“‘The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart’
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
~Romans 10:8-9 (NRSV).
The Bible invariably makes very simple what we wish often to overcomplicate. Who is saved? Reading the above, we know who. There’s no two ways about it.
And yet, truly only the person themselves can tell if they’re saved or not, and whether they have that Presence of the indwelt Holy Spirit differentiating the new life from the old.
Some are convinced that they’re not sure where they stand. Surely they should ask God; the Lord will not tarry upon such an enquiry. God, as revealed at our saving, must be personally known to us, his thoughts appealing and our consciences attending—the arrangement, relational.
Commitment to the ‘Ongoing’ Enquiry
Much of the time the person who’s not sure where they stand will be in a no-man’s-land sort of place. But he or she cannot afford to leave it there. They must go on in, to the very heart of God, even to the journey to true self.
Perhaps the key here is to go back to the Old Testament, to where Paul has drawn the abovementioned initial quotation—from Deuteronomy 30:14.
This “word” that is mentioned—the one in our mouths and hearts; variously “the word of faith”—is to be “obeyed” and “observed” by us. When we do this, in faith, God leads us to a greater understanding of himself, and hence it is confirmed more and more what Satan would have within us denied—we’re God’s property, Number 1! (Read Isaiah 43:1-7, which is a terrific affirmation of our place with God.)
Wolves in the Sheep Pen
There are many false teachers—be warned, all you faithful. Of recent, I’ve come into contact with some ‘more ardent’ believers (supposedly more ardent than you and I) who seek to spoil the Lord’s teaching by throwing endless arguments of confusion against us. They seek to throttle reason.
They use theology skilfully against God and against his purposes. They divide to conquer—in Satan’s name.
They will, for instance, deride the ‘believer’s prayer,’ undermining its value, never comprising with it the very necessary process of discipleship that must also be undertaken. Is the believer’s prayer false because people don’t go on with God through a process of discipleship?—not in the slightest!
God’s grace is so magnificent and so beyond our comprehension that it covers even for our lack of resolve to commit to discipleship, for the decision has been made by us... we accept Jesus per Romans 10:9. (Beware, on the other hand, that whilst we’re saved, the lack of resolve to commit to undergoing growth in the faith we’ll inevitably have to account for—in this life, possibly; certainly in the next.)
God Made the Message Simple for a Reason
We might’ve been created in God’s image, and we might even be able to think ‘like’ God, but God knows all-too-well our capacities. Therefore, the message of God’s love, truth and grace toward salvation—and all things really—is made digestible for us.
Whenever we see the message of God convoluted into messy and longwinded analyses we should always shudder; smells like the devil to me!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.