Saturday, April 9, 2011

Salvation by Faith Alone - An Example

People have so much trouble understanding and accepting the concept of grace. One example that I've used for myself in the past might be helpful.

Imagine going to a car lot to purchase a new vehicle. The salesman walks up to you, and leads you to the most expensive car in the lot. He hands you a sheet of paper, and says--if you will remain a loyal customer to me, and sign this piece of paper, the car is yours. No cost. No downpayment. Nothing. You just stay loyal to me, come back and visit so that I can give you your (free) tune-ups, give me a call when you get a minute just to chat. Nothing else is required. It is a free gift.

That is what salvation is really like. Now let's look at what most evangelicals today think salvation is like.

You go to a car lot to purchase a new vehicle. The salesman walks up to you, and leads you to the most expensive car in the lot. He gives you the car for free, no cost. You ask the catch, and he says, "No catch - just bring it here for all future tune-ups. This book has the maintenance schedule, make sure and follow it or the car is useless. Bring it here and the maintenance costs won't be that bad."

Do you see the subtle, but important, difference?

The Gospel says that we can't afford to buy salvation, and we can't afford to keep it. It is a gift, freely given. It is based only on our loyalty. And we don't even have to pay for maintenance costs. Your works do not save you, and your works do not maintain your salvation. There is no "wrong side of the tracks" in heaven that your works will help you avoid. That simply isn't a Biblical concept. God gives us all eternal life undeserved; He does not later decide to give those who were "less undeserved" a better deal.

A lot of people--especially evangelicals--have a hard time with that. They much prefer the second method: that salvation is freely received, but there is cost later. We have to pay for the upkeep. Our works weren't needed to save us, but we still have to do good works to stay on the "good side" of God.

Hogwash.

Jesus' death is sufficient for all sins--past, present, and future. You can't pay to buy salvation, and you can't afford its maintenance cost. Get over yourself. Be pious and virtuous because it helps you grow closer to the One who saved you. Don't do it out of some misguided, anti-Gospelic belief that it will somehow make you more loved by God, or on His "good side". Stop trying to pay the maintenance cost on salvation, and your life will get a lot more peaceful and joyous.

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