According to many of the sermons I’ve heard over the years from different pulpits across the country, and according to the conversations I’ve had over the years with people of different ages and spiritual maturity levels, the Christian term being saved is traditionally defined and viewed as a one-time event, which is triggered by a prayer or verbal confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, based on Romans 10:9-10.
It would also seem that the primary purpose or benefits ofsalvation are defined by the following two concepts: 1) access to God’s favor, for the expressed purpose of living a more prosperous life in this world, and 2) gaining admission into Heaven in the after life.
In other words, people want the best of both worlds. As such, those two concepts are routinely presented to the masses.
The reason for this has to do with a simple marketing concept, which is, as all marketing concepts are, aimed at basic human nature: creature comforts. So, in order to keep the message of salvation both interesting and relevant to people, ministers of the gospel tend to present and focus on more the appealing aspects of God's Word.
In many cases, the gospel is presented to people who are in desperate need of something—healing, finances, peace, basic problem solving, etc. So, it is quite natural that a supernatural quick-fix be offered in those times of need. But, sometimes, the problem with quick-fixes is they don’t always hold up, long-term. As a result, cracks and leaks often occur after the quick-fix is applied.
There is an old saying:Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. In the same way, salvation is, and should be viewed as, more than a quick-fix with a promise of a futuristic exit strategy to leave behind the many miseries and temptations of this life.
The issue is not that I believe the traditional definition and view of salvation is wrong; rather, I believe traditional teaching tends to fall short of the truth that is found in God’s Word.
Just to be clear about this, I’m not saying traditional mainstream teaching on salvation completelyfails the test of God’s Words; instead, mainstream Christianity tends to teach and view salvation out of the proper context; and, because the teaching is often presented to the masses out of context, the masses can, and many have, easily fallen away from their faith or devotion to God.
The book “One for All...” is a project I started around 1990 while involved in the singles' ministry of the local church I both attended and worked. Based on multiple social and ministerial conversations I had with adult believers of various ages at the time, I came to realize that many ofus didn’t really have a good grasp on thewhys of salvation. (Thehow was routinely taught, Jesus died for us; but, even the how part can be murky, at best .)
Back then--the '90's, as it still tends to be today, the way to be saved is to recite, in a confessional or regretful way, a version of the “Sinners’ prayer," as indicated before, based on the New Testament’s book of Romans, chapter 10:9-10. Of course, once a minister or a layperson who was “witnessing” or sharing the gospel got another person to recite that prayer or make that confession, well then, that was it: let the rejoicing begin, another soul was saved and now had full access to Heaven and everything good, in Jesus’ name.
The problem is: most mainstream preaching encourages us to hold God accountable for his promises, while, almost, minimizing our responsibility to position ourselves in the place whre He said the promises would meet us.
It is true that only humanity benefits from salvation; after all, the very premise of needing to be saved indicates that we were in danger. But, it is still necessary to properly define all of the whys of salvation, not just the ones that appeal to our carnal nature.
God did not set His plan of salvation into motion just so we can be saved from poverty, problems and pain. The plan was to save and free us from the bonds of Satan and Sin, first. Once we are free in our minds, then we can more easily see ways or routes to obtain and keep material things, which can lead to a more prosperous life in this world.
But, first things, first!!
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:33