I have noticed something recently that is a bit disturbing to me. Many people assume that they are Christians. I must admit that I did this for most of my child/teenage years. I grew up in a Christian home and I just kinda assumed that I was saved. Yeah there were those times when some preacher would get up and scream, yell and spit a bit and get you really scared about hell. When he was done doing all of that he would have an alter call (if you not familiar with an alter call its simple when they tell you to come up from and pray if you want to get saved). So almost every other year, or yearly in some cases, I and all my friends would go get “saved” again. We would say sorry for all the bad stuff we had done over the summer and then go on with life.
Almost everyone where I live has done this. They have, for the majority, been to a Christian Camp, Vacation Bible School or Revival as a child or young adult and has said some type of prayer to be “saved”. Some have decided that it “didn’t take”, other live with the idea that they said a prayer so now they are saved and still some show a real change in their lives. Its all rather interesting to see from a social stand point, however its dreadful when looking at the situation as a pastor.
So why do I even bring this up? One of the biggest reasons is a Facebook post I saw the other day. It was from a guy that I went to college with. We had take many of the same courses and graduated with the same ministry degree as I did. However he posted that until a few weeks ago he hadn’t been saved. He went on to state that his whole life he had been in church and that he never did anything bad. However he was completely reliant on obeying the rules, knowing all the answers and really trying to earn his way to God.
Now I need you to understand something. We weren’t real close in collage, but I do remember his personality. He was humble, kind, a good student and an great preacher. In fact, if I remember right, I expected him to do great things in ministry. He seemed like he was really going to change the world.
I need you to understand that this isn’t your typical Christian. This guy was a pastor. He had preached sermons, thought through the hard questions and studied countless hours. I don’t mean to make it sound like as a preacher he is better than all the other Christians around him. I simple want to press into the fact that he had done more studying that many Christians do, but yet to his own admission wasn’t saved. He wasn’t saved but thought he was. That his a horrifying thought.
What I see daily is people that say they are saved but I truly wonder if they are. I am not the judge of a persons heart, that is up to God. However there are clear signs of someone that has been saved. The first of which is a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). One of the major reasons that my college friend came to the conclusion that he wasn’t saved is that there was no point ever in his life that he or the people around him could point to and say that he ever prayed to be forgiven and/or had a change in his life. He had just assumed it because of his good works.
It wasn’t about Gods grace, it was about his works. I wonder how many people live thinking that their good deeds will either make up for their bad deeds or will somehow earn Gods approval and love. We see that this isn’t close to true (Ephesians 2:8). We live in a world that says that if you are “good” then surly whatever deity, if there is one, that you meet when you die will be ok with you.
What scares me most as a pastor is that there are many people, many of the teens that I speak with, that think that they are “good enough” to get into heaven. However whenever I hear this all I can think is Matthew 7:22. This should freak anyone out that assumes they are saved. Jesus is clear that doing “good things” even amazing things in our day doesn’t mean that you are saved, that you are His.
If you are saved you know you are. It’s an indescribable peace and joy even in the hardest times that you know isn’t from you but from Him. However we, as Christians, should be worried when we begin to think that our works equal our salvation. If you said a prayer one time to be saved this should, and I hope it does, terrify you even more. I need you to ask this question to yourself if your even 99% sure of your salvation. “I am saved?”
It his by grace that we are saved, that is all. Jesus + anything else = death. Jesus alone is your salvation!