Ordo Salutis

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It seems like many Christians think that, for them to help someone get saved or bring someone to God, they have to get or force the person to stop...

  • blaspheming
  • fornicating
  • lying
  • masturbating
  • swearing
  • lusting
  • stealing
  • aborting1
  • taking drugs
  • getting drunk2
  • cheating
  • watching porn
  • watching x
  • listening to y
  • reading z ........

This is not generally the way things work, however. Salvation comes to the sinner. Jesus already called Zacchaeus and was dining with him when he declared an end to his cheating and extortion of his fellow Jews (Luke 19:1–10). It is not the righteous who need salvation, but the unrighteous (Matthew 9:12–13). Rather, when someone accepts Jesus as Lord, becomes His disciple, desires to know Him more intimately and grows closer to Him in love, then the things listed above will (sometimes gradually, sometimes systematically) become unsavory3 as embracing sin moves away from God, not towards. And until someone receives salvation—that is, actively continues to reject Jesus's offer of forgiveness in word and deed—the Christian is to continue to sincerely love that person. Love them to bits. Just like their Saviour loved them while they still rejected Him.

And that was how my dad became a believer, and as I said he died just six weeks later, but his life changed so dramatically in those six weeks. As I mentioned earlier, he would curse every third word, basically, and blaspheme, and that just disappeared completely, without anybody saying anything at all, just simply the work of God in his heart. And he had, even though he was dying in the most terrible pain, just a radiant confidence.

But our blasphemy as Christians is much, much worse than the blasphemy of unbelievers who do not believe in God, worship Him, or love Christ. When we take God's name lightly and we say, 'God bless you' or 'I will pray to the Lord for you,' and then we never think about it again, or about that person, that is really taking God’s name in vain. And we love the Lord. Our misuse of His name is far worse than the misuse of His name by unbelievers out there. I am not saying that they do not have to face their own judgment. Of course they do, but that is another issue. That is not where I have to challenge them, their sins. It is not our business to be condemning people out there.

Jerram Barrs

Grace & peace

  • 1. There are however other merits in trying to persuade someone to not have an abortion: most significantly the saving of the unborn life! But the two issues are different and should not be confused.
  • 2. Again, with substance abuse (and most other things in this list) there is the merit of trying to keep someone from self-harm or even harm to others. But it is not the same getting someone saved.
  • 3. If this does not happen at all, then the person is not being sanctified and his or her salvation should be in serious question.