Who Is Responsible For My Salvation?
“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:12 (NIV)
Throughout the Bible we are encouraged whenever possible to live in peace with our neighbors. For example, Scripture teaches us to live in harmony (Romans 12:16), carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and help others in need (Deuteronomy 15:11). Godly living calls us to turn the other cheek and returning evil with love. We have the ability, and the Christian joyful obligation, to positively impact each other’s spiritual lives. There is certainly strength in numbers. You may recall the Scripture from Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
As a young man I took piano lessons and had a team. My teacher and parents were my support team. I was dependent on my teacher’s expert instruction to improve as a pianist. Similarly, I treasured the moral and financial support from my parents. Their encouragement and support meant everything to me. Each year all of the teacher’s students would participate in a recital performance. One by one we would go to the piano and play a song. At that moment, each student stood alone.
I shared that story because it is similar to our path to salvation. In this fallen and temporary world, we do indeed carry each other’s burdens. We live out Proverbs 27:17 in formal and informal small groups. Teamwork is essential to build God’s kingdom on earth. We are called to live in community. Matthew 18:20 encourages small groups by teaching us, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
However, we are ultimately responsible for our own salvation. The Apostle Paul addresses this in Philippians 2:12. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Please note the wording “work out your salvation.” Paul is clearly telling us that nobody except you can achieve your salvation. This is consistent with his letter to Romans. In Romans 14:12 he tells us exactly who will ultimately give our account to God. “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” My account will be given by me, and your account will be given by you. Your pastor, parents, friend, or Sunday school teacher will not give your account to God. I certainly don’t want to die today, but if I do I am confident in my salvation through the grace of God and the blood of His son. I stand firm on the promise of Romans 10:9-10. “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Prayer: Dear good and gracious God, You have blessed us with community. From the beginning, you knew it was not good for man to live alone. We thank you for fellow Christians that help, challenge, and sharpen us. We joyfully confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus in our Lord and savior. We take comfort in knowing that on the day of your choosing we will hear your words “Well done good and faithful servant” and we will join the great cloud of witnesses. Amen.
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.