8/28/11 Justin, about 22
Today I met a young man named Justin while he walked his dog at the park. He grew up attending a non-denominational Bible church, attended the youth group and served on the worship team, but his grasp of foundational Christian beliefs was limited. He believed he is a Christian because of his good behavior, and his salvation will be determined by whether or not he has confessed his most recent sins before he dies. I have heard this from Catholics who beleive they must attend confession before a priest in order to keep their forgiven status "up to date", but not from someone from an evangelical background. Justin based this on 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I explained that Christians are initially "legally" forgiven through repentence and faith in Christ, and that we need to continue to confess our sins to maintain our "relational forgiveness" or fellowship with God, not our salvation which has already been determined. I used the analogy of marriage; that just because a husband and wife may be arguing and not relationally right with one another they still remain legally married. We couldn't talk long, but I hope this distinction hit home with Justin.