I’ve been stirred a lot lately about the notion of what genuine salvation is… True salvation is a spiritual transaction that results in the process of transformation. When we are saved, we become different.
To many, salvation only means that we agree with a set of historical facts… and restructure our schedule to include church attendance and align with the earthly organizational structure of the church. We might even consider altering our behavior a bit, at least when we’re with others that also attend church. However, when we’re alone…we remain somewhat committed to our old behavior patterns.
I would call this a “church attendance” mindset or the act of embracing cultural Christianity. However, this really doesn’t seem closely related to becoming a “new creature in Christ.”
True salvation is not “the old man“ re-orienting his schedule to include church attendance… True Salvation is a spiritual transaction in which we receive Jesus into our hearts. This act causes the death of the “old man” and the emergence of the “new man”… This new man has many new characteristics. He has rivers of “living water” flowing from within. He is described as a new creature in Christ, he is positionally placed in Christ, he has the mind of Christ. “New” men have been crucified with Christ, it’s no longer us living but Christ living in us. It’s about old things passing away and all things becoming new… it’s about becoming dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus… it’s about being raised to walk in “newness of life”.
I don’t think that the “newness of life” is referring to a change of schedule to accommodate church attendance, or even participating in a church program. It’s also not that we now follow a new set of rules in the power of our flesh. While a “new creature in Christ” might attend church and have altered behavior… Newness of life is pointing to an internal personal transformation… Not a change in external activities. This change is something that rises up from within.
“It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not [my comment: or pursue outward changes], what counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” Galatians 6:15 NLT
In a similar fashion to the way that the Pharisees claimed to be “sons of Abraham“ in John 8, many in our day claim church affiliation as the evidence of their association with God… but apart from their church attendance record there really isn’t much evidence of a spiritual change. Matt 7:16 says “You will know them by their fruit”. I believe the presence of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23) in someone’s life is evidence of an internal change. The fruit of the spirit will manifest itself to the degree that we are yielding to the influence of the Spirit of God which dwells within.
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:11-15 NASB
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”. John 1:12 NASB
Yes, and amen . May it be so.