A caterpillar does not become a butterfly instantaneously. There is a process that must take place, a metamorphosis, a radical change from one nature to another. In relation to the Christian experience it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment Salvation takes place. Thinking back to when I first was made aware of the Salvation plan of God, I believe a “light bulb” turned on. I believed the Gospel. I cannot say for certain that my salvation occurred at that very moment however. What I have grown to understand in my Christian walk is that there are “bases” to cover in the process of salvation. There are commands that are given by God that accompany a professing belief. There is an enduring factor that must be accomplished that will culminate to salvation.
Obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ and endurance to the end are biblically sound doctrines in the Word of God. This is not what is being taught in many of the churches today. What you will most likely hear in the churches today is that all you have to do is, “make Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior.” This, they say, will certainly guarantee you a ticket into heaven. All you have to do is make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior. “Make” Him your Savior? How can a finite, sinning being make the infinite God do anything? Notice the prayer they ask you to repeat that will “make” God grant you salvation. The prayer goes something like this:
“Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and I want to go to heaven. I make you my personal Lord and Savior. Come into my heart today. I am saved.”
That sounds so simple. But is that prayer anywhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures? I have searched the Bible and have yet to find any record of such a prayer. It seems to be something created by man to pacify the person into believing that salvation is just one step away! God doesn’t hear the prayer of the sinner. It is more proper to say that God will eventually hear the prayer of the repentant sinner. It should also be noted that doing God’s will is essential in having one’s prayer heard.
“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” -(John 9:31 KJV).
This scripture lets us in on an important insight. Being a worshipper of God and doing His will are prerequisites to getting our prayers heard and answered by God. When we worship God we give him utmost reverence and credence. We understand his infiniteness and our finiteness. We understand that He is Holy and He is Almighty with All power. We honor Him and give Him praise. We worship Him.
As we approach the stage of doing his primary will we begin to acknowledge our sin. We are crushed with the conviction that we have violated the Laws of a Holy God. We are at His mercy now. “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” -(Psalm 22:6). God has full authority to enact a swift, worthy judgment upon us that we so duly deserve. However, in the process of worship, we then enter into a self-reflecting state, we see our unworthiness. This sets the stage for repentance. In doing his will we beckon him for mercy and cry out for forgiveness. We come to a state of contrition. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
We see from these scriptures that it’s God’s will that “none should perish.” This is good to note as we now understand the love and mercy of an All Powerful God. We are at his mercy, we are worthy of damnation, but yet, God in His mercy will see fit to grant us repentance and allow us the Grace to see our sinful state in the Light of his Presence and through worship. This is the goodness of God. “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
From what we have deduced from the scripture in John 9:31 is that God will hear a man’s pray on two conditions: Worshipping him and doing His will. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Man is given the option in this life to abhor himself because of his sinful state. If there is no shame in one’s wretched state, the will of God will not be accomplished in that person’s life. For they have yet to come to a state of repentance.
Let us remember, the primary will of God is that NONE should perish. This shows the love and mercy of God. Worship and Repentance is involved when a person truly comes to a state of being Born Again. It isn’t a prayer that must be repeated. It isn’t an invitation to “come forward” from the church clergy. It’s a spiritual point in one’s life where the “Light Bulb” of Gods Grace and Truth begin to shine. Within that Grace there is an understanding and awakening of our worm state or unregenerate caterpillar self. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We must be born again.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11-12).
There is a process that the caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. Likewise for the Christian there is a process of sanctification and adherence to the Doctrines of Jesus Christ that must be followed. Beyond belief, the actions will follow. The Epistle of James says, “faith without works is dead.” The works he speaks about are not works that revert back to the Old Testament Law. Those are not the works he is referring to. The works that James is speaking about are the natural actions that flow from our belief. These natural actions will flow from a heart that has love towards God. There will be a willingness to adhere and be obedient to Jesus’ commands. This will flow naturally and be without resistance or debate. Peter explained the process of salvation to the believing Jews who were given the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost. They were freshly convicted with the fear of God in their hearts.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).
This scripture is one of my favorites as it explains the process of salvation perfectly after one believes the Gospel. These are the manifestations that flow from an obedient heart. These are the natural flowing actions that follow the true believer. He will worship God and believe the Gospel and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He will do the Will of God and come to repentance and forsake his sin. He will gladly be baptized to get his sins washed away. He will seek God and ask the Father for the Gift of the Holy Ghost and will speak in New Tongues!
This is the true process of salvation. It’s more than a quick prayer that repeats a man-made slogan. Rather, a true metamorphosis will take place in the life of a True Christian. He will transform from one nature to another. From the caterpillar state that crawls along through life to the butterfly state that will one day float away and be caught up to meet the Lord in the Air!
And so shall we ever be with the Lord!