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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

What determines our salvation? (Psalm 95)

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

When it comes to salvation, are we saved by faith or by works? What does Scripture say? What about in the Old Testament before Jesus came? Was it different then?

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He never changes. The way He determined by which human beings can be saved from their sins is the same across all of time, by giving their whole heart to God.

That means we are saved when we repent of our sins and trust in God for salvation, not by our own works. It means believing that God is who He says He is and submitting to Him with our whole heart.

We are told, for example in multiple Scripture passages that the Old Testament patriarch, Abraham, believed God and was saved because of his faith alone:

Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.

Romans 4:2-3 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God. [3] What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

So in the Old Testament, people who trusted in God with their whole heart were saved. The same is true from New Testament times until current day:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [9] not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If we have given God our whole heart, our life and our works will demonstrate our faith. If we have not given God our whole heart, our life and our works will demonstrate our lack of faith because we will refuse to obey God's commands.

That's what we see happening in Psalm 95:

Psalm 95:8-11 If only you would listen to His voice today! [8] The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. [9] For there your ancestors tested and tried My patience, even though they saw everything I did. [10] For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from Me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ [11] So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

The Israelites who turned away from God on the 40 year journey through the wilderness and refused to give Him their whole heart died in their sin without being saved. They not only missed out on seeing the Promised Land, they missed out on eternity because of their hardened hearts.

The evidence that they refused to give their whole heart to God was that they refused to obey God's commands. Our obedience does not save us; it demonstrates our faith. If we have given our whole heart to God, we will seek to obey Him in all things rather than insist on our own way like these Israelites did.

So when God looks at us today, does He see a heart totally submitting to Him in all things or one who submits when we agree but not when we don't?

When those around us look at us, what do they see? Would they be surprised to hear us say we are a Christian or would our actions reveal our faith without our words?

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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