ARE THERE ANY OTHER CONDITIONS, BESIDES ACCEPTING THE SHED BLOOD OF CHRIST, TO RECEIVING SALVATION? WHAT DO YOU MEAN “SALVATION ISSUES”? (Updated 7/12/09)
Isn’t everybody saved that accepts and believes on Christ as Savior and the Son of God? Isn’t salvation what all the “born again” Christians now have? If salvation is freely given through Christ, then believing on Christ and becoming a “Christian” is the only condition for salvation, right? Those who do not accept Christ into their hearts are the only ones who are not saved, right?
Well, not necessarily! That is something we hope to establish by this article. We will by no means cover all Scripture dealing with this subject, but please look up and read every Scripture given, if you really want to begin to learn what the Bible has to say about this subject! Let us examine some of these questions above and see if we can come to a better understanding of what the Bible teaches about them and then look at some things that are clearly “Salvation issues” even for the majority who claim to be Christian. Yes, what you have read is right, there are some—many in fact—who claim to be Christians who are not! BELIEVE IT OR NOT THERE ARE MANY SALVATION ISSUES AND CONDITIONS TO ONE RECEIVING SALVATION! Salvation inevitably will not come to everyone, even though all will have been given their chance at it. Some have already lost out who have given up their crown, turning back into the world and its pagan beliefs and practices. Some even now also have begun to teach some of these falsehoods, who will also fail unless they repent! (Rev.3:19) Others will succumb to the mark of the beast in the near future time of great trial, (which is a salvation issue yet to come for many) and will also lose out on salvation by doing so! (See our booklet--The image of the beast! )
Let us tackle one of the last questions above first. Does the Bible really teach that salvation is freely given through a general acceptance and acknowledgment of Christ as Lord, Master and Savior? This is claimed by some who think they are Christians by doing so. Christ Himself said to those around Him, recorded in Luke 6:46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say”?
Right here in this saying from Christ we can see that Christ expected His followers to do MORE than just “give their hearts to the Lord” by simple acknowledgment of who He was, He expects true followers to do what He said, believing in His examples and that same message that He taught, and another thing He said was this; John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (NKJ throughout article, unless otherwise noted.) So if someone is sincere about being a true Christian, they will believe these teachings and obey God, as they are conditions to receiving salvation. These are REAL salvation issues for everyone that does not want to keep the Ten Commandments and obey God in other areas as well. (See the article THE TEN COMMANDMENTS for more on the subject of them being obeyed today.) But Christ gave another very serious condition which we will see later on and is another salvation issue for all who would be Christians!
We must remember that there were many people in Christ’s own time frame that were very sure and comfortable with their own beliefs and traditions, thinking that they had salvation in the bag already, because of their worship of God and being descendants of Abraham through Israel. This is much like what we see in the “born again” and “Christian” realm today. Christ however, made it clear to the woman at the well, who claimed Jacob as “our father”, that the Samaritans did not know the God they were supposing to worship to gain salvation! Notice what Christ told her: John 4:22 "You worship what you do not know; (they did not know the true God) we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” (Christ was of Jewish descent and salvation came to humanity from the Jewish nation, through a descendant of Judah. Christ was born a Jew, from the lineage of David, and He came to enlarge or magnify the Law, not to do away with it! Matt.5:17-20.) In another example from Christ, He stated that there were those considering themselves to be the religious of the times, who worshipped in vain because they clung to wrong traditions and commandments of mere men, which also applies to the COG splinter groups as well as all mankind, in today’s religious world! (Mark 7:6-9)
