The Psychology of Salvation with Mary Ann Yaconis

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Mary Ann Yaconis has a Bachelor’s in education from Indiana University of PA, a Master of Science degree from the University of Maryland in Family Counseling, a Master of Arts degree from Regent University in Counseling, and she is currently a Ph.D candidate in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola College in Maryland. She was a high school teacher for many years in Fairfax County, Virginia, and now volunteers at Living Hope Community Church as a licensed mental health counselor.

Mary Ann tells her story of how different beliefs about salvation affected her relationship with God throughout her life. She started out with a fairly typical “churchianity” background where she and her husband participated in the church a lot but didn’t really experience God in a profound way. Then, she joined another group in which she was taught the doctrine of permanent unconditional salvation. During this time she grew a lot regarding faith and walking with God, but her conscience kept pestering her about her sin. Even though the leadership kept telling her that she was saved no matter what, and that all she had to do was ask for forgiveness, she couldn’t help feeling distant from God. Then, by God’s grace, she learned about repentance–that sin was not to be forgiven alone but that corresponding life-change was necessary. As time went on she found herself moving steadily closer to God as she partnered with him to overcome sins one at a time. Since then, Mary Ann has been very active in counseling ministry and she shares some deep insights into the barriers we erect between ourselves and God.

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4 Responses to The Psychology of Salvation with Mary Ann Yaconis

  1. Terry says:

    Our salvation, our eternal life is NOT conditioned upon the sinful nature of our flesh. Otherwise, why would Paul write what he wrote in Romans chapter 7, where he summarizes the battle between the flesh and the new spiritual rebirth that God gave us through Romans 10:9-10? Faith IS the conditional aspect, which equates to our “state”. Sin is a matter of one’s “standing”. If we sin, we have an adcovate, a mediator, Jesus Christ, who makes intercession for us when we ask God through that name. Our faith is manifested, by our desire to do that which God wants us to do in terms of renewing our minds to the Word. The spirit that God created within us, and which will be resurrected when His Son, Christ Jesus comes back for the Church of the Body, is perfect, and we will be know as we are known (I Corinthians 13:12). The Word is clear on all of this. Our flesh, which was born into sin, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It is our spiritual body that will be raised in perfection. It’s a fact that none of us are worthy for salvation. God also knows that our flesh is weak an imperfect; not because of our fault, but because of what happened thousands of years ago….the original sin, which, as a result, sin was passed down through the bloodline. If we were able to live a sin-free life in this world, as believers, God would have never included all of the exhortations, corrections, instructions in His Word. At the same time, if once-saved-always-saved was accurate, then God would have never have included in His Word the many, many verses that continually tells us to endure in the faith, hold onto the faith, remain steadfast to the end.

    God always wants us to try our best, when it comes to living a sin-free life. Yet, at the same time, He knows that our flesh is sinful in nature and that it’s a constant battle between doing that which God wants us to do and that which the sinful nature of our mind wants to do. When we sin, our “standing” with God, in fellowship is impacted to the degree that we leave ourselves vulnerable to spiritual attack from the adversary. It ties God’s hands from working in our lives; from His protection. As a result of that sin, calamity can occur which can directly and/or indirectly affect us, until we restore ourselves by asking, thanking and believing from the heart that our sins are forgiven, all in the name of Jesus Christ. If we continue in sin, death can occur, to our natural bodies. However, God, does not take away someone’s eternal life; one’s salvation; because of sin. It can only be taken away when one decides to denounce their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord, ceasing to believe that God raised him from the dead.

  2. Sean says:

    Terry,

    I think upon a close reading of Rom. 7 that the struggle described is of a Jew under the law. The Christian predicament is described in ch. 8.

  3. Terry says:

    Sean… On the surface, your interpretation of Romans 7 and 8 seems to contradict the very nature of Paul’s Ministry, which is the Mystery…. Jews and Gentiles are joint heirs. If we, as Gentiles are joint heirs with Christ, then as Paul writes, the law gives us the knowledge of sin. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is written “to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called saints”. God is not a respector of persons, so we know that this epistle does not only apply to the saints in Rome, but also ALL who are beloved of God and are called saints, regardless of whether Jew or Gentile. Again, how are we cognizant of sin, but by our knowledge of the Law also. Gentiles are not void of the law, even though the law was originally intended for the Children of Israel. This principle is applied to both the believer and unbeliever as well. The law is what defines sin. VPW was famous for conveniently telling us that we have to get “to whom it is written” correct. So we cannot use the argument that this passage or that passage is merely for our learning. What did he also state?— It’s either the whole Word, or none of it. We can’t conveniently take this verse and live by it, and throw out the other verse because, after all, it’s just written for our learning. Romans 2:11-12 states, “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.”— Does this only apply to the Jew, and not the Gentile? Clearly it is written to all who are of the faith, and to those who are not of the faith. Later in Romans 3:9, it states, “What then? Are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin. Hmmmm?– 3:19-20 it states, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Clear that the Gentiles are not devoid of the law, else how would we be judged sinful in the sight of God, if the Law of sin and death was not valid for ALL saints?. Since the law gives us the knowledge of what is sinful and/or what is not, then Romans 7 does apply to both parties. Moreover, in Romans 7:7, it states, “I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. On the contrary, it is very clear to me that both chapter 7 and 8 applies to both the Jews and the Gentiles…called to be saints. Romans 8 is clear as well…. applies to the saints….Jew and Gentile alike. I agree with VPW that there is a difference between being “in Christ” and Christ in you. “In Christ deals with the standing of a believer….there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Looking at the entire context of Romans, it’s very clear. Those who sin, are NOT in Christ Jesus, and therefore condemnation occurs. It does not negate the fact that Christ is “in” them, regardless of whether they sin or not, for sin is of the flesh and not of the spirit that God has given us. Verse, upon verse, upon verse exhorts us to renew our minds, to put on the mind of Christ, etc. God knows that the battle is always betweeen the flesh and the spirit, so that we cannot do the things that we would. We restore our “standing” by asking for forgiveness of the sins we commit, in the name of Jesus Christ, who makes intercession for us. If we were without sin, then we would not have to ask for such forgiveness. The flesh is weak, the spirit is strong. The flesh is imperfect, whereas the spirit that God gave us…the “new person” is perfect. So, Romans 7 fits with the notion that even Paul had this battle raging in his members, and concluded, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this dead body (per the earlier texts).

  4. Jeff Grant says:

    Mary Ann, the one who is attributed with “once saved, always saved” doctrine – John Calvin – WAS a murderer. Maybe there’s a connection there…

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