Summary: Many people view Christianity as dry and lifeless. It doesn’t have to be that way it is a life changing experience and should be viewed with zest and exuberance because we have that assurance of Eternal Life.
“Salvation and Assurance”
There was a man named Thomas Johnson. During a week of meetings at his corps in St. Joseph, MO, he was the center of attention, laughing, smiling, joking, never a serious moment. After the final meeting given by the speaker, Major David Thomas, he gripped the hand of the Major and said “Powerful Message, Major. I hope you don’t think badly of me for jokin’ around so much during the week. I was 30 before I met the Lord. It was such a wonderful experience in my life that I’ve been wanting to laugh and holler ever since.”
Thomas Johnson understands the difference Christianity makes in his life. Do you? Oh he may not be able to explain it in all the theological terms that are related to the experience and probably neither can many of us. Some of the words used to describe this experience are, “got saved,” “asked the Lord into their heart,” “found the Lord.” These are just a few of the less technical terms used. Some of the more theological terms used are, “justification, regeneration, adoption, witness of the Spirit and initial sanctification” (Purkiser 275, 322).
There are at least two reasons for the wide variety of expressions. First and foremost the Bible itself uses so many different terms to refer to the change that occurs when a person becomes a Christian (NIV Thematic Reference Bible 1832-1860). Secondly we are so different, there are many ways people meet Christ. Many expressions are used to describe this blessed event. Common to every believer is the fact that a big change has taken place. Have you experienced a change in your life? Changes that make you want “to laugh and holler,” like Thomas Johnson. This change is often called conversion, the change from sinfulness to righteousness (Purkiser 276).
1. Salvation Offered. (Eph. 2:1-5)
Society doesn’t like to be reminded that they are sinners (Rom.3:23). So they don’t take the term sin very seriously. Sin, is a word that for some sounds so out of date. A term some relate to the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. This word doesn’t paint a very positive picture and today the accent is definitely on the positive. Karl Menninger wrote a book in 1973, “Whatever Became of Sin?” In it Menninger says, “The popular leaning is away from notions of guilt and morality . . . Disease and treatment have been the watchwords of the day and little is said about selfishness or guilt or the ‘morality gap.’ And certainly no one talks about sin!” (35).
Some of us don’t realize it or we don’t want to realize it or we don’t want to hear it or we don’t want to believe what it is I’m going to say next. The Bible clearly states that people who have not accepted Christ as their Savior are sinners. “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Rom. 3:23 NLT). We have people sitting right here, right now who deny a sin problem exists. Folks that is one of the main, characteristics of sin. To deny a problem exists.
I hear people say things such as, “I may not be perfect, but I don’t beat my children,” or “I don’t steal,” or “I pay my bills on time.” That expresses a typical attitude of today’s sinner. The problem here is that a person who talks like this assumes that a sinner is someone who breaks God’s rules. The Bible says exactly the opposite. People break God’s laws because they are sinners (Salvation Story ix).
A sinner isn’t just someone who breaks the rules. A sinner is someone who has not put God where He rightfully belongs. And where is that you may ask. At the center of one’s life (Purkiser 211).
Paul put it so eloquently in Romans 1:25, “Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever” (NLT). Read Romans 1:18-3:20 for further study.
We have been created in the image of God to worship and obey Him. But sin has distorted the very reason for our existence. Sin twists and bends the person God made. When we are bent and twisted so far away from what we were created to be, we don’t experience the fellowship with God that we were created to have. We see all around us obsessions, addictions, perversions, uncontrollable anger, and denial. These are all signs of the lack of a relationship between the Creator and His creation. But sometimes it shows up as a person without a purpose in life (Bence 31-40).
Becoming a Christian requires a major change, a conversion. Romans 3:10-23 makes it very clear that we can’t make the change by ourselves (READ PASSAGE). Here we are faced with a dilemma. That is this. We have now been given the knowledge that we must change. But we also know that we can’t change on our own. The most devastating result of our sin is our inability to change our lives and restore the relationship with our Creator (Bence 64-66).