Christ went on to state that virtually no one that does not worship God in Spirit and in Truth, would receive salvation, for that is what it takes to worship God. The woman expressed the knowledge that a Messiah was coming, but as Christ pointed out to her, she knew so little about true worship and abstaining from sin, and she had no idea until Christ told her that she was actually talking to the very Being that would make salvation possible. Believe it or not, that very same mindset also applies to the vast majority in today’s religious denominations! They think they have salvation while continuing to live in sin! Very few today even know the true God or the true Messiah, for that matter, as they look to a false and an effeminate Jesus, whom they believe did away with His Father’s Commandments and changed everything. (See Heb.13:8) But as we have already seen from Scripture, that is just not the case. Many also seem to believe that today is the only day of salvation, which fuels the idea that just accepting Christ today is all you need to do—hence the “born again” Christian deception in the protestant religious realm—also thinking that Christ and Satan are battling it out for “Souls”—but that is not what is revealed through many other Scriptures, including some from Isaiah the prophet. This is not the only time for salvation! Notice the proper translation of this verse in the KJV; Isa 49:8 “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, (not heaven) to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;--“
The apostle Paul quoted from the passage above in 2 Cor.6:2, but the translators, possibly under pressure or influence of Catholicism, even in the King James Version CHANGED the word “A” to “the” in the New Testament, thus giving many the wrong impression that today is “the” ONLY day of salvation instead of “A” day or time, as was originally written and intended. This has caused a great deception that the god of this world uses to keep people blinded to the truth of the Gospel of your salvation which is what the Gospel of Christ was about! (2 Cor.4:3-4 & Eph1:13.) Do not allow yourself to be deceived by the falsehoods that are being preached today by some who are knowingly twisting the Scriptures to maintain a following. Many “Believers” who are still clinging to their own ideas (human understanding) of certain passages of Scripture will be quick to say “that is not a salvation issue”, but any point of right Biblical knowledge can become a salvation issue if the truth on that subject is being rejected by them. (Luke 10:16, John 12:48, & Acts 13:46)
So, we should by now, be seeing that there are several conditions to one receiving salvation and even when they will receive it! God simply is not calling all mankind at this time. Christ will return to earth, at which time only a few saints will receive salvation, (Rev.14:1-5 & 17:14-last part) but Christ will establish peace and harmony, binding Satan, then during the time of His 1000 year reign with these saints, all who are living then will have a chance at salvation, as some other Scriptures reveal. Then there will be a second resurrection for judgment purposes, called the great white throne judgment, (Rev.20:11-15) and in that time frame (called the eighth day—and is in the eighth millennial day) all who have never really known the true Savior and really had no opportunity for salvation, will then have their opportunity. These facts alone should help the reader to understand then, that salvation is NOT freely given to just anyone who acknowledges Christ as Savior, nor can just anyone even have salvation at this time! Very few today really have a relationship with Christ, even though they may THINK they do. (See the article FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST for more about this subject.)
But maybe we need to pause here for a moment and explain that there are different kinds of salvation mentioned in the Bible. Not all of them lead to eternal life. I know that some will not understand this, so if you do, then please bear with me while I quickly explain this for those who do not, and then we will get back on track with the purpose of this article. Noah and his family received physical salvation from the flood and were used to spare all mankind from being wiped out, so you might say that through them mankind as a species, even the three main races, also received salvation from extinction, but no one received the everlasting or eternal salvation that Noah himself will eventually receive at his resurrection. He lived over 300 more years in the flesh and then died. He is still dead, awaiting his resurrection, having not yet received eternal life or spiritual salvation!
In Exod 14:13 --“Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” This was salvation for them at the time, but it was physical salvation of their lives and to spare them from the Egyptians, and did not have anything to do with spiritual salvation—the majority of them died in the wilderness because of rebellion and have yet to receive the eternal salvation that comes first to the called, converted and faithful of the NT era. (Rev.17:14) Only the very few who obeyed God and kept the faith from the whole entire Old Testament period are named in Heb.11, and verses 39-40 show that they cannot receive spiritual salvation, life eternal, apart from the faithful of the NT COG! These are all the first fruits! (Some of this is revealed in the last part of our PENTECOST BIBLE STUDY.)
