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Serving Christ For His Glory… What Does “His Glory” Mean?

SIH STSTA ICONINTRODUCTION:

From the pulpit, from the classroom, and from the mouths of most Christians, we hear the instruction to “serve the Lord for His glory”… unfortunately, this phrase can be very confusing for each one of us due to the variety of teachings about the Lord’s glory found in the Bible.

Many times, when the Bible describes God’s glory (as in Exo 24:17), it is speaking of a bright manifestation of the very presence of God.  This meaning of the phrase reveals to us that God’s glory “appears” (Exo 16:10), “can be seen” (Num 14:22) and is “revealed” (Isa 40:5) to us.   When we tell others to “serve the Lord for His glory” are we telling them to serve our Lord in the hopes of seeing His presence revealed as a bright, overwhelming light?  I think we all understand this is not the case.

In at least three different occasions (Job 40:10, Psa 93:1 and 104:1-2), God’s symbolic clothing is described as his glory.  If we use this Biblical definition then we are to serve Him to receive a vision of the symbolic clothing that He is said to wear.  Of course this is not the meaning of “for His glory” that is to motivate us to service for Christ.

The Bible also describes His glory as being revealed in a thunderstorm (Psa 29:3).  Does this mean we serve Him so that we will see lightning and hear thunder roll?  We can all agree, this is not the case.

The list goes on and on.  When God’s glory is described it can be revealed to man in many, many different ways.

So what is “God’s glory” and how is it shown to mankind when we serve Him and bear his fruits in our life?  In other words, what is the Scriptural motivation for our service to Christ?  These questions are what we will be seeking to answer in this Bible study.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

1Co 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

To come to an understanding of our motive for service (as we serve Christ “for His glory”, we need to understand the definition of the term “glory”.  The word glory is translated from several different words in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, it is translated from these Hebrew words and their forms:

  1. kabowd – weight, splendor, honor
  2. paar – to gleam or boast
  3. hadar – ornament, splendor
  4. halal – to shine, flash forth, boast
  5. shabach – laud, praise, command
  6. tipharah – beauty, boasting
  7. howd – splendor, majesty, vigor
  8.  addereth – mantle, garment, robe
  9. tohar – brightness
  10. yeqar – wealth

 

In the New Testament, it is translated from these Greek words and their forms:

  1. doxa – dignity, honor, praise, worship
  2. kauchema – to  cause to boast
  3. kleos – praise, respect

 

As we can see, in both the Old and New Testaments, the most basic, shared meaning behind all the words translated “glory” involves a revelation of the Lord’s excellence.  Whether it be speaking of the bright light like fire that appeared over Mt Sinai, the Lord’s clothing being symbolized as a bright light or His voice thunders and “is full of glory”, we can see that the Lord’s greatness is being described.

Excellence, or the Supremacy over all others, is the central theme we can see in all the above words translated “glory” in the Word of God.  To put it very simply, the phrase “the glory of the Lord” is describing a revelation of the Lord’s greatness.

When we are told to “serve the Lord for his glory” we are being told to serve the Lord motivated by the desire to reveal His Greatness to others.  This should be the motive and goal in all of our ministries and in everything we do…

1Co 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

We should never seek to exalt ourselves or others around us, our one purpose of ministry is to allow the greatness of Christ to be displayed in us.  This is symbolically like Christ’s glorious light that shines forth from us revealing our Savior to the world around us….

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 

As you can see from the above passage the way that Christ’s light shines forth from us is through the fruits of the Spirit which we possess within us.  When we bear these fruits the end results are good works which exalt Christ.

This is the true meaning behind the phrase “we are to serve the Lord for His glory”.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Let’s close our study this morning by asking a few very simple questions….

Why do we serve the Lord and live our daily lives for Him?

Is the end result of our ministry His glory, our glory, or a combination of both?

May we all seek to have Jesus glorified in everything we do!

 

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Has Christ Given You His Saving Faith? You Can Be Certain…

SIH HALTAL ICONSimon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:   Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.   (2 Peter 1:1-11)

For The SIH Bible Study In Text or Video:

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Faith In Christ

 SIH STSTA ICON“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” 

(Part #1 – Salvation)

THE 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 #1…. Salvation….

