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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions About Salvation


By Francis Fawkes, Th.D.

What is Salvation?

When most people hear of salvation, they think of escape from hell and securing a spot in heaven.  However, it is not just soul salvation, which is of the main and utmost priority.  It encompasses more.  Salvation comes from the Greek word Soteria that includes healing, financial prosperity, remission of sins, deliverance from demonic oppression, a renewed mind and many other benefits that follow it.  In other words, it is abundant living on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.  Salvation is also the redemptive plan of Christ to restore us to the position that we enjoyed before the fall of Adam.

Can we attain salvation through good works?

Salvation cannot be attained through good works because God's standard is that we be sinless to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  God's reaction to sin or impurity is destruction.  And all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Many religions like Buddhism and Hinduism try to attain it through meditation, good works and other types of spiritual disciplines.  But this is not the Way.  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is a gift of God - not of works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2: 8).  Therefore, salvation is a gift that you accept by believing that Christ died for your sins and was resurrected.  Again, we do not have to work for a gift - it is free of charge.

If good works do not save us, then what purpose do they serve?

Good works are a by-product of your salvation.  If we are saved, we should manifest a Christian character that is motivated by the Holy Spirit - not by self-effort.  The purpose of the law is to make you sin-conscious and to act as a behavioral guideline after salvation.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3: 24).  If salvation were a matter of a certain percentage of faith with a percentage of works as some believe, then you would be adding something to Christ's finished work on the cross.  "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath something of which to glory, but not before God.  For what saith the scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto Him as righteousness" (Romans 4:2 3).  Good works, however, determine your rewards in Heaven.

How do we know that we are saved?

The moment we are saved, the Holy Spirit indwells in us.  There is a particular intuition or unction coming from the Holy Spirit that tells the believer that he is a child of God.  The Spirit himself beareth witness with our Spirit that we are the children of God - (Romans 8: 16).  There are also certain signs that follow the believer.  You may manifest any one or several of them.  In Mark 16:17 it states, "these signs shall follow those who believe: In my name they shall cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues.  They shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."  Another way of knowing if you are saved is check to see that you manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23).  These are "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control, against such - there is no law."

Do all religions lead to the same God?

All religions do not lead to the same God.  Allah is not a triune God and he had no son.  The adherents of Hinduism worship 30 million gods.  Buddhism is an atheistic religion and believes that the godhead is within.  Hinduism believes that salvation is attained when one achieves Samadhi.  This is a mystical state of contemplation in which one has achieved union with the universe or mistakenly with God.  They also believe that the godhead lies within.  The Buddhist's salvation is Nirvana, which is the complete extinction of the personality.  A series incarnations or meditation is the vehicle that will lead us to this kind of spiritual perfection.

Again, there can be no perfection outside Jesus.  The eastern mystics are probably developing powers of the mind and spirit that Adam had prior to the fall.  However, if the Holy Spirit is not guiding them in their deliberations, deception and deadly error results.  To dispel the deception that surrounds eastern mysticism, read: The Death of a Guru by Rabi R. Maharaj.  Islam on the other hand, proclaims salvation by good works out-balancing bad works on a scale of justice.  All of the aforementioned are not the prescribed way of the Master, Jesus.  Again salvation is a gift and is not attained by self-effort or works.  Whatever they achieve, cannot lead to God.  Whoever comes to God by some other means are both a thief and a robber, according to scriptures.

Is there more that one mediator between God and Man?

Jesus said "I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14: 6).  In 1Timothy 2:5, it is written "for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus."  The other founders of different world religions outside Christianity have belief systems of their own making.  Others of them have founded religions based on the ideas of deceiving or impersonating spirits.  It is written in Genesis that the serpent (Satan) was the subtlest of the Beasts of the field.  In the world religions, he mixes truth with error to make false ideologies more palatable.  However, that 5 percent error in amidst 95 percent truth will destroy or kill you.  This is a very popular strategy in the spiritual world.

What is the blood atonement?

In the Old Testament, the High Priest made atonement to God for his sins and the sins of the people by sacrificial animals.  These sacrifices were a daily chore.  The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for atonement is Kaphar.  One of its meanings is to cover.  So the blood of animals covered up the Israelite's sins.  When Jesus Christ came, He made a new and better covenant.  Animal sacrifices stopped and He became the Sacrificial Lamb for once and for all (Hebrews 9: 11-15).  His blood shed on the cross not only covers up sins but also removes them.  There is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9: 22).  In 1John1:7 - it is written and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all unrighteousness.

What is the Rapture?

Some people say that the word "Rapture" is not in the Bible.  However, if you look in the Latin Vulgate, you will find the derivation of the word.  In Latin, "rapturo" means caught up.  Nobody knows the exact time of the Rapture.  However, it was prophesied that when this generation (known as the terminal generation) will witness the preaching of the Gospel to all the ends of the earth, then shall the Rapture occur (Matthew 24: 14).  The blooming of Israel is also another landmark event.

Do we all have to experience death to enter Heaven?

According to the Bible, we will not all die.  However, in the rapture, the dead will rise first and then the living.  Their souls from Heaven will unite with their resurrected bodies and they will be lifted up to be with Jesus.  There is also a second class of people that will never experience death.  Those are most likely the young people living in this present generation.  According to 1Thessalonians 4:17:  "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord."   Again the Greek word "harpaz┼Ź", which means to snatch or catch away, is used implying Rapture.  We shall also be changed in a twinkling of an eye (1Corinthians 15: 52 -53).