So from this then, I hope that it has been established in the readers mind that what we are dealing with here is eternal salvation for true Christians and what are some “salvation issues” that we all have to face and conquer. There is no easy road into Christ’s and the Father’s kingdom for anyone, though it will be easier for all in the future than for the COG in today’s world! The broad and easy way leads to destruction, (Matt.7:13-14) but Satan will be bound, making it easier for those of the future. It is the strait and narrow way of obedience to God and resistance to Satan and the world’s religions that leads to salvation for the few today! That is why we desperately need the Holy Spirit to help us today. The world at large is not even being called today, as Christ revealed to anyone who will really read His word and believe. The Commandments of God have to be kept, including the 4th and seventh day Sabbath command, and those who refuse to do so have no hope at salvation at this time! Simple unbelief is a salvation issue for those called in our time frame today. (Heb.3:12)
No one can even come to Christ, stated by His own words, without being drawn or called out by the Father, and then taught by Him from His Word, the Bible and examples found therein! (John 6:44-45) This is serious business, as was mentioned earlier and is a condition—a definite salvation issue for those who do not want to follow Biblical instructions and examples. Salvation is not a game that some want to play, while making up their own rules and refusing to acknowledge fully the examples and truths of God in His Bible! Let’s be honest about this, based on what we see today and even in the COG realm;
1st, among those outside, there are those who want to hold onto the pagan practices of this world and ignore the Commands of God, such as Sunday worship on a weekly bases, Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentines day, all stemming from paganism! These people will not acknowledge the truths of God, even if they may know about them or know someone who obeys God according to His written Word. WHY—well let’s just say this is a serious salvation issue for them, at this time because they will not be in the family of God until repentant!
2nd are the ones who have been called out, been taught truth but certain compromises with Biblical examples are still quite appealing to them. To try and have it both ways, the tendency is to liberalize and compromise by dabbling into a mixture of worldly and Biblical ways of governing, watering down certain intentions of Scripture while still clinging to some aspects of paganism, in birthday celebrations and elaborate party spirits, among other things, which is going on in some organizations of the COG. Without repenting of this wretched attitude of rejecting or compromising with God to cling to their own ways, which really are not theirs but Satan the devils, they willingly succumb to his deceptions! (Rev.12:9) This is where we also come to salvation issues that actually are affecting many in the COG splinter groups and organizations, the called out ones, who have already received some truth and perhaps even the Holy Spirit.
Anything that is allowed to take away from, or diminishes the impact of Scriptural direction, instruction and example for our teaching, is a salvation issue for those who have knowingly ignored or diminished its meaning and intent. Those today, even in the scattered COG who will allow themselves to disbelieve or compromise the written word of God, soften it a little, change its wording or meaning, water down certain of its principles and teachings, are creating for themselves a salvation issue! Some long time ministers as well as some older brethren, having a constant problem with these things and other devoted members trying to cling to truth, may allow certain things to become salvation issues. Some having been “confused or abused by others” in the past, so as to now compromise or turn aside even just a little, have just created for themselves a salvation issue, unless this is seen and then repented of; they could then lose their crown. Christ said, speaking—“to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. V 2 "For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:1-2) Wrong motives, attitudes of disbelief and secret agendas will all have to be repented of and overcome, or they will remain salvation issues and possibly keep any one of us out of the kingdom entirely!
So let us focus on some things that have come up in the COG over the last several years, that many have pondered whether they are salvation issues or not. You see it is only the COG that is now under judgment, (1Pet.4:17-18) and no one not truly in the COG today will enter into the Kingdom of God in the first resurrection, and no one is going to heaven for a reward! (Matt.18:3) The individuals in the world at large, as we have said repeatedly, are not being called or judged at this time. You see, those in the COG who are REALLY converted have to be trying to “get it right” if they want to be in the family of God and the first resurrection! This requires effort and there is no reasoning around this or a compromise for true Christians. A willingness to compromise the word of God is not good solid Christian character. This attitude is still a subtle state of rebellion, whether it is acknowledged as such or not! These with a compromising nature are creating their own salvation issues, and will not be in the first resurrection, unless this is repented of in time! (2 Cor.7:10)
What about the true Gospel and what was revealed through HWA as the first and foremost priority of the COG today? (Matt.24:14) How many even believe the Gospel and yet belief in its message is essential for salvation! (Mark.16:15-16) We, as the called out true Christians are supposed to lay down our lives for Christ and the true Gospel’s sake as our part to receive salvation! (Mark.8:35) How many are really doing this today? (Some wrangle over and have for years, whether public proclamation to a mass audience (Evangelism through various forms of media) is intended or just written material is enough.) Many have concluded that this is not that big a deal anymore and do not put much effort into this. Others don’t do it at all and still others do it for the wrong reasons! (Rom.1:16) This is a salvation issue for them, but can they see it this way, through their lukewarm blindness? (Rev.3:17) Can true Christians that are now compromising with this direct commission given to the COG still hope for salvation without repentance? What about the Government of God clearly revealed all through Scripture for the COG? (Eph.4:11) Can anyone compromise their way around this today and still teach it properly in the kingdom tomorrow! (Heb.5:12-14) Can Christ even be the head of an organization that has rejected His Government and in the process of doing that, have now rejected many other Scriptural points of truth and are teaching error? This is something to think seriously on, don’t you think? This can and HAS become a salvation issue even for some of the elect who knowingly reject these points of truth!
