Tag Archives: grace

How Can I Get Salvation?

You may be driving around the car dealerships one day when you notice a brand new Rolls-Royce at the dealership. It is your favorite color; has all the features you would ever want in a car; and if you owned it, people would really think you were somebody. However there is one problem, the price tag is more than you would earn in a few years.

Since you cannot afford the car, there are two options you could consider: You could steal the car or you could convince someone to buy it for you as a gift. If you stole the car people would think that you owned it. They would really think you were important. For a short time you would be able to drive it around and enjoy all of the features the car had to offer. However, the enjoyment of having the car will be only temporary. It would only last until the cops catch you with the stolen car. If you accidently damaged the car, it would not really matter since it really is not your car.

On the other hand, suppose someone would agree to buy the car for you. You would first of all have to accept the offer then you would have to acknowledge who paid for the car. You would also make sure that your name on the car title. If the person buying the car for you was a very special person, he may even offer to pay for the maintenance of the car and for any damage that may happen to it in the event you had an accident.

The gift of salvation is like the car. God has a custom plan just for your life. It will include every feature that you would ever need.  

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV).

In addition to your gift of salvation, you would be able to experience love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Salvation, just like the Rolls Royce, cannot be bought with your own resources.

Since you cannot buy God’s gift of salvation, you would have two options. First, you could try to steal your salvation. You could make people think that you were a Christian. You may tell everyone that you are going to heaven when you die. You could give large sums of money to charity. You may enjoy some of the benefits but they will be only temporary. There will come a day when you must answer to God about your stolen salvation. Matthew 22:11-13 describes the person that tries to steal his salvation.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 22:11-13(NIV)

If you stole your salvation or tried to buy it with your own resources, you would not experience true love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The most you enjoy would be fake love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. However if you ever found yourself wanting to do something that was not Christ-like behavior, you could tell those people involved that you really weren’t a Christian. You could enjoy your sin for a short period of time until you needed to answer to God.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:25-26(NIV)

Worst of all, a stolen salvation leads to eternity in the Lake of Fire with the Devil.

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10(NIV))

The good news is that Jesus paid the price for you salvation. But just like the Rolls Royce, you need to accept the gift and acknowledge that Jesus paid the price.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:35-36(NIV)

When you accept God’s gift of salvation, God records your name in the book of life. This assures you that Jesus paid the price for your salvation and that God’s grace was sufficient for your salvation. You will also be spared from going to the lake of fire.

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15.(NIV)

Because your name was written in the book of life, you will spend eternity in heaven with God.

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:22-27(NIV)

Many people believe they can earn their own way to heaven. They believe they can do whatever they please and God will still accept them in heaven. It is true that Jesus died for everyone but only those who accept the gift of salvation will be accepted.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10(NIV)

Are you going to steal your salvation or are you going to accept the gift of salvation that has been made available to you through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? The choice is yours. If you accept God’s gift of salvation, you will bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Biblical Guidelines for ‘Hate Talk’

Does it bother you when people accuse you of ‘hate talk’?

In the news we hear a lot about ‘hate talk’. This usually happens to Christians when they talk about what God has told us to talk about. It usually comes from a person who refuses to believe what the Bible teaches.

What is ‘hate talk’? We usually consider hate talk as any talk that opposes the ideals of the person to whom we are talking. God was the first one to talk about ‘hate talk’. This is what the writer of Proverbs says in the Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the Lord hates,seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19(NIV)

Did you get that? God hates six actions:

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked schemes,
  5. feet that are quick to rush into evil,
  6. a false witness who pours out lies

In addition, God also detests the person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Two important aspects of God’s ‘hate talk’:

  1. The six things that God hates are ‘actions’, not people.
  2. People can be detestable to God, but God still loves them.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16(NIV)

We are to love people just as Jesus loved them.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 7-12(NIV)

Being accused of ‘hate talk’ should be an encouragement to Christians if we are following God example. However, if we are talking about outsiders (non-believers), we need to repent because we are not showing them God’s love.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6(NIV)

 

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog was downloaded from Biblegateway.com

The Rainbow

I find the rainbow to be an interesting symbol, especially when the rainbow is associated with the same sex marriage decision made by the Supreme Court.

