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“The Kingdom Of Christ, Of God, Of Heaven” – Displays Of His Ruling Authority Throughout Time

SIH STSTA ICON

 

 

To begin our study we need to understand what the Bible means when it speaks of a “kingdom”.  The word translated Kingdom in the NT is the Greek word “basileia”.  This word has two basic ideas behind it:

  1. The first idea is the AUTHORITY to rule that a King possesses (Luke 1:33, Luke 17:20-21, Matt 12:28 etc)
  2. The second idea is the REALM that is ruled over by a King. WhenBasileia is used in this way it can speak of either:
    1. the land area and physical possessions that a King rules over (Mat 4:8, Mark 6:23,  Heb 11:33 etc)
    2. the group of people over which a king rules. (Rev 1:9, Col 1:13, 2 Pet 1:11, etc)

Based upon the above Scriptures we can see that these three titles are describing the same event and will be used as such in this study.

Although we cannot visibly see His authority, we certainly can see His authority at work in the world around us.  By His grace, He has displayed for us His authority, throughout the Scriptures, in many different ways.

Let’s take a look and see the God’s authority to rule displayed for all to see throughout the Bible…  

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

The Kingdom of Christ:

Eph 5:5,

 

The Kingdom of God:

Matt 6:33, 12:28, 19:24, 21:31, 21:43;

Mark 1:14, 1:15, 4:11, 4:26, 4:30, 9:1, 9:47, 10:14, 10:15, 10:23, 10:24, 10:25, 12:34, 14:25, 15:43;

Luke 4:43, 6:20, 7:28, 8:1, 8:10, 9:2, 9:11, 9:27, 9:60, 9:62, 10:9, 10:11, 10:20, 12:31, 13:18, 13:20, 13:28, 13:29, 14:15, 16:16, 17:20, 17:21, 18:16, 18:17, 18:24, 18:25, 18:29, 19:11, 21:31, 22:16, 22:18, 23:51;

John 3:3, 3:5;

Acts 1:3, 8:12, 14:22, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 28:31;

Roms 14:17;

1 Cor 4:20, 6:9, 6:10, 15:50;

Gal 5:21;

Col 4:11;

2 Thess 1:5.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven:

Matt 3:2, 4:17, 5:3, 5:10, 5:19, 5:20, 7:21, 8:11, 10:7, 11:11, 11:12, 13:11, 13:24, 13:31, 13:33, 13:44, 13:45, 13:47, 13:52, 16:19, 18:1, 18:3, 18:4, 18:23, 19:12, 19:14, 19:23, 20:1, 22:2, 23:13, 25:1, 25:14

 

In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, “The Kingdom of Christ”, “the Kingdom Of God”, and “the Kingdom of Heaven”.  All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.

Please note:

The Kingdom of Christ is only used in Ephesians 5:5 and is clearly speaking of the perfect reign of Christ that will take place throughout eternity.  In this text, it is equated with the Kingdom of God because both Christ and the Father will be reigning throughout eternity. (Rev 22:3-5; see also Rev 21:7-8, Rev 21:24-27)

Also “the Kingdom of God” and “the Kingdom of Heaven” are equated as well.  Please note the following references which show that, in many cases, these titles are used synonymously…

Matt 4:17 – Mark 1:15;

Matt 5:3,10- Luke 6:20-22; Matt 8:11-Luke 13:28;

Matt 10:7-Luke 9:60;

Matt 11:11-Luke 7:28;

Matt 11:12-Luke 16:16;

Matt 13:11-Mark 4:11;

Matt 13:31-Mark 4:30-31; Matt 13:33 – Luke 13:20-21; Matt 19:14-Mark 10:14;

Matt 19:23-Mark 10:23;

Matt 25:14-Luke 19:11-13.

 

THE STUDY: 

It is important for us to understand that the Lord displays His authority to rule in different ways that will vary throughout time.

