Salvation by faith is the heart of all Christians and central to the teaching of MethodistChurch.
Sin: It is our rebellion against God (Rom 8:7; James 4:17). Christians describe sin as the outward disobedience which has its roots in the inward pride; selfishness and lack of love.
Types of Sin:
- Original sin – everybody is conceived in sin (Psalms 51:5); no one is righteous. We are all pre-programmed to sin due to our “weaknesses”
- Natural sin – all other sins like anger; pride; selfishness; hatred, etct which we are born into.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism was himself unsure of his salvation as a young priest. He got the assurance after a service in Aldersgate Street which was conducted by Martin Luther. He felt “strange warmth” in his heart; felt assured of his salvation from then on.
The Emphasis of the Methodist Church is on the following beliefs:
1) All people need be saved – according to the gospel by St John, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us” (1 John 1:8-9). St Paul also emphasized that all of us have sinned (Rom 3:10).
The saving work of Christ on the cross is perfect. We cannot add anything to it or subtract from it, by any of the good things we may try to do. So there is no one who can say, “I don’t need salvation”.
2) All people can be saved (Phil 2: 10-11; Rom 10:13) – no one is excluded. We need to humbly submit our lives to the rule and loving care of God. Salvation is the gift from God which we receive by grace. It is the God’s will that everyone should receive this gift. He has given us the freedom to choose, and He will not violate that free-will (Rev 3:20). The blood of Christ can save the greatest sinner on earth (Rom 10:10; Isaiah 1:18).
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is the Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
3) All people can know that they are saved – the doctrine of assurance is brought about by the deep inner witness of the Holy Spirit (ROM 8:16; 1John 4:13). When we say we are sure we are not claiming we have arrived at perfection, we are simply saying that we know whom we have believed and are also convinced that He is able to guard what we have entrusted to Him (2Tim 1:2). We are also sure that God will keep his promises; our sins are forgiven and our relationship with Him is okay.
Assurance of your salvation should have evidence and fruit of your faith in the way you live (Gal 5:22). We should have new attitude, new moral values new ways of behaving and assurance that the old sinful self is replaced by the new Christ-centered self. We and others will see changes taking place – transformation over a period of time; love and compassion in our attitudes to others, and new desire to pray and to worship.
4) All people can be saved to the uttermost – our goal is to continually improve to perfection. God wants us to strive for perfection (Matthew 5:48) and to see Scriptural holiness (Christlikeness) in our lives. We discover the standards God wants to live by in the bible, and it is important for us to learn what those standards are.
Why is salvation important to us?
- Forgiveness of sins and therefore the restoration of the lost relationship with the Lord.
- Sanctification (made holy) and justification (our guilt of previous sins removed).
The Process of salvation involves (2 Corinthians 4:16):
- Conversion (Acts 9:1-9)
- Rebirth (John 3:3)
- Forgiveness of sins
- Growth in faith
God as the Redeemer and Savior – The heart of the Biblical faith is in the conviction that devine judgment is never God’s final word or desire. God sent Jesus Christ to save us from our sins by reconciling us with Him and promises love and forgiveness to His people if they respond to his call with repentance, humble obedience and trust. People are encouraged to follow the example of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 (Here the important lesson is not the suffering of the prodigal son, but the sorrow of the Father).
Death the result of sin (Rom 6:23; John 1:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) – Eternal life is brought to us by the grace and the power of God; it lies beyond the realm of scientific explanation. Christians do not earn their immortality by their own effort. The decisions we make and lives we lead have continuity with lives after death.
Conclusion: Salvation is victory over sin; suffering and death brought about by the goodness and power of God through His Son Jesus Christ.