The Biblical concept of “salvation” carries with it the ideas of deliverance, wholeness, safety and security. When we talk about a person’s “salvation” we are talking about that person being delivered from sin, being made whole and safe in Christ, all the while being made eternally secure…

We are all a part of fallen mankind…

Rom 3:23 (KJV) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

The Bible is filled with references that declare the fallen, sinful nature that is found in all men… (Gen 8:21, Eccl 7:20, Rom 3:9, Rom 5:12, etc etc etc)

As fallen mankind, we are found guilty by God for the sin in our lives… 

Rom 3:19 (KJV) “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Just as the sinfulness of man is clearly declared within the Scriptures, so too, the guilt and condemnation of man is made plain as well… (Roms 2:1-2, Gal 3:10, Gal 3:22, etc etc etc)

Because of our sin and guilt we are separated from God and facing eternal punishment for our sins…

Isa 59:1-3 (KJV) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Our sin has separated us from God in this world, and will separate us from God in the world to come. (Prov 15:29, Isa 1:15, John 3:19-21) Our sin has placed us under the judgment of our Almighty God. It is this judgment that we will face throughout eternity. (Jer 5:25, John 3:36, Rom 1:18, Rom 2:3-5, Rev 20:12-15)

This is the most important aspect of our need of salvation… it is deliverance from our sins and their results.

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Here, in our Titus passage, we find the three fold salvation that the Lord freely offers to us…

Firstly, deliverance from the punishment of our sin, by Christ making the payment which satisfied the just demands of His Father…“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity:” (John 10:15, Gals 1:3-5, Gals 3:13, Eph 5:2, etc etc etc)

Secondly, deliverance from the power of sin in this world…“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” & “purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Rom 6:4-19, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Eph 1:4, 1 Thess 4:7 etc etc etc)

Thirdly, secure an eternity with Him, separated from the presence of sin…“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Rom 8:30-39, John 6:37-40, Hebs 10:14-18, etc) This principle is clearly seen by the terms “everlasting life” and “eternal life” … it is a type of life that cannot be lost nor come to an end. (1 Tim:1-16, John 3:15-16, John 10:27-29, etc etc etc)

Just as the Bible is clear about the importance and universal need of salvation by all mankind, so too, the Bible declares the only way of salvation.

The way of salvation is only through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ….This is why in the Titus passage He is given the title “Our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ”

This principle is emphasized in Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (1 Cor 3:11, 1 Tim 2:4-6, Heb 7:25-28, 1 John 5:11, etc)

So who can receive this salvation? Both Jew and Gentile have access to this grace of God…

John 4:21-24 (KJV) – “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

Acts 28:28 (KJV) – Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and [that] they will hear it.

As demonstrated in the above verses, the salvation that God graciously offers to man is not limited to Jew nor Gentile. ANYONE can receive salvation from the hands of Almighty God. (John 3:16, 2 Cor 5:19-21, 1 Tim 1:15-16)

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principles of the importance and mankind’s need of salvation… In the following blog entries we will be studying, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

“What Must We Do To Be Saved?”

(Part #2 – Repentance)

We now begin our study with blog entry #2…. Repentance….

What does the Bible mean by the term “repentance”? Repentance carries with it the idea “to turn from” or “to change your mind”, “to reverse”, or “to reconsider”.

Biblically, repentance refers to an inward change of mind and desires that result in an outward change of action… 

Acts 26:20 (KJV) – But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Here in our Acts 26:20 text, we see that the term repentance is describing an inward change. In the context, we have those who had not come to believe in Jesus being told they must “repent”. This repentance would lead them to “turn to God” and then “do works meet for repentance”. (“works meet for repentance” refers to works that are suitable or fitting for repentance.)

When we are told to repent the Bible is saying that we must change our minds about….

God’s Word – the message of the Bible, what it says about our sin, Christ, salvation, service and the eternal things of God. The first step in our coming to Christ, is acceptance of the Word and what it says as being the very Words of God. (John 6:63-64, John 17:17-19)

Our Sin – the presence of sin in our lives, the guilt we have upon us because of that sin, and the judgment of God that will fall upon us due to our sin. We must come to an acceptance of all of these truths, as a part of our salvation experience. ( Rom 3:23, Rom 5:12, Rom 1:16-18)

The Person of Jesus – Jesus, the very Son of God the Father, and God Himself, coming in obedience to His Father’s desires. Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, or in other words, the One Anointed by God to secure the salvation of His people. Acceptance of the true person of Christ is of utmost importance. (John 10:30, John 1:1-14, John 14:9)

The Work of Jesus – Although it is true that Jesus was “a prophet”, and “a wonderful example for us to follow”, His work goes far beyond these things. Christ, when He came to the earth was the One chosen by God the Father to live an absolutely perfect, sinless life. When Christ was crucified, He was “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” When He died on the cross, He was paying the price for sin. His death satisfied the demands of His Heavenly Father against our sin. It is through His shed blood that we can find forgiveness for our sins. Coming to a belief in these things is a part of true repentance. (1 John 3:4-5, 2 Cor 5:21, Rom 8:1-4, Gal 3:13-14, Eph 5:1-2, 1 Pet 1:18-23)  

