I have struggled for the last few years with my theology of salvation or soteriology. It is not that I don’t know what saves sinners, only the blood of Jesus who is the Christ can wash away sin. It is only through belief in Jesus evidenced by repentance of sins and walking in obedience to Jesus as Lord (boss) of my life that the precious blood is applied to my life. Further, even the power to believe is a gift of grace born of God’s sovereign choice and divine action in the life of the lifeless, dead, rotting corpse that was me before I was made alive in Christ. This is not the part of salvation I have struggled with, it is the “how does a sinner properly respond to the gospel” part.
I have long had a niggling question about how to proclaim the gospel since the modern answer is that the gospel is as easy as A,B,C (Admit you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus, Confess your sin and Jesus as Lord) and by praying THIS prayer you are now (“HOCUS POCUS”) a child of God! Nowhere in the scriptures is there an example of this magic “sinner’s prayer”. Instead the text says believe (John 1:12; John 3:14-18; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:40,47; John 11:25-27; John 12:46; John 20:31; Rom 10:9-11), repent (Matt 4:17; Luke 13:3,5; Luke 15:10; Acts 17:30;), and obey (Luke 6:46; John 8:31; John 14:21; )!
So how then does a father communicate the truth of the gospel to his children so that they too can find salvation? Therein is the rub and the dilemma that has left me feeling totally stupid, inarticulate and floundering. However, I keep pressing on teaching my child that “being a child of God” begins with believing that Jesus is who he claimed to be – God’s one and only begotten son who came to live on earth as a man to die for the sins of his elect and was raised from the dead on the 3rd day by his Father in Heaven. That the proper response to our sin in light of this great sacrifice is to repent of our sins, confessing them and forsaking them as evidenced in our obedience to the commands of God found in the scriptures. Knowing that the work of salvation is done by God and God alone then the only thing left to do to pray and wait to see if the signs of sanctification begin to manifest in the life of my child.
Several days ago we were afforded the opportunity to see into the mystery of God at work in The Little Pauper’s life. She had been having “one of THOSE days” where the sinfulness of her heart was being manifested in her attitude, which to put it mildly left something to be desired. This brought several opportunities to model biblical discipline in our home with rapid fire succession. At the end of one of these opportunities, Mrs. Pauper was discussing the issue at hand and asked The Little Pauper what Mom could do to help her in her struggle against a bad attitude. The Little Pauper thought for a moment and replied that she did not know at the moment and would need time to think about it. The wise Mommy said, “OK, you sit here and think about it and if you think of anything you come tell mommy.” About five minutes later The Little Pauper called out that she had thought of something. When Mommy returned to the room The Little Pauper told her, “I think you should ask me ‘who is watching?'” . (Oh that we of greater years could but keep this one truth in mind always. How many of our self-inflicted sorrows and pangs brought on by our sin might be avoided?) With the praise only found on the lips of a wise mommy, Mrs. Pauper told her that she thought that was a wonderful plan and asked if she had any other ideas of how Mommy could help her with her attitude. The Little Pauper said she needed more time to think and began to ponder again. After several minutes she called her mother back and told her she had another idea, “Mommy, I think we should take time to pray right then to ask Jesus to help me with my attitude.” With tears in her eyes The Wise Mommy said ” I think we can do that!”
Thank you Jesus, that we can know with certainty that any turning toward the truth comes as the result of your sovereign work regeneration and sanctification in the life of your creature who was once at enmity with you and walked in the depraved hatred of rebellion against you ! Praise to the only one able to raise the dead sinner, no matter their age, to life! Praise to Jesus the Christ who gives eternal wisdom to 4 year olds through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit! Praise to the Eternal God who has chosen to take the simple things to confound the wise, the base things to humble the exalted! Glory to the only wise God who has entrusted the secrets of the Kingdom to the simple faith of a child! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!