Who can be saved? This is an interesting question. When you look at some of the things preached in many churches you would think that there are very few who can or have the right to be saved. And then others believe that almost everyone will be saved.
Whether we like to admit it or not there is often a degree of prejudice among Christians against certain groups of people. There are some who scream hell fire and damnation against anybody who does not believe as they do, and as for the people of the world…well according to such people they are without any hope whatsoever.
But is this what the bible says? Is this what Jesus preached? No it isn't. Jesus came to save sinners and He did not really care about the nature of the sin. Under the grace of God ALL sin was the same and ALL sins were able to be forgiven. In fact as far as God was concerned there is only one unpardonable sin and that was to speak blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
But if you fall under any other form of sin you were able to be forgiven and God was more than willing to offer His grace so that you could turn and come to Him in order to do what is right. This section of scripture in Acts 19 shows us how some people were accepted in spite of them being practitioners of one of the most evil of all sins. Sorcery.
The Grace Of God
When Paul had spoken to the people in Ephesus, many came to The Lord and believed in His name. They were accepted on the basis of their faith in God just as we are today. But look at what it says in verses 18-19 about what many of them had been doing prior to coming to The Lord.
18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.
These people were sorcerers, witches, wizards, mediums, fortune tellers and such. Can you imagine any sin that is worse than this? Sorcery is all about using satanic arts and practices to conjure up demons for all manner of unclean and evil purposes. These people were in flagrant and direct opposition to all that God and Jesus Christ stood for.
And yet when they came to Christ the grace of God was more than sufficient to forgive them and ultimately save them if they continued in His ways, just as it is for the rest of us.
Under the law of Moses to practice sorcery by working as a medium was punishable by death. Look at Leviticus 20:27 which says,
“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”
Also in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 we see these practices described as abominations before The Lord, which makes them the most heinous of sins.
9 “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.
But the grace of God is more powerful than any sin committed by man and has more than sufficient power to bring ALL men to a place they can find salvation, even those who carried out these types of sin.
And Such Were Some of You
The grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ has been extended to all mankind if they will listen, believe in and follow Jesus. This includes even those who practice these evil arts, as well as those who have sinned in other ways spoken of in the Old Testament. Murderers, sodomites, adulterers, kidnappers and other dreadful sinners are all able to be covered by grace.
As we see in these few verses in Acts 19:18-19 many of the people who came to The Lord practiced these evil arts, and on believing in Jesus rejected them and burned a fortune in books about those vile practices.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that many who practiced some of these most evil forms of sin had given away and forsaken those practices when they repented in the name of Jesus Christ.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The key words in this section occur after he had described all these sinful ways and practices saying that no one who did such things would inherit the kingdom of God. But then Paul says at the start of verse 11, “And such were some of you…” Some of the people to whom he was writing had been sexually immoral, and idolaters, and adulterers, and homosexuals. And he goes on to say that even though they had practiced such sins and abominations, they were still cleansed and made righteous by faith in the name of Jesus Christ.
There is no distinction. Sin is sin, and Jesus came to set man free from all types of sin so that we could have the chance of eternal life through His sacrifice and the grace of God.
Who Can Be Saved?
So going back to the question that is the title of this post, who can be saved? Anybody who comes to Jesus Christ in faith and repents of their former life in this world. The offer is open to all and God does not care about how bad you may have been or think you may have been in the past. He cares about what you will become now and in the future through the power of His Grace, the saving blood of Jesus Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
We must never think we are better than anyone else on the basis of how they chose to live their life. We were all sinners before our call to salvation, and if they listen to God also and heed the same call they will become a beloved brother or sister in Christ.
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