One of the great heresies of modern Christianity is that we are “saved” when we are converted, but salvation is more than conversion, much more. Conversion occurs when the seeker believes in God, trusts in Christ and receives the Holy Spirit; suddenly his eyes are opened and he can see what he could not see before; this is the gift of God’s grace and the new believer is reconciled to God and “justified”; that is, he is put right with God, his past sins forgiven; he is redeemed out of the hands of bondage to Satan who, by virtue of the believer’s trust in Christ, must release him.
All of this is the sovereign gift of God’s grace; but it is not salvation; while the convert knows that he has been born again by a gift of God this does not mean that he will automatically go on to be saved. Indeed, the world of the lost will be full of those who were converted and believed in Christ but failed to give up their life in this world to inhabit, instead, the real world wherein dwells God. Yet this is the world to which we are meant to belong; this is the world from which we came and to reclaim citizenship in that world is the purpose of God’s gift of conversion; that it may lead to our living a new life in another world.
The greatest tragedy of modern Christianity is that it has surrendered its spirit to the present world and its ways. Visible things, tangible things, audible things; things of the flesh rather than the spirit, exercise a cruel tyranny over the lives of most Christians. God’s people, who are made to dwell in the heavenlies with God in the company of angels, are fearful of being different to their neighbours and fellow humans and are like the great eagle, who has abandoned his lofty perch in the high places and come down to scratch around in the barnyard with the chooks. What a calamity! Not just for them, but for the world, which needs to see the manifestation of Christ in those who claim to be His.
Modern Christianity has become like King Solomon, son of David and thus, a type of Christ Jesus, who “passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart” 2 Chronicles 9:22-23). Solomon’s brief reign gave proof to the promises of God; viz.. “I will make him first born, higher than the kings of the earth”: (Psalm 89:27) and “all kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him” (Psalm 72:11). And so it was; there was never a more glorious reign than that of Solomon and that because God had promised His faithful servant David that it would be so.
But self indulgence was Solomon’s ruin; he bartered away his God-given glory for the sensual pleasures of this life. The Church too, is called to bear witness to the glories of Christ; to manifest that holy life as a testimony to Him before the world. But alas, self indulgence has been the ruin of the Church too; it has been overcome by the zeitgeist – the spirit of the age.