladly accepts the message but dies during hard times would be something like this--the person on the burning building sees a helicopter fly by, and the pilot shouts "There's a cushion down below! Just head to the edge of the building and jump!"

Well they gladly receive this news, and go through the motions necessary to get to this salvation--they run up the stairs to the roof, they run to the edge, but when they look down, the height and the stress of throwing themselves from the building is too great, and they back down. They never fully embraced the salvation, they simply bought into the idea of it. In the end though, unless they make that leap, they still die with the building.
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This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16
#3CIA911Posted 8/9/2011 2:59:28 AM
Salvation is a 4 step process. Only it's not our journey. It's mostly Gods. It's like this:

1st step - God elected those who he would save long before they were ever born

2nd step - Jesus pays for their sins (Technically once this happened, legally that person had been cleansed of all of their sins, even if they were not born yet)

3rd step - Receiving the Holy Spirit (Once the time God appointed you to become saved comes, then you receive the Holy Spirit and become saved. You are eternally secure in Christ. But the process is not complete yet.)

Last step - Receiving your glorified, perfect incorruptible bodies on the last day and ascending into Heaven.

It's not a choice, since we don't have one. God made the choice.
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-JESUS
SAVES
#4Ininja2000(Topic Creator)Posted 8/9/2011 10:07:25 AM
I just think there's a lot of people who think they're saved because they prayed a prayer once, but if you look at the way they live, it's obvious that Christ isn't a priority in their life. Add to that the fact that it never says we're saved by simply praying a prayer or making a one time commitment, and it just makes me wonder how many people who profess to be saved really are.

It also makes me wonder if we are preaching salvation the wrong way. instead of "here follow me in this prayer" maybe we should be telling people "Deny yourself, make Christ number one priority in your life, and seek him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."

I know that sounds like a works based salvation, but it's not. It isn't a list of do's and don't do's, it's simply making Jesus Lord over your life. He doesn't require us to be perfect, but He does require us to be wholeheartedly devoted (Mark 8:34-38)
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For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
#5sith_acolyte15Posted 8/9/2011 10:09:51 AM
CIA911 posted...
Salvation is a 4 step process. Only it's not our journey. It's mostly Gods. It's like this:

1st step - God elected those who he would save long before they were ever born

2nd step - Jesus pays for their sins (Technically once this happened, legally that person had been cleansed of all of their sins, even if they were not born yet)

3rd step - Receiving the Holy Spirit (Once the time God appointed you to become saved comes, then you receive the Holy Spirit and become saved. You are eternally secure in Christ. But the process is not complete yet.)

Last step - Receiving your glorified, perfect incorruptible bodies on the last day and ascending into Heaven.

It's not a choice, since we don't have one. God made the choice.


Wow, how benevolent of him.
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#6Ininja2000(Topic Creator)Posted 8/9/2011 10:44:02 AM
CIA911 posted...
Salvation is a 4 step process. Only it's not our journey. It's mostly Gods. It's like this:

1st step - God elected those who he would save long before they were ever born

2nd step - Jesus pays for their sins (Technically once this happened, legally that person had been cleansed of all of their sins, even if they were not born yet)

3rd step - Receiving the Holy Spirit (Once the time God appointed you to become saved comes, then you receive the Holy Spirit and become saved. You are eternally secure in Christ. But the process is not complete yet.)

Last step - Receiving your glorified, perfect incorruptible bodies on the last day and ascending into Heaven.

It's not a choice, since we don't have one. God made the choice.


First of all the first 2 aren't how we get saved, they're what allows us to be saved. Second of all, how do we receive the Holy Spirit? Once by accepting God through prayer, or by walking out your faith by making Christ the Lord over your life? Thirdly, here are some verses that show it definitely is a choice (parts that imply it's a choice are in bold):

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Mathew 11:28

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. - Mathew 7:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. - Revelation 3:20

. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9

The list goes on.
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For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
#7Starwing6Posted 8/9/2011 10:55:48 AM
I'm one of those who believe that salvation is a life-long journey initially begun when one repents of their sins and submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I also believe that a genuinely saved Christian can fall away and be lost, and there are several passages that mention this:

Ezekiel 33:12-13 NKJV 12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die."