If one were to study Genesis 6-8, they would find that the world had become corrupt. The women had been forced into co-habitation relationships. The people had turned to their fleshly desires. They had forgotten that is was God who formed man in his image. Their thoughts were evil all the time. The world had become so evil that God wished he had never made man. It appears the way society was acting then is very similar to the  way society is acting today.

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:1-8(NIV)

Noah was the exception, however. God found that Noah was a righteous man; a who still believed in God regardless of what society was doing; Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose Noah to save the world from their sin. God did destroy all the people of the world, but He saved Noah and his family. God also saved two of every kind of animal and bird.

God had a plan. God talked to Noah and told him to build an ark. Noah worked on the ark for 120 years. While Noah was building the ark, the people ridiculed him. He still trusted God and kept building the ark. God made a covenant with Noah saying that God would protect Noah, his family, and two of every kind of animal.

God gave the world 120 years to repent but the people did not improve their behavior. It continued to deteriorate. The flood came but Noah, his family, and a representative male and female animal from each kind were safe inside the ark. The people, who continued to sin and followed their fleshly desires, were destroyed by the flood.

After the destruction of the people who followed the fleshly desires of their heart. God caused the water to subside. The water subsided and God gave Noah a reminder of the promise God made with Noah, that he would never destroy all living creatures with a flood again.

Why then, would the rainbow be used to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to force same sex marriages on all states? Is it a reminder to people that we can either accept God, or reject God? If we reject God, God will turn us over to our sinful behavior, and we will die in our sin (See Romans 1:18-32). On the other hand, if we accept God, we will follow God, and will have eternal life with him.

The rainbow is a reminder of the covenant God made with Noah. Circumcision was a reminder of the covenant that God made with Abraham. The communion cup is a reminder of God grace offered to us. It represents the blood of Christ shed for us. Jesus paid the price for our sins. He made it possible for us to have eternal life with God.

When you see the rainbow, remember God’s love for us. It was so great that He sent His Son to die for our sin. He freed us from the guilt of our sin just as he promised.

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from  www.biblegateway.com

Same Sex Marriages: What Christians Need to Know

In the beginning of John chapter 8, Jesus is presented with a situation that was intended to get him into trouble. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8:2-8(NIV)

At the time of this event, teachers of the law and the Pharisees were responsible for caring for the widows. This was a very important task. The women of this day were responsible for being their husband’s wife. They were not permitted to become secretaries, clerks, waiter, etc. There was no place for women to earn money. Consequently, if a woman lost her husband, she also lost all of her financial support. These widows had two choices: they could starve or they could become a prostitute. To prevent people from being put into this position, the leaders of the Law and Pharisees were responsible for caring for these women. When Jesus said that the person who had not sinned could throw the first stone, he knew that this group of people would feel the guilt for their actions. They fully understood what Jesus was telling them. They were negligent in caring for widows. Today, we have a very similar situation that is taking place in our society. There are Christians who are to failing to teach their children what the Bible says and what it does not say. Older women and older men are instructed to teach the young men and young women what is right and what is wrong. Our failure to teach the young men and women right from wrong has caused people to reject Jesus. Most of what is written in the Bible was written for Christians – people who have accepted Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb that died to our sins. When we read about how Christians should behave, we automatically apply it to people who are not Christians. We also make the mistake of telling non-Christians that they cannot go to heaven if they take part in certain behaviors. First, it is not up to Christians to determine who does, or does not go to heaven. It is God’s gift of grace, accepted by faith that will get us into heaven. We cannot earn our way to heaven by doing or not doing certain activities.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10(NIV)

There is nothing that we can do that will take that gift away from us or that will make it bigger or smaller. This gift is a gift that is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The gift is the same for all people regardless of their past. God will not force his gift on anyone, but he has made it available for everyone, regardless of his or her sexual orientation. Faith and grace are not the same! If we fail to do what God wants us to do, we do not lose our free gift of grace. We receive grace when God receives us just as we are. He knows that we cannot live sinless lives by ourselves. Our faith, on the other hand is something that grows as we learn to follow Jesus. Likewise, it diminishes (or dies) as we fail to follow Jesus. Included in our free gift of grace, is the Holy Spirit who dwells in our lives. The Holy Spirit guides the Christians actions. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to live. It even teaches us who we should choose for a marriage partner. God’s plan for marriage has not, nor will it ever change. Only the secular definition of marriage changes according to the wishes of the people. Faith does not force us to behave in a given manner. But rather, our actions are an indications of our faith. If a person does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in his/her life they are incapable of living by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, your only choice is to follow your fleshly nature

 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:12-13(NIV)

Christians should not expect the non-Christians to behave like Christians. In fact, we are to love them ‘as Christ loved us’. Changing how people behave is the work of the Holy Spirit, not Christians, or anybody else. People are born in sin. Every one of us started with a fleshly nature. Included in that fleshly nature, is the potential of becoming a gay or lesbian person.

