The Assurance of Salvation

Dave nervously scanned the riverbank as his Special Forces patrol navigated the hostile waters of a Vietnamese river. He and his fellow soldiers were headed back to the previous day's battle scene in a six-man raft to obtain an accurate enemy body count, the only true measure of success. Suddenly, shots pierced the sultry air from the thick underbrush on the left bank.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11901
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God wants us to be sure that we are members of His family . He is not glorified by our uncertainty. It is not humble to be unsure of our salvation. The apostle John certainly wanted his readers to be sure of their eternal destiny. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 NIV).

Thank you for bringing this back to my conscious mind. It is the only thing that matters in this world. We need to read this piece every time we have doubts and put away the legalistic rambling that seem to be creeping back into our church’s theology.

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Justification by faith has stood the test time since Martin Luther. I think this misrepresent justification, placing “relationship” above faith alone that Justifies which makes us children of God. It is a daily privilege to experience Justification by faith alone, without any good works.
This how we stay in relationship with God. We are saved by Grace through faith that justifies, not once in while, but daily.

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short [fail] of the glory of God, 3:24 and all are justified freely [ gratuitously] by his grace [ unmerited favor] through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

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As a young person growing up in the church, we were taught never to claim we were saved. My automatic reaction was, then I will not be saved, and I better get my act together, because there was an investigative judgment (another scary belief) going on. I felt I had to be perfect by the “close of probation” (another term unique to SDA) or my goose was cooked.
If there was ever a righteousness by misery, I had found it. I have always thought probation was what you got from a judge, instead of jail, and your behavior is monitored as a condition.

My experience growing up in the church was emotionally disturbing. I felt I was in the slammer, and God had thrown away the key.

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Not mine ! -Growing up in the time of WW II, the only child, my family keeping me separated - beacuse of saving our all ives - (you know whah the GESTAPO was - and the family was an objector to NAZI doctrine and life !) - -well, I had learned a lot about the “worldlings” - drinking beer, playing cards, playing football, dancing, going for shopping on Sabbath , using dirty word, not studying MY picture Bible - - my phantasy was

that our dear God should be very happy about me as the only good little child here in the vincinity !! -

Then, with ten - and then later with fourteen, then with twenty - - and still now I experience the encounter with all those “bad” people,and still learn - -

(As a child I was a horrible brat !)

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As a child, SDA-ism made me, at once, an insufferable bore and an insecure coward.

A bore because I knew all of the other kids were going to hell since they went to church on the wrong day, or didn’t go at all, and insecure because I knew I wasn’t living up to EGW’s standards and would probably be forced to join them…

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You nailed the feeling of many of us. We could never be “good enough” This is the same kind of thinking that had taken over many in the church. Everyone seems to have forgotten a few carefully placed words of Jesus. “whosoever believes” is something you should write on the lids of your eyes. Our behavior is not going to save us…but far more important, it isn’t what will send us to hell either. That happens when we stop believing. Belief is simply faith. The thief on the cross didn’t behave in any way worthy of heaven, but he believed Jesus was his salvation and he was told right there on the cross that he would be in heaven.

27 or 28 of the rules on the backs of SDA bulletins have done tremendous harm and now Ted is spreading that kind of thinking, which has discouraged so many, causing them to give up because they simply don’t feel like they will ever be good enough.

Don’t be discouraged, just hang on to Jesus. That is the gospel. PERIOD

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And what about experiencing the “crucible”, the very issue in our SS Quarterly ? One young, - OK, not so young - sister felt bewildered, discouraged, distracted - well, emotionally totally upset - unable to guide her class - already on lesson 2 !
Oh, we are aware of the hostilities we have to ebar right here. And also of the hidden, secret troubles our faith and our Christian life creates - -

  • -but to pilot a class through the theratening cleffs of this quartes Saabthschool - is a heavy task - - - -
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As with all statements of the absolute, I suspect this one is at least incomplete and possibly dead wrong.

The way I read the story, Jesus-if he ever existed-didn’t want his followers to cling to him as a person or to his words as he knew he wouldn’t live forever and he didn’t write any of it down, knowing that the message would necessarily be lost in the translation.

But Jesus also knew that his “self”, his father’s self, was ever present and could no more leave the planet than it is possible to have thunder without lightning.

So the essence of his good news is just as likely to be that his absence, no matter how long it lasts, doesn’t matter at all because even if he never returns in bodily form, Jesus was just like us in that we are also children of god and our most essential nature is of divine origins.

But the best news of all might be his insinuation that our creator does not despise us, nor has our maker-Jesus’ dad-ever abandoned us due to our supposedly sinful nature. Instead, those were only ever myths, horror stories told to scare people into compliance with the whims of con artists, and the reality is that we can be rescued from the condemnation of those tall tales simply by seeing them for what they are and denying their absolutist claims.

Or maybe not.

But I know which news I’d prefer to hear.

Yes Bruce, lets put your last post on the backs of every SDA Church bulletin. I’m sure the inspiration will shine through and will all collectively gather at the river.

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