Yesterday I mentioned that, when discussing theology, there are no “salvation issues”. I said I’d elaborate on that today. It’s common in Christianity to side-step theology conflicts by saying
Well, it’s not a salvation issue
This usually means
This won’t save you or cause you to go to hell, so it’s not worth arguing.
It’s used to avoid issues that don’t seem important, or perhaps ones you don’t want to talk about.
My problem with this response is that twofold:
- It’s legalistic
- Everything is a salvation issue
“Salvation issues” are legalistic
I know people are going to get upset about this one, but it’s true. Often people say “well, it’s not a salvation issue” because they’re trying to argue from a “saved by grace” position. However, they end up arguing the opposite. If you are going argue that things are not a “salvation issue”, that means, the opposite must be true. It means you believe some things are salvation issues. This means you believe that there are things you can do or believe that will invalidate your salvation.
And they’re right, in a sense. You can invalidate your salvation. There are a lot of people confused about this. There are a lot of verses that seem to be in conflict with each other. That is, they are if you either take a position of “Once saved always saved” or one of “You can do things that make God reject you”.
The answer is to take neither position. You have to ake one that encompasses both and makes all the verses fall into place.
Everything is a salvation issue
If you look at it from a relationship perspective, suddenly everything makes sense. God is always willing to offer salvation, but it is we who must be willing to accept it. God continues to want us in heaven once we decide to be there. The truth is, we can decide to reject God, even after we’ve made a commitment to Him.
What matters is the relationship, and this is why everything becomes a salvation issue. Because everything we do affects our relationship with God. Lying won’t immediately remove your salvation. However, a pattern of lying, of rejecting the conviction to stop. Continuing to ignore the guilt that God places on us to repent and deciding to continue to lie will change our heart. Eventually, we will stop listening to the Holy Spirit altogether. Eventually we won’t want to be with God.
Because, ultimately, living in Heaven when we don’t want God’s influence in our life wouldn’t be paradise. It would be hell.
So, lying becomes a salvation issue, because it’s a relationship issue. But it doesn’t have to be one of the 10 commandments. It could be over-eating or holding on to anger, or not giving your time and money, or not keeping Sabbath. Or, it could be none of those things. Because everyone will feel convicted about the issues in their own life.
You might need to work on generosity, or pride, your fidelity to your spouse, truthfulness, or hospitality. Whatever God is calling you to change, that becomes a salvation issue, because it’s already a relationship issue.
Everything is a relationship issue in marriage too
And I think this is another way that marriage exemplifies salvation. In marriages, there are no hard and fast rules. Affairs won’t lead you to divorce. They might, they might not. Lying won’t lead you to divorce. It might, it might not. It’s not a divorce issue. It’s a relationship issue.
You know what will lead you to divorce: a destroyed relationship. I’ve even had one couple who had some issues communicating. Nothing major, just the normal stuff. They decided to get a divorce. Why? Because it was easier than investing in the marriage. Neither had done anything wrong that someone would say “Oh, that’s a big problem in a marriage.” What was wrong, was a fundamental relationship problem: They didn’t want to be there anymore.
And that’s the real issue, whether we’re talking marriage or salvation: Do you want to be there? Are you changing to show that? When either God or your spouse convicts you to change, do you take it seriously?
I say seriously, because while God is perfect, and His convictions are perfect, our spouse is not. When our spouse wants us to change, we need to look closely at it, because our spouse is as sinful as we are. But, with God, there’s no question.
And that’s why I say, there are no “salvation issues”, or rather everything is a salvation issue. Because everything is a relationship issue.