For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11)
*Disclaimer: God is ok with asking questions in the pursuit of Truth – in fact, it’s sometimes necessary. If you aren’t bold enough to change your beliefs as new Truth is revealed, you may as well quit reading now.
Here’s a question worth considering: “What is the source of salvation?” If 100 Christians were asked this, I would guess about 98 of them would answer something like: “the death of Christ,” “the cross of Christ,” or “the blood of Christ.” It’s scary, but these are wrong answers. To be ignorant of God’s plan for the church, which He laid through His son, is to walk blindly, in darkness. According to Jesus himself, to walk blindly in darkness (or to follow those who do) is to end up in a pit,1 making it impossible to truly follow him and to please God.
Generally speaking, Christianity has mistaken justification for salvation. In scripture, justification means basically to be forgiven and declared righteous, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Therefore, the source of justification is the death of Christ.2 Justification is very important, but it’s just the beginning. If the life of a follower of Jesus were a race, many christians would see salvation as the finish line. Others might see it as the road they run on. But in the mind of God, what christianity has mislabeled salvation is nothing more than enrolling in the race and lacing up your shoes. The focus of believers desperately needs to move past the starting line of Christ’s death, to the actual event: the resurrection LIFE of Christ.3 If you’ve considered the benefits of Jesus’ death but never his life, you haven’t even consciously started the process of being saved.
Let me clearly say, I don’t know everything about true salvation – it’s a deep subject with many facets. I do know a few things, though. First of all, salvation is a process, not something you “get.” Someone “getting saved” in a moment or day is impossible,3 and honestly I’m sick of hearing that phrase. Scripture clearly states the source of salvation is the life of Christ.4 How can Jesus’ life produce salvation? What does that even mean? Again, I don’t claim to know it all, but I feel comfortable saying this: salvation has to do with the process of the actual life and vitality of Jesus – the same mind, energy and vitality that was in him – growing within us and becoming our mind, energy and vitality. Not one believer in all of history became full of the life of Christ (was truly saved) at the moment he or she “prayed the sinners prayer,” “gave their heart to Christ,” “got saved,” “repented of their sins,” or any of the rest of the lingo. In genuine cases, what happened is the life of Christ, the seed of salvation, was planted within. True salvation has to do with that life growing and becoming our life, as our old, natural life diminishes. Please read the scriptures and commentary in the footnotes. Would you rather celebrate Jesus’ death, or experience his life? Simply repent (change your mind) and ask the Father to give you and those you love grace to see and experience the fullness of Christ in you. It will require your death, but in exchange you get his life! I will do the same.
- Matthew 15:14, Luke 6:39.
- This is because Christ is, in effect, a second, spiritual and final “Adam.” In terms of God’s dealings with man, in Christ all of the old fallen race descended from Adam ended, and a new race of spiritual people began, with Jesus being the firstborn of many to come. See: 2 Corinthians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-47.
- Philippians 2:12, Matt. 24:13, Mark 13:13, Acts 2:47, 2 Corinth. 2:15.
- Romans 5:10,17,21, 6:4, Luke 9:24, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Tim. 1:10.