Tag Archives: salvation

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

Your Articles of Faith

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)

How important is it for you to know what you believe?

This may sound like a strange question; however it could be critical to how you behave. Remember Peter? He was the disciple that cut the ear off the guard who came to take Jesus. He was the one who walked on water until he took his eyes of Jesus. He was also the disciple who denied Jesus ‘three times before the cock crows’. This is the same Peter who tells us to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15(NIV)

If you have hope for the future, you must believe something. What do you believe?

Many times when Christians are asked a question about their faith, they frequently begin their response with something like: “This is what my pastor says…”, or “The church believes…”, or “The denomination believes…”, or “I was taught…” And some of you may say:” What difference does it make?”

Suppose that you were driving your car and a stranger stopped you and said: “Someone said the road might be flooded and it is possible the bridge is washed out.” Or suppose another stranger stops you and says: “The road is flooded and the bridge has been washed out.” Which person would you be inclined to believe: the first person who heard the road was flooded, or the second person who knew the road was flooded?

People are more apt to listen to you if your beliefs are ‘first hand’ and not from a second or third source. Can you imagine an automobile salesperson trying to sell you a new car based on what his boss said about the car or about what the TV ads say about the car? Would you wonder if the salesperson knew what they were talking about?

I would like to challenge you to write out your “Articles of Faith”. You may ask what are “Articles of Faith”? Articles of Faith are simply spiritual beliefs that you have. Various Christian denominations have written down six to eighteen of their primary beliefs they hold dear to their faith.

Articles of Faith are usually in a prominent place so that people could look at them to determine if this was the church they wanted to attend. They were helpful to people moving into a community as they selected the church they would attend. In more recent years, if the people are going to be involved in church, they will usually go by the name of the church, which may, or may not actually represent what the church believes. The types of beliefs written in the Articles usually deal with the three persons of the trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and The Holy Spirit. Another article may deal with God’s word, another with a definition of sin, another about baptism, another about salvation, another about heaven and hell. Some articles of faith include more beliefs and some of the have just a few but each of these beliefs helps to identify the body of church members that attend that specific church.

Most of the beliefs listed in the Articles of Faith may vary significantly between denominations simply because we interpret the Bible differently. As a follower of Christ, you should be able to state your beliefs and the reason that you hold to such beliefs. You should be able to give the interpretation that you believe the Holy Spirit gives you regarding that belief.

It is much easier just to accept whatever belief is popular so we do not offend anyone. However, God tells us to be a light to the world but if we let our light resemble what already exists, we will be unable to change the world. We will still be in darkness.

God wants to have a relationship with us. But, if we do not recognize the importance of that relationship, we will continue to follow our old nature.

Note: all scriptures used in this blog were downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com

Ways to becoming a true Christian

How many ways can we become a ‘true’ Christian?

  • Being born into a Christian family? – NO
  • Saying a certain prayer as long as you know the date, time, and place? – NO
  • Going to a certain church or denomination? – NO
  • Being tolerant of other people? – NO
  • Taking care of sick and elderly? – NO
  • Be a good person? – NO
  • Try real hard to live a good life? – NO
  • Have a lot of Christian friends? – NO

We become a ‘true’ Christian only by having the faith to believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for death and no one else can pay that price.

When we believe in Christ, we are once again united with God in the same way Adam and Eve were with God in the garden. By faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. We are true followers of Christ—we are Christians.

Acts 16:30-31(NIV)

 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

 They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

John 3:16-21(NIV) tells us the same thing when it says:

 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.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:16-21(NIV)

People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe but there is only one way to heaven. People can believe whatever they want to believe that will make them feel better about themselves, or feel that they have accomplished something but it still will not get them into heaven.

Salvation is a gift from God, made available through Jesus death and resurrection. There is nothing that we can do to deserve it. God is not going to force it on us or have us jump through all kinds of hoops to get to it. We either accept it or reject it.

Salvation is not dependent on Karma, a certain Horoscope readings, our tolerance of others, nor energy therapy. It is about believing that Christ died on the cross and rose again for you. The gift of salvation is brought about by our faith in an eternal God. There is no other way.

However, when we accept God’s gift of salvation, we also receive a bonus. We receive an advocate to help us and to be with us for eternity. We will never be lonely again.

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21(NIV)

Salvation does not require a certain prayer be prayed or that certain words are used in a prayer, it is simply communicating with God that you accept His gift of salvation that was made available through Christ’s died and resurrection. You can do it right now, right where you are. God loves you.

 

NOTE: Scriptures used in this blog was downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com.

What do you enjoy about Christmas?

For children, Christmas is frequently a time when they enjoy receiving gifts. The gifts are frequently toys or games that they have been wanting. The gifts come from parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders of the various activities in which they are involved.

As we get older, we enjoy the gifts from a special someone. They could be our best friends, the person we are dating at the time, or some other person that has a special meaning to our life.

As adults, we enjoy the gifts from our children or family members. We especially enjoy the company of our families and friends. We enjoy eating together, watching sport events of Christmas programs where our children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren are participating.

As we grow older, the things that we enjoy about Christmas seem to move from material things to relationships that we develop over the years.

God wants us to enjoy a relationship with Him.

In the Old Testament when man sinned, there was a price to pay for those sins. The price was the shedding of blood of an innocent animal. People were required to go to the high priest to make these sacrifices.

The animals that were sacrificed were animals that did not have any blemishes. In other words, they needed to be “perfect” animals or in some cases doves. In most cases, they were sheep or lambs. The sacrifices were made to please God. People were required to obey the commandments and laws that God gave them. There salvation was based on what they did or did not do.

