I can’t shake the urgency I feel to be as clear as possible, right now, about what salvation is and what it is not.
I think about Simon the Sorcerer in Acts chapter 8.
When I first studied the passage it confused me for a bit. I read first in my ESV then grabbed my NKJV.
Simon, the Sorcerer, “believed and was baptized” in verse 13, but then there seems to be a problem.
He tries to buy Holy Spirit power in verse 18-19, and Peter tells him, “You have neither part nor portion in this matter for your heart is not right in the sight of God.” (v.21).
Simon, the Sorcerer, has recognized the power of the Holy Spirit as he watched the apostles perform miracles.
He had a cognitive belief and was even baptized.
He was a fan.
But not a follower.
He recognized and wanted the benefits of being a Christ follower, but he was wasn’t one. He was still lost.
Verse 22 holds the key for us to his dilemma. Peter tells him, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”
John Piper puts it this way, “So there it is. Luke’s (who wrote the book of Acts) warning to us: there is a false faith that does not save; its object is the power of supernatural signs and wonders, not Jesus and the glory of his grace; its nature or experience is amazement, not brokenness for sin and humble trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior; its root is a crooked and vain heart.”
And so we must ask ourselves, have we been smart enough to recognize the benefits of Christianity but never truly repented to follow Christ?
Have we just been a fan?
Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve been so horrifically broken over your own sin that you humbly ran to Jesus and trusted Him alone to save you …not because you reasoned there were benefits, but because you knew you were absolutely dead in your sin?
Perhaps, you recited a prayer a long time ago as a child or maybe you were sprinkled as an infant, maybe you think that’s enough to get your “get out of Hell card”.
Maybe you’ve been in church all your life, and you recognize the benefits Christ can give; but you’ve never surrendered ALL of your life to Him.
Maybe, like Simon the Sorcerer, you know you are still missing something.
Maybe, like him, you have been trying to “buy it” with your good works or your “try-harder-to-be-good “ mentality.
Maybe you look around at this messed up world and reason you are better than many other people. Surely, God grades on a curve, right?
But maybe, the real issue is you’ve never truly looked at the Holy Savior, and seeing your sin, been so sick of it that you were broken.
Deep down you know you can’t “buy” the power you need to overcome sin. You can’t try hard enough, be good enough, in and of yourself, to ever earn what Jesus did for you and for me!
But if, your eyes finally turn to the perfect, loving Savior, you realize you are but a hopeless sinner who cannot save yourself.
When we realize the depth of love and river of grace that was poured out for us, how can we do anything but repent and run to His open arms!
And when we surrender all of ourselves to all of Him, we find true, amazing, joy-filled, freedom!
And we go from a fan to a grateful follower of the One who did it all and paid it all, for us!
Maybe today is the day for you to run to Jesus.
Or maybe you did long ago. HALLELUJAH! May those who have tasted and seen the goodness of the Savior praise Him who brought us from death to life by the power of His blood alone!
What a Savior!