Now notice, God Himself is speaking here in this passage. God is saying that even if He personally tells a righteous person(you're only made righteous by repenting of your sins and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ) that they will surely go to Heaven(that's what God means here by "surely live"), if that righteous person, out of thinking they are unconditionally guaranteed a place in Heaven, turns from their righteousness and starts to follow a life of sin or in some other way denies Christ, then God's former promise to them is nullified by their unfaithfulness and they are on the road to Hell again(that is what God means by "he shall die").


2 Peter 2:20-22 says something very similar

"20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,”[e] and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

This passage is talking about a person who was truly saved who later backslides and goes back into a life of sin. If a Christian dies in a backslidden state, their punishment in Hell will be worse than that of a person who never submitted themselves to Jesus in this life, as signified by their latter end being worse than the beginning.



Other passages that refute Unconditional Eternal Security(also known as "Once Saved Always Saved") include Ezekiel 3:20-21, Ezekiel 18:24-26, Hebrews 6:4-6, and Hebrews 10:26-31.
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#8Ininja2000(Topic Creator)Posted 8/9/2011 12:40:01 PM
^I'm still undecided on the whole once saved always saved debate. That is a different, but similar question to the one I have posed.

While there are many verses (as you pointed out) that imply someone can be saved and then fall away, there are others that imply the opposite. Such as "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." - John 10:29

There are others but I don't feel like doing a lot of digging right now. Take a minute to skim over this article, it gives several good arguments for once saved always saved

http://www.biblebelievers.com/montgomery/montgomery002.html

Again, I am on the fence about it. There are verses that can make a case for either. I guess I lean towards once saved always saved, but for me the question is more
how do we get saved?" and I think it requires more of us than just following someone in a prayer once.
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For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
#9AtomicItalianPosted 8/9/2011 2:01:35 PM
2 Peter 2:20-22 says something very similar

"20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,”[e] and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

This passage is talking about a person who was truly saved who later backslides and goes back into a life of sin. If a Christian dies in a backslidden state, their punishment in Hell will be worse than that of a person who never submitted themselves to Jesus in this life, as signified by their latter end being worse than the beginning.


Only if you take it out of context does it say what you suggest.

Read the whole chapter.

1But(A) false prophets also arose among the people,(B) just as there will be false teachers among you, who will(C) secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master(D) who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth(E) will be blasphemed. 3And(F) in their greed they will exploit you(G) with false words.(H) Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
4For if God did not spare(I) angels when they sinned, but(J) cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains[b] of gloomy darkness(K) to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but(L) preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought(M) a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by(N) turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction,(O) making them an example of(P) what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] 7and(Q) if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day,(R) he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then(S) the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially(T) those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and(U) despise authority.



Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11(V) whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12(W) But these, like irrational animals,(X) creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as(Y) the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure(Z) to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions,[e] while(AA) they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery,(AB) insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts(AC) trained in greed.(AD) Accursed children! 15Forsaking the right way,(AE) they have gone astray. They have followed(AF) the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved(AG) gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression;(AH) a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

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This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16
#10AtomicItalianPosted 8/9/2011 2:01:59 PM
17(AI) These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm.(AJ) For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18For,(AK) speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely(AL) escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them(AM) freedom,(AN) but they themselves are slaves[f] of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

2 Peter 2:1-19

Peter clearly isn't describing someone who was at one time righteous but lost his faith. He's describing someone who is evil and has malicious intent, but has infiltrated the church and is trying to poison the well. He's not talking about people who have salvation and have been transformed by the Spirit (obviously), he's talking about people who pretend to be Christians and are around them enough to obviously know the word, but who turn away and return to their own lifestyle. They're now accountable for what they've heard and what they've pretended to be, heaping judgmenet upon themselves.

Even the proverb doesn't support it being about actual believers. Peter would have never used the idea of "a dog" returning to it's vomit. Dogs were filthy animals to the Jews, and Peter would have never used to to describe someone who was once a brother.

Conditional/loss of salvation is a nearly indefensible position to hold in Christian theology, and I honestly feel it's border line heresy.
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This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16