I’ve been thinking about these two concepts a lot today because of a conversation going on over at the Myspace C of C forums about eternal life? You know, what is it? How do you get it? Can you lose it? One guy was bringing up the point that you’re saved when you believe, and others say you’re saved when you have faith that is manifested in baptism. Anyway, its heated, and I don’t really agree with anyone over there, probably because my definition of salvation is different from theirs.
“Following Jesus isn’t to get salvation. Following Jesus IS salvation,” I heard Jeff Walling say a couple months ago. It struck me. I was reading some about the Kingdom of God at the time, and since have read even more (Just a little plug, if you haven’t read “The Secret Message of Jesus” you definitely should). Anyway, the point was made on the forum that even believing or having faith is a work, just the same as being dunked or repenting, or confessing. I didn’t disagree with that, and it really throws a wrench in the theology of those that believe the “salvation is a free gift from God” mantra. You know, the pray the prayer folks. And there are plenty of verses to back up the “free gift” idea. But then there are things we are told to do as well. Maybe we’re missing something here. Maybe.
Is it possible that Jesus’s death forgve everyone, and they just didn’t know it, and that evangelism wasn’t to “get people saved” but to tell them their forgiven and teach them how a forgiven person lives? Maybe the judgement that Jesus talks about isn’t judging where he says “you… heaven, you …oh man, I’m sorry, you’re going to eternal torment. bye now…” Maybe there is this concept that even though we are all forgiven, we are still judged, not for punishment, but just for judgement sake. Someone has to point out where we are wrong for us to be forgiven.
Maybe judgement and forgiveness go hand in hand?