The church created and sustains this misconception: salvation is simple. From that misconception too many Christians disastrously over-simplify salvation. "I do my part, God does His part, and salvation is a done deal. It is quite simple. Do what you are supposed to do and God does what He is supposed to do." The concept: "my" part is baptism and church attendance.

The core of "my" salvation involves God, Jesus Christ, God's Spirit, and "me" on a continuing basis. Apart from the core are other factors. Some factors encourage "me" toward God: Christian fellowship, godly examples, maturing in understanding God's word, maturing in understanding God's will and purposes, and maturing in identifying good and evil. Some factors encourage "me" toward evil: temptation, victimization by ungodly forces, hungers to indulge physical desires, false concepts of security, and a world that says many forms of evil are good.

Salvation involves an event of coming to God. God's power in a specific moment transitions "me" from Satan's kingdom and rule to God's kingdom and rule. However, the event begins "my" salvation and marks only the beginning of a lifelong commitment and relationship with God through Christ.

For salvation to be reality, several things must occur. If in faith "I" respond to what God did in Jesus' death, God gives me the gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:4-10). God always is the source of power; "I" never am (Ephesians 3:20, 21). "I" respond to God's offer. The power that provides "me" a saved relationship with God is always from God, never "me."

"I" choose God as "my" ruler instead of the forces of evil (Romans 6). "I" place the resurrected Jesus as Lord of "my" entire existence (1 Peter 3:14-16). "I" remain acutely aware of what God did and does for "me." In obedience surrender, "I" use all of "my" life to serve God's purposes. "I" never reduce this merely to rules and regulations. It is a whole life commitment that allows God to remake "me" (Ephesians 4:20-24).

This remaking [transformation] is a cooperative project between God and "me." "I" give Him "my" mind to remake and to focus on His will (Romans 12:1,2). He through His Spirit lives in "my" life. From the moment of "my" forgiveness, His presence [Spirit] is His gift to "me" (Acts 2:38). In cooperation with His presence in "my" life, "I" grow to be a different person as "I" permit the Spirit to bear fruit in "my" life (Galatians 5:22-24). "My" body is His presence's temple (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). When Christ returns, "I" will be judged by "my" appreciative service to God who allows Jesus to be "my" Savior (2 Corinthians 5:10). In every consideration, God provides "me" salvation as a gift. "I" responsibly surrender and cooperate with God as He transforms "me."

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 7 July 2002

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