 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:21-32(NIV)

In this passage of scripture, the writer is telling about the behavior of people who have not accepted God’s gift of grace. The writer never says, however that these people can never accept God’s gift of grace. Our behavior is the result of who we are following. When we follow our fleshly desires, we do those things that help us feel better at the time. We do the things that our flesh desires to do. However, if we crucify our fleshly desires, and are led by the Holy Spirit as Christians are instructed to do, we do things like love our neighbor, live in peace, joy, and happiness.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:16-26(NIV)

A person’s behavior is determined by who they are following. As a Christian, it is our responsibility to demonstrate God’s love to those who are not following the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility to love other people. Love never forces itself on anyone.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:6-16(NIV)

Are we like the Pharisees and teachers of the law mention at the beginning of this blog? Do we want to throw the first stone? Why would someone want to be a Christian if we fail to live like Christ? If you are a Christian, go love someone who is in need of God’s love. Do not condemn them because they are behaving the way God said they would behave. God gave them over to their fleshly desires. God, not man, let them have their own way. Note: All scripture used in this article were downloaded from: http:// biblegateway.com

Is Jesus Your Savior or Your Lord?

A savior is someone who saves us or delivers us from evil and destruction.

In the Old Testament, the people were looking for a savior. God was their savior. He was their refuge during times of trouble. The Children of Israel would make sacrifices for their sin. In the book of Leviticus you will find the instructions for these offering.

A spotless lamb was frequently brought to be offered as a sin offering. The price for sin was the shedding of blood.  When the lamb was slayed, it was paying the price for the sin committed by the person bringing the offering.

When Jesus left his heavenly home to come to earth in human form, He was the lamb that would be slayed for our sins. He was the spotless lamb whose blood would be sacrificed for the sins of the world. He blood paid the price for our sin. This offering was for everyone who believed that Jesus was who he claimed to be.

Because of God’s grace, everyone can have salvation. They can be delivered from their sin.  This deliverance is a gift that people can receive or reject. When people accepts this gift of salvation, they are considered Christians. They have accepted Jesus as their Savior.  If they reject this gift, they will remain in their sinful condition. They will continue to be headed toward destruction regardless of what Satan tells them.

Near the end of Jesus ministry on earth, he told his disciples that he was going to send an advocate. This advocate would work on our behalf to keep us free from sin. He was like having Jesus with us full time. This Advocate is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third part of the trinity: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the part of the Trinity that communicates with our inner spirit. This communication takes place in the spirit realm. In other words, the Holy Spirit hears our utterings and interprets them into the “spirit language” which he then presents to God on our behalf.

When we accept this gift, we receive forgiveness of sins and an advocate with the Heavenly Father. This means we have accepted Jesus as our Savior.

The communication we have with our Heavenly Father is a two-way communication. The Holy Spirit not only takes our requests to God, but he also brings God’s word to us in a way that we can understand what God the Father wants us to do. He has given us the Bible. The Holy Spirit is the one who helps us understand what God is telling us in the Bible. Since the Holy Spirit is communicating on a spiritual level, He takes the words of the Bible and interprets them to the spirit language that enables our spirit to understand the message from God and to do what he is telling us to do.

Since the Holy Spirit is interpreting the Bible for us, it does not matter what translation or language we have because the Holy Spirit is telling us what God the Father wants us to hear.

What we do with the information the Holy Spirit gives us determines who has Lordship of our lives. In other words, our response to the Holy Spirit determines our Lordship. If we respond favorable to the Holy Spirit, we are allowing God to have lordship over our lives. On the other hand if we continue to do what our inner spirit wants us to do, we ourselves have the lordship of our life. Frequently these people tend to allow Satan with his lies to control their lives because they lack God’s protection. Their lordship belongs to Satan.

