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Topic 14: Assurance of salvation?

Based on what you know from the Bible & other sources (including the Theology Matters reading), what are the ways we can be sure that we’re saved? (Be sure to do more research into the issue. If the group cannot come to a consensus, feel free to have different group members each express their own opinions.) Andre and Bikash Professor Dr. Tan Christian Heritage November 26, 2007 How can you be sure you are saved?

Introduction Based on our study over the course of this semester, we have learned that there are many of the same kind of beliefs in different religions. Most religions believe the same, but worship different ways. On the other hand you also have religions that are completely different and have nothing to do with each other. In this paper we hope to give you a clear idea about assurance of Salvation and how it differs from religion to religion. Based on the research that we gather up form our sources, we hope to give you some strengths and weaknesses of each religion and maybe some ideas of how to make each one better.

Christianity For instance, the Christian belief is that salvation comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ who dies on a cross. And to receive this salvation all that is required is repentance, baptism, and a lifelong commitment to a Christian lifestyle and faith. We as Christians also believe that having faith in the Holy Trinity is a big part of your assurance. The holy trinity is God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all united as one that Jesus Christ. We should understand that god loves more than we can imagine .He sacrificed his only son Jesus because of our sin and to bring closer to him. God loves us immensely because we are his children and we are proud to be called as God’s children .So; we should try to be God’s children and should accept the truth that death is there. So, we should try to be blessed by the God .And be prepared for building the steps of kingdom of Heaven which is determined by our deeds that we perform in this life.

Baptism For Christians being baptized is one of the most important steps in becoming saved. There is no way that you can be saved unless you are baptized in the name by the holy spirit and in water. You are baptized in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit. The reason that we are baptized in water is because, Jesus was baptized in water and we are to try to do as he did why we are still here on this earth. If it was a necessity for Jesus to be baptized in water as he told John the Baptist then it is a necessity for us to do the same. The meaning of being baptized in water is not just for our follow man to see but it is a representation of us getting a new body. We go down dirty and we come up clean.

Salvation What is Salvation to Christians? Salvation is the way of life, the ultimate goal, the chance to see and live spiritually with the great God our creator for all eternity. This is why being saved is so important to those who really are Christians. People say on a daily bases that they are Christians, but they don’t know the real meaning of being a Christian. To them it is just a joke, but to real Christians this is everything. When you can really see the true prize in your vision, then you will really understand what and who a Christian is. Believe me you want to lose that vision so you will really do whatever it takes to get it. That is being saved! MuslimsNext we would like to inform you about Muslims and some of their beliefs about how they can be saved. There are many differences between Muslims and Christians when it comes to your assurance of being saved. For instance, Muslims believe there is a God but, the answer to God comes from his prophet Muhammad who they believe is the last prophet of God. So they choose to worship this prophet Muhammad. They have certain rules which would be there daily duties. These duties include five daily prayers, a welfare tax called zakat, fasting (during the month of Ramadan), and a pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca; these four elements plus the profession of faith are called the Five Pillars. Not only that but when Muslims pray they have to face east because they believe that is the direction that Muhammad. With Muslims they find that it is okay to have multiple spouses, but if they are caught having adultery or false accusations of adultery they are severely punished.

Salvation for Muslims In Islam there is no point of no return, God is always willing to offer pardon based upon genuine repentance. So to Muslims their way to heaven or Allah is through their actions. As long as they are living the right life and following all the rules and praying sincerely to God every day they will be okay. According to the Islamic doctrine, “on the Last Day when the world will come to an end, the dead will be resurrected and judgment will be pronounced on every person in accordance with his deeds. Those condemned will burn in hellfire, and those saved will enjoy the abiding pleasures of paradise. Besides suffering in physical fire, the damned will also experience a fire "in their hearts"; similarly, the blessed, besides physical enjoyment, will experience the greatest happiness of divine pleasure.”

