Salvation is a bit difficult to understand if you aren’t saved! The Bible calls a lost person “The natural man”. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 2:14, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Christianity doesn’t make sense to the “natural man”. We go against the grain after we are saved. We swim in a different direction than the media, the government, and the world system. We no longer swallow what we are programmed to believe hook, line and sinker. When though we were lost, the Bible was just another book, Jesus just another God, Christmas just another holiday, and Christianity just another religion. Those preaching that Jesus was the only way was strange and intolerant. We thought when we were lost that the Christians were foolish, and missing out on life. When we got saved, we soon saw we were the fools!
1Co 1:18 says For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1Co 1:21 says For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
A good way to understand salvation is looking at a pig vs. a sheep. Pigs desire the mud. If you give a pig a bath, it may smell good, but once outside it will look for the nearest mud puddle to wallow in. If a sheep ends up falling accidentally into a mud pit, it will bleat to get out. This is because of the 2 natures of these animals. Creatures do what is natural to them. You can force a pig to act like a sheep but it will not be natural, and you will get more out of using a sheep to fulfill the sheep duties instead of forcing a pig to do it. Likewise, lost people do not naturally want to serve God with their heart, go to church, give money away, and turn from sin. When we get saved, we become new creatures and we are not perfect by any means, but God moves in and we are only truly content now to go after the things of the spirit.
I see many churches today denying this new birth. They are content to leave us as sin loving pigs, or they think there is nothing wrong with the mud to begin with. The message they are giving the world is not the same as what the gospel promised, SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. My Bible says the Cross is all sufficient and that in Christ we are new creatures and in Christ there is liberty.
We are not free if we are just “Hi, I’m Mike and i’m an alcoholic” 12 step recovery white knucklers. God did not save us to be “saved drunks”. When God saves someone from say, drinking for example, it might not mean they won’t drink again, but many will never touch another drink again. It will usually mean they will never be able to enjoy that drink again. The devil may fool them to think they still like the drink, but when they give in they will be miserable and will want to get right with God as soon as possible. Often, someone has several addictions doing on when they meet Jesus. Let’s say a person struggles with 5 dominant idols in his live and 10 minor ones. When the person gets saved, God might immediately remove 2 major idols and 5 minor ones. Over the next 10 years the person gets greater victory over the others but still may fall back here and there. There is marked progression though and there is a new creature fighting off the old and leaving that man unsatisfied until he is completely free. Total freedom may not happen until he gets to heaven, but there is “power in the blood of Jesus” and to settle for lukewarm living and failure and falling back into sin is to not trust God. John 8:32 says And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If you believe you met Jesus but are still a slave to a major sinful lifestyle there is something wrong.
When we walk in the spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Now, I believe we can for a season get mixed up and discouraged and end up messed up longing for the garlic of Egypt. I believe the Bible teaches the truly saved eventually overcome, and I believe that God will continue to purge out our old desires and old sinful nature, not to sinless perfection, but not where we are merely caged captives afraid of falling back into sin.
Back when the Catholic church had the first outbreaks of pedophile priests, they said they can put away these homosexual priests in some sort of monastery where they will not have access to young boys. I know it is horrible what these men did, but where is the freedom for these Priests? You are not free if you merely repress unnatural desires. You are not free in your mind from sinful desires if you merely cannot act upon them. Only the true gospel and real Jesus can ultimately free you from longing for our old lives and give us a new heart and new desires.
I don’t know why it seems to take so long at times, but I have lived backslid at times where I am fighting regular temptations and I have seen God bring me through that “season” to instead walk in victory where I know I am not just “white knuckling” and I can see the difference.
I am not slamming any one for having temptations, but I have learned that the devil is a liar. He will get us to believe a lie and we sometimes lock onto the lie in our minds. That is not freedom. Today’s church seems to say it is perfectly fine to have this struggle. It is maybe natural with the old man to have that battle, but the new man in us should eventually see the light I believe, and ultimately walk in victory.
I think a main reason we tolerate these middle of the road alternatives to true freedom is we simply do not believe the simplicity in Christ. I have been just as guilty of that. But I know the truth as well and I know my bible and I don’t think there is a way to reconcile “HE that is dead is freed from…..lust…porn….homosexuality…..drunkenness…SIN” and accepting someone who continues to accept a “this is just who I am, I will never change” type of defeatist attitude.
We need to believe Jesus and take him at his Word. The church today sees the results are not what they should, but I tend to see that we tend to wrongly adapt our theology by the results we get. Instead we need to realize GOD doesn’t change.