There is a common, almost universal, false teaching in christianity that man decides to be saved—to be born again. So, revivals and crusades, with fiery preaching and interminable invitations, or “altar calls,” litter the churchian landscape, promising an immediate guarantee into heaven because of man’s ability to “switch on” the Holy Spirit inside him by declaring his decision to “accept Christ” or “turn his life over to the Lord,” or myriad other christianese euphemisms.
If man has that kind of instant righteousness by saying a prayer, or really, really, really wanting to be saved, then Messiah Yahoshua lied in Luke 8:13, and James was just speaking of a pleasant personality trait. But, James said that by allowing patience (endurance) to complete her work, one will be “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
What does that mean—to be perfect and complete, lacking nothing? Apart from the Holy Spirit, man is imperfect in the Father’s eyes, and lacks the righteousness necessary to be His child, so he is not complete. Only by receiving the Holy Spirit is man clothed in Yahoshua’s righteousness, and, with Yahoshua’s righteousness covering him, man does not lack anything that is necessary regarding adoption. That gift alone assures him eternal life.
So, why is patience necessary to receive that, if man has the power to impute it to himself by his own decision?
The false notion that one can make a decision or pray a prayer that makes him an adopted child of the Most High God is absurd on its face. Man does not have that power or authority.
It is not merely the mental assent that Yahoshua is Yah’s salvation, but also confessing Him before others, regardless of relational consequences, for He said that if you deny Him before men, He will deny you before His Father.
THAT is the patience that James speaks of—the “works” of demonstrating that your belief is genuine, and not just a mental agreement for personal gain. What a man believes, THAT he will do. If one truly believes in Messiah Yahoshua, and will take the risk of standing for Him in front of others (whatever the personal/relational cost), that is the belief that will then be rewarded with the covenant, which is the seal of the Holy Spirit. Man’s belief without the Holy Spirit is not completed, or made perfect.
The immediate “light switch Holy Spirit” of christianity is the ludicrous belief that it is the child who decides to be adopted by the parent, and that the child’s own declaration of being adopted suffices as the legal decree of adoption. Salvation (justification) is an eternal judicial decree of adoption by the King—man does not have the power to declare it, nor can man ever alter it or cancel it once the decree has been sealed by the King.
Belief in Messiah Yahoshua is the necessary first step to be saved. But, that faith will be tried and tested before one is made “perfect and complete, lacking nothing,” which is to be given the Holy Spirit.
If all you have is the “salvation” that christianity teaches—that you were saved by your decision or your prayer—then, you don’t have true salvation; you have a counterfeit of it that is peddled by christianity, which is a counterfeit of the true faith. Without the direct, personal confirmation of the Holy Spirit, one will have no “evidence” (the “witness” and “record” of 1 John 5:10) to provide at his judgment that he was ever truly adopted by the Father.
For more information: Is Salvation Hard to Receive?