Easy Fast Food Salvation

A daily devotional proclaimed, “All you have to do to receive eternal life is repent your sins and put your trust in Jesus.” Then I asked myself, is that all I have to do? Didn’t Pilate ask an important question we should all ask ourselves in Matthew 27:22, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Do we need Christ after we exchange repentance and trust in Him for eternal life? Do we still have to develop a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior?

The problem with the “all” process is that it is focused on an exchange of something in return for something of value, then it’s over. This is like hearing the marketing pitch, “All you have to do to receive a free coke is buy a Big Mac and Fries.” The free coke is the bait or lure to encourage people to spend, what they have worked for, to get a good deal on something of value. When we relate this to salvation it lacks the critical ingredient and presents the gift of God as ‘Easy Fast Food Salvation.’ We could even call it, one easy step to eternal life for mankind.

This may be an honest attempt to make salvation easily attainable, but it cheapens the process because it lacks the whole truth.  The book of Truth, we call the Bible, states in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” We see this in the story of the two thieves on their crosses in Luke 23:39-43. We discover one thief trusted in Jesus but the other did not, and received his just deserves. Both thieves received the same opportunity to believe in Jesus, but they made different choices. One ridiculed Christ even when He knew Christ said He was the Messiah. The other made the choice to believe in the Lordship of Jesus, the Messiah. He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Notice, this thief made the right choice to believe that Jesus was the Christ and this saved him. However, this is a deathbed salvation and it only works like barely “…escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:15) This is not a failsafe strategy and should be avoided at all costs.

Biblical Christians have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of marketing ‘Easy Fast Food Salvation.’  It looks wonderful, like the commercial showing Jim Beam poured over ice, but it tastes like gasoline, and alters the reality of God’s true message. When introducing people to Jesus, many unbelievers are looking for the cost or the bottom line. They are looking for a good deal so when they hear all, it gladdens their worldly heart and they might even say, “If all I have to do is repent and trust in Jesus, I’ll take two.” They don’t understand, the name which is above every name, already paid for it with His life’s blood. (Philippians 2:9)

The ‘all’ process is missing the mark because it lacks the true ingredient that begins all belief in the Lordship of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 reveals to us, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit…” This is the critical element, the internal testimony, which only comes from the Holy Spirit. Christ before He died, promised the Holy Spirit would come and indwell in people to, “…testify of Me.” (John 15:26) He was promising that the Holy Spirit will testify and confirm Christ’s Truth into the inner soul of the person or persons listening to biblical truth. This is why in Romans 10:17 it is written, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Without the inner workings of the Spirit of Truth, faith does not happen. All the sales pitches in the world, without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, will only get an unbeliever a free coke if they buy a Big Mac and Fries.

Then we may ask, when does salvation begin? It begins when we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to firmly believe Jesus is the Lord of our lives and God raised Christ from the dead. (Romans 10:9-10 paraphrased) This is the moment Christ gave us an eternal life preserver. We now have to make the choice to grab hold and never let go. It is gaining this knowledge, this proof, and receiving the internal conviction of the Holy Spirit that helps us make the right choice to believe in the Lordship of Jesus the Christ. This is our new life’s starting point. It is not ‘all’, it is the start. In a millisecond after we have confessed and firmly believe that Jesus is the Christ, we are also making a spiritual promise to take up our cross and follow Him closely. (Mark 8:34) This is the point when we can stop walking in darkness but in the light of life. (John 8:12) The light reveals, the light exposes, the light illuminates, and guides, and warms us. Christ’s light also penetrates and conquers darkness and we are now tasked to shine it into darkness.  Therefore, if we continue to follow Christ closely, we will not only receive eternal life, but rewards in heaven. (Matthew 5:12-James 1:12)

Then as we study the word of God we come to understand the act of “believing” is proven by our acts of obedience. Obedience is acquiescing to Gods will by accepting the challenge of becoming Christ’s disciple. Discipleship becomes a multitude of must do changes in our lives that become want to do’s as we mature in Christ.  A few must do, want to do’s are as follows.

·       Proverbs 12:1 “To learn, you must want to be taught.”

·       John 3:7 Jesus said, “So don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again!”

·       Acts 2:38 And Peter replied, “Each one of you must turn from sin,”

·       Romans 6:19 “…so now you must let yourselves be slaves to all that is right and holy.”

·       1 Corinthians 9:25 adds, “… you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best.”

·       1 Corinthians 10:31 “…It is because you must do everything for the glory of God...

·       Luke 10:27, Christ said, “…you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.”

·       James 2:17 “So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all—it is dead and useless.

·       2 Peter 1:5 “But to obtain these gifts, (rich and wonderful blessings) you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do.”

·       Mark 8:34 Christ said to the crowds, “…you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely.”

·       Matthew 12:36 Christ said, “And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak.”

Now we should all ask ourselves, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” First, after we confess Jesus as Lord of our lives and believe in our hearts that God raised Christ from the dead. Then we must do everything we can to live a Christ like life while depending on the Spirit of Truth to guide us, comfort us, and even tell us what is to come. (John 15:26-27 &16:8-13) Through this process, we “…shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us; and we shall be Christ’s witnesses …to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 Paraphrased) Therefore, it is now we are to “Go …and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

May God Bless you all!

David Howard, Foxhole Ministry