For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...2 Corinthians 8:9a MEV
We've been a new series, examining the practical aspects of the Christian life lived with a Grace and Finished Work perspective. We are locating ourselves in our walk with God in the form of a question. Are we actually abiding under Grace, or foolishness, or legalism?
We've already looked at many aspects of the Christian life under Grace, such as what about the Law or differing personal convictions. Today, it seems good to look at salvation in Christ. What does it mean to be saved, what are we actually saved from?
Grace has been revealed to all mankind in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul informs us in Titus that Grace has appeared to all mankind offering salvation to whosoever will receive it. Grace finds us where we are offering the free gift of New Life in Christ. Upon acceptance, no cleanup on our part is required. Grace sees us where we are in all our sins, depravity, brokenness, and spiritual death and stoops down and brings us out and lifts us up, translating us from death to life.
What does it mean to be saved? What is a Christian?
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 MEV
24 “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 MEV
A Christian is simply one who believes and trusts in Christ alone, believing He is arisen and is seated at God's right hand. What does it mean to be saved? It is simply this, one who trusts in Christ alone and therefore has been delivered from spiritual death and now possesses eternal life.
Now the foolish cannot answer this question. For they believe that all humanity is already "saved" or righteous apart from any belief, any trust, or any conscious decision to willfully trust Christ alone. Love to them is a divine invasion of the will of all humanity. God knows what's best for all and therefore He forces all to abide with Him regardless if they choose to or not.
They also can't answer the question of what it means to be saved because they deny that anyone was ever actually lost. Spiritual death or separation is a made-up concept that legalists push on humanity they claim. If no one was ever lost, no human was ever born with the lost Adamic sinful nature, what is there to be saved from? In essence, Jesus didn't even need to die.
The foolish's view of mankind's spiritual condition is clearly contradictory to Jesus' words and the words of Paul. So what about the legalist's view of what it means to be saved? How would they outline what it means to be saved?
Legalists will claim Grace is great. Grace is amazing for it finds lost sinners and offers them salvation. Yet in the grand scheme of things Grace is insufficient in and of itself to save you.
Legalism tells the lost to come just as they are, Christ will receive them. Yet, with the passage of a little time, their salvation is unassured. The legalists will claim what it means to be saved is that you have begun living a life that is completely opposite to your old one. In other words, being saved means your performance, your behavior, and your actions are completely morally perfect and flawless.
Legalism points to our lives and how we lead them to prove one is saved. They don't to point Jesus' perfect obedience, they point to ours. If we fail to measure up, they will claim it is highly unlikely we were saved to begin with. For if we truly repented when we came to Christ we would be living like Jesus in the here and now.
Repentance isn't a change of mind to the legalist. Repentance is a change of lifestyle. A complete change. If we aren't living 100% morally upright it proves we were never made right with God.
Grace is so much better than foolishness and legalism. We received new life in Christ by freely trusting in Christ alone. We have been delivered from spiritual death and now possess eternal life. Once we possess this gift of eternal life it is ours forever and cannot be lost. This is what it means to be saved.
In summation, follow Grace in its fullness and relinquish foolish pseudo-grace and legalism. Don't allow these false ideas of man to take root in your thinking. Instead, stay with the Word, with the Gospel of Grace and the Finished Work of Christ. Grace is amazing and needs no mixture or additives.