Our Goals in Life – Where before our repentance we were living according to the goals and desires of this world and our flesh, at repentance, we now desire to seek to please Him as Lord of our lives. This change in our goals for living is also a part of Godly repentance that works salvation in our lives. (Gal 6:14-15, 2 Cor 5:14-21)

Repentance is for Jew and Gentile alike…

Acts 17:29-31 (KJV)  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Repentance, or a change of attitude and beliefs about our Lord, is a responsibility handed to all men everywhere. Both Jew and Gentile have been given this responsibility. Based on our above text, we can see that repentance is a command handed down to all men, from their Creator, Jehovah God. Our God will hold all men responsible to fulfill this command, by establishing a future time of judgment for all.

Repentance is for those who recognize their sinfulness…

Matt 9:10-13 (KJV) And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

For an individual to come to repentance they must recognize their sinful condition. No one can say, “Well, I know I’m a good person who is not in need of forgiveness but I will go to Christ for communion without seeing a need for my life to change.”

Remember repentance involves CHANGING what we believe about ourselves and our condition. If we have never seen our sinfulness, and we continue to believe in our innocence, as we come to Christ, no change has taken place. Therefore, no repentance has occurred in the life of the individual.

Repentance leads to salvation…

Luke 13:1-5 (KJV) There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Acts 3:17-21 (KJV)  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did [it], as [did] also your rulers.  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

A sincere change in our beliefs (resulting in an acknowlegement of the truth concerning:  1. our sinful condition; 2. our coming judgment; 3. and the basis and source of Divine forgiveness) will result on an individual coming to Christ for salvation. A sincere, true type of repentance will lead a man to Christ and His gracious salvation.

Therefore, repentance is a part of the great commission (the proclamation of the gospel message)

Luke 24:45-48 (KJV)  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.

Based upon our study so far, we can easily see the necessity of repentance in the process of salvation. This is reaffirmed to us in the above passage that makes it plain that repentance is a part of the great commission.

What is the great commission? It is the responsibility to tell others about Christ and His work of salvation on behalf of sinful mankind. We can see this clearly when Christ says “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day:”

In the context, of telling others about Him and His work, Christ declares “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.”

Repentance is a gift of God. It is the result of God working in the heart of sinful mankind.

Acts 11:18 (KJV)  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Acts 3:26 (KJV)  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

What great grace! Our Lord, saw fit to work in the heart of sinful mankind, convicting of sin, convincing of His work, and bringing that sinful man to Himself. Why did He have to work in this way? Because lost mankind cannot come to Christ apart from the Lord’s intervention…

John 5:39-40 (KJV)  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 6:44-51 (KJV) 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.  I am that bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principle of the necessity of repentance 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?”

“What Must We Do To Be Saved?”

(Part #3 – Faith / Belief)

 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 converting 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 the Lake of Fire under 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 the kingdom of God is 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 without 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) 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?”

“What Must We Do To Be Saved?”

(Part #4 – What about good works?)

As we continue our study of man’s responsibilities in salvation, we must come face to face with the role of good works.  We have already seen that God commands us to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.  But what about good works?  What role do they play in the slavation experience?

Salvation cannot be merited through the keeping of God’s laws… the laws were given to show us our sinful condition.

Rom 3:19-27 (KJV) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Salvation is based upon the work of Christ upon the cross… not our good works. Notice in this text that Paul first acknowledges the universal sinfulness of mankind. He then speaks of the work of Christ on behalf of His people, doing the work of salvation for them. Paul then emphasizes that, because Christ has done all the work for our salvation, we cannot in any way boast or glory in it. He them summarizes by teaching us, in no uncertain terms, that “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

If man is either saved by his works, or keeps himself saved by his works, then there is room for he sinner to boast. After all, not only did Christ do His work on the cross on the sinners behalf, but also the sinner, through his own labors either brought salvation to himself, or kept himself saved. According to Paul, this cannot be.

A Christian’s good works are done to glorify and honor our Lord in the eyes of others…

Titus 3:1-8 (KJV) Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV) – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

If a Christian does not perform good works to gain or keep salvation, why should He strive to live a life pleasing to God? In Titus 2:11-14, we are told that a Christian’s good works are motivated out of appreciation for what He has done for us. He has given us the blessed hope of eternity with Him and He has redeemed us from our sin through His death on the cross.