In the Old Testament, some of the major ways He displayed His authority to rule was in:

  1. His sovereign rulership over creation (including mankind)…

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”   (Daniel 4:34-35)

 

  1. His rulership over the fledgling nation of physical Israel during the times of the judges…

Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 

And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.  According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.  Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”  (1 Samuel 8:4-9)

 

  1. His rulership over the unified and divided nation of physical Israel during the times of the Kings…

Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.

Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all.

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”  (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)

 

  1. His rulership in the heart of the Old Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.”  (Psalms 40:8)

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.”   (Haggai 1:12)

 

 

In New Testament times, He displayed His authority to rule in very similar ways….

  1. His sovereign rulership over His creation (including mankind)…

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”  (Acts 17:24-28)

 

  1. His rulership in the heart of the lives of the New Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 

[Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,  This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 

Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.”   (Hebrews 10:14-18)

 

  1. His rule over His local assemblies…

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.”   (Colossians 1:13-20)

 

Into eternity future, the Lord’s ruling authority will be shown. The following is an incomplete list of His sovereignty on display during the end-time events…

  1. His taking of His saints…

For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”  (1 Corinthians 15:21-28)

 

  1. His punishment of the powers of darkness of this world…

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great.

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”  (Revelation 19:17-21)

 

  1. His millennial reign (the first part of His eternal reign)…

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”  (Revelation 20:4) 

 

  1. The final judgment…

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  (Revelation 20:12-15)

 

 

  1. His rulership throughout eternity…

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”   (Revelation 22:2-5)

 

As you can see, throughout history from eternity past and proceeding into eternity present, we find the Lord consistently revealing to mankind…

The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.”  (Exodus 15:18)

 

In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, The Kingdom of Christ, the Kingdom Of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: 

What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to know that our Lord truly reigns over all things.  Without His wondrous displays of sovereignty, we would live in doubt about His control over all, but because of His many displays of rulership we can say as the Psalmist…

“But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”   (Psalms 115:3)

Because of this, there is no reason for worry or fright… no matter what may take place in this life, OUR GOD IS IN CONTROL!  And we have a consistent source of proofs that this is so!

Phil Robertson, Sin and The Christmas Season

SIH STSTA ICON(Before we begin our study, let me quickly explain that, although I agree with the main thrust of Phil Robertson’s message, I am sorrowful that he presented his message using some crude language that was unnecessary to say the least and harmful to the cause of Christ.

Without knowing the man and his personal life, it is impossible for me to make a judgment about the intent and motivation behind the inappropriate phrases. Based upon his personal testimony, I am trusting that they are the result of his upbringing and environment and not an indication of any malice in his heart towards those of whom he spoke.

Who among us can say that we have never said things that have harmed the cause of Christ and brought sorrow to our hearts?  However I do want to take a look at the Biblical principles he was presenting in the interview and the importance of recognizing their application to our nation and world today.)

 (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted; He hath made every [thing] beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

The past few days has given us living proof of the truthfulness of this wonderful text of Scripture.  How true it is that our Sovereign Lord is in control of the events that take place among men and that He brings these events to pass in His perfect timing, while accomplishing the goals for which they were determined.

The Bible also speaks of this principle in…

(Daniel 2:20-23)Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:  And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:  He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what [is] in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.  I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast [now] made known unto us the king’s matter.

Here, we see that our Lord uses the timing of the events of mankind to teach us many of the deep, secret things about Himself and our condition before Him.  In other words, He shows us, through His control of the events of mankind, many truths that are very difficult for us to understand and accept as truth.

This principle has come to light this past week as our nation, in the midst of the Christmas season, has witnessed the events surrounding Phil Robertson, A & E network and the world’s response to both of them.  I would like us to take a few moments and try to take a Scriptural look at what we can learn from this week’s series of events, and come to understand that these events were perfectly timed by the Lord.

 

THE STUDY:

First, the Lord has clearly presented to us the truth of the existence and results of sin in our world.  

The most controversial of Robertson’s statements involved various types of sin that exist in our world today.  The teachings of the Bible confirm the existence of sin, and give us a list of the individual sins that were mentioned by Robertson….

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Secondly, we have clearly displayed the lost world’s blindness to their own sin and the truths of the Word.

