This is simply a journal of my thoughts, an effort to sort out the confusion and understand Jesus' call, "Follow me."
It seems that 'Salvation' has been minimized to be a term that only describes the eternal destination of a human being, (as in 'Going to Heaven' or 'Going to Hell'). This is such a narrow and false-persepctive. A distant, disinterested god would leave us to fend for ourselves and to wonder and worry about eternity. But this isn't how God has chosen to be toward us, instead he has burst into our existence and braught His Kingdom, "The Kingdom of God" to us. (John 1)
In recent years there has been an obvious push away from "Works-Based-Faith" and toward a hope for deep and authentic Relationship, not Legalism.
Is it not true that "Right Action" and "Right Living" must be a part of experiencing Salvation?
Salvation cannot continue to simply be defined as whether or not someone is going to Heaven. If we are pushing for Authentic Relationship then we must redefine the way the world perceives "Salvation". Salvation must begin to be seen as:
"A long process of learning to live Honorably/Obediently as a citizen of the Kingdom of God."
(As opposed to living in either out-spoken, quiet, or ignorant Rebellion against it.)
To be a Follower of Christ is to Faithfully accept the invitation to both, "Live For" and, "Live In" the Kingdom of God.
The Way we live our everyday lives is the way we Believe. (John 14:6)
Our Actions are an expression of our Faith. (John 14:21)
Obedience is only Legalism when it finds its motivation in Justification.
Obedience, even obedience, is and must be seen as an act of Faith.
To be Obedient in Faith is to say:
I believe that the ways of living that God has prescribed for me truly are the best ways for me to live.
I believe that the Creator, God, has my best interests in mind and I Trust Him to lead my life.
Before we are in a Relationship with Jesus Christ (God), our actions express the clear rebellion and sin in our hearts. We are broken, and it is assumed that we should be because we are either ignorant of or rebellious toward the Kingdom of God, (Perfect Community). We are living in the Kingdom of Ourselves, (Selfish Community).
It is only through Surrendering, Trusting, Relying-On, Putting-Our-Faith-In, Jesus Christ and asking him to Change Us, Mold Us, Re-Cast Our Hearts, to Transform Us, that we can ever begin to live Rightly and to "Live In" and experience the Salvation that Jesus Christ is inviting us toward. (Remember the definition of "Salvation" from above.)
So, it seems the answer is, "Yes", Salvation is not by works, it is only by Faith, but Faith leads to revolutionary action. Faith moves us from rebellion against the Kingdom of God, to Living both IN and FOR the Kingdom of God.
If I am thirsty, I will find something to drink.
If I am hungry, I will find something to eat.
If I am cold, I will find a way to get warm.
If I am hot, I will find a way to cool down.
If it is raining, I will find shelter.
If the sun is heavy, I will find shade.
If I am lost, I will ask for directions.
If I am confused, I will ask questions.
If I say I am a Follower of Christ, ...what then?
Our Faith cannot stop at words.
© Tom Brown 2008