At what point does a person cross over from death to life? Salvation can be defined biblically in many ways, but in it's simplest terms reduces down to one thing, no longer being an object of God's wrath but now an object of his eternal love and filled with his very own life forever.While many people want to be right with God, many are not sure God is 100% for them. As Holy Scripture tells us, we are all born into sin, inheriting our parents sin nature and are all under God's wrath and the curse of sin and death from the start. So when can you and I know we are no longer subject to God's Holy justice for our sins past, present and future?
According to Christ Jesus it happens at some point in this life, never after we physically die. Hebrews 9:27 says,"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." So there is no choice to be made after death, it is too late. In John 5:24-25 he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live."
The dead? Well certainly he was not talking about the physically dead. In the parable Christ told about the rich man and Lazurus the beggar, he illustrates that the dead have no visibility or connection to the physically alive, just memories, as they await their time of final judgment, or resurrection as in the case of the saved. So who are these "dead" Jesus is speaking about. In context of Jesus speaking, he is addressing this message to the disciples and crowds listening to him teach. He says when someone referring to those listening hear his words of Truth and by faith, believe he is from God the Father at that point they cross over from death to life. So the dead he is referring to is people alive right then, people alive right now; all who can possibly hear his message salvation in him from your dead in your sins judgment, not the physically dead. Their destiny is sealed.
So if I share the glorious Gospel message with a person and ask them to bow their head and pray to Christ by saying a simple prayer or repentance and faith in him, are they saved at that moment?
Well for some yes, and some no. Why you ask? Simple. We are not saved by knowledge of the truth, nor are we saved by saying a confession of faith or voicing a particular prayer. No, we are saved at the moment we truly see and Believe in our heart we are worthless apart from Christ and we need need him to save us. The moment our heart cries out to Christ, "Jesus, Son of God, save me!"... And when your heart cries out that vision of trust in him, so too does your outward action and lips. This is why in Romans 10:9 it says, "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved".
Notice the confession with mouth must include the faith, the belief.
So when is God seen as 100%for you and you are saved and given his Spirit for eternity? At the moment of true humble Faith. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink, so too with the Gospel message. It takes the Holy Spirit to give them an thirst for the living water of God that only Christ can give. This is why prayer is so very important. We must pray for supernatural thirst for God to draw people to Jesus the Life.
I like how John Piper describes this moment of saving faith, Even though a new Believer may not be able to eloquently say it in such words, this described well saving faith.
" What the Bible teaches is that God becomes 100% irrevocably for us at the moment of justification, that is, the moment when we see Christ as a beautiful Savior and receive him as our substitute punishment and our substitute perfection. All of God's wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God's demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure and receive him in this way his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant."
At the moment of justification we are saved, which happens at the moment we receive him as our atoning sacrifice by faith through the grace of God filling our dead souls with his eye opening Spirit of Life.
Some still doubt if they really have that kind of saving faith or ever did. They just are not sure. Well ask yourself these questions. Do I really love Jesus as he really is; how he is revealed in the Bible?
Do I see him as hating my sin so much and loving me so much that he was willing to do the unthinkable for me, spilling his own life-blood for my soul? Does it bring a tear to my eye to think of how my sins are an unholy shameful thing before his glory as Holy God? Does it drive me to my knees to cry to him often to rescue me and wash me and hold me up, as I stumble and fall? Do I really see him as my daily life and reason for living? If yes, then you are saved, you have the Holy Spirit living in you.... and not some phoney emotional hyped up human attempt to emulate the Holy Spirit yet not be willing to die to sin and self daily. There is a deceiving spirit in this world that dresses up as an angel of light and loves to delude people with drummed up sensationalism. It happens in Churches and many pagan faiths, but is demonic. The presence of the Holy Spirit in you draws you to your knees in humble adoration to Jesus the Holy One. Yes he is our seal of redemption and he always leads us to daily struggle to take up our cross and to die to sin and self as as we seek to obey our Lord in passionate love.
Then you are truly born again, crossed over at that point from death to life. And keep your hope in this, that which God starts he finishes, and he will complete you in Christ Jesus. Amen.