As Robertson gave his listing of sins, the appropriate response was for the world to acknowledge that sin exists and be motivated from a Godly sorrow to confess and repent of their sins.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Instead, we find them denying the existence of some of those sins, justifying their commission and, in doing so, rising up in opposition to these truths of the Word.

(Isaiah 5:20-24)Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:  Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!  Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, [so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

(2 Timothy 3:13-15)But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

(Just a side note: this very principle should bring out a spirit of gratitude and praise from the heart of all who have been brought to a Scriptural repentance and trust in Christ.  We were all in this condition of spiritual blindness and apart from the gracious intervention of Christ in our lives, we would also be in denial of these truths of God.)

 

Thirdly, we have presented to us the solution to sin and its effects in the world.

Here is where we begin to see the wonderful timing of our Lord.   Although Phil Robertson presented the need for repentance and faith in Christ, it was not included in most of the news accounts of the interview with him.  But the Lord has a way of overcoming any obstacle that opposes His will.

What better time for our nation to be presented with its sinfulness and need of repentance than the Christmas season when all mankind have their thoughts pointed towards the coming of Christ to the earth to save lost mankind from the very sins of which Robertson had spoken.

In direct response to the sin of this world we read that ….

(Matthew 1:20-25)But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

(1 John 4:14)And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world. 

(John 3:16-17)For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

It is only during the Christmas season that the lost world has their minds pointed to the truth that God sent His only begotten Son to save His people from their sins.  Just as the new reports of Robertson’s interview reveal to the world their sinful condition, so too, the Christmas season is placing on display the One who was given by God to save the world from their sins.

How is this salvation received?  It is by placing faith in the person and work of the One who was born in Bethlehem.  It is by placing our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who was God manifest in the flesh…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus is the One who came to this world and died on the cross bearing the sins of His people.  His body was buried for three days and three nights in the tomb and then He rose again the third day, proving to us all that His payment for sin on the cross was accepted by His Father in heaven…

(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

As a matter of fact, Christ came and died on the cross to save people from the exact same sins that Robertson was talking about.  Notice in the 1 Corinthians 6: passage that gave us a list of the sins Robertson mentioned, we find the concluding verse that says ..  “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Christ came to save those who have committed homosexual acts, adulterous acts, and other immoral, perverse acts…. There is no sin so great for which the grace of God cannot grant forgiveness and cleansing.

But if we read this verse closely we find that those of us who have been saved were guilty of these same offenses as well…  “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Therefore there is no room for feeling of superiority on our part, nor is there room for boasting.  Folks, we were in the very same “boat” as the unsaved that are around us.  Apart from God’s grace, we would still be facing an eternity of separation from Him in the Lake of Fire having committed the same sins as they.

That is why we are to use this holiday season (and every season of the year) to humbly share Christ and the forgiveness He offers to the sinful world around us.   Let us put down the carnal aspects of the Christmas season and use it as the perfect opportunity to share Christ with those who are in desperate need of Him.

The Lord has graciously given to each one of us the perfect opportunity to address the sinful state of the world and their need of Christ through the use of the news stories about Robertson’s interview and the Christmas season that is upon us.

May we all use these events to bring honor and glory to His name.

For more information about the Bible’s teachings on homosexual relationships:  http://wp.me/pU88A-nE

http://www.settledinheaven.org

https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

The Sacrifice Of Love

SIH STSTA ICONJohn 3:16 is arguably the most familiar verse found in the Bible….

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In 1 John 3:16-19 we find another set of verses that contains the same basic theme…

“Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

Let’s take a few minutes to study these two verses that address the Love of God which is shown to us by His acts of unselfishness and self-sacrifice…

THE SCRIPTURES:

John 3:16;  1 John 3:16-19;  Ephesians 5:1-2 ; 1John 4:9-11;  Mark 12:28-34; 1 Cor 13:4-12

THE STUDY:

Does God really love me?  This most important question has been asked by a multitude of people throughout the history of our world.  How can we really know if God loves us and cares about us and our needs?  The Bible gives us a clear proof of God’s love for us…. the sacrifice that He has made on our behalf.  Note our two texts….

