Monday, 18 April 2011

Salvation and Belief

Last Monday I had a 'Crash' evening whereby I invited a few different people to come round my home  for a meal.  As we eat someone shares for 10 minutes about a particular subject and then we discuss throughout the evening what that person has shared and see where the conversations take us.

On Monday John Colwell came and spoke.  He was one of my tutors at college and is now Pastor at Budleigh Salterton Baptist. He spoke about the Cross of Jesus.

It was a great evening of discussion, laughter and friendships.  

We discussed the meaning of salvation and being 'saved'.  John shared how salvation is never about what we do, it is always about what God does, and that is why it is grace.

So salvation is not about my faith or what I believe.  If we were saved based on what we believe then it would be down to us.  Then it would be about what we have done.  Then it would no longer be grace.

Salvation then is rather not what we opt 'into' but about what we don't opt 'out' of.

Jesus' death was for all people.  Jesus has made room for all people to experience salvation and the grace of God.  So all people have the opportunity to know the love, grace and salvation of God.  This is something God has done and only God could do.

But we can opt out of this gift of love, life and relationship with God.  We can say 'no thanks' to the gift and refuse God's grace.

We can't do anything to save ourselves, but we can refuse the gift of salvation that God has offered to us.

If I was saved because of what I believed then I would be in trouble.  We would all be in trouble if salvation was about what we believed.

John then shared this story:

'I have wrestled with a form of chronic depression throughout adult life...During one sustained bout of acute depression two very dear friends invited me and my wife to stay with them until I could cope again with everyday life (without their generosity I would probably have needed to spend time in hospital). Returning from an evening service of communion, these friends, together with my wife, determined that I too should share in communion. They produced bread and (very excellent) wine, and we celebrated while squatting around their coffee table. Any who have any experience of serious depressive illness will understand that, at the time, I was entirely without any form of religious feeling - indeed it was a struggle to believe at all. Yet as we sat around that table I realised, perhaps truly for the first time, that the bread and wine, and the body and blood of Christ that the bread and wine re-presented, were there on the table for me whether I 'felt' anything - or even 'believed' anything - or not.  In the absence of any 'feeling' or faith, I recognised the significance of grace that evening more deeply and truly than ever before.'

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