There is a great passage that’s been rolling around in my head the last few days. 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” I’ve had a couple of new of thoughts recently that I’ll mention in this post. 1) There was a Presbyterian friend of mine in Memphis who would discuss theology with me some, and we often compared his “high church” thoughts with some of my studies, and of my own restoration heritage – “low church” background. He mentioned that they had a visiting Pastor come in and preach to them about the constant progress of salvation. I have often thought about that idea, vs. the single-point, realized salvation and commitment of a person at a given moment. 2) The other thing I’ll post in a later post tonight. It is… that I can’t help but think about this in relation to the passage above: HOW do we, as the everyday believers – who are NOT salaried ministers – bring others to Christ? I mean some of us just are not as good as others at cold call gospel efforts.
In a passage of William Willimon’s Pastor, he states, “American evangelical Protestantism has been guilty, in its past, of making conversion a momentary, instantaneous phenomenon – come down to the altar, confess your sin, and you are instantaneously ‘saved’. [this is his quote, not mine. – DE] The Protestant Reformers, on the other hand, intended to think of conversion as a process rather than a moment. Thus Calvin said that being ‘born again’ through baptism ‘does not take place in one moment or one day or one year; but through continual and sometimes even slow advances.'” (Willimon, 228) Does this jive with Scripture? What about the Eunuch in Acts 8? The jailer in Philippi in Acts 16? So I must say I agree with the concept of “continual salvation”; but not the watershed moment of salvation when one puts on Christ as his Master.
The reason I like the topic, is that I believe continual transformation and redemption IS most certainly a Biblical theme. Why else would Paul write in Romans 8 about the continual efforts to set our minds on the Spirit, as opposed to the flesh, in Colossians 1:10 he wrote for them to “grow in the knowledge of God.” Peter, in 2 Peter 3:18 encourages to, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” While I do not believe God intended us to be saved by a lengthy process, I do believe He intended us to grow from the point of our “birth” on. No doubt, even Paul must have looked back at his point of salvation years later, and thought, “I had NO understanding of grace when I was saved, like I have now.” The Bible picture of salvation is simple. Men and women are imperfect; the only healing for our sin is the blood of Christ. When one puts him on according to scripture, his death, burial, and resurrection makes him like Christ. The early church baptized believers on the spot, indicating a “moment” of salvation. But – we must not be guilty of thinking we’ve arrived, once we’ve begun our walk. Praise God for grace and peace in Christ! Philippians 4:6-8.