John 3:16 ….

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In our first text, please note that the God’s LOVE was displayed through the GIVING of His Son, a true act of self-sacrifice on behalf of God for His people.  Why is the birth of Christ such an important and special act of God?  It is a clear display of His love on behalf of sinful mankind.

Please note our second text:

1 John 3:16-19 …

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?   My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

Here, we find that the way we can “perceive” (be aware, to see, to know assuredly) that God loves us is found in His act of self-sacrifice in giving of His life for His people.  Also, please note that in this second text, we find the Biblical mandate to make sacrifices for others in order to show our love for them as well.

True love involves self-sacrifice… a “love” that is selfish and demands only to receive is no love at all. Putting ourselves first, and others second, is turning love on its head, perverting the very nature of love.

Lets look at 1 John 4:9-11….

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In this set of verses the word “manifested” means to “to take the cover off” or “ to reveal”.  How did God “take the cover off” His love for us?  By sending of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.

Then Christ showed His love for us by giving His life for us.  He did this so that we, as sinners, could receive spiritual life.  The result of receiving God’s gift of love in our life, should be the showing of our love to others.

Ephesians 5:1-2 gives us more information about what Christ did for us…

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here, we are told that the death of Christ was motivated by His love for us.  We are also told that His death for us was both a “sacrifice” and a “offering”.  It was a “sacrifice” in the sense that He gave of Himself (to the point of death).  It was an “offering” which tells us He willingly gave His life for us.   Oh what great love… to be willing to partake of death so that others could escape eternal death.  In these verses, we are once again reminded to follow this great example of self-sacrificial love.  How are we to do this?  By loving others as Christ loved us… with a self-sacrificial love.

Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.  And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].

Here we find the importance of love being clearly defined.  Our love (willingness to sacrifice ourselves) to God is described as the first and great commandment.  The commandment that should be our second priority is the command to love (be willing to sacrifice ourselves) for our neighbor.  Upon these two commands all the other laws are based.

If we love God and others as we should we will keep all the other commandments of God.  For example, if we love God as we should we will not take His name in vain nor would we worship other Gods,  if we love others as we should we would not steal from them nor would we lie to them.  This basic principle (supremacy of love for God and others) applies to all the commands of God.

Finally in 1Cor 13:4-12 (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;   Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Please note, in the “love chapter” of the Bible, we find that every manifestation of love is an act of self-sacrifice.  Some examples of this include…. Patience, humility, contentment the list goes on and on.  In each of these cases, all of these flow forth from a heart of love and sacrifice willing to put others first and ourselves second.

Truly, the display of love, is based upon acts of sacrifice on behalf of others around us.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

We are to appreciate the love that God has shown to us.  In doing so, we should be willing to follow His example and love others with a self-sacrificial type of love.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

Please study the Bible to learn more about the great love that God the Father has shown to us in the sending of His Son to the earth.  Then learn more about the love of God the Son, as He gave his life on the cross so that we all might receive the forgiveness of our sins.  (to learn more about the way of salvation, you are welcome to read my blog page “How to have a relationship with God”, or you  can email me with your questions.  Also you can find any Bible-believing church in your area and contact them… I am sure they would be happy to help answer any questions you might have.

What great love…. What great self-sacrifice!  What a great Lord that we serve!

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My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Nehushtan:The Thing of Brass

SIH STSTA ICONWe all know what it is like to want to receive a good grade in school.  It was so important for us to receive credit for the work we had done.  Many times we would complete “extra-credit” work just to raise our grade?  Many times, acceptance in to a school of higher learning depends upon the grade we received in our previous years of study. The entire education system of our country is based on giving students the appropriate “credit” for the work they have done.

Even during a job search, our grade point average in High School and College can dictate the opportunities that will come open for our consideration.   For many of us, making sure we give and receive the proper credit for our actions has become a way of life.

Sorry to say, we may not be quite as careful about the credit that we give to our Lord for all He has done for us and in us.  How often do we find ourselves taking the credit for what He has done in our lives?  Our gifts, talents, personality, and intelligence come from Him.  How often do we accept praise for what He has given to us?  What about our health, the possessions we have, or the forgiveness of our sins?  How often do we stop and thank Him for all these blessings He has bestowed upon us?