The rebellious “I will have things my way” attitude is stubbornness and is lumped in with the sin of witchcraft! (1Sam.15:23) This stubbornness and the watering down of all these things in this era of Laodicea are certainly salvation issues according to Christ! He said because of those with this lukewarm and compromising approach, they will be separated from His body! (Rev.3:16) This certainly sounds like salvation issues to me! What do YOU think? A lack of zeal for God in any respect is a salvation issue for anyone that has been called and given the Holy Spirit today!
We are seeing one compromise after another, hearing it in Bible studies and seeing it in various “study papers”, reading it in COG literature, hearing it in sermons and in personal conversations with various individuals, minister and member alike! Disagreements on these things are bringing about divisions in organizational structures, hostile approaches to some brethren still desiring to cling to truth, even persecution by leading individuals in the congregation, lack of outgoing concern for some members by the ministry, failure to respond for anointing for healing or even failing to send out anointed cloths that were requested—etc, etc. Any one or all of the things mentioned in this article can become a salvation issue to someone, depending on the attitude generated through these things, if not repented of. Compromises such as what has been listed here have brought some to conclude it is better to worship God at home and in peace or with another COG organization less persistent in compromise, being apart from the constant bickering hostile spirit! We pray that this will be repented of and overcome before it is too late!
I recall not too long ago, asking an elder who at times gives sermons to the local congregation, if he thought that things like women’s makeup or eating pork or celebrating birthdays –this kind of thing—were considered “salvation issues”? His response was “well they certainly can be” and then went on to explain that it basically comes down to the attitude and their approach, is what makes it a salvation issue or not, just as this article has explained. An individual recently wrote us, having read our article on DID JESUS CELEBRATE HIS BIRTHDAY (See CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS) and asked us if celebrating birthdays was a salvation issue. Christ of course never celebrated His birthday, (Nor did any of His disciples that we have record of) and Christ’s birth date certainly was not on Dec. 25th, which can be proven by Scripture, so this is a salvation issue for those who have turned back to doing this after knowing the truth of the Bible and its examples!)
To conclude this article, let us look at a couple of passages that mention salvation. One shows who will not receive salvation and the other reveals who will.
Ps 119:155 “Salvation is far from the wicked, (shall not be attained) for they do not seek Your statutes.” (repentance is required)
Ps 119:166-167 166 LORD, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments. 167 My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly.”
This shows the difference between those seeking to obey God and those who do not, and even simple negligence to do the right thing can end up being a salvation issue, if not repented of in time. Heb 2:3 “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, (The true Gospel) and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,--“ (not only in word, but now by clear Biblical example.)
Anyone wanting salvation without being willing to obey and believe God, His word and please Him in everything, will simply not have salvation, as this has become a salvation issue for them. A true Christian is a willing follower of Christ and the written word to live by (Luke 4:4) and will not be found trying to find ways to compromise with clear Scripture. These faithful will be found working out their own salvation (Phil.2:12) through the conditions given for salvation, without having them become “salvation issues”! God has given some clear conditions that, when ignored by some, become REAL ISSUES that are affecting their Salvation! (The editor for mtCOGsm)