Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

proof and procedure

6/2/13

 

The typical understanding of salvation as the escape from God's wrath involves following a prescribed procedure. That procedure generally entails steps which are not externally observable. No one can see whether the convert really believes or has really repented. One can hear a confession or observe a baptism, but faith, which is paramount in the orthodox salvation process, cannot be verified externally.

 

For the above reason, we often hear in the church that the convert must eventually prove his salvation experience by demonstrating proper behavior. That behavior will generally include things like praying, studying the Bible, attending church, attempting to convert others, tithing, etc.

 

The church presents a salvation procedure which is vague and uncertain, and then they compound that with the notion that the convert must prove the validity of his salvation moment by re-arranging his life in a multitude of loosely defined ways. At every turn the onus is placed on the individual to get it right, do it right, and keep it right.

 

Salvation is supposedly a free gift from God and not of works. Yet the convert is constantly told he is the one responsible for making salvation happen in his life by doing, doing, doing. Sure sounds like work to me and probably does to him also.

 

Intriguingly, in Mark 16:17 Jesus gave the signs which would mark believers. I don't see any of the above church sponsored signs on this list. Of course, the items on Jesus' list including some very daunting ones. One can easily see why the proof of the church's procedural salvation would gravitate elsewhere, reflecting adherence to the institutional church instead of Jesus.

 

Ironically, those who actually attempt to demonstrate their salvation by following the list in Mark 16:17 are generally viewed by the orthodox as misguided weirdoes. As it turns out, proving ones salvation is as confused an effort as gaining it in the first place.