The both Old and New Testament, the Bible records many different times when the Israelites forgot to give their Lord credit for what He had done in their lives.  Let’s look at one of those times, paying special attention to the results of their forgetfulness.

THE SCRIPTURE:

 Num 21:4-9 (KJV)

4) And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

5) And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

6) And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

7) Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

8) And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

9) And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

2 Kgs 18

1) Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

2) Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

3) And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

4) He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

5) He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor [any] that were before him.

John 3:9-16 (KJV)

9) Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11) Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12) If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things?

13) And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 THE STUDY:

Num 21:4-9 (KJV)

 

4) And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

5) And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

They became discouraged, why?  They no longer appreciated all the Lord had done for them.

  1. He had delivered them from Egypt bondage
  2. He had given them manna
  3. He had given them water from the rock
  4. etc etc etc etc

6) And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

The Lord simply took back one of His blessings (protection) because they were not appreciating them. Remember Job, God had placed a hedge about him and Satan had ot come to God to remove the hedge and work in Job’s lIfe.

7) Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

The people come to realize they committed sin and this sin was an against to the Lord.  They understood their sin had separated them from communion with the Lord and asked that their godly leader would interceded on their behalf.

8) And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

The Lord gave Moses the responsibility to make the brass serpent on a pole.  Then wjen they would look upon the serpent they would live.  The looking would be by faith.  It made no sense to look for healing.  Much like Noah building the ark, when there had been no such thing as rain.

9) And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Moses faithfully made the serpent/pole. And those who believed His message of salvation and acted upon it lived.

Based upon the Lord’s teachings in John 3:9-16, the serpent on the pole represented Christ and His work on the cross:

John 3:9-16 (KJV)

9) Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11) Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12) If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things?

13) And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Remember, the serpents were the punishment of the people’s sins.  It is the punishment for our sins that Christ has borne when He hung on the cross for us.  That is why the serpent is hanging on the cross.  Christ, as He hung on the cross was putting to death the judgment for our sins. (1 Pet 2:21-24, 3:18, 2 Cor 5:21)

Just as we must look to Christ to receive forgiveness and salvation from sins punishment, so too, the Israelites were to look, by faith, to the coming Messiah who would take their sin upon Himself.

The really sad part of our account is that the Israelites forgot this lesson they had learned.  After all of this, once again they forgot to appreciate what their Lord had done for them…

2 Kgs 18

1) Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

2) Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

3) And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

800 years has now passed since the Israelites were first confronted with the serpents in the wilderness. Hezekiah, the Godly king over the nation of Judah, sought to follow his ancestor David’s example and obey the Lord with all his heart.  Remember, King David was described by God as a “ man after mine own heart”. (Acts 13:22)

4) He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

One of the idols that the Israelites was worshipping was this brass pole with the serpent upon it.  As Hezekiah destroyed this pole, he called it Nehushtan… the thing of brass.

The Israelites had kept this remnant as a reminder of God’s deliverance from the serpents, as well as, the lesson they had learned about appreciating all that Jehovah had done for them.  It also should have been a reminder of their coming Messiah and what He would do on their behalf.  However, over the last 800 years, they had forgotten the blessings of God and the lesson they had learned.  Once again they no longer appreciated the workings of God but had turned this into an idol for idolatrous worship.

This was an abomination before God.

 

5) He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor [any] that were before him.

Hezekiah was willing to do what many of the Kings of Judah were unwilling to do… destroy the false idols of the Israelites.  It was this faith in his Lord that made Hezekiah stand out among all the kings of Judah.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

Let’s not follow the example of the Israelites, who were overlooking the Lord’s blessings upon them.   By “counting our blessings” the Lord will continually be encouraging our hearts as we seek to serve Him.  (Psa 40:5)

For those who have yet to be saved…

The Great Lord of the Israelites is still intervening in the lives of people today.  No matter how we may have failed the Lord in the past, He is always ready to forgive and accept you into His family.  He will love you, care for you, and will guarantee you an eternity with Him.

