The true nature of salvation is frequently misrepresented by mainline Christianity. It is therefore no surprise that many Christians have a severe misunderstanding of salvation. Our assurance of salvation is directly linked to our understanding of salvation, so to get salvation wrong is detrimental to our assurance of salvation, not to mention to our eternal fate.
Here are some of the common misrepresentations about salvation that are to blame for the vast misunderstanding among many so-called Christians.
I am saved because I walked down the aisle, raised my hand and lit my candle at the campfire.
I am a Christian because I’ve always been one.
I am saved because I invited Jesus into my heart.
I am saved because I ‘love’ Jesus’.
I am saved because I prayed ‘the sinner’s prayer’.
I am saved because I grew up in a Christian home and maintained those principles as I become independent.
I am saved because I attend a Christian church and have only Christian friends.
I am saved because I am kind to people and care about Christian concerns like widows, orphans, and the poor.
A wrong view of salvation often manifests itself in how we attribute salvation to others in spite of their obvious false religion.
That good old lady on the other side of the world must be saved because her whole life was sacrificially given to serve the less fortunate.
That funny-accent man on TV must be saved because he quotes the Bible and says Jesus’ name more than most other Christians do.
That evangelist must be saved because so many people leave his meetings with conviction and passion.
Conversations like these fill our culture, our book stores, our radio-talk-shows, and our religious TV programs, and eventually become part of the way we ourselves think and speak.
It is true that many of these statements are perfectly true as things that would apply to Christians, but none of them are an accurate statement on what salvation is.
Yet, Scripture is not to blame for these common misunderstanding; for Scripture is meticulously clear on the nature of true Salvation. According to Scripture, salvation involves believing only the truth about Jesus. Salvation involves denying self and following Jesus. Salvation involves renouncing your sin and walking as Jesus walked. Salvation requires the grace of God to be given the faith in God who saves. Salvation is a full forgiveness of sin because of an acknowledgement of the guilt of sin and plea for mercy. Therefore salvation is not just a change towards better morality, better spirituality, greater fulfilment, or greater goodness. Salvation is about a complete change from something evil to something beautiful, from something full of darkness and death to something full of light and life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself2 Corinthians 5:17-18a