Pastor's Pen
by Buzz Dahlen
Walking by faith? Are you?  Someone has to ask the question, “What does walking by faith look like?”  The first step in walking by faith is Salvation.  Most people think that because they believe in God, that they walking by faith.  James writes: You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.  Obviously there is more to salvation then just believing.  Don’t get me wrong, it is important to believe in God, but it’s just not salvation.  You see, with salvation comes change and I am not talking about “acting” different.  It may seem odd to say, but Salvation is not about changing what you do, it’s about changing who you are.
Let me give you an example…  You could spend all your time hanging out with cows.  You might sleep in the barn every night with the cows; you might eat only what cows eat.  You might paint yourself brown with a few white spots here and there.  You might try walking on all fours and even try to communicate with “moooo” sounds.  Eventually you will even smell like a cow, but even after all of that, you would not be a cow.  You might think you are a cow and some might not be able to tell you apart from the other cows, but you are not a cow.  Now, I don’t believe in reincarnation, but for this example I would have to say that the only way you are ever going to become a cow is if you were to die and be born a cow.
I think where we have gotten off course is that you can become a Lutheran, you can join the Methodist church, you can choose to be a Baptist a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Catholic or any of the other denominations (and non-denominations).  All you have to do is follow the guidelines set by those denominations in order to maintain your association.  You then identify yourself by your association.  And there is nothing wrong with choosing a denomination to identify with.  But it is not that way for salvation.  It’s not about identifying yourself with God, (although that is important); it’s about giving your life to Him.
Jesus said, “You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'” John 3:7 He was literally saying that you must be born a second time.  Salvation is not about becoming a Christian, it about being born into the family of God, becoming a child of the King, an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ.  That’s salvation and the bible is very clear that you are saved by faith.  You can change all of the outside stuff, and I am not saying that would be so bad, we all have things that need to be changed, but salvation is a change of the heart.
In the Old Testament God called for “His People” to make outward changes.  They dressed differently, ate differently, worshiped differently.  God wanted them to look different and He even sacrifice differently.  He even demanded that they go so far as to have the men be circumcised.  There were many other differences.  All of that was not so that they could be saved; it was to keep them on a path until salvation came.
Paul writes   For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.  In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  Colossians 2:9-12
Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection is God’s only provision for salvation.   The first step in walking by faith is to by faith accept God’s forgiveness and be crucified, buried and raised with Christ.  When you take that “first step,” I promise you, that your heart will be changed, you will be changed and your life will be changed from the inside out.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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