| A reluctant saviour?|
I wasnt sure where to put this post as it concerns an issue that is both doctrinal and personal. Please bear with me.
There is a teaching regarding salvation that I have come across, regarding how to be saved, that goes something like this:
If someone comes to the realisation that they need salvation then they should pray earnestly to God until he gives them an assurance that they are saved. Until it is granted, they are lost. They might be crying out for days, weeks or even months before this happens.
An example of this teaching can be heard from about 4min into this clip of Paul Washer preaching.
I have heard a similar thing was taught by the classic revivalist preachers: I even understand that the Wesley brothers each had an agonizing period where they believed they were not saved - that was until they both felt they had received the witness of the Spirit (most notably Johns Aldersgate experience).
Such a teaching would maintain that it is not enough to repent, believe and then trust in the promises of God - one must have an inner sense of peace, otherwise one is not saved.
I have a number of problems with this:
It suggests that God is reluctant to save and will only begrudgingly save when one has grovelled enough before him, which is contrary to the bible. I cant find a single case in scripture where someone was denied forgiveness and salvation (whether actually or in a parable) when coming with a penitent heart. Indeed All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away (John 6:37).
I can think of many examples to the contrary from just surveying the book of Luke: The penitent tax collector went home justified (18:14) , the desperate criminal was immediately assured of paradise after he cried out to Jesus (23:43), The father rushed to welcome the prodigal son while he was still far off (15:19)and sinful woman seemed to realize the mercy of Jesus, weep and serve simply by encountering him (7:36-50). The conversions recorded in Acts seem to take place fairly quickly and there is no incident of somebody being put to shame (Romans 10:11) or even held in suspense when they have come to God with a sincere heart.
More acutely , this kind of teaching has caused myself much inner turmoil. I have lacked assurance of my own salvation for many years now and have cried out to God many, many times. In fact, an almost daily prayer of mine is Lord, save me and if you already have, please let me know. I have no inner sense of the Witness of the Spirit so all I have to lean on, and trust on is Christ and the bare promises laid out in scripture that he turns none away who truly come to him.
In the words of the hymn I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name.
If the kind of teaching I have mentioned is true, then it would strongly imply that I am in big, big trouble and that God has been refusing to save me for years. Such a thought makes it very difficult for me to love God (which then only exacerbates the situation, see 1 Cor 16:22).
Now, I understand that people definitely have strong experiences of the Holy Spirit after conversion Indeed, I still hope and pray for one. Its just this whole experience as being necessary for salvation teaching that bothers me.
Any thoughts would be truly welcome
| 2012/5/14 17:43|
| Re: A reluctant saviour?|
hi, the two trees that were in the garden are still there. man continues to eat of the knowlege of good and evil. Jesus said i have come that you might have life... He said i came not to condemn the world but to save it.he said suuffer the children to come to me and told us to receive like children. paul told us that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths we would be saved and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.man wants to have some credit or input in this and this is not the gospel... it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance.He is the tree of life. that is why satan promotes religion.(the tree of the knowlege of good and evil)jimp
| 2012/5/14 22:17||Profile|
| Re: |
I would think some of that teaching is reactionary against easy believism (on Mr. Washer's part) and ecclesiastical authority/salvific rites (on the Wesley's).
| 2012/5/15 0:08||Profile|
| Re: A reluctant saviour?|
If you read acts, what do you see? Do you see anybody say: "Pray until you have assurance"? What you see is repent (turn from your sins to God + surrender to His Lordship) and believe (or baptism = act of believing), that is to go to Christ for salvation and believe that He only can save you!
After that you believe (I mean.. when you first believe) there is assurance or peace, but it doens't mean that after that your assurance is always constantly the same. Otherwise the book of 1 john wouldn't be written because it says in 1 john 5:13: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.".
That's the key: stand on the Word of God.
Butters, I know what you mean because I have struggling with the same in the past and even past week it was the same. But when I look in the word of God I see I am born again and I see Christ died for me. I see a changed heart. I see that Christ gives me power over sin. But still there is not always assurance, so I cry out for a deeper fellowship with my Lord and my God! And I just put my trust in Christ through the Word.
