Tag Archives: salvation

What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’

Luke 10:25 – Scripture Of The Weekend (January 4-5, 2014)

What a great question!  Even more than that, what interesting answers man has proposed over the ages to answer it!  The atheist would say, “There is no eternal life and no God to give it to us.”  The agnostic would say, “I’m not sure God or eternal life exist.”  The deist would say, “God doesn’t care enough about us to grant us eternal life.”  The Muslim would say, “Go on a jihad and eternal life is guaranteed.”  The universalist would say, “Nothing, because God will grant eternal life to everyone.”  The Calvinist would say, “Nothing, because God has already decided whether or not you will receive eternal life.”  The current Pope would say, “You don’t even have to believe in Jesus to receive eternal life.”  Numerous Catholics and Protestants would say, “Just be a basically good person, regardless of what church you go to or what doctrine you follow, and you’ll receive eternal life.”  I could cite many more answers man has given to this lawyer’s question.

What is most important, in fact what is solely important, is the answer the Son of God gave to this lawyer’s question:  “He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law?  How do you read it?’  And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’  And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live'” (Luke 10:26-28).  To love God means to obey him (1 John 5:3; John 14:15), and those who obey him will receive eternal life (Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21-27).  To love our neighbor the same way we love ourselves is best illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus immediately gave to illustrate his point to the lawyer, and in the definition of love Paul gave to the Corinthians (Luke 10:29-37; 1 Cor. 13:1-7).  When we obey God with all our being and love our fellow man the way in which God commanded us, eternal life is ours…not because we earned it (we could never earn it due to our sin – Rom. 3:23), but because of the grace of God whose instructions we followed (Eph. 2:8-10; Tit. 2:11-12).

“Behold, I Am Making All Things New…”

Happy New Year, everyone!  2014 is here, the beginning of a new year.  As is the case every January 1, many of us are looking at things in a new way.  We have new goals and resolutions.  We are fixated on the fact that it is a new year, a new beginning.  As the film Forrest Gump puts it, we all get a second chance.

However, is that really true from an eternal perspective?  Does the changing of the calendar year really make any sort of difference as far as God is concerned?  Does the ball dropping at midnight on January 1 change the condition of our souls in his sight?  The Bible, God’s message to us which trains us in righteousness so that we may be complete in his sight (2 Tim. 3:16-17), gives no such indication.

What truly gives us a second chance?  What makes us truly new in the sight of God?  Rather than the flipping of a page in a desktop calendar, God tells us it is the blood of his Son which gives us a second chance.  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).  

The One who sits on the throne in heaven said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).  Contextually, he was referring to the holy city, new Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God with man in which he will dwell with us, wipe our tears from our eyes, and eradicate death, mourning, crying, and pain…“for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:2-4).  While many apply these sayings to refer to the eternal reward of heaven, a more immediate and biblical application would be to Christ’s church, “the assembly (ekklesia, church) of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” which the Hebrew writer calls “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” and in which is that “sprinkled blood” of Jesus which has freed us from our sins (Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 1:5).  That same church is called the body of Christ (Col. 1:18).  Do you want Jesus to save you?  If so, you must be a part of his body, the church (Eph. 5:23).  It is the church God was speaking of when he said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  It is only in the church that we find that precious blood of Christ which cleanses us from our sin (1 John 1:7-9).

Do you want to be a child of God?  The Bible says you must be “in Christ Jesus…through faith” for that to happen (Gal. 3:26).  That means you must be in Christ’s church, because the church is the body of Christ.  In fact, the church is said to fill up Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), so it makes sense that conclude that to be “in Christ” means to be in his body, his church.  How does one get into Christ?  How does one get into his church?  Through immersion, the literal meaning of baptism (Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13).

ImageNotice what Paul wrote in Rom. 6:3-7:  “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.”

How does God make all things new?  How do we get our second chance?  When we repent of our sins (2 Cor. 7:9-11) and are baptized (Acts 2:38), we die and are born again in a spiritual sense (John 3:3-5).  All things are made new.  Our old self is dead.  We walk in a new life.  A new beginning.  A clean slate.  The baptism washes our sins away (Acts 22:16), for it is at that point that we come in contact with the blood of Christ that cleanses us (Eph. 1:7; Rev. 1:5).  When we come up out of the water, we are in Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3).  We have been baptized into his body (1 Cor. 12:13), his church (Eph. 1:22-23) of which there is only one (Eph. 4:4), the church of which Jesus is Savior (Eph. 5:23).

