By Jon Kauffman
“What’s more important here is not saving the country, it’s saving your soul,” Al Kresta, Ave Maria Radio.
How does this Salvation of the soul happen?
When I was a teenager I had a radical conversion experience. I was saying the Lord’s Prayer. Previously, I was having a disagreement with a friend and was angry with him. The prayer says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I asked Jesus to help me forgive my friend. My heart was filled with joy and peace. Before this experience I was terrified of dying. Jesus took away my fear of death. I know forgiving others is part of Salvation.
Pastors of the Salvation Army may say that believing that Jesus rose from the dead is an important element of Salvation. Romans 10:9. They may say confessing your sins to one another, or a pastor or God is also a necessary element of Salvation. I John 1:9. Or confessing that Jesus is Lord or King or ruler of your life is a necessary element of Salvation. Romans 10:9. They may say this turning over your life to Jesus, or a radical conversion experience is a spiritual rebirth as described in John 3.
The Salvation Army pastor may say that once one has believed in Jesus, evidence of that Salvation will include, as the Apostle John says, that we love our brothers and sisters. I John 2:10. Or we live as Jesus lived. I John 2:6. Or if we do what is right we know we are born of God. I John 3: 7. Or that the Holy Spirit will witness to our hearts that he lives in us. I John 3:21-24. Or that we will follow the Sermon on the Mount and love our enemies. Matthew 5:43.
The Salvation Army Pastor may say that one who has experienced the rebirth will feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty and visit those in prison. James 2:14-17. The one who has this Salvation will avoid lusting or committing adultery or obtaining divorces. Matthew 5:27-32. The one who has this Salvation will give to the needy. Matthew 6:1-4. Salvation Army pastors may say that one who has Salvation will find ways to be reconciled to those with whom they disagree. Matthew 5: 23,24.
When we receive this Salvation, we will be able to see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24.
Catholics such as Al Kresta may add that Salvation includes baptism, which he considers the new birth, confirmation which he says is receiving the Holy Spirit, confessing our sins to a priest and attending Mass every week.
The Salvation Army and Mennonite pastors and Catholics would agree that if we do not want to follow Jesus, we may give up that Salvation and live for ourselves. On the other hand forgiveness is always available from Jesus when we fail. I John 2: 24,25. Some protestants may say we can never lose that Salvation.
If Jesus rose from the dead and if He will give us the wonderful future he has promised, then following Jesus is our most important priority in our lives. Nothing else matters.
Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.