Maybe this will be an encourgement for you!
Wijnand de Ridder
| 2012/5/15 2:44||Profile|
| Re: |
dear wijnand, i see what you are saying but i would like to inject a truth that will make it easier to do.if a sinner could turn from their sin they would not need a saviour. i say that repentance is turning the rule of your life over to Christ...ergo dying to self,as we must do daily. we are told to reckon ourselves dead unto sin. dead men do not sin and altars are made for sacrifices.when we turn our lives over to Jesus we automatically turn away from sin.jimp after this the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our lives and we begin to grow in the Lord.
| 2012/5/15 3:47||Profile|
| Re: |
rather then a reluctent saviour a sourvern saviour
the apostal john said he who is born of god ,has the witness in him self
paul said his spirit witness with our spirit that we are children of god
this is a literal asurance ,one literaly tastes the lord ,and one knows byt the supanaural gift of faith that one is saved ,,,,peter said times of refreshings will come from the presence of the lord
the presence of the lord MUST BE REAL in the new birth ,and it will refresh and regernerate the soul of men
as jim said repentence is granted by god ,and conviction of sin is wrought by the holy spirit ,,,it is supanatural ,and captavaiting changes the verry center of our being ,,,,,,this will happen when one is born again ,,that not to say it will allways remain a powerfull reality ,,we do grow dim at times ,,,,,and some times need to be reminded like the apostal john did in his letters
a peace that passes all understanding
and a joy unspeakable,full of glory ,we rejoyce with at times ,,,this is what the apostal peter said that the born again one does
brother do you not no any of this as a reality in your life
loving god springs forth from this experance ,
the bible says ,for the love of god has been shed abroad in our hearts byt the holy spirit
have you felt his love shead abroad in your heart
we love him
becasue he first loved us
our afections are moved by his regenerating love
we dont love god at all unless his presesnce has become real to us ,,,and the fear of god is manifest in our hearts
have you ever been cut to the heart by the holy spirit
have you ever wept and the lords feet ,and wiped his feet with your tears
the bible must be kept in contex ,,,,the book describes what happens to a person who is bornagain under the new coverent ,,,,,,,just becasue a few verses seem to give a picture that a person can be converted with out any change ,doesnt nulafie the rest of the bible
| 2012/5/15 4:20||Profile|
| Re: |
thanks i have wondered about this too in the past, i still cry out to God waiting for him, nothing really has happened though.Maybe believing them is the truth.
| 2012/5/16 0:43||Profile|
| Re: A reluctant saviour?|
Butters, thank you very much for posting this. I have had the same experience and am well familiar with the stuff from Paul Washer that you are referring to. It also bothered me and caused much confusion. I don't know if we are merely misunderstanding Mr. Washer or what. I recall specifically a story he gave about a "Mountain Man" who sought him out to be saved, but perhaps Washer did not explain a few things in enough detail, i don't know. I think the experience you have written about is EXTREMELY common and i am glad you brought this up.
| 2012/5/16 4:24||Profile|
| 2012/5/16 5:19||Profile|
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hi, thank you for the site... what noone ever talks about is hpow we treat new converts.if a baby is born in a hospital and left to fend for themselves more than 97% would soon die. when one is born from above and left to fend for themselves it is not unreasonable to expect the same or similar results. i am old and can no longer go to my church but i will tell you that 30 to 50 people accept the Lord every week and are councelled with and if necessary are picked up sunday afternoon and brought to a dinner for new converts and a class on water baptism followed by a baptismal service. they are given a kjv bible and a booklet called what next which contains information on a free class on doctrines and how to read your new bible. on monday the pastor or some of the asst. pastors would give you a personal phone call giving them their number if they are needed.later in the week a local cell leader might drop by and invite them to a small gropup bible study and fellowship. they are invited to join the small group and are told again of free beginner classes offered in their new christian lives. none of this is done in a forcefull manner but in christian love. this is just the first week or so and the church has classes and guidance that go on for a year.you are never asked to join the church but are always made very welcome when you come.jimp we are told to make disciples not converts.
| 2012/5/16 6:08||Profile|