Let me answer your post this way Francis:
First when I used the word subjective I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say anything about emotions or feelings. You added those words. Not that there is anything wrong with emotions or feelings per se, but I used the word subjective in the sense of my salvation, and everybody elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for that matter, as being Ã¢â‚¬Å“personalÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“internalÃ¢â‚¬Â--a spiritual transaction between God and me.
While there is a component of a personal relationship regarding salvation in Scriptures, the majority of Scriptures speak more of salvation as a community-wide act. God's People are saved, Christ is mankind's representative, discussions about the elect as a community, the Church, Israel, etc...
When Scriptures speak of a person being forgiven of sins and freed from the power of sin and evil, of being saved, there is no subjectivity whatsoever. It is certain and not subject to subjectivity (sorry!) We have RECEIVED the first installment of the Spirit - it is certain.
What we hope for is eternal heaven. What is "uncertain" is whether we will utilize that salvation to enter heaven. And I think that is where we are talking past each other.
Since my salvation is personal and internal, just like my faith, I disregard anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assertion that I am not saved because I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t complied with or because I do not believe in their standards. My saved status is between God and me.
I think you need to define salvation, since you say it is personal and internal. You appear to be using it in a way that is unscriptural. Salvation is either an event in the past, where we first enter into communion with Christ through Baptism, or something in the future, of being saved to heaven. However, I am not familiar with the useage of salvation being applied to the INDIVIDUAL'S walk with Christ today. That appears to be called justification or sanctification in Scriptures. Can you provide examples of this?
You, however, are very sure that those who do not go through with the water baptism rite are unsaved. Tell me Francis, how do you know? You are not able to see their hearts? You are not able to see whether their spirit has been made a new spirit by God?
You are incorrect, I didn't say that "those who do not go through the water baptism rite are unsaved". I said those who REJECT water baptism are rejecting Christ. Now, whether God decides to save you anyway (since your 'salvation' is personal and internal) is beyond my judgment. However, the Scriptures clearly say that one who rejects the Apostles rejects Christ and what they bind Christians to is bound in heaven. They taught the necessity of baptism. Ordinarily. But if one is ignorant of baptism and what it does, no doubt God takes that into account.
As to "you are not able to see their hearts", I would answer that we ALL are self-deluded in some manner. If your salvation can be latter questioned - even by yourself, HOW DO YOU KNOW the Spirit is even abiding in you to begin with today??? That is the question I previously posed. If you can question your own subjective salvation/faith next month, how do you even know you EVER had it to begin with? Isn't that the response by those who look at the "subjective internal" as their sign of the Spirit's presence? If one falls away, isn't that the response - "oh, he never was saved to begin with..."?
I think this is the main reason why God has given His Church a sacramental system - so we would have visible signs of His work within us. We have been sealed and we know it.
Now, whether we take advantage of that seal, we can only hope and persevere. But we DO know we were at one time just in God's eyes. There is no question, it is entirely objective and does not depend upon our opinions, feelings, intellect, or anything else within us.
Now, on the other hand, I do know you have been forgiven of all your sins Francis. How do I know? Well, not because you were baptized in water as an infant, but because Jesus washed you clean on the Cross along with everybody else.
Baptism is the HOW we are washed in Christ's blood!
You see, the water someone sprinkled on you was a totally unnecessary act for the purpose of salvation. Christ had already cleansed you. You were born forgiven. This is the good news of the Cross.
A strange thing to propose, since Christ COMMANDED it just before He left to the Father. In addition, it is the first thing Peter told the nascent community that would become converted after Pentacost. To be baptised AND receive the Holy Spirit. Did Christ command us to do any other "unnecessary acts" to enter the Kingdom (John 3:5)???
EVERYONE would understand what baptism was in this crowd of Acts 2: to be dunked in water. In addition
, Peter says they would receive God's Spirit!!! This was MORE than John's baptism. Something that has the power to transform, something the OLD Covenant sacraments could not do. (Heb 9). The good news is the power of the cross, and we are connected to that power via Baptism. People understood that God would come to man through the sign of water, since water affects what happens in the spiritual world - washing of sins.
However, salvation is more than just the forgiveness of sins. There is more to salvation; there is more good news. God offers the new birth in His Spirit and eternal life to those who will believe on His Son--there are no works involved. Have you been born again of His Spirit Francis?
If you mean we do not have to obey, love, hope, have faith, etc, to receive eternal life, you are wrong. If you mean we cannot earn salvation by our OWN works, without God, then I agree. No one can enter heaven without loving his neighbor and God.
Have I been born "FROM ABOVE" (the Greek adverb allows either interpretation, but Jesus clearly rules out by context "AGAIN" by telling Nicodemus of the two ways of being born)? Of course, I was baptized long time ago. The fruits of that work, the seed that was planted, have grown since then.
If you were to tell me you have, all I could do would be to take you at your word. Salvation is personal and internal so I could not dispute your word.
If salvation was based on opinion, you'd be correct. However, salvation is from above, not self-generated. Wishful thinking, no matter how ardent, does not save. God saves. Thus, personal opinions and feelings play little part in determining one's standing with God. As I said, self-delusion is strong in all of us on some matters, especially in religious matters. WE often think we are in a better standing with God than we actually are. WE think we are correct and everyone else is wrong. Often, people refuse to hear an difference of opinion because they think they are right, based on their "subjective opinions". However, the Church is not built upon personal opinions and feelings. It is built upon something OUTSIDE of ourselves. This is why I am somewhat skeptical on such self-proclamations. I am not judging your position with God, but questioning how you "KNOW", since God does not make it crystal clear our position with Him by ONLY examining our own hearts...
Secondly, even though your comments appear to indicate that you believe in a works salvation, I still would not be able to say that you are not saved. Why? Because I am not God, and I am not you. Your salvation status is between God and you.
To a degree, you are correct, I must work out my salvation in fear and trembling. You don't do it for me. However, the overwhelming sense of Scriptures is that salvation is NOT JUST between you and God, but between God and His community. Old and New Covenants both are between God and His People as a unity. There is very little sense of someone coming to God OUTSIDE of the Body. It is only becoming PART of the Body, ONE, that one is rescued from sin. The question is whether you are part of this community or not. Everyone who is an active member of that spiritual community is part of the elect and will be saved. Salvation is rarely a "men and God" concept in Scriptures. We pray for others. The Spirit works within the entire entity, the community. When Paul says "you have been saved", he is refering to the entire community as a whole, not each man individually apart
from the other. The Spirit gives gifts for the sake of the Body, not just one cell. When one part suffers, the REST suffer with it, and when glorified, the REST is glorified. The Spirit inhabits the Church as a Temple, as ONE building. And on and on.
We view salvation more as a community affair, since we see ourselves as God's family. We help each other get to heaven by the gifts the Spirit gives us for the sake of the ENTIRE Body. Thus, your rugged individualism and sole focus on "me and Jesus" is an incomplete picture of the Good News. It is anachronistic, based upon Western culture of today. Christ, the New Adam, is mankind's representative, and WE form ONE man going to God in Christ. One Body, not millions of detached cells going to the Father.
I pray that you have received the witness of the Holy Spirit to your heart that you are His. The Lord bless you!
I pray that the Spirit enlightens you to the necessity of being baptized in water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven. Christ obeyed the Father and was baptized, even if He didn't need to. Why be different then our Savior? Is this an act of humble submission to the Lord?
I also thank you for you trying to explain your point of view. I am trying to form a mindset on what leads a person to think as you.