We find another motive for living a Godly life in Titus 3:1-8. Here, Paul explains to us that the production of good works in the life of a Christian is “good and profitable unto men.” Good works aid others, they show the wonderful change that takes place in the life of one who has trusted in Christ. Also, living a godly life of good works reveals Christ to others.

By bearing spiritual fruit…

Titus 3:12-14 (KJV) – When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Col 1:9-14 (KJV) – For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 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:

Gal 5:19-26 (KJV) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Bearing spiritual fruit is another way of describing good works in the life of a Christian. Once again Paul emphasizes the need for good works in the above verses by stating, “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful”; “ That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”; and finally, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Why do these things? Well, in the above verses Paul tells us in Titus 3:12-14 because it is “necessary” in the proclaimation of the gospel. In Col 1:9-14, we are told to bear fruit out of a heart of appreciation considering all He has done for us. In Gals 5:19-26, we are to bear fruit because it is proof of a genuine salvation experience/. Paul also tells us in Gals 5: that the furit bearing that takes place in a Christian’s life is the result of the enabling and leadership of the indwelling Spirit of God.

And by visibly declaring our faith to others…

Jas 2:14-26 (KJV) – What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James helps us to understand the importance of good works in the life of a Christian. James argument is this… It is an easy thing to say “I love Jesus”, “ I am a follower of Christ”… etc etc. Many who have never trusted in Christ can make these statements. It is only when we see good works resulting from their conversion that we can begin to believe their confession of faith is sincere.

James makes these statements:

“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

It is an issue of sincerity. If someone wishes peace, warmth and being filled upon one who is in need, can he be sincere if he doesn’t do anything to help the needy individual? Likewise, works shows to others we have experienced a sincere trusting in Christ as our Savior.

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”James points out that works are absolutely necessary to declare our faith to others. Without good works, we can say we have trusted in Christ, but there is no proof in our life that we have experienced conversion.

James immediately follows these verses with a description of the type of belief that demons possess. Here, he makes it plain that demons do have a sincere belief in God. It is so sincere they actually tremble at the thought of God. However, this is not the type of belief that brings salvation…. DEMONS ARE NOT SAVED! How do we know this? They lack the good works that prove their belief is a saving faith that produces change in the heart of the believer.

James follows this teaching using the lives of Abraham and Rahab. In both cases, his teaching is that because their life had changed and they began performing good works, their faith is not in question. They proved through their lives that their salvation was genuine.

Finally, James closes with “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Based upon the previous verses leading to this this statement it is plain to see what James meant. He is saying that if any type of faith that does not cause a change of lifestyle is a dead faith (ie a faith that is of no benefit, it is only a hollow worthless profession)

What type of “change in lifestyle” does a genuine faith produce? It is a lifestyle of good works, turning from past sins to a position of submission to the desires of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Although obtaining and keeping salvation is entirely of grace without good works, we can not use this teaching to justify living an ungodly life…

Rom 5:17-6:11 (KJV) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul answers a question that has been asked throughout the ages and continues to be asked even to this day… “If salvation is truly by grace, and if I cannot loose my salvation, doesn’t that give the Christian allowance to live a life of rampant sin?

Paul answer is plainly stated in the above passage… “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin”

In other words, Paul is saying, “How can I person who has trusted in Christ, and received a new life, continue to live in sin. How can someone who has publicly declared his relationship to Christ via the ordinance of baptism, now choose to live a sinful life of dishonor to the very Lord who saved you? A Christian needs to understand that it was our sins that sent Christ to the cross… if we believe that how could we blatantly commit sin and not be sorrowful and concerned about it’s presence in our life?”

Based upon our study today, the answer to our question, “If salvation is truly by grace, and if I cannot loose my salvation, doesn’t that give the Christian allowance to live a life of rampant sin?”…

NO, the teaching of salvation by grace, apart from ANY works of man, does not justify living a sinful life after salvation…

A) A true salvation experience results in a changed life

B) Out of concern for the glory of Christ and the need of those who are lost around us, we are to live sinless lives.

C) Lives of good works contradict the very salvation we claim to possess. We say we are sorry for our sins, how can we live in them. We say we believe that Christ died on the cross for our sins, how can we continue to commit them without concern or sorrow?

1Pet 1:13-16 (KJV) -Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that salvation is by God’s grace without the performance of good works to either obtain or keep our salvation…. 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?”

“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” 

(Part #5 – What about baptism?)

Before we begin to study the role of baptism in salvation, it is important for us to understand what the term “baptism” means.