It’s January 1.  A new year, with many possible new beginnings.  Yet, in eternity all of these new beginnings we associate with a new year will very shortly pass away (James 4:13-17)…but God’s Word will never pass away (Matt. 24:35).  Do you want the REAL clean slate?  Do you want God himself to make all things new concerning you?  Do you want your sins forgiven and washed away?  Do you want to be saved and born again to a new life?  Read and study each of the scriptures previously cited with an honest and open heart (Luke 8:15).  If you believe in God’s Word (Rom. 10:17) and believe with all of your heart in Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10), then prove your faith to be alive rather than dead by your actions (James 2:14-26).  Obey God’s command to repent of your sins and be baptized into his Son’s body (Mark 16:16; Acts 17:30; 1 Pet. 3:21; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13), and you will rise up out of the water with all things new (Rom. 6:3-7; Rev. 21:5).

THAT, my friends, is how to start the new year off right!

Are We Saved By Works?

Saved by grace through faith“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).  From this passage we see that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith, and that we did not save ourselves, but rather our salvation is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23).

However, the Bible also has more to say about this question, and we must not ignore what its entirety says (Ps. 119:160).  Notice that Paul said that we are saved not only “by grace,” but also “through faith.”  What is faith?

The Bible has a lot to say about faith.  It is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16), it is necessary to please God (Heb. 11:6), and it is defined both as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence for things not seen” (Heb. 11:1) and believing that “(God) is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

Faith without works is deadDoes faith have anything to do with works?  The Bible asks, “What does it profit…if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?…Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14, 17).  So we see that in order to have a living faith, a faith that pleases God, we must have works.  Otherwise, our faith is dead.

So what does the Ephesians passage mean when it says that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works?  If you go back to that passage and skip down to verse 10, you’ll see that we were created for good works, works of obedience (cf. Eccl. 12:13).  When we do “works,” i.e., obey God, we are only doing what we were supposed to be doing in the first place (Luke 17:5-10).

However, we all sin (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10).  When we sin, our just God requires a penalty for that sin (Rom. 2:8-9).  It is through his love and grace that Christ paid that debt on the cross (John 3:16).  We could not pay it because of our sin that requires the debt to be paid in the first place (Rom. 3:23).  Therefore, no works that we do could save us because our sin cancels out those works.  That’s where God’s grace comes in.

Jesus saves those who obey himNevertheless, God still requires us to obey him if we want salvation (Heb. 5:9), even though he has offered us his grace (Rom. 6:1).  If we truly believe that he “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6), then our faith will prompt us to obey him (James 2:14-26).  Thus, we are saved through faith (Eph. 2:8).

Think about it.  The last time you gave into a temptation to do something that you know the Bible says is a sin, did you truly believe God’s Word at that moment in time when you gave in and committed the sin anyway?  If you had, then you would not have committed the sin.  Your faith was weak.

Grace does not give us license to sinGod’s grace saves us, but that grace teaches us to live righteously (Tit. 2:11-12).  We will do so if we have faith.  If we don’t have faith, we will live unrighteously and thus will not be saved by His grace in the end (Rev. 21:8).  Will grace save us if we don’t follow grace’s teachings?  God very explicitly says, “No.”  (Rom. 6:1-2)

We must not continue unrepentantly in sinAre you allowing the grace of God to bring salvation to your soul?  Obey God’s Word and become a Christian through penitent, confessed faith in the Son of God and his kingdom (Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:12; Rom. 10:9-10; 2 Cor. 7:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:9-11) and baptism into his body for salvation and the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:21).  Remain faithfully obedient by walking in the light of fellowship with God by continually confessing and repenting of your sins (Matt. 7:21-27; Rev. 2:10; 1 John 1:7-9; Heb. 10:26-31; Luke 13:3, 5).Baptize

Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.