In just a moment of time, fifty years fades to the memory of a small Sunday School room where I joined with other children's voices in song.
"Oh, you can't get to heaven
The message was so clear, so childlike in understanding. We committed John 3:16 to memory and received a sticker as a reward.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes on Him, will not perish but have everlasting life!"
That was a totally awesome thought to me. God loved me so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and give me everlasting life. It didn't matter what kind of family I had, how much money I had, or if I lived in the right part of town. I was a Whosoever and I could have everlasting life! I remember raising my little hand and saying, I want to believe on Jesus. The song leader came over and opened her Bible to Romans 10:9 & 10 : "That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth, confession is made unto Salvation."
"I believe Jesus died for me and I want Him to live in my heart forever"
That day was so long ago, and was the beginning of a journey of understanding that continues to grow inside my heart. Since that time, I've learned the theology and Greek meanings of God's agape love, and that Salvation is an active verb that includes past, present and future. I was forgiven of all sin, and the blood of Jesus covered my heart forever.
How simple! What grace! Over the next 50 years I attended a variety of Christian Churches and found that each one had a "condition" to add to the Salvation God so freely gave to whosoever. It all sounded so appropriate. I needed to go to church twice on Sunday and to Bible study each week; I needed to read my Bible daily; I needed to share my faith with others; I needed to give to missions; I needed to not think sexual thoughts, and never, never have sex until I was married. And especially, I needed to ask forgiveness every day for the feelings of attraction I had for women! OR WHAT????
All of a sudden, I had to present a perfect image to the world to be worthy of the free gift that God had given me! It seemed like the church leaders were saying, I was now responsible for keeping this free gift of salvation, or God would take it back if I "sinned".
This very concept was against the nature of God. His gifts and calling are without repentance, which means He never takes them back (Romans 11:29).
I searched the Scripture front to back and never found a place where God would blot out my name from the book of life! I found that He forgets what I confess to Him, and removes it to be remembered against me no more!
What I did discover is that most of His kids are lacking in understanding of Salvation and have it confused with Relationship. Once I am saved (ask Jesus into my heart) He is there forever. Any sin in my life past, present and future, is covered by the blood of Jesus and I no longer need to ask him daily for forgiveness. The Father sees me through Jesus blood and I stand justified (just as if I'd never sinned) by His grace.
This is totally separate from if I treat another person poorly, or gossip, or steal from them or put them down. These are sins against my brother and instead of bowing my head and closing my eyes to ask God's forgiveness I need to go to my brother, confess my "sin" and look them in the eye and ask for their forgiveness. The wrong I do to others can affect not only an earthly relationship but my spiritual freedom relationship with the Father. It can't touch my Salvation, which was, is, and ever shall be unmerited favor of Grace poured out upon me. I can never deserve Salvation, or work to keep it once God bestows it upon me! What a blessing! We are all undeserving, and Whosoever will, may come to the cross for cleansing. My struggles with does God love the homosexual became mute as I realized that John's gospel had a verse 3:17.
"For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved!"
No one, and no action that I could ever take would separate me from the Love of God in Christ Jesus! I'm a whosoever…..I pray you are also.