6/23/13: “I’m Saved, You’re Saved… Maybe”

Posted on : Jun 20th, 2013 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

A couple weeks ago in our weekly e-devotional, I talked about salvation and how I believe that all persons are “saved.”  I also wrote that I don’t believe in hell.

That devotional sparked a lot of good conversation and great questions.  It became clear to me that my brief words were not enough and we need more time and conversation around this topic.  So this Sunday we’re going to use our sermon time to go deeper into this belief.

Many years ago we offered an adult study on this very topic using the book, “I’m saved, you’re saved…maybe.”  It’s a wonderful book that explores different beliefs about salvation.  It includes everything from the doctrine of “exclusive salvation” to universal salvation.  “Exclusive salvation” refers to those few Christians within Christianity who think only they are saved.  In other words, you have to believe exactly as they believe to meet their criteria for salvation, and even then, your salvation may be in question.  We see that today among certain “sects” of Christianity.  The folks at Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps and family) would be among that group.  There are also some sects of Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelicals and even Catholics who believe in the doctrine of exclusive salvation.

“Universalists” are those people who believe that God’s love and saving Grace is for everyone.  No exceptions.  Everyone.  Some universalists believe the death and resurrection of Christ was the gift of salvation for everyone – the whole world, even those who are not Christian.  Other universalists believe it is the very nature of God to be all loving and therefore no one is outside God’s redeeming love, no matter who we are or what we do.

Wherever you find yourself in your personal belief about salvation, there are many hard questions that have to be answered.  For example, as one person asked, “Does that mean you believe Hitler is saved?”  He is certainly among one of the few who did the most evil on earth.  He was ruthless and brutal.  He tortured and murdered millions of people.  How could such a “horrible human being” be saved?

Others asked, “Does that mean atheists are saved?”

As difficult as it is to answer those questions, I find the even harder question is, if you believe that God must condemn “some folks,” where do you draw the line?  And, are you included in the “saved” or the “condemned?”  And is there a limit to God’s grace?

The apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Ephesus, said: “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.  It is not the result of works, lest any one of you boast of your own good works.”

All Christians believe that God’s grace is a gift that God has given to us and that there is nothing we can do to earn it.  But where we disagree is, “Who gets it?”

We’ll talk about this more on Sunday.




~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Ephesians 2: 4-9

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which God loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, this God, our God, made us alive together with Christ — for, you know, “by grace you have been saved” — and raised us up with Christ, so that in the ages to come God might show the immeasurable riches of God’s grace in kindness towards us. For by grace you have been saved through faith.  This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.  It is not the result of works, lest any one of you boast of your own good works. For we are what The Divine Spirit has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

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