June 30, 2009

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

[Salvation #1]

Salvation. It doesn't get more basic than that, does it? The gospel. The good news. The great Rescue Plan, as The Jesus Storybook Bible puts it.

But what exactly does "salvation" mean?

Christian salvation has been understood in different ways by different people at different times in history. See how many from this short list ring bells:
  1. Salvation is only for the Jews.
  2. Salvation is also for the Gentiles, but circumcision is still required (Acts 10 - 11).
  3. Salvation is also for the Gentiles, and circumcision is not required -- but abstaining from blood and a handful of other duties are still (choose one) required / expected / requested / encouraged (Acts 15).
  4. Salvation occurs through baptism (choose one) for believing adults / for any adult / even for infants / even for the dead (I Cor. 15: 29).
  5. Salvation requires water baptism, and the method might be important, too.
  6. Salvation requires speaking in tongues.
  7. Salvation requires evidence of good works (Matt. 25: 34 - 45) or of some definition of "holiness."
  8. Salvation (choose one) can / can't be lost.
  9. Salvation (choose one) can / can't be rejected, once a person is saved.
  10. Salvation requires hearing or reading the gospel in the King James translation.
  11. Salvation requires proper understanding of one or more doctrines: nature of God, nature of Jesus, nature of man, nature of sin, nature of the Bible.
  12. Salvation requires following a specific procedure or ritual, perhaps including confession of sins, or public confession of a specific sentence ("Jesus is Lord," for example), or repeating certain doctrinal statements in a prayer -- even though such a "Sinner's Prayer" typically contains more theology than most new converts actually understand.
  13. Salvation (choose one) does / doesn't depend on us (the free will vs. predestination debate).
  14. Salvation can be requested but refused by God.
  15. Salvation requires someone going and "preaching the gospel," first.
More to come. Next time: Are You Saved If...?

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