All He requires is that we be willing to put our sinful walk of life behind us and trust Him with our salvation and our future lives.  Submit to His Lordship, turn from your sins and trust in Him… you will be saved.  “… The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 3 – Faith/Belief

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #3…. Faith (or Belief) ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 16:29-34 (KJV)

29) Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32) And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33) And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

34) And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV)

36) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

37) But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

38) Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39) And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

John 1:10-14 (KJV)

10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 3:14-17 (KJV)

14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:35-36 (KJV)

35) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:32-47 (KJV)

32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 11:25-27 (KJV)

25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27) She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:30-31 (KJV)

30) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV)

23) Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24) But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV)

4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1 John 5:10-13 (KJV)

10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12) He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

THE STUDY:

What is faith?  The Biblical term “faith” carries with it the idea of “reliance”, “persuasion”, “conviction”, or “trust”.  To believe or to trust are other Biblical terms for the same idea.

When we speak of faith, or belief, or trust, in Christ… we are saying that an individual is persuaded, and becomes thoroughly convinced of the Bible teachings about the person and work of Christ. This conviction leads him to totally rely upon the work of Christ as the basis of the forgiveness and salvation from his sin.  This is a Biblical faith in Christ.

A Saving faith is centered on the work  of Christ on the cross.

John 3:14-17 (KJV) – And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Following the plague of the serpents that fell upon the Israelites, they were told to look unto the brazen serpent on the pole to receive healing.  This was a wonderful picture of the salvation that comes through faith in Christ and his work.

Just as mankind is facing eternal spiritual death due to the “bite” of sin in their lives… by looking to Christ and His work on the cross by faith, they can receive forgiveness and healing from the wounds of sin. (Psa 41:4, 1 Pet 2:20-24, Isa 53:4-6)

Saving Faith is a necessity for salvation and therefore, it is a part of the great commission

Mark 16:15-16 (KJV) – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Here, we find the authority to proclaim the gospel message (the great commission) being handed down from Christ to His assembled believers.  Please note that belief, and the lack thereof, dictates the gain, or loss, of salvation.  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  In other words, He that believes with a sincere belief (displayed publically through the act of baptism) shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.   (John 3:14-19, John 8:21-24, 1 Pet 1:18-23)

Please note in these verses, baptism, in this context, is a distinguishing mark of a genuine belief.  Anyone who believes in Christ, and is willing to declare that belief publicly, shall be saved.  Anyone who claims to believe, but is not willing to make a public profession, for fear of ridicule, harm or rejection cannot be certain of salvation.  Why?  A true saving faith will trust in Christ to handle any adverse results of a public profession of faith.

Please note that this verse does not say… “but he that is not baptized shall be damned”.  The lack of baptism is not even mentioned as a cause of remaining under the damnation of God.

This verse, and the entire subject of the role of baptism in salvation, will be covered in great detail in blog entry #5 of this series.

A Saving Faith results in…

The removal of God’s wrath

John 3:35-36 (KJV) – The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

In the prior verse, faith was said to be necessary to be removed from the damnation of God.  Here, it is said to deliver us from God’s wrath.  “Damnation” carries with it the idea of “a judicial judgment”, “condemnation”, or a “just decision rendered”.  “Wrath” involves the idea of  “hot anger”, “vengeance according to justice”, “passionate fierceness”.

When these ideas are put together, we find that a saving faith removes the sinful man from God’s just sentence of punishment against sin.  The punishment He has decreed against our sin is a fierce punishment flowing from His fervent anger.  (Psa 2:12, Rom 1:16-20)

The gift of eternal life

John 11:25-27 (KJV) – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:30-31 (KJV) – And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Death involves separation.  Physical death is the state of separation between the body and the soul (spirit).  Spiritual death is the state of separation between the individual and God due to the sin of the individual.  Eternal death is the never ending state of separation from God.  The individual eternally dwelling in theLakeofFireunder God’s punishment, while God is eternally dwelling on the New Earth in eternal bliss.  (Rev 20:12-15, Rev 21:1-8)

