When one is saved, if they do not immediately break off sinful patterns, was their conversion real?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Automatic Transcript Generated:

Speaker 1

So Caitlin is asking when one is saved, if they do not immediately break off sinful patterns in their life, was their conversion not real?

Speaker 2

Thank you for asking this, Caitlin, because we really do get a lot of questions like this. We know a lot of people struggling with this sort of thing and it’s an important issue. What is salvation? What what does that look like when we’re truly converted all these things? So let’s really dive into that a little bit. Actually, it’s going to be a quick dive, not a deep dive. So in the Bible, the word saved, when we see salvation saved, often it’s the Greek word sozo, and it can mean to save, to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. And that’s important to keep in mind. It’s a very practical language that when we use in real life, we know what it means, right? So, for example, let’s say kids are always drawn to pools. And then there’s this kid who can’t swim, who falls into the pool and is now drowning, absent and an intervention, that child will drown. But suddenly an adult jumps in, pulls a kid out. What do we say? We say this adult has saved the kid, has rescued the kid from drowning to death. And that’s a very proper use of the word saved.

Speaker 2

And that’s also kind of the same way that sozo works in the Greek. Yet Christians have created lots of crazy doctrines over the centuries and then tried to rewrite what the word saved really means. And then we try to think of all saved means always saved. And now we’re totally saved. And then we can’t ever have problems again. When the fact is the pool is always there, we can always fall back into the pool. And so what does Jesus do now? Does Jesus put a fence around the pool to keep us from ever falling in? Does Jesus keep pulling us out of the pool? So what does saved really mean in the biblical concept? And by the way, there’s other examples in the Bible of showing the use of sozo and save. To show this plain meaning, I’m showing so like Jude one, verse 23, I’m reading from the NSAB 20 version. It says save others, snatching them out of the fire. And then we go to Hebrews eleven, verse seven. It says, this is NIV by faith. Noah, when warned about things not yet seen in holy fear, built an ark to save his family.

Speaker 2

So we see here the word save is something where someone’s in danger and then they’re now being rescued out of that danger. That doesn’t mean that they can’t ever be placed in danger again. So again, the pool is always there. We can always fall back into it. The best explanation I’ve ever heard is that we were saved. We are being saved and we will be saved. So we were saved. Like two Timothy One. Starting at verse nine, it says, talk about God who has saved us and called us with a holy calling. Not according to his works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed to us by the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to life through the Gospel. So here Paul is using a lot of past tense language about what God has done to save us. And a lot of this points to the cross and what Jesus did at the cross. Now we are also in the process of being saved. For example, two Corinthians 215, reading from the NIV version, it says, for we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Speaker 2

So we see again this concept that it’s a process that’s taking place. Then we also have that we will be saved. I’m reading from Hebrews 928 again from NIV. So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many. So past tense, he was sacrificed and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. So in the future also Jesus is going to bring salvation to him. What does that mean? So salvation is also going to include when Christ appears in the clouds and we get taken up to the clouds and we are permanently removed from Satan attacking us, removed from the effects of sin, we’ll have glorified bodies. So that also is a part of the process of saving humanity and connected to this. Now especially I want to go back to the part that we are being saved. In Christianity we have two big words that we usually speak of. There’s justification and then there’s sanctification. So justification is kind of this immediate process that happens the moment we’re converted and we truly hand our heart over to God. We’re like convicted and we say, Lord, forgive me, please wipe out my sins, make me your child.

Speaker 2

That process results. And then God said, okay, I adopt you as my child and I am going to blot out your sins or I’ll forgive you your sins and I am going to impute Christ’s righteousness onto you. So Christ’s perfection will be imputed onto you. So when sort of God looks at you, they see the righteous acts that Christ did. So that’s the first step, that’s justification. So now we’re not under the law. We’re sort of back restored to being above the law and we’re sort of given this clean robe around us representing righteousness. Now the act of sanctification begins and in fact sanctification is kind of a two step process also. So there is step one which is separating us from the world so that again can happen instantly. God has now separated us from the world and made us one of his holy ones. He has a saint. He has now declared us to be His Son. We are called out of the world, just like Abraham was called out of sort of into the Promised Land. God does the same for us. We’re sort of called out, we’re separated. That’s step one is sanctification.

