Salvation: Event Or Process?
By Joe Keim
September 1, 2011
Can a person know all about Jesus Christ, such as:
1. He is the Son of God
2. He came to planet earth, died for their sins, rose the third day, went back to heaven and is coming again
...and still be cast into the lake of fire at the end of their journey on earth?
On top of knowing all about Christ, can a person also:
- Go to church every Sunday
- Follow all the rules of the church
- Get baptized
- Obey their parents and church leaders
- Live a simple hard working life, be honest and separated from the world
...and still be cast into the lake of fire at the end of their journey on earth?
The answer, according to God's Word is yes. For instance, consider the following Scripture:
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew is clearly talking about church people who had good intentions; even to the point of preaching, casting out devils and doing many wonderful works. However, when they got to the end of their life's journey, they missed heaven and were ordered to depart from Christ. What a sad and devastating end for people who tried so hard and worked so diligently.
So, how does a person, at the end of their earthly journey, enter God's kingdom?
The answer of course is, there has to be a new (or second) birth event, or as some say, a spiritual conversion.
You see it is very possible, and it happens every day; two people can be living in the same community, obeying the same rules, going to the same church, following the same Lord. Outwardly, they are a complete match. The only thing that separates one from the other is the fact that one had a spiritual conversion and the other one didn't.
The one is doing, doing, doing, because s/he is in a life-long process of getting right with God, while the other is doing, doing, doing, because s/he experienced the second birth and is already right with God.
It's kind of like getting married. You don't walk up to a person of the opposite sex and say, I've decided to start following you around, make meals for you, hug you, provide money for your needs and tuck you into bed at night in order that we might become husband and wife. No! We first become husband and wife (it's an event that happens on our wedding day), and then we start following him/her around, make meals, hug, provide money and tuck him/her into bed at night.
Something else to consider: Once married, we do not do, do, do in order to become more married. We do, do, do because we are married.
The question then is, are you doing, doing, doing in order to become a Christian, or are you doing, doing, doing because you are already a Christian?
If your answer is I do, do, do because I am already a Christian, than my question to you is, "When did you become a Christian?" And yes, just like marriage is an event, so the conversion (new birth) is an event. It happens on a certain day, certain time and a certain place.
2 Corinthians 6:2 ...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
In order to better understand the rest of my article, let's understand that doing, doing, doing is something that happens over a process of time, where as, a spiritual conversion is a one-time event.
Salvation: Event vs. Process
Several weeks ago, I had an opportunity to discuss the second birth with a husband and wife. First I quoted John 3:3 and 5, where it says, "Except a man is born again, he cannot see or enter God's kingdom". Then I asked the couple, "have you been born again?" Their reply to me was, "Joe, we believe that new birth is a lifelong process."
As this couple continued to share their beliefs about the second birth, the following thought came to mind: They have the life-long process mixed up with the one-time event!
Let me explain:
Is it not true, dear reader, that in order for a human being to enter and exist in our physical world, there FIRST had to be an event take place, which we call the first birth? In fact, we have a birth certificate proving that such an event took place at so and so place, time and location. It's all right there in black and white. No one even questions the fact that it was not an event. I might even add; we celebrate that event every year by baking birthday cakes and giving gifts.
Is it not also true that until the event takes place, the process of growing and maturing the physical mind and body could not begin?
Unlike the birth event, growing and maturing is a (lifelong) process. So, let's please understand that process can only happen after the event and should never be considered as one and the same.
Having said that, let me remind us again that in John 3:3, Jesus clearly told Nicodemus, "except a second birth/event takes place in our life, s/he can never see or enter God's kingdom."
1. The first birth event allowed you and me access into the physical world.
2. The second birth event allows you and me access into the spiritual world.
3. Before you and I could begin the process of growing and maturing in the physical world, there had to be a birth event.
4. Before you and I can begin the process of growing and maturing in the spiritual world, there has to be a birth event again.
Oh, we can fake it alright, and many are doing just that. They do, do, do by going to church, giving money to the poor, reading their Bible, praying daily and doing many wonderful works, however, they have never experienced a spiritual conversion.
Luke 13:2-3 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Repent from what?
Answer: Repent from doing, doing, doing in order to become a Christian and have your sins forgiven.
Salvation is a gift! Jesus Christ did not pay for part of your sins and then hand you a payment plan, asking that you keep up the rest of the payments. He paid it all! All to Him I owe!
In fact, the prophet Isaiah points out so clearly, in chapter 64, that even our good works are as filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...
We cannot possibly do, do, do enough to pay our own way to God. If we could have paid our own way, Jesus would not have had to come and die on the cross. His death on the cross is what it took to pay your and my way! Will you cast your sin upon Jesus and be born again, today?
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.
Please don't wait another day, another hour, another minute. The time to be born again is now. Some day it will be too late. The Bible says:
Revelation 6:17 For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The answer is, no one will be able to stand.
Will you let Jesus stand for you and in your place? He took God's wrath upon Himself, when He died that horrible death on the cross, 2,000 years ago.
Romans 10:8-9 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
If you have never been born again, would you consider praying these words from your heart and according to God, be saved?
Dear Lord, today, I call upon your name for my salvation. I believe in my heart that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead in order that I might have everlasting life. I now declare Him to be the Lord of my life. I forsake any effort on my part to save myself, and I reject all the charges of Satan that would rob me of my full assurance of eternal life. I have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of His beloved Son. I declare myself to be a child of God from this day forth, because of the finished work of Christ. -Amen
If you contact our ministry, I would be overjoyed to send you some reading and Bible study materials that will help you become a strong and mature Christian.
-- Joe Keim
Order this article in booklet form
This Bible lesson is available in booklet form. To order one of more, please go to our Gospel Tracts and Booklets page and look for the booklet called: Salvation: Event or Process? You will find it listed.
« Back to Articles