“Baptism” in the NT is derived form a Greek word meaning “to dip, or to immerse”.  The basic concept of the Greek term is to fully immerse, or cover something or someone. The concept of sprinkling or pouring being a type of baptism is totally foreign to the Scriptures.

The definition of baptism is illustrated for us in 1Cor 10:1-2 – “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”

Please notice that Moses and the Israelites passing through the Red Sea and under the Pillar of cloud is described as a “baptism”. Why? Because they were entirely surrounded by water; the waters of the Red Sea surrounded them on each side, while the water that made up the pillar of a cloud covered them from above.

Also, there are several passages that speak of going into and coming up out of waters during the act of baptism, also “much water” was used to baptize… (Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:36-38, John 3:23).

The next important principle for us to understand is the purpose of baptism. Why is it so important for us to be baptized? The purpose of baptism is taught to us in 1Pet 3:20-22 – “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Here, we are told that baptism is not to “put away the filth of the flesh”, but it “answers” (follows) the receipt of “a good conscious toward God”. In other words, baptism is to follow salvation. Why? Baptism is the public declaration of our coming to faith in Christ and His work. Baptism is how we tell others about the work of Christ and the change that has already taken place in our life.

In Gal 3:26-29, we are told, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

In other words, we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus. Following salvation, at our baptism, we “put on” Christ. Much like a soldier puts on clothing (a uniform) that associates him with the military branch of which he is a member. At his baptism, a Christian announces to the world that he has trusted in Christ, and from that point forward is “wearing Christ” (he is looked upon as a follower of Christ).

This is why Philip emphasized the need for saving faith in Christ before anyone could be baptized. (Acts 8:34-39)

So to summarize our study so far, we have seen that Scriptural baptism is immersion in water, following salvation. It is done to declare our faith in Christ and to associate ourselves with Christ.

Now let’s look at a few other verses about baptism’s relation to salvation… 

Mark 1:1-4 “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

Please note in the above verses, that a part of John the Baptist’s message was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Let’s cover two main points…

First, why is baptism called “the baptism of repentance”? In our study on repentance we said that repentance was speaking of a change of mind and/or action. One example of this is turning from our sin to submission to the Lordship of Christ. When we are baptized not only does it declare our faith in Christ, it also publically declares the great change that has taken place in our lives when we are saved. The Bible describes this change as becoming a “new creature in Christ” (Gals 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17).

The baptismal act of submersion and then raising from the water, symbolizes our old life is put to death and we now have a new life in Christ. Hence, the phrase “baptism of repentance”.

Paul fully explains this principle in Rom 6:1-6 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our second question is this… what does it mean when it says we are baptized for the remission of sins?”.  Here, we are told that we are baptized because our sins HAVE ALREADY been remitted (at our salvation). Much like when a criminal is “arrested for murder”, we are saying the criminal was arrested because he HAS ALREADY murdered.

Remember, if we have trusted in Christ, we are now followers of Him. Our life has changed. One of the many changes is our sins have been remitted. We are to be baptized to declare all of this to others.

The same linkage between baptism and remission of sins is spoken of in Acts 2:37-40 “Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

In this passage, Peter declares to the lost men who were convicted of their sin that they must “repent”… this resulted in their salvation and remission of their sins. Then he explains to them of their next immediate need, to be baptized. Why should they be baptized? Because their sins HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMITTED.

Unrelated to salvation, another reason for baptism is to gain entrance into the Lord’s local assembly of believers. When a believer is baptized they become eligible for membership in the assembly. More on this in a later blog entry.

Peter tells them that once they repent (are saved) and then are baptized (publically declaring their sins are remitted) they then would become members of the church at Jerusalem. Remember, just previous to this in Acts 1:1-4, the church assembly had received the gift of the Spirit. As a new member of this church, the newly saved and baptized would be recipients of this gift as well.

Now let’s look at another passage that links baptism with our salvation…

Acts 22:14-16 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Paul had been saved prior to this event, when on the Damascus Road, Paul turned from his life of sin to submission to the Lord. As a matter of fact, the reason why Paul was standing in the presence of Ananias was due to his obedience to a direct command of Christ. In Acts 22:10….”And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.” Paul, who had just been saved is demonstrating a submissive will as a new creature in Christ.

Now Paul, with a willing spirit of submission to his Lord, listens as Anaias explains the ministry the Lord has called Paul to perform. Note “that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”

Ananias, during his explaination of Paul’s new ministry, emphasizes Paul’s need of baptism as a beginning point of his ministry, much like the beginning of Christ’s ministry on earth was His baptism as well.