Speaker 2

Then the long process starts of God separating the world out of us and separating sin. We might keep sinning, we’re still going to have problems, we’re going to have imperfect character. But the Holy Spirit is now working on us to make us more and more in God’s image. And it’s a process. And even the disciples were going through this sanctification process during the time of the Book of Acts. They weren’t perfect, they were making mistakes. And even Peter, who a lot of people revere as one of the foremost leaders of the Church, and it’s true, he really was up there with John and James and all these guys. Let’s see what he did with Paul, or what Paul has to say about Peter. This is from Galatians two, starting at verse eleven, NKJV version. Paul writes he says, now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face because he was to be blamed. So he was guilty. For before certain men came to James, he would eat with Gentiles. But when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with them, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Speaker 2

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter before them all, if you being a Jew, live in the manner of the Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as Jews? So here Paul’s totally calling out Peter, saying, peter, you’re being a hypocrite, you’re kind of being a liar, and you know better, and yet you are sort of discriminating against the Gentiles and going against the truth that you have learned. So Peter got really affected by peer pressure here and kind of sinned. But does that mean that Peter was never convicted? Or does it just mean that Peter was under that path of sanctification where his sins are being revealed to him by the Spirit, he’s overcoming them, and he’s getting more and more in Christ’s character as every day goes by, hopefully. And then thus what we see is it’s a matter of trajectory? Are we getting closer to God? Are we getting better about not sinning? Or are we loving the sins and indulging them and departing from what God wants to do? And this is important to keep in mind an important frame of reference, because we often see Bible verses and then misinterpret them.

Speaker 2

So for example, one, John 518, it says, we know that whoever is born of God does not sin but he who has been born of God keeps himself and the wicked one does not touch him. So you can read this to think, okay yeah see you shouldn’t sin if you do sin then therefore you weren’t really converted. But I like how the NLT version translates this the NLT, this is one, John 518, it says, we know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning. I think that better captures what John was saying here. Are you making a practice of sinning and you keep on sinning and then you like sinning, you don’t mind sinning and you know something’s wrong and you just keep doing it because that’s really what you want to do. That’s kind of the dangerous spot to be in but just the sinning that’s going to happen because we’re still flawed and God’s still working on us doesn’t mean that we have forsaken our conversion and that we’re no longer saved and again God is always saving us. We could keep falling back into that pool and God’s going to bring us back out again, he will resave us.

Speaker 2

So I hope this is helpful Caitlin, gives you a better idea of how these things work and again we could go on and on. This is a very important, yet very debated topic, sadly, in Christianity, and something that for me, I was always frustrated that I never had adults who could explain this well to me when I was growing up. And I know probably could still do better, but hope this gives you an idea where you could study it for yourself in the Bible. Tina, do you have any thoughts, anything to add?

Speaker 3

No, I think you covered it pretty know, I do appreciate that you’re bringing out just like that analogy of like there’s a pool that it’s still there, you can still fall back into it. However, it’s not the one sin that’s going to cause you to lose out forever, it’s the direction of your life. The one good thing you do is going to save you or the one bad thing you do is going to cause you to be lost. It’s more like after you choose to follow Christ. Yeah, you might struggle, you might make some mistakes, and that’s to be expected in some ways. But you can overcome through Jesus Christ, and he can help you to go in the right direction and continue in a victorious life. But it’s going to take time and it’s going to take effort.

Speaker 2

Amen.

Speaker 3

God loves you enough to keep reaching out and keep working with you and I just love that verse in Colossians one six it says, being confident of this very thing that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. And I have claimed that more than once because I’m like God, I’ve screwed up so many times, I’m not who I want to be in so many ways. He’s like, but don’t forget, I’m still working on you. Until I come, you’re still working progress. And so we can always continue to have faith in him in that way.

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In His Service
BibleAsk Team

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