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.(Ephesians 5:12-20(NIV)

In our human spirit, we see things that we think will bring us happiness and peace. Frequently they do bring happiness and peace for a very short time. Satan, who also works as a spirit, is trying to get our spirit to see only the pleasure, and not the consequence of our sin. He leads us further and further from God by giving us very short times of happiness that frequently led us into more loneliness and dissatisfaction. He leads us to a place where we fail to see any hope for the future.

However, If we listen to the Holy Spirit, we will experience a lasting joy, a lasting peace, and a constant companion. It is as if Jesus were walking right beside us as a friend, keeping us from sin.  It is like He is holding us accountable for our actions.

In Galatians 4, Paul tells us we must crucify our flesh with its passions and desires.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

If Jesus is our Lord, we have crucified your fleshly desire. But until we have crucified our flesh with its passion and desires, we are unable to have Jesus as our Lord. Christians are to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. By keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, we have accepts Jesus as our Lord. This is what Jesus wanted all of his followers to do. This is what Jesus did while on the earth. Jesus did the Father’s will and not his own will.

What is your answer?  “Is Jesus your Savior, or is he your Lord?”

Having Jesus as your Lord does not mean you are sinless. You will still be prone to sin. However, having Jesus as your Lord will cause you to walk away from sin rather than toward it. Jesus as Lord will give you joy and peace.

NOTE:  All scripture in this blog were downloaded from biblegateway.com

Salvation: Faith or Works

For a believer in Christ, Salvation means that a person is redeemed, justified, and will live eternally with the Lord.

  • Redemption: From the beginning of time, God has required the shedding of blood for the cleansing (forgiveness) of our sin. When a person sinned, they were required to offer a blood sacrifice for the ‘redemption’ of their sin. When Jesus became the blood sacrifice for our sin, He redeemed us. He paid the price for our sin.
  • Justification: when the offering was accepted by God, He justified the person. In other words, God’s eyes the person had not sinned. Because Jesus paid the price for our sin, in God’s eyes we become sinless.
  • Grace: when Christians sin, God overlooks our sin. We remain justified. In other words our behavior does not affect our salvation.
  • Eternal life: was made possible when God caused Jesus to be victorious over death. Because of this victory, Christians will also share that victory and spend eternity with God

Salvation is accepted by faith. Faith is believing that God has, or will cause something to happen even though it has never happened before. The Message Bible says it this way:

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. Hebrews 11:1-2(MSG)

Salvation is not dependent on what we do or not do, it is dependent on our faith in God. It is possible that a Christian could commits a sin and not lose his/her salvation. That sin may even be murder, lust, improper sexual activity, etc. but the truth is that they have not lost their salvation because of those acts, even though many Christians wish it were otherwise…which by the way, is also sin.

Works refers to the activities that we do in our lives whether good or bad. You may ask: “What is the importance of works?”

The works that a Christian does determines the rewards they will receive when they get to heaven.  In fact, the Bible tells of two books used in determining rewards.

The one book is list of the names of the people who, by faith accepted the gift of salvation. The second book is the list of things that Christians have done. Because of God’s grace, only the good things a Christian has done are recorded in this book.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second deathAnyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15(NIV)

The second book is used to determine the rewards that a Christian will receive when he/she gets to heaven. This is what the writer of Hebrews telling about when he tells about faith in Hebrews 11.

 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6(NIV)

A person can do every good deed conceivable and never receive a reward because they do not have faith in God.  In other words, not everyone that does good deeds will receive a reward in heaven unless their name is recorded in the Lambs book of life.  However, they have already received their reward on earth.

Matthew 6 gives several examples of people who have already received their rewards. Some of these people are people who are:

  • practicing your righteous acts so you can be seen by others (v.1)
  • giving to the needy to get attention for themselves. (v.2)
  • praying to impress others. (v.5)
  • make a big issue out of fasting, so other people will see them. (v.16)

People who do good deeds for the purpose of bring attention to themselves, have already received their rewards, albeit temporary. Those who do good deeds so God is glorified, will receive an eternal reward.

Doing good deeds does not make one a Christian but being a Christian will cause one to do good deeds.

 

NOTE: All scripture in this blog were downloaded from Biblegateway.com