Typically, when people think about salvation, they think about themselves - being saved from death. Rarely do they think about the people they have harmed throughout their lifetime.
But the salvation process addresses both: correcting the wrongs you have done to others, and correcting the wrongs others have done to you.
Another misconception about salvation is punishment. Read all of 2 Samuel 12 and understand that salvation saves you from death, it does NOT save you from punishment.
David had an affair with, and impregnated Uriah's wife, then David made arrangements to ensure Uriah was killed in battle. God sent Nathan to confront David:
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”(2 Samuel 12:13-14 NIV)
Like David, sometimes it takes a messenger from God, before people will acknowledge they have sinned. Punishment helps to rehabilitate sinners, and it shows the world that God does NOT condone sinners.
Rehabilitation means to restore (someone) to health or normal life by training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.
You can think of the rehabilitation of a soul, like the rehabilitation of a wrecked car. Your soul is a wreck - meaning that because of your sins, or the sins of your spouse, you are unfit to serve God. Thus, salvation is the process of getting you from point A - being unfit to serve God - to point B- being ready to serve God.
The salvation of a car entails going to the crash site, towing the car to a junk yard, inspecting the car to see if there are any salvageable parts, and - if the owner of the car agrees with the damage assessment and cost to repair - removing the parts that are damaged and ordering new part, so that the car can be fixed and made useful again. The same is true of a soul. You will have to get rid of the people, places and things that make you unfit to serve God. Wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, land, jobs, money - all these things have to go, if God did not give them to you. (See Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 14:26-2, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62 and John 6:60-66)
JUST LIKE THERE IS COST TO REPAIR A WRECKED VEHICLE THERE IS COST TO MAKE YOUR SOUL READY TO SERVE GOD.
In other words, you are going to break up with Satan - give back all of Satan's gifts, clean all the skeletons out of your closet, and to the best of your ability, recompense those you have harmed, then you must study the Word of God and do it, before you are ready for a new or renewed relationship with God.
Recall how Satan tempted Jesus, and though Jesus had needs, Jesus rejected Satan's offer?
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.
"The tempter came to Him and said, 'If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'
"But Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ” '
"Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. 'If You are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw Yourself down. For it is written: "He will command His angels concerning You,
and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.” '
"Jesus replied, 'It is also written: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” '
"Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 'All this I will give You,' he said, 'if You will fall down and worship me.'
“'Away from Me, Satan!' Jesus declared. 'For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”'
"Then the devil left Him, and angels came and ministered to Him." ( Matthew 4:1-11 BSB)
At some point in your life , Satan made you a similar offer, but unlike Jesus, you accepted Satan's offer. It may have been 20, 30, even 40 years since you committed the sin, but God did NOT forget it.
"But they do not consider that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds surround them; they are before my face." (Hosea 7:2 ESV)
"And it shall be like people, like priest. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds." (Hosea 4:9 BSB)
They offer sacrifices to me and eat the meat of the sacrifices. But I, the LORD, am not pleased with them, and now I will remember their sin and punish them for it;" (Hosea 8:13 GNT)
"They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah; He will remember their guilt; He will punish their sins" (Hosea 9:9 ESV)
So now do you remember? Remember when you ran after that man and finally caught him.... in your pregnancy trap... you told yourself it was love, but it wasn't love, it was sex, manipulation, lies and a baby - a trophy child - a child used as a tool to cage a man. Or remember the wife you abandoned after you couldn't keep your penis in your pants? You took a whore into God's house and gave her your wife's marriage rites and marriage rights. You told yourself you were doing the right thing because this woman was having your baby, but those are human standards they are not God's standards, and as it turns out the whore's baby wasn't even your child, it was your brothers.
So now, what can you give to the woman you abandoned and her unborn children for recompense? How can you repay them? You can't, but God can, and that is why you need to partner with God. Because all of the things that you obtained by unholy means: backstabbing, manipulation, seduction, sexual immorality, tricks, traps, deception, lies, threats and coercion - all of those you did to ensnare someone else, ensnared you in a relationship with Satan.
God said, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous" Hebrews 13:14 ESV
God does not join the sexually immoral and adulterous together in marriage; Satan does.
NOW ITS TIME FOR JUDGMENT . PRAISE GOD!
And now, before you can have a relationship with God, you are going to have to make things right with all of those people you harmed. You see we can't approach the altar of God seeking salvation with dirt on our hands.
"Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
"Reconcile quickly with your adversary, while you are still on the way to court. Otherwise he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
"Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:23-26 BSB)
Now here is a surprise: Even if you got 'saved' after the fact, started doing 'good works' and asked the LORD's forgiveness for entering into an unholy marriage, if you are still in that unholy marriage then what you claim to do in the name of the LORD is blasphemy, because it does not matter what you do after the fact, your foundation is still unholy. You can not build a relationship with God - who is holy - on top of an unholy foundation.
" Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.
"Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.
Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. (Haggai 2:11-14 KJV)
" ... the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God." (1 Corinthians 10:20 BSB)
THIS IS WHY GOD TOLD US IN THE FIRST PLACE "DO NOT BE UNEQUALLY YOKED" AND WHY GOD CALLS US NOW TO COME OUT AND BE SEPARATE:
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
“Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
And: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ”
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 BSB)
The Holy Bible says that even the worst of us can clean ourselves up, make ourselves useful and offer our service to God.
"Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work." (2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV)
So, what is salvation? Salvation is a process - a journey that you travel with God. On this journey, God transforms you and you go from being condemned and unfit to being a useful servant ready to serve God. This is what Jesus meant when He said "be ready." We must be ready to serve God when He returns in biological form.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1 NIV)
Getting ready begins with Truth. You must confess truth before those authorized in the Body of Christ. The Ministry of Second Timothy, Inc. (MOST) is authorized.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." John 14:6 NLT)
"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. " (Matthew 10:32-33 BSB)