1 Peter 4:16-19
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (bold print added)
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Wait a minute. I thought it was easy to be saved. I thought you say the “sinner’s prayer”, the “magic words”, and you’re saved, right? And then “once saved, always saved”. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. That’s the way we were taught. That’s the way we taught others. It’s so easy!
Or is it?
Are we truly “saved”? Are we saved once and then we’re covered for life? That’s basically how I’ve been taught. No matter what you do, God will forgive you. That is true. God forgives. He’s a loving and merciful God. By saying the sinner’s prayer, do we have a “get out of jail free card”? Does that simply protect us from spending eternity in hell?
In 1 Peter 4:18 the Bible tells us that it is hard for even the righteous to be saved. It doesn’t sugar coat the process, and it is a process. You can’t say one prayer and you’re in. It goes beyond that. Way beyond.
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
These passages refer to the process of being saved. Whoever stands firm in their faith until the end will be saved. If we believe and are baptized we will be saved. The message of the cross is the power of God to those that are being saved.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Another part of the process of being saved is repentance. Sometimes we commit a really bad sin and we know it. We ask God to forgive us and, by his grace and mercy, he does. But do we really know every one of our sins?
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Satan is very good at making sin look harmless and attractive. That’s why it’s tempting. Even Jesus was tempted. Satan was an angel of light created by God. He was beautiful! He made his choice to sin against God and is now bound to spend eternity in hell. He knows how to be beautiful and attractive even though he is evil. Sometimes we sin and don’t even realize it. Sometimes society tells us something is ok and we become desensitized.
The Bible is very clear on many sins and I’ve addressed some in previous posts. We have the 10 commandments, yet with every abortion, a life is taken and it is accepted in society. Today, many of these sins are celebrated! But there are more subtle sins that we don’t even think about.
One night, right before falling asleep, God revealed to me that santa is satan. It sounded kind of silly at first. But when I thought about it, it all made sense. At Christmas time, santa is the focus, not Jesus. Sure, I always took my kids to church but we always came home to presents from santa. We hung stockings, left him cookies and milk, saw him at the mall, gave him money outside of Walgreen’s and always participated in the “magic” of the season. My children knew we celebrated Jesus birthday. They knew the original Christmas story. But the focus was on santa. He always sees you, rewards you if you’re good, punishes you if you’re bad, loves everyone, can be everywhere at once, it’s so similar. But we’ve been sold this poor substitute of a deity to celebrate on Jesus birthday. How can santa be greater than JESUS?! Let me tell you, I fell asleep repenting, groveling for forgiveness, for my terrible, egregious sin. How could I fall for such a thing? How could I lead my children astray, right into the devil’s lap?
I was still repenting in the morning when I woke up. My point being, we have to continually ask God to search us for sin and offensive ways and reveal them to us so we can repent and continue the process of being saved. Why? God does not allow sin in heaven. Let me repeat that. GOD DOES NOT ALLOW SIN IN HEAVEN.
23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
God does not want any to perish but for all to come to repentance. WE are the ones that must repent. We must be diligent, keep in constant communication with God, listen for his words regarding our lives, and repent when we need to.
As my sister would say, “Even the saved need saving.”