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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

Do I Have a Part in My Salvation?

For many Christians “salvation through grace alone” means God does it all. In one sense it’s true, but in another sense it’s not. If by “all” we imply or assume we are passive recipients only, then our understanding of salvation is both narrow and incomplete.

Most of the time out response is essentialThe Bible doesn’t limit salvation to the necessary and joyful release from guilt, shame and condemnation that can only be granted by the loving Creator who died in our place. Nor is being saved something that just happens without our consent, cooperation, and effort — when appropriate.

In Scripture, being saved is a matter of the renovation and transformation of the soul, the whole human being; and we’re partners with God in this exciting journey. It can be a disastrous mistake to assume that God doing it “all” excludes any exertion on my part.

Salvation is a process. We are saved while we’re also being saved (see Hebrews 10:14 – NKJV, ESV, NIV). Spiritual maturity deepens only as we participate. We even have a part to play in such dramatic realities as physical healing. Jesus’ words to those who are physically healed are often, “Your faith has saved you” (NIV) or “Your faith has made you well”  ESV).

In saying this, Jesus is not implying we have the power to heal or save either ourselves or others. He doesn’t even claim it is his power that forgives or heals. For example, when healing a paralyzed man Jesus says, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins … I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home” (Luke 5:24).

Jesus does nothing on his own. Rather, he is authorized, “given” power and authority to carry out everything only at the Father‘s direction and through the Father’s power (see Matthew 9:8; 28:18; John 5:27; 12:49; 17:2).

Yet the faith, the confidence, and even the action of the recipients of the Father’s manifest power through Jesus are usually involved. If the paralytic does not respond to Jesus’ command to get up and walk, he may not experience the healing salvation Jesus offers.

Of course Jesus can, if the Father so directs, instantly bring this salvation-life to someone who has no capability of participating (see Luke 7:11-17). But most of the time our response is essential (see Mark 6:1-6).

While we always realize, “I cannot save, heal, or change myself,” we keep asking, “what’s my role and how do I carry it out?”

And Jesus invites us to begin by saying, “Come to me” (see Matthew 11:28-30). Yet, it’s like anything else in life: while nothing will happen without guidance from Jesus, we also put in energy ourselves. Few can learn a new language without personal effort. So, none can grow in salvation without both teaching and personal spiritual exertion.

Ask the Spirit to teach you how to seek. Travel with other disciples of Jesus on the journey. If you do this, Jesus guarantees a growing experience in the abundant salvation-life he offers to all.

It’s not a burden to seek Jesus because we are saved during every moment we’re being saved.

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Contributed by Pastor Larry Zuchowski

 


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