Mormon When learning about the religion of Mormon, we have found that anyone that does not know what they believe that they can be easily persuaded the wrong way. Mormon call their church the Church of Christ; they believe that everything they do is the same thing the church did during the time that Jesus was on the Earth or somewhat close to it. The church of the Mormon is found all over the world. Every church is connected all around the world and no matter where their location may be they all share the same president

The beginning beliefs The Mormons believe in a man named Joseph Smith and that he found and translated the original Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith was shown by an angel named Moroni where to find the two pieces of the book that were buried. The pieces were on the American continent and were written here as well; the only problem was that the pieces were written in Egyptian Hebrew, and Greek and no one could read them. The Mormons believe that God gave Joseph smith the knowledge to translate the languages and he did it in 60 days. As he translated someone else wrote what he was saying in English. There proof that this is true is that Joseph Smith only had a third grade education. It might sound weird but they believe that the only reason he was able to translate the book was because God gave him the gift. They do believe in God but they trust in Joseph Smith to answer their prayers and to show them the way of life. They believe in the twelve disciples but Joseph Smith was a profit and profits and anyone can be an apostle but it takes a certain individual that is picked by God to become a prophet.

Baptism When it comes to baptism, Mormons also believe that you have to be baptized in water to work towards Jesus Christ and to be like him. They don’t get baptized until the age of eight. They said eight is the age when they fully understand what they are doing so that is the age that they can aware of their right and wrong actions. The deacons and priest of the ones who do all of the baptisms. Mormons also believe that you can do baptisms for the dead. So if someone who has died was not baptized they can be baptized by some that is already baptized. The only thing the person who is do the baptism has to do is find all the information that they can on the dead person that they are getting baptized and pray for them. But the person who finds the information has to go through submerge again.

Differences After seeing some of the beliefs of all three of these religions there are differences that you should know and understand between each so there is no confusion. For instance, each religion has its own holy book. To Christians we don't believe in any Muhammad as being a prophet. Our proof to the is the Holy Bible: no where inside the bible does it even mention the name of Muhammad. To Muslims though they read the Quran and it teaches otherwise. The same goes for Mormon’s; they have their own book called the book of Mormon. Another difference is that Christianity and Mormonism believe in baptism but Muslims do not. Or when it comes to prayer it is important to all, but each religion prays a certain way. Like Muslims pray five times a day and only to the east, but Christian and Mormons pray as many times as they want and any where they want. Muslims and Mormons belief in prophet and Christian belief in Jesus Christ. But all the religion led to the God and same idea of being saved.

After going through all the religion we tried to go through Christianity and tried to find what we need to be saved and to meet Jesus Christ. Assurance of salvation Assurance of Salvation is all about how we can be shaved .Salvation also means going to Heaven after Death. Christ is held to have defeated the powers of evil, or purchased our liberation or, endured in our place the penalty of sin or offered a sacrifice sufficient sufficient or “atone” for our guilt , This last suggestion makes one aware of the two fold meaning of the word ‘atonement’. In its etymological sense, it simply ‘at-one- ment’ and is virtually synonymous with ‘reconciliation’ God in Christ at once shows us the truth about ourselves reveals the nature and the cost of the divine forgiveness and draws us into union with the triune God

Mercy can only be meritorious retribution is right Mercy goes beyond justice. Richard Holloway “The mystery remains that this prodigal universe sometimes redeems its own pain through extraordinary souls who from somewhere beyond all possibility, forgive the unforgivable” By setting both the offence perpetrated and the suffering caused in the context of God’s love for both offender and victim, the latter is enabled to forgive, in the hope and trust that, in the end truth will out , the wrong will be rectified and both offender and victim will be transformed and reconciled. The above understanding of forgiveness is God’s own merciful love and very great The Christ life and death were openly intended by him as an offering to God to make expiation for human sin. Christ died on the cross to give us a perfect human life. He died because of our sin to give us a life and in order to win us back to God and to appear a wrathful God. Christ life and death are such value to God that they enable or permit him to remit both repentant and apologetic sinners freely, whether or not they are in a position to plead Christ’s sacrifice .By incorporation into Christ’s death by baptism wearer set free from guilt and reunited with God is merciful to sinner, not because their debt of punishment is paid by Christ’s passion and death rather, Christ’s passion works by prevailing upon God not to be severe in his dealing with sinners. In my opinion, after reading the book. I think that it is hard to say that I can be saved because God has given us each and everything his only son Jesus Christ, he gave to us and he was peeled on the cross .This gives an idea that God loves us more than we think and beyond our imagination .The one and only way of saving or being saved is following the way of Christ i.e. try to go in path that bible tells. Try to give him honor by spreading his message of love i.e. preaching about his greater deeds and his love towards the mankind. Trying to baptize the innocent people who have faith in him and give them an idea to the path that Jesus told us to follow. If we follow the path he taught us and try to go in that path spreading his message of love i.e. first love your God and love your neighbor than there’ll be no war only peace and every innocent will get chance to live and love each other . In this way we are able to create the lovely world of God and we can be saved.

