The Bible speaks about salvation. But what is salvation, and how can I be saved?
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Be saved by repentance
This verse gives us a very clear explanation of how we can be saved. It is repentance that leads to salvation. Repentance means turning from sin and the lust of this world to God. This verse also shows us that it is godly sorrow that produces this repentance. Paul tells us in the same verse that the sorrow of the world produces death—that is a sorrow over wanting more of what this world can offer. But godly sorrow is a sorrow over my own sin and over my lack of what belongs to God: goodness, love, mercy, patience etc.
The first fruit of this repentance is that I receive the forgiveness of sins. And when this repentance is born out of a godly sorrow, then I will make a conscious decision to put an end to my old sinful ways and begin seeking the things of God.
Be saved by overcoming sin
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2:1-2.
Sadly, in many cases when people are ‘converted’ it is more a change of their social life than a real change of attitude. There is lack of desire for the pure milk of the word and consequently a lack of growth in godliness. This is because of a lack of godly sorrow. Their need and sorrow was more about their earthly circumstances and the consequences of their sin. There was a lack of true acknowledgement of their own sin and a longing to be saved from it. As a result they are very happy to hear about the forgiveness of sins, but have no appetite for the word of truth that leads to a life of victory over sin. For this reason much of the preaching in Christian assemblies focuses more on the forgiveness of sins than coming to victory over sin.
Two parts to salvation
So we see there are two parts to salvation. Firstly there is the forgiveness of sins, which I receive the moment I repent, and secondly there is the process of being set free from sin, so I live an overcoming life and grow in the virtues of Christ—the fruits of the Spirit we read about in Galatians 5:22-23. But if I have no longing or interest for the second part then it is a question if I have partaken of the first, because then it is a question if I have really repented from my sins, for example those mentioned above in 1 Peter 2:1-2.
So, dear reader, if you sense God’s Spirit working in you a conviction over your sin (John 16:8) then don’t treat it superficially. Let the Spirit work a deep conviction and need over your sin, creating a godly sorrow that produces true repentance. Then you can be saved, and receive joy and peace greater than you could ever imagine.