As Ananias explains the need of baptism to Paul, he says “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” He tells Paul of the need to be baptized, outwardly declaring that the sins of his past are no longer a part of his life. This was of absolute importance for Paul before his ministry could begin. Remember, Paul’s past life of sin involved the persecution and murder of followers of Christ. Before Paul could begin a new ministry of service of submission to Christ’s will, he had to make sure that he publicly declared this past life had ended, his sin had been washed away by the blood of Christ and he now was a new man of service to the Lord.

Remember, Paul had said in Gal 1:11-12 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul speaking of the Damascus Road experience says that he had received the gospel (good news of salvation) from Christ during his revelation to Paul… what Ananias had given to Paul was his instructions to serve the Lord… “And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”

Furthermore, 1 Cor 6:11 helps us to understand, how our sins are washed away… “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.”

The great change that takes place in our life is an act of the Spirit during the conversion experience. The three main parts to our conversion experience are washing, sanctifying, and justifying. These happen simultaneously by the Spirit of God based upon the shed blood of Christ.

Cleansing us from our sin is brought about through the application of the blood of Christ not applying the waters of baptism…

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Remember our 1 Peter passage quotation… “The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”. Making it plain to us that baptism does not involve putting away the filth of our flesh.

Clearly, “wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord” is describing a symbolic washing of sins at Paul’s baptism. He was declaring to all he was now a follower of Christ and his sins had been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that baptism is a very important way to make a public profession of our faith in Christ. However, baptism is not necessary for the receipt of salvation. Baptism should always follow salvation.

“What Must We Do To Be Saved?”

(Part #6 – What about the Lord’s Supper?)

Continuing with our study to find the answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?”, we now turn our attention to the church ordinance of “the Lord’s Supper” or “Communion”. These are the only two Scriptural names for this ordinance. We find the title “communion” given to this observance in 1 Cor 10:15-17. We find that the Lord personally instituted this observance in Matt 26:26 and Mark 14:22, hence the name “The Lord’s Supper” (ie The supper began by the Lord).

What is “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper? It is when a local assembly of believers partakes of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. As they are partaking of this “supper” it is being used as a reminder of Christ’s sufferings, His shed blood, and His death for the sins of His people. It also is a reminder of the promise of His second coming. (1 Cor 11:26)

Other observances SIMILAR to that of the Lord’s Supper are commonly called “The Eucharist”, “The Blessed Sacrament”, or “The Sacrament of the Altar”.

A common teaching existing throughout the ages is the need to partake of this observance to gain, or keep, salvation from our sins. Let’s take a moment to see if this belief has Scriptural foundations.

The historical accounts of the institution of the supper…

Matt 26:26-29 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Mark 14:22-25 – And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:17-20 – And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

1Cor 11:23-26 – For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

In the above four texts, we find the origins of the Lord’s Supper. All four are very similar in their accounts of the supper.

When Christ served the bread, He referred to the bread as “my body”… “Take, eat; this is my body” and “ This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”. Likewise, when serving the fruit of the vine he described it as “my blood” … “ For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.”, and “This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. “

When Christ described the bread and fruit of vine as “His body” and “His blood” respectfully, what did He mean?

Did He mean that they mysteriously, literally, became His body and blood? Or did He mean that they symbolized His body and His blood?

Both Christ and the Apostle Paul help us to come to answer these questions.

Note that Christ used the phrase “this do in remembrance of me.” Here, we are clearly told the motive of our taking the supper is not to partake of His literal blood an body but to simply remember what He has done on our behalf.

In 1 Corinthians 11:, Paul described the observance of the supper in this way… “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

Here he says the observance is to “shew the Lord’s death” which should continue until Christ comes at His second coming. In other words, Paul’s emphasis in on the public declaration of the death of Christ that the supper produced.

Please notice, in both examples… neither Christ, nor Paul said anything about the act causing a gain of, or a retention of salvation. It was done to remember and declare what He has done for us. This was done through the symbolism of the supper.

When the bread (a symbol of His body) was chewed it symbolized the abused and mistreatment that the body of Christ suffered. His beatings, plucking His beard, being spat upon, the spear piercing His side, the nails being driven in His hands and feet; all of this abuse is pictured by the biting, chewing and tearing apart of the unleavened bread.

When the fruit of the vine (a symbol of His shed blood) was poured from the cup and running over the lips, gums and throat, it symbolized the blood pouring from His body and running down His body, and the cross.