Who needs to be saved? Everyone needs to be saved. No one who matures to the point of moral awareness does only and always what they believe they should do. And even when we obey our consciences, we do not do so for the right reason – to glorify God. As Paul told Romans,’ whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”. On the other hand, a very large number of human beings never achieve moral awareness .Many die before birth, and many more die in early age. But these people are also sinners. Adam sinned on behalf of the race, in his moral probation in the Garden of Eden, so that when he sinned we all did , this is why we die ,even if we do not mature physically . We can all say with David, “I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me” (Ps 51:5). Unless our sin is dealt with, we cannot be reconciled with God .So next we must ask how sinners can be saved .Paul has taught that the free gift of God “in the grace of the one man Jesus Christ,” brings justification (Rom 5:15-16) Just as all who are “in Adam” die, so all who are “in Christ” will be made alive.

Whom is God Trying to save? “As if everyone needs to be saved, but there is only one Savior for all of humankind, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. Because Christ is the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world, all of God’s saving work among the peoples of the world, in all times and places, has been objectively accomplished in and through the one act of obedience of the incarnate Son of God. All sinners who will stand before God in the final judgment and hear God’s wonderful declaration that they are found not guilty will be justified because Christ completely obeyed the righteous demands of God in all the ways that they did not. They will be invited to live with God forever in the glorious new earth and heaven because they died to sin and rose again to new life in union with Christ. We say that someone was saved, or is now saved, but the fullness of salvation is something that still lies ahead of us. The saved are people who once were lost but now have been found; they were blind but now see; they were dead in sin but now are alive in Christ. All of this was accomplished for us totally by God’s grace through a work of the triune God; having been chosen by the Father, God’s people were redeemed by the Son who gave his life for those whom the Father chose in him; they were illumined, regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit. So then, everyone needs to be saved, and the Word became flesh, lived a perfect life, died a sinless death and was raised from the dead to accomplish salvation for those whom the Father chose in him. Adam, Noah, Job, Abraham and David, who all lived before Christ, were saved because of Christ’s sacrifice for them. None of them knew what we now know about the triune nature of God or the means by which God reconciles sinners to himself, but they were saved by Christ’s work nevertheless. We are left wondering, however, about the many people who had no contact with any of these figures familiar to us because of the biblical record. When Abraham was called, there were people in North America and Australia who were completely ignorant of God’s covenant promises to Abraham. Must we conclude that all of those people were outside God’s saving purposes, that none of them were among the elect? What about people who do not hear the good news concerning what Christ has done to save sinners even now? Must we assume that God has not chosen even one of them to salvation? On the other hand, if some of the elect were among those who had no contact with revelation concerning God’s covenant with sinners, how was God making himself known to them and what did he ask of them by way of an acceptable response that would constitute “saving faith”? Furthermore, how significant are the non saving benefits of God’s gracious work in Christ to such people? To such questions we now proceed.”

