WHAT SALVATION IS AND IS NOT
Scripture Reference - Hosea 13:9-14
In the few short thoughts recorded in Hosea 13:9-14 one may observe a need for God's SALVATION PLAN! The Prophet Hosea expounds on God's awful warnings and His awesome promises.
God's people had purposely destroyed themselves, by their willful transgressions against the known Laws of God. Of course, it is easy for us to see that God was the only way they could be restored. In their rebellious condition they had become "good for nothing" as far as righteousness was concerned.
Years prior to Hosea's time the Israelites had departed from God's plan for their nation. He had given them righteous judges to rule over their affairs. They were not satisfied with His perfect plan. They begged God to give them a king instead, so that they could be like their heathen nation neighbors. This time, God let them have their own way. He put King Saul in charge, giving him authority over the judges. But the price they had to pay was captivity at the hands of their dread enemies, the Philistines.
At first, having a King in charge seemed like a good thing. But judgement came for their crimes of disobedience and rebellion. It was like a woman about to give birth, her hard labor can come suddenly and unavoidably. There are people and ways to comfort and ease her pain, with gentle help and soothing words. There was also a time when the Israelites could have sought and attained God's help in their dilemma. Instead they insisted on their own willful ways. As a result, they put themselves in danger of final destruction, though warned time and time again!
In their sins, these wayward souls were as good as "dead and buried." Yet, Hosea speaks for God as he shows them a "way out." - "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." Hosea 13:14
Clearly God's plan for the SALVATION of His people in Hosea's day is extended from that time to like minded people of our day! Today this SALVATION is made complete through the sin-cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord! Come, let us....
See what SALVATION is not!
See what SALVATION is!
See if you just now posses SALVATION!
SEE WHAT SALVATION IS NOT! ---
SALVATION IS NOT church membership nor is it an affiliation with some certain group of "believers!" This kind of thinking is fraught with carnal pride. It is like those who, without Scriptural evidence, haughtily proclaim; "I was born a this-or-that and I will die a this-or-that," while all the time continuing in sin and open rebellion against the light of Holy Writ as well as the wooing of the Holy Spirit.
SALVATION IS NOT mental ascent! Simply a realization that Jesus Christ gave His life for all mankind (even when such belief leads to water baptism) is totally void of any real spiritual victory over the cures and penalty of sin. Sadly this misconception of salvation is peddled by many main stream denominations.
SALVATION IS NOT good works! The "sacrifices" of church attendance, giving money, fasting, and countless other self-inflicted works fall far short of true holiness. Such "random acts of kindness" are nothing more than another show of "self." Being a nice person is well preferred over being obnoxious. Nevertheless, we are saved by grace (God's unmerited favor) so that it is Jesus Christ who gets the glory.
SALVATION IS NOT a percentage game! Most people are more socially acceptable than they are socially unacceptable. This makes them right in the eyes of their fellowmen; but does nothing for their standing in God's eyes. Believing that one is "more good that bad" only raises a false hope of a home in Heaven, and leaves Jesus Christ completely out of the SALVATION formula.
SEE WHAT SALVATION IS! ---
SALVATION IS a personal encounter with Jesus Christ Himself! Even though others may help you and pray for you, it is your prayers that must be, to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. No human being has the ability to absolve you from your sins! Confessing to a priest may help relieve the guilt of one's transgressions, but only the Master can wash away your sinful past.
SALVATION IS true repentance! It is far more than "being forgiven." In fact true repentance involves at least the following steps:
Admitting that you are a sinner and acknowledging that you need a Savior.
Asking God, for Jesus sake, to forgive you of all sins that are past.
Faith to believe that you are truly forgiven for your years of living in wickedness.
Thanking the Lord for His marvelous grace that redeems your poor lost soul.
Forsaking all known sin that had, for so long, been a part of your existence.
SALVATION IS a total faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ! In the "saved" condition you will continually seek new ways to live while being "in this world, but not of this world." You will pray for work to do that will take up your time in the Kingdom of God.
SALVATION IS growth in grace! A brand new saint will find that he or she is saved from sin, but a deep desire drives that one to grow more like Jesus every day. God in time rids one of all the "bad" things of their life; but there is a need to consecrate everything to Him.
SEE IF YOU JUST NOW POSSES SALVATION! ---
Does the Holy Spirit abide within your very being? Does He witness to you that you are a child of God? That is, are the doubts all settled and do you know Him as your personal Savior? Is your testimony certain even when Satan falsely accuses you and when people are less than kind?
Do you actually hunger and thirst after more of Jesus Christ? Is righteousness your primary goal? Do you desire to mortify your body and to give it to the Lord as a "living sacrifice?"
Have you given up your sinful ways against God and taken on your new nature in Christ?
Are you humbled and obedient? Do you desire to be in God's house and to fellowship with God's people?
If your heart-felt honest answer to these questions is something less than a resounding YES, perhaps you need to seek God! Your never-dying soul hangs in the balance!
Have you seen what SALVATION is not?
Have you seen what SALVATION is?
Do you just now posses SALVATION?
Hosea the Prophet showed us God's plan for the SALVATION of the Israelites. He had no substitute plan, nor any "second best" way for them to get right with their God!
That fact has never changed! Hear and heed the words of Acts 4:12; "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." YES, it is JESUS CHRIST, and HIM alone who wrought our SALVATION!