Making a sacrifice was something they were supposed to do when they had sinned against God or the fellow man. However, one day that changed. God loved us so much that he wanted us to be his children. He wanted to have a relationship with his children. He wanted the love of his children. He was going to send a sacrifice that would be for everybody. He was not going to force this relationship on people but rather have them love him willfully.

God had a plan. He was going to send his son Jesus down to earth to show His love for us. Jesus would be born as a baby and experience life on earth. He was going to show people how to love. Jesus taught us about his father and what the Father’s will was for his children. Jesus taught us who God is.

Jesus lived a perfect life while on earth. He did not live to have a high self-esteem; he did not live to please other people; he did not live to condemn the world. Jesus lived to do the will of his Father. Everything Jesus did was the will of his Father and not his own will.

After a short life on this earth, Jesus laid down his life for our sins. He became the perfect sacrifice. However, unlike the sacrifices made in the Old Testament, Jesus was raised to life again. JESUS WAS VICTORIOUS OVER DEATH!

Because Jesus was victorious over death, we who believe in him will be victorious over death also. We will be able to live eternally with our Father in Heaven! In eternity, we will no longer experience sickness, disappointment, separation, etc. We will have an eternal relationship with God the Father. We will be coheirs with Jesus. Everything that the Father has will be at our disposal. What a wonderful gift God gave us that first Christmas morning!

There is only one way to receive the gift of eternal life with God the Father. In John 14:6, Jesus said that He was the “way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

You cannot receive the gift of eternal life just by knowing who God is, by belonging to a certain church or religious cult, by living a good life; you can only receive eternal life through Jesus Christ.

God does not want us to be selfish and keep this gift for ourselves; rather He wants us to share this unending gift with everyone we meet. God wants our lives to be a demonstration of who He is and not who we are.

This Christmas remember and enjoy the real reason Jesus came that Christmas night. Because Jesus came on Christmas and became the perfect sacrifice for our sin, we can live in peace even when the world seems to be falling apart and people fear what the future holds.

Jesus gave his followers these promises:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4(NIV)

Later in that same chapter, Jesus said:

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27(NIV)

Over 65 Years ago, I accepted the gift of salvation made possible because Jesus was born, lived, and paid the price for my sin. Over those years, I have experienced disappointments, losses, persecution, loneliness, financial loss, times of physical difficulty, yes, and even times of war. However, through these times, I have felt the peace of God that he gives to those who believe in Him.

This Christmas season accepts God’s gift of salvation. Experience the peace that only God can give.

Merry Christmas

NOTE: all scripture in this blog were downloaded from www.Biblegateway.com December 13, 2015

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

Subtle Differences

When you read the scriptures, what do you look for? Are we looking for evidence that proves we are right? Are we looking for contrasts between right and wrong? Good or bad?

We tend to look for those things that separate Christians from Non-Christians. We look at things like ‘Right vs. Wrong’ and ‘Good vs. bad’; we are looking for those things that are extreme contrasts.

As we walk down life’s pathways, we want to know how we should act and what we should do.

When the non-Christian confronts the Christian, they are usually looking at those actions that seem to be opposite of what the Non-believer thinks those actions should be.

However, the real threat to Christianity today is not the extreme contrasts but the subtle contrasts that exist. We need the Holy Spirit to help us determine the subtle differences!

In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we read:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Christians need to be looking for prowling lions. If the lion is roaring, he has already caught his prey; His prowling has ‘paid off’!

In the Gospel of Matthew there are recorded several parables that Jesus used to teach the people about heaven and the future.

In the Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus is telling about heaven and is comparing it to a situation where ten virgins went to meet the Bride Groom.

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:1-13(NIV)

In this parable, Jesus is contrasting two types of virgins: five wise virgins and five foolish virgins.

At first, we may think the wise virgins are believers and the foolish virgins are the non-believers. But when we look closely we find that all ten virgins were looking for the Bride Groom; They were all wanting to go to heaven; and They were all professing Christians.

I believe this parable is addressing the modern day church congregations, those people who want to go to heaven when they die.

All of the virgins had lamps; they all fell asleep waiting; they all heard the announcement of the Bride Groom coming; they all trimmed their lamps; but only the wise virgins had jars of oil to replenish their lamps.

In our churches today, we have professing Christians singing in the choir; serving on the worship team, serve as deacons or elders, teaching Sunday School Classes, VBS lessons, children’s services ; serving on pastor search committees; they may all volunteer for working in charitable organizations, or donate large sums of money to charity, etc. but we cannot determine from their work whether or not they are true Christians. Only God has access to the Lambs Book of Life. We do not know if people have a genuine relationship with God merely by their assignment, church membership, or appearance. We must rely on leading of the Holy Spirit.

In the same way, we cannot know which virgins are foolish and which are wise merely by their actions. However, there is one subtle difference between the foolish virgins and the wise virgins; the wise virgins had jars of oil. In other words, they had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them and depended on the Holy Spirit to light their path.

Most Bible scholars tend to agree that term ‘oil’ used in the Bible, frequently represents the Holy Spirit. Every living person has a spirit, but only those who have accepted the gift of salvation are given the Holy Spirit. In other words, wise virgins in the parable are those who have the Holy Spirit living in their lives; foolish virgins are those that are trying to get to heaven in their own strength, doing it the way that they, not God, want to do it.

When God separates the ‘sheep from the goats’, those people who are trying to get to heaven their own way, will run out of oil. Those who are trying to go to heaven God’s way, will have oil that lasts for eternity.

Do you have a jar of oil?