Salvation is made up of two words justification, and Sanctification. Justification may be defined as “that judicial act of God by which on the basis of the meritorious works of Christ imputed to the sins and received enough faith, God declares the sins absolved from sin released from its penalty and restored as righteous”. Expressed simply it is being placed by God in a right relationship with himself. The major emphasis in justification is that it is an act of God. Although an act of God, it necessarily leads in the believer to a “walking in the spirit,” “bringing forth the fruit of the spirit” and “serving righteousness” for God who justifies and also gives new birth. And a call to whole hearted commitment. Saving faith leads to faithfulness to God in life. Paul clearly shows this in Galatians and Romans. (Source bible dictionary)

Sanctification is the process of being made holy .As the article on holiness makes clear, holiness when applied to things places and people means that they are consecrated and set apart for the use of God, who is utterly pure and apart from all imperfection and evil. God is said to be holy because God is unlike anything else that exist. People and things are said to be holy insofar as they are associated with God; thus spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. This association with in a cultic sense as separation from profane people, places, and things or in an ethical sense as separation from social and individual wrongdoing.

Paul says Christians have died to the law through the body of Christ by becoming part of the body of Christ. Christians participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus, just as Jesus death and resurrection set him free from sin and death. So, Christians’ union with him in death and resurrection set free from their sin and death. It also sets them free from the law because the law was given to increase sin so that people would be ready to accept salvation when it was offered. The coming of salvation also means freedom from the law because the purpose of the law has been fulfilled. One way of expressing the unity of Christ with God is to say that they have the same spirit that they know and will in the same

The Christians possession of the spirit of God is a way to be united with Christ and with God in such a way that all will know and will do in the same way. As Christ died and raised, so do Christians die and rise with him. As Christ possesses the spirit of God, so do Christians possession of the spirit of God, however is a matter not only of union with Christ but also of union with God. Dying and rising with Christ not only free human beings from sin but also gives them a place in Gods life.

Christians are already children of God. Through the Christ has taken all our sin out of our lives. This new life is possession of the spirit of Christ, which is also the spirit of God. The law of God sets forth God’s will because of its content but because it was incapable of setting people free from the power of sin. Once people have been set free from the power of sin, however they do not follow the law because its purpose was to prepare for the coming of Christ, not serve as guide for life afterwards. Instead walk according to the spirit. In this way they do the will of God which is also what the law presents. With Christ, especially in his death and resurrection, the most important way of expressing the unity of believers is to say that they are incorporated into Christ, that they become part of body of Christ. Christ was raised from dead by the glory of the father, so we might walk in newness of life one day.

Baptism may have been accompanied by anointing that symbolized the gift of the Holy Spirit. Baptism creates an intimate union between Christ and the believer but also an intimate union among believers. On the other hand, drinking the Eucharistic cup is participation in the blood of Christ, eating the Eucharistic bread is a participation in the body of Christ. This strongly suggest that when Christian do this in the memory of Jesus ,the Eucharistic bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus; therefore consuming the Eucharistic bread and wine unites the one consuming with the blood of Christ.

Also like baptism, Participation in the Eucharist is union with Christ in death and resurrection .Celebrating the Eucharist is remembrance of Jesus' Last supper and his subsequent death and resurrection, and a participation in that death and resurrection. As we know, salvation as a free gift of God .By incorporating people into Christ, God brings them to the proper goal of human life

Conclusion In conclusion you have now seen many similarities and differences between the religions and what each religion’s opinion is when it comes to being saved. Also as you may have figured out by, now there is no real definite answer that everyone, no matter what religion, knows about. It depends on you because you are the only person that can find the real meaning of being saved. You are also the only person that can really know if you are saved. So if you are unsure whether or not you are saved now is the time to wake up and do something about it, because ultimately that is between you and God.

Works cited Callin, Terrance. “Dying and Rising with Christ.” 1. New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2006.

Hebblethwaite, Brian. “Philosophical Theology and Christian Doctrine.” 1. 350 Main Street, Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

Tiessen, Terrance L. “Who can be Saved?” Drowner Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2004.

Bible dictionary (meaning of salvation and justification) 12/10/2001. Lambert Dolphin Library. 11/27/2007 < http://www.ldolphin.org/>.

Religion Facts. 2007. Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. 27 Nov 2007 <http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/beliefs.htm>.

About.com: Agnosticism / Atheism. 2007. <http://atheism.about.com/od/islammuslims/p/Beliefs.htm>.

Smith, Joesph. The Book of Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ, 1830.