Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 5 May 2015
Page 3

Editorial

I Am Saved Because…

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis RushmoreWhich statement is biblically correct: “I am saved because I feel good” or “I feel good because I am saved”? Notice that all of the same words appear in both expressions, but there is a significant difference in their meanings. More importantly, the variation between them can affect where a soul spends his or her eternity. Therefore, it is extremely important for you and me to distinguish between these approaches to salvation as we make preparation to meet God at the end of time (Amos 4:12).

Doubtless, the first statement is widely popular among the majority of people today who claim to be Christians. However, despite its widespread acceptance, is it biblically accurate? Are personal feelings the divine benchmark for determining if one has been saved? If a person feels good, is Almighty God obligated to bestow forgiveness of sins and reserve for him or her a place in heaven above? Do mortals have the standing before the God to obligate Him to save them on their own terms? Or, as created beings, must men and women humbly yield to the mandates of the Creator regarding salvation—and every other directive? Prior to visiting relevant New Testament passages and simply upon reflection of relative questions posed here, common sense alone leans in the direction of discounting one of the statements. It is not reasonable to imagine that the God of all creation must bow Himself to the casual impulses of the creature—man.

Proponents of feel-good salvation and subsequent feel-good religion suppose that perhaps the Holy Spirit is responsible for them feeling good. Further, the feeling-good frame of mind is presumed to be proof of salvation and acceptance of human ways of practicing religion. In reality, a subjective interpretation of feeling good lacks any credibility to guarantee someone’s redemption. Mankind often mouths something comparable to, “Faith is a blind leap in the dark.” That declaration demeans the system of Christian faith—from which one derives personal faith. Actually, the Gospel or New Testament, which is the Word of God, is the basis of faith—both as a system of belief and as one’s personal faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV). A person’s Christian faith comes forth from biblical evidence, rather than from ‘a blind leap in the dark.’

The country of Ethiopia lies in northeast Africa, two countries south of Egypt and along the Red Sea. Nearly 2,000 years ago, the treasurer of Ethiopia was a eunuch. He was probably a Gentile—a non-Jew—who had espoused Judaism. He traveled about 1,000 miles in a two-wheeled chariot to Jerusalem to worship God. However, both because he was a Gentile as well as because he was a eunuch (Deuteronomy 23:1), he was restricted to use of the Court of the Gentiles on the Temple mount. For instance, other courtyards closer to the Temple proper were reserved for Jewish women and Jewish men. Isn’t that an incredible amount of dedication to his Jewish faith in God to make a 2,000-mile roundtrip through arid, inhospitable landscapes for the privilege of being relegated to a peripheral area for worship?

Upon his return journey home, the treasurer was reading from the scroll of Isaiah as his driver guided the chariot homeward. An evangelist for the church of our Lord struck up a conversation with the Ethiopian, which resulted in a Bible study (Acts 8:26-39). Consequently, this worshipper of God who had come from so far voluntarily converted to Christianity. Philip the evangelist had preached to him Jesus (Acts 8:35), to which the eunuch responded by believing Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of God—the Christ (Acts 8:37; cf. John 8:24) and by being immersed in water (Acts 8:38; Colossians 2:12) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).

We dare say that the Ethiopian eunuch had a sense of feeling good about the fact he had made the long, difficult journey to Jerusalem to worship God. It is clear, though, that any feeling good that he may have experienced because of that was not proof of his redemption. Judaism was no longer the God-authorized religion, and it had been exchanged for Christianity years earlier (Acts 2). Once Judaism had served its purpose, God replaced it (Matthew 5:18; Romans 7:6-7; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14).

Think back to the statements with which we began: “I am saved because I feel good” or “I feel good because I am saved.” The feel-good-feeling relative to the eunuch’s salvation occurred after his Christian baptism. Following his baptism, this treasurer “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). “I am saved because I feel good,” then, is a false view of salvation. On the other hand, “I feel good because I am saved” is a biblically accurate assessment of one’s joy relative to his or her salvation. Are you, dear Reader, operating under the misconception associated with the former declaration, or are you safely relying on the Bible’s plan of redemption as the basis of your joy, happiness or good feeling regarding salvation?


God’s Mirror

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

Mirrors do not lie! If a person looks into a mirror, the truth is always present. No matter how a person may feel, the mirror shows the truth. Often, mirrors are quite shocking. While we may feel we look a certain a way, feelings are proven to be irrelevant through the reality of the looking glass. On different occasions, God referred to His Word as a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12; James 1:23ff). Consequently, God’s Word is irrefutably telling indeed! It shows a person’s actual spiritual state.

Firstly, God’s mirror clearly shows the unsaved. Sadly, most everyone believes they are going to heaven. In fact, the secular criterion for entering heaven is simply to die. However, God’s mirror shows a vastly different picture. Those who reject Christ and His Gospel will be in serious trouble at the judgment (John 12:48). If a person has not obeyed God’s plan of salvation, he or she is “without God” and “without Christ” (Ephesians 2:12). The truth that God’s mirror clearly shows is that most people are in fact lost (Matthew 7:21ff; Romans 3:23; 6:23). While most people do not “feel” lost, the Divine looking glass shows quite a different picture!

Secondly, God’s mirror visibly shows the unfaithful. For many Christians faithfulness is only determined by their attendance record at the assembly. While it is true that the faithful regularly attend the services of the church (Matthew 6:33), faithfulness is not based solely on attendance. Far too many Christians attend regularly, but they never take the time to teach their relatives or neighbors the saving Gospel. How many “faithful attendees” gossip about their brethren on a regular basis? Unfaithful people are exposed by God’s mirror and surely include those who lack love and compassion for others (1 Corinthians 13:1ff), and they never exhort and encourage their fellow brethren (Hebrews 10:23ff). Unfaithfulness is clearly exposed by the Divine looking glass as those who fail to grow and mature in the faith (Hebrews 5:12ff; 2 Peter 3:18). Although many “feel” that they are faithful, God’s mirror shows the clear truth!

Thirdly, God’s mirror plainly shows the unfruitful. The church was never established to merely “keep house”! Sadly, far too many congregations of God’s people are merely content to maintain. The Divine looking glass shows that our early brethren “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Instead of “tolerating” sin and deprivation our brethren of old “troubled the city” (Acts 16:20). A congregation must be busy spreading God’s Word! It is not enough for a congregation to simply inhabit a plot of land in a community. Ask yourself regarding the place where you worship the following: “How much actual outreach are we involved in?” Also ask, “How much fruit have we actually borne in the past five years?” Ironically, many congregations have a list of “activities” that benefit the members socially (dinners, country trips, zoo trips, etc.), but those same groups have little to nothing regarding activities to spread the Gospel (radio programs, door-knocking campaigns, newspaper articles, billboards, etc.). Fruit bearing is not optional!

Although we may not like what we see standing before a mirror, the truth is helpful and useful. The same is true of God’s mirror. It exposes the areas wherein we must change. Heaven awaits those who honestly look into God’s mirror and make the proper adjustments. “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). Dear friend, look closely!


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