I had thought recently about the dynamics of salvation. In the beginning is the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Surely, the beginning of our knowing Jesus is first knowing that without Him we have an eternity to dread in Hell. There is no doubt about Hell as punishment for us, as Jesus mentions it several times throughout the Gospels, and sprinkled in other places through Scripture. Some would argue that He “does not judge,” but its been a clear conviction of the church through the ages, and through pure reason, that there is punishment for sin that is to come. Jesus is the only way out for that! When one is beginning to be born again – truly born again – the realization comes strong that Jesus is the Christ, and that if He does not become their new life, then they have Hell to pay.
On the other hand, I never want to downplay the joy that comes from knowing Jesus as the Lord and seeing for the first time with spiritual eyes. The first time that I saw this with spiritual eyes was in college. I knew it was true in my head, and I even tried to do the will of God from time to time, but I was not regenerated and couldn’t see until the revelation of Jesus as Lord came to me in knowledge that I could now talk to God freely, and know with a knowing that Jesus is God. It’s just a knowledge that came over me, and I realized deep down that it was what I always wanted.
I am also thankful for the “glasses” that were put on my eyes for the “house church” aspect of church life that helped me to see that it was all about Jesus, and not about any facade that claimed to limit Him to their human regulations. I never thought about Christians meeting together for any other reason other than church stuff. But when I was exposed to the experience of worshiping in a home, I got surely saved, and would never again doubt that I could hear from God just for myself. God’s prophetic word, (futuristic telling of truth communicated through another believer), also played the other greatest role in getting me saved. (But I will put the disclaimer that God uses a million ways to get to get a person saved, as He is not limited to house church, though that is a very effective way.)
Also, it is true that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Rom. 10:17). I heard testimonies of others at my college environment that were about Jesus speaking directly to them and guiding them and leading them to finding mates, or paths in life – and I wanted that so badly! So I would say lastly, that the message of salvation: with its dynamics of Hell as punishment, and joy of knowing Jesus as Lord subjectively, are the dynamics that every believer needs both in equal measures. We should not be overly concentrated on Hell as punishment, nor overly concentrated on knowing the joy of Jesus that comes from hearing God, but if both are present in our lives, then we will be the healthiest believers possible.