I have a story I’m going to tell. Please take it for whatever it’s worth to you.
I grew up attending a church. It was non-denominational, but basically like a Pentecostal church. I grew up in fear of losing my salvation if I couldn’t repent of sin and pray enough. I knew very well that sin wasn’t just about what you did, but also about your thoughts. Even trying to do my best, I may have hundreds of sins a day, and that’s a lot of praying.
As I got older, I knew something was very wrong in that church. I recognized what was being taught was full of logical fallacy and felt something was wrong as well. In my adulthood, I did the best I could to make some personal sense of my faith, though I still lived in anxiety, spiritually, for many years.
Until eventually, I couldn’t believe anymore, since it made no sense to me. I believed in a God, of some sort, but mostly rejected the rest. I thought it was possible there was some truth in it, but I had no way of knowing what that was, except that it was certainly not what I learned in church. I wanted to find truth for myself, through direct personal experience. I would tell you at this point, that I was not a Christian.
I tried to do the best I could to live my life with personal integrity and self honesty and to do what I thought was right. If I did something wrong, I did the best I could to take responsibility for it and live with it, and the results. I found greater peace in this than the Christianity I grew up with, which was full of anxiety and nothing resembling peace.
It was later in life, in 2019, that I had a sudden understanding about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of grace. It was not something I ever understood before, and at that point in my life, it is not something you’d normally find me thinking about or giving any concern to.
The understanding was that God is real, and Jesus is real, in a physical sense. And this: that Jesus offered a free gift of salvation. It was offered to everybody without exception, and all it required was your acceptance. It would be something deep inside of you that would accept it; a faith and belief in Jesus, that He is the son of God, and that He died and rose from the dead, and you would also speak the words. But absolutely nothing else. And when it was accepted, that was it; it was finished and complete, and unchangeable.
Of course I knew part of this before from church, that Jesus offered a free gift of salvation. But then later, they would tell you about the conditions and requirements to keep your salvation, lest you be in danger of backsliding and losing it, like continual repentance from sin and living to some arbitrary standard. But what I understood now of this gift, was that it was truly free and had no conditions except your acceptance.
I understood that payment for sin had already been made, and that this salvation and payment for sin existed in a sort of timeless place and it made no difference whether it was past or future; it was all payed for. There was no need to ever pray for forgiveness of sin ever again to keep your salvation, because it was already done and finished. You could if you wanted to, for example to express sorrow and regret, but it was not an issue of salvation, and you should understand that it was already done before you even thought to ask.
If there was ever a question as to this, all you had to do is remind yourself of the faith that it was already finished, and that there was nothing more for you to do. Your only part in it was to have accepted it. Your salvation is not something that is ever in jeopardy of being lost. There is nothing for you to do to keep it or maintain it. It was a free gift that God offered, and you accepted, and He would not take it back once given, no matter what. I accepted it, of course, and I knew it was finished (unlike when I was a child), and that there was nothing I could ever think or do that could ever change that.
In this there is peace and rest, and a sound mind, and there is no condemnation. From this place, God can work in you. And that is not something of yourself, and it’s not a condition of your salvation, which is finished. None of us will ever be perfect in this life, and yes, I believe even if you persist in willful sin, if you’ve placed all your faith and belief in Jesus (and not in yourself or anything else) and accepted salvation, it is finished, no matter what.
I don’t know why I never understood this before, as I feel I should have. I know that I am not alone in this understanding, as there are many others that understand, even though there are few churches that will tell you this. I’m convinced that it is true. It’s not a small difference, and some will try to reconcile this understanding with what is being taught in most churches, saying it’s really the same thing in the end, but it is completely and entirely different.
I’d like to think that everyone else understands all this already, and I’m the only one that didn’t.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.