This morning a friend posted her thoughts about seeing a Christian friend doing something that was not Christ-like. It brought up the question of salvation and rejection all over again for me.
I am Baptist. I have always heard, "Once Saved, Always Saved". When I hear the sermons on it, it makes perfect sense. Of course my child is always my child......no matter what he/she has done. No matter how saddened or angered or embarrassed I may get by behavior, I love my children, grandchildren, and other family members and friends. Goodness knows my feet don't even hit the floor some mornings before I have sinned in my thoughts or actions. I know that God will forgive me just as soon as I ask. He even forgets!!!!! He never holds grudges or reminds me, "You just did that! Will you ever learn?"
Then, there is the question of lifestyle choices. When I see someone who claims to be a Christian, but continues to live in a manner unpleasing to God, is that person still saved? There is a difference in making a mistake and quickly repenting and making the decision each and every day to commit the same sin. God does not see the "degrees" of sin we see.....I imagine.....but it is still a puzzle to me.
Finally, there is the category of people who claim to no longer believe. Are they still saved" Or does that fall under the category of, "They were obviously never saved to begin with!"? I know, and love, several who either outright reject the faith they once embraced or admit that they believe everything the Bible says about Jesus, but no longer consider themselves a follower of Christ. After all, even the demons believe....and tremble! (James 2:19) I sometimes get this bizarre picture of a person who once was a Christian being dragged off to heaven...kicking and screaming....as a voice admonishes, "BUT YOU SAID THE WORDS!!"
I wish I knew the answer. I am certainly not the judge of these people, but I do feel a responsibility toward praying for them, at least. Confrontational styles do not work on me and I am certainly not comfortable with behaving that way toward others. For now, I can only pray that hardened hearts, clogged ears, and blinded eyes may once again recognize The Truth.. If anyone else has thoughts on this, I would be happy to hear them. Until then, I will be on my knees crying out to the God of Mercy to allow me to see them repent and come running back into His forgiving, welcoming embrace!!!