This entire process of His physical abuse and His shed blood resulted in His physical death. In this way, the supper declared and symbolized His death. This is what Christ and the Apostle Paul were speaking of.

Paul now instructs us concerning the importance of proper preparation in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper…

Paul continues in 1 Cor 11:27-34 – Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Paul makes it plain that the proper observance of the supper is A BIG DEAL. Paul explained that if an individual, or the church as a whole, observed the supper in an unworthy fashion they could suffer sickness or even death. Contextually, observing the supper unworthily involved not recognizing the proper symbolism of the supper by “not discerning the Lord’s body”. The word for “discerning” carries with it the meaning of “to discriminate, understand, or separate thoroughly”.

In other words, if those partaking of the supper fail to understand it’s symbolism or purpose, they are abusing the supper and therefore, symbolically, guilty of “the body and blood of Christ”.

In Hebrews 10:10-13, Paul emphasizes that the sacrifice of Christ’s body was a one time event. It was not only unneeded, but actually, heretical, to speak of a need to be continually sacrificing His body for the forgiveness of sins. This is another of many reasons why we know that the bread does not mystically become His body, nor is it offered continually for the forgiveness of sin… Heb 10:10-13 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Must we literally partake of the flesh and blood of Christ?…

In John 6:32-51 we find Christ as the Bread of Life being discussed. In verses 53-58 we read… Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Is this teaching us that we must literally partake of His body and blood for salvation? If so, then the obvious reference must be understood of the partaking of the Lord’s Supper and the mystical transformation of the bread and fruit of the vine into His literal body and blood.

To fully understand these verses, we must see the context in which Christ was speaking… John 6:28-31 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Contextually, Jesus is answering the question “What shall we do to work the works of God?” He then clearly explains that the work of God that is man’s responsibility is to “believe on Him, whom He hath sent”. In other words, it is to believe on the Messiah, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The hearers then desired proof that Christ was the One they were to believe upon… they point out to Christ that God was able to perform miracles in the desert, assuring the Israelites He was with them. One of those miracles was the miracle of manna from heaven. If Christ was truly the Messiah, surely He could do miracles as well and prove His claims.

Christ then uses the picture of the manna and the partaking of it to symbolically help them to see the need to BELIEVE in Him for spiritual life. He was the bread sent from God. They were to turn to Him, in faith, and receive Him into their life, just as the Israelites of old, had turned to the bread and received it as their source of physical life from God. We see this teaching summarized in vs 57 – As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is why Christ used the symbols of bread and eating to describe securing salvation through belief in Him. It was a continuation of a subject brought up by the HEARERS who was seeking authentication of His person and message.

Before the subject of eating manna was brought up to Him, He described the act as “believing”, however, once the hearers brought up the subject of the OT manna from heaven, Christ simply turned the OT account of the manna into a wonderful lesson of our need to receive Him (the wonderful manna from God) into their life, and in doing so, secure their spiritual life.

Why does the Bible call this observance “Communion”?

Finally, we will take a quick look at 1Cor 10:15-17 – I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Here, we are told that partaking of the Lord’s Supper is an act of communion with Christ and His work on the cross. The word communion carries with it the idea of “fellowship, association, and relationship”. In other words, when we observe the Lord’s Supper we are associating ourselves with Christ and His work. We are saying that we have a relationship to Christ and His work on our behalf. It is much like the public declaration of faith that we make when we are baptized.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that the Lord’s Supper is a very important way to remember Christ’s work on our behalf and make a public profession of our faith in Christ. However, the Lord’s Supper is not necessary for the receipt of salvation. The Lord’s Supper should always follow salvation.

 “What Must We Do To Be Saved?”

(Part #7 – What about church membership?)

Is membership in a local church necessary for salvation? If not, why should a Christian be a member of a church? This blog entry will be using the Holy Word of God to answer these questions for us.

Before we can understand the purpose and importance of church membership, we need to understand the origin of the church.

The Origins of the Church…

The first text we will be looking at is Matt 16:13-20 – “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”

In this text, we find the Lord addressing the issue of the lost world’s perception of Him. Of the many differing views, John the Baptist, Elijah (Elias), Jeremiah (Jeremias) or one of the other OT prophets is mentioned. Christ then asks His followers what they believe about His identity. Peter, speaking for all his disciples, says “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

In his response Peter reflects three basic truths about Christ…

First of all, by using the title “Christ”, Peter is saying that Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. In other words, He was the One chosen by God to fulfill very special ministries. Jesus was the One anointed by God to be the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King.