A saving faith in Christ undoes the spiritual results of sin on mankind.  Once saved, a man’s communion with God is restored and when he enters eternity, he will dwell with the Lord in heaven and later on the New Earth.  (Hebs 11:16, Rev 21:, Rev 22:)

Being declared innocent of the sin we have committed

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV) – Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Although guilty of the commission of sin, man can find forgiveness and the removal of sins guilt  through faith in Christ.  As the shed blood of Christ is applied to our account washing away our sin, we then can be declared innocent of the very sin that before had condemned us. (1 John 1:5-10, Rev 1:4-6)

The presence of saving faith in our life can be a certainty.

1John 5:10-13 (KJV) – He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

It is through a lifestyle of trusting in Christ that we can find assurance of our salvation experience.  Trusting in Christ is not simply a one time act, it is an act repeated every day many times a day under the leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Once we are genuinely saved, a part of our changed life is a continuous looking to Him, believing His Word and relying on Him during all our day to day issues of life. (Rom 1:17,  Hab 2:4, Gals 3:10-14)

Salvation is given to sinful man by faith not keeping the works of the law

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:  But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.  Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The sinfulness of mankind can never be covered, nor outweighed by a man’s morally good works.  The Bible makes it plain that a man cannot merit salvation through his good works.  This principle is so important we will be devoting blog entry #4 in this series to an in depth study of the Bible teachings concerning the relationship of good works to salvation.

In the above two verses, we can clearly see that neither the keeping of the Mosaic law, nor good works of any kind can merit salvation.  This teaching eliminates many good works that are falsely taught to merit salvation… baptism, church membership or partaking of the Lord’s supper.  Again, as our series progresses, each of these false teachings will be examined in detail. But for now, suffice it to say that good works cannot merit salvation.  Salvation comes by grace through faith upon the people of God. (Roms 3:23-28, Roms 4:1-8, Roms 10:1-10, Titus 3:3-8)

Saving Faith comes to mankind via the will and grace of God

John 1:10-14 (KJV)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 6:32-47 (KJV) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Faith and repentance are very similar in many aspects.  One of those aspects is the fact that mankind is unable to repent nor believe apart from Divine intervention in his life.  Please notice in the above verses, we find explicit teaching on this truth…

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

“But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Although mankind is responsible to repent and believe, because of their fallen nature and sinful condition they cannot come to Christ apart from the gracious intervention of God.  This is one of the greatest displays of God’s love and grace…. to intervene in the life of a rebellious, sinful,  helpless man and open his sin blinded eyes, convict him of his sin, lead him to Christ and grant him repentance and faith.  (James 1:17-18, Roms 8:29-31, 2 Tim 1:8-12)

Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin

Mark 1:15 (KJV) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and thekingdomofGodis at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matt 21:28-32 (KJV)  But what think ye? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I [go], sir: and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of [his] father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

You cannot have repentance with faith and faith without repentance.  This is what I mean by the phrase, “faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin.”   For a person to come to faith in Christ, he must experience a change of attitude and heart concerning God’s Word, Christ and His work, and his own sinful condition.  This change is repentance.  Without it genuine faith in Christ cannot be experienced.  Likewise, without a new set of beliefs existing in the heart, no real change can take place in the lives of man.  Truly, in the mind of God repentance and faith are inseparably linked.

Clearly, both repentance and belief are necessary in the experience of salvation.  Note in our verses above…. “repent ye, and believe the gospel” and “and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”   Although both are necessary, many times only one or the other is mentioned as a necessity for salvation….  Here are two examples…

Luke 5:31-32 (KJV) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Acts 16:31 (KJV)

31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

In these examples only one or the other is mentioned not both…. Why does this take place?

Because, they are so closely related that when the Bible mentions one, it is automatically implying the other.  We CANNOT believe without experiencing repentance that leads us to that belief.  Likewise we CANNOT repent and turn to Christ without becoming convinced of Bible truths about ourselves, our condition and Christ and His work.

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principle of the necessity of faith (or belief) in the salvation experience… In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”