Salvation is not a ‘spiritual bargain’ you can make with God
[July 25, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Salvation is much mis-taught and misunderstood in Christendom.
ABUSERS who claim to be Christians could be roughly divided into two groups: the ones who genuinely think they are Christians, and the ones who intentionally lie in their claim to be Christians. The abusers who genuinely think they are Christians may be thinking they are saved because they’ve made some kind of spiritual bargain with God.
It’s also possible that there are VICTIMS of abuse who think of themselves as Christians — yet they may not be saved. They, too, may be thinking that salvation is some kind of spiritual bargain you can make with God.
This guest post by Helovesme might help you think about these things.
Barb thinks there are two ways this post might help you, dear reader:
- It might help you discern and detect the abusers in your life.
- It might help you test your own faith. The Apostle Paul urges all believers to do this: “Prove yourselves, whether you are in the faith or not. Examine your own selves. Do you not know your own selves that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless you are castaways.” (2 Cor 13:5 NMB)
End of preamble by Barb. Now read on for Helovesme’s post….
Being a slave to sin, imprisoned by sin (as the Bible speaks of) does NOT mean you have no choice but to blindly obey its commands. Being unsaved does not mean you “can’t help yourself.”
….Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (NLT)
Thy sin lieth open in the door. Notwithstanding, let it be subdued unto thee, and see thou rule it. (William Tyndale’s translation, 1537 Matthew Bible)
Those words in Genesis 4:7 were God’s words to Cain when he was intending to murder his own brother. Those words still stand. You do not HAVE to let sin be your master.
Abuse is sin.
The abused have nothing to repent of in being sinned against. The darkness, the brokenness, the suffering, are things victims unfortunately deal with — but they have no one to blame but the abuser for what they caused.
[A victim of abuse is not to blame for being abused — that blame belongs wholly to the person or persons who did the abusing. The responsibility is fixed to the abuser, not the victim — the blame must be sheeted home to the abuser. Sheeted home is an idiom that is commonly used in Australia and the UK.]
When I was in the kingdom of darkness, I suffered from my own sins (which were many) and from the sins of others (which were also many). Nevertheless, one did not trump the other. No matter how much or how often I was abused, none of it reduced the culpability of my own personal sin. And no matter how much or how often I sinned, none of it reduced the culpability of who sinned against me.
Can you imagine the Lord telling me, as an unsaved person, that because I was abused, the severity of my own sins were “decreased” in His eyes? Can you imagine the Lord telling me, “Sure, I get it: you were hurt by bad people and that’s why you are so bad yourself.”
Let’s say this really happened (it didn’t). My repentance, and becoming born again, would have been something of a joke. My old self, that Christ told us to “reckon” as dead, would not have been fully reckoned as dead, because I had just been given permission to downgrade my own sins, and upgrade the sins done to me — sort of like a “spiritual” bargain. So I’d only be sort of born again, kind of forgiven and possibly a new creation in Him. If I had refused to be held fully accountable for my sins, that would not have fully exited me from the kingdom of darkness — where excuses and denial of sin rules and reigns.
Thanks to Helovesme for allowing her words (with slight modifications) from this comment to be used in this stand-alone post.
Barb added William Tyndale’s translation of Gen 4:7, as cited in The Story of the Matthew Bible [Internet Archive link] by Ruth Magnusson Davis (p 65).
Words in square brackets within Helovesme’s post are Barb’s.
[July 25, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 25, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 25, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 25, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 25, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]