The Two Yardsticks of Salvation

One hundred years ago, pastors and evangelists had the two yardsticks with which to measure salvation. These were “power over sin” and “the workings of the Holy Spirit” in the individual. Today, few evangelical ministers rely on these two evidences in counseling church members.

After 100 years of evolving evangelical theology, the question of whether someone is able to resist sin is considered a psychological problem, not a salvation problem. Thus, the power over sin, the most visible evidence of salvation (“by their fruits ye shall know them” [Matthew 7:20; Jude 1:12; John 15:5; Romans 7:4-5; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 5:9]), has largely become a moot point.

Many pastors and evangelists, in part because of the rise of Pentecostalism, are also reluctant to recognize the second evidence of salvation. If you read the writings of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. before 1900, you find continual references to the working of the Holy Spirit in Christians. After 1900, however, the writings become increasingly silent on this essential subject.

Now, more times than not, Christian counselors are ignorant of the wealth of biblical insight on the workings of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. The Reformers recognized the workings of the Holy Spirit as the way a person is saved and changed from glory to glory. Much of evangelical Christianity has largely cut itself off from this foundational truth.