About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The Bar Of Biblical Salvation
I've often heard
people say something like this. "He's
just a baby Christian. You
can't expect perfection." No
one is expecting perfection, but what is really meant by this statement?
The Apostle Paul
and the author of Hebrews called their readers infants (1 Corinthians 3:1,
Hebrews 6:12 - 13). These
believers had been Christians for some time but never matured into
Christian adulthood as was to be expected.
The designation of being a baby Christian was a criticism of these
people, not an excuse to ignore their immaturity.
If you read Acts
5:1 to 11 you will see two newly born believers named Ananias and
Sapphira. Not long after the
Day of Pentecost Jesus took their lives because they lied to the Holy
Spirit. That seems like a
drastic thing to do to baby Christians but it does suggest the expectation
of some evidence of change in the life of a baby believer.
It seems to me that we are lowering the bar to the Biblical gospel. This means that repentance doesn't necessarily mean walking away from a life dedicated to self. It also means that faith doesn't necessarily mean trusting your entire life with Jesus. It means the reception of the Holy Spirit into the life of a new believer is often omitted in today's gospel, and without Him, one does not belong to God (Romans 8:9). I conclude that if any one of these three aspects to salvation has not been realized in a life, there is no salvation. This suggests to me that many people sitting in church pews may not even be Christians, let alone baby Christians, which might account for the lack of change in the life of one we call a baby Christian.
John the Baptist
refused to baptize those who did not show evidence of repentance (Luke
3:8). Jesus said that we would
recognize true believers by the fruit of faith in their lives (Matthew
7:16). No one has obtained
total perfection, but, if one is truly reborn by the Spirit of the
Almighty God, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and will exhibit
some kind of evidence of new birth.
Instead of lowering
the bar of Biblical salvation let us re-examine the gospel we preach and
raise the bar to its proper Biblical height.
If we minimize the gospel's essential elements, we preach what Paul
called "another gospel" in Galatians 1:6.
Another gospel saves no one.