Secondly, Peter presents two truths about Christ using the title “Son of the Living God”. Christ, finds His origins in God the Father. Christ was not simply a man called by His God. But, He was God Himself, the every essence of God come to earth to save mankind from their sins.

Thirdly, in the title “Son of the Living God” we are taught that Jesus was the perfect representative of the Father. Jesus was the servant of the Living God, Jesus would be actively presenting God’s Word, doing God’s deeds and fulfilling the will of God in all that He would say and do.

In response to Peter’s statement, Jesus then says “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” In other words, Jesus was presenting the truth that anyone who comes to a truthful understanding of the person of Jesus does so only after God graciously reveals this truth to Him. No one can come to this understanding of Christ with his own ability.

Who is the Rock?…

Jesus continues by saying “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” When Peter acknowledged the truth about Christ, he proved that he was a follower of Christ and a member of the family of God. Jesus acknowledges this when He said “Thou art Peter”. The word Peter means “a small piece coming from a large rock.” In other words, Christ was telling Peter, “Peter when you stated your belief in me as Messiah and the Son of God you were proving that you (the small piece) are a part of Me (the large rock).”

Christ continues by explaining that He would build His church upon “this rock”. Who is the Rock? Christ Himself. The Lord was not saying He would build His church upon Peter. How do we know this? Peter was described as a small piece coming from “The Rock” of Christ. It is because the church is built upon Christ, the Messiah and the Son of God, that we can be assured that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

What are the Keys to the Kingdom?

Jesus completes this discourse by saying “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

What is the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven? The Truth concerning the identity of Christ (The Messiah, the Son of the Living God).

Now that Peter has proclaimed the truth about the person of Christ. Christ responds by handing to the assembled disciples (the church at Jerusalem) the responsibility to present these truths to others. Christ is explaining to the disciples that they are to take these truths about who He is to a lost and dying world. In doing so, the local church would be making a legitimate offer of salvation to all. If those in the world come to a Godly faith in this message of Christ they would be saved (loosed from the bonds of sin both on earth and heaven). If those in the world who hear this truth reject it they would be condemned to eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire (continued bound under sin and God’s wrath both on earth and throughout eternity). In essence, this is the same responsibility given to the church in Matt 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,… and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

These sections of Scripture are emphasizing the importance of recognizing the true identity of Christ and the need to proclaim that truth to others through the ministries of the local church. These, in no way, teach salvation in found in church membership, nor that the local church was built upon a sinful man.

In Acts 2:47 … And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. The word “saved” brings with it the idea of protection and making whole.

Divine salvation includes three aspects to it (past, present and future):

Salvation from the penalty of sin (takes place at the initial salvation experience for sins past, present and future.

Salvation from the power of sin (this is an ongoing work of God beginning at the initial salvation experience and ending when we are taken to heaven)

Salvation from the presence of sin (this will take place in the future when we enter into heaven with the Lord).

This verse is speaking of the “present” aspect of salvation… salvation from the power of sin. It is simply saying that following a genuine salvation experience the young Christian would enter into church membership. In doing so, he would receive much needed indoctrination, fellowship and encouragement as he begins his new walk with Christ. It is through these that the young Christian is kept safe from the sinful forces in this fallen world and brought to spiritual maturity.

Christ died for the church…

Another interesting set of verses is found below:

Acts 20:28-31 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Eph 5:25-28 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

In both of these texts we have the idea of Christ dying for the church being brought out…. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Also, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…”

What is meant by Christ dying for His church, does this imply that, because He died for His church, membership is now necessary for salvation? If not, must we come to a conclusion there must be a universal, invisible church that all saved are brought into?

Not at all. Please keep in mind that the Lord’s local assemblies can commit sin just as individual Christians can commit sin. Some examples are:

Anytime the church body makes decision or performs “ministries” opposed to God’s will they are committing a sin.

Anytime the church body sanctions or allows acts of members that are opposed to the will of God remain within their assembly, they are committing sin.

Anytime the church develops a cold, or lukewarm spirit toward the Lord, they are committing sin.

There are many, various, ways the church, as a body, can commit sin. For the church, as a body, to receive forgiveness their sins must be paid for through the shed blood of Christ (just as sinful individuals). That principle is what both of these verses are addressing.

Church attendance and service are signs that a genuine salvation experience has already taken place…

Finally, in Heb 10:19-31 -Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

In these verses we find several basic principles for faithful service to Christ. Paul begins by explaining the great blessing of communion with God that we have been given. (vs 19-21). Because He has blessed us so greatly, we have a big responsibility to continue this communion with Him in many ways:

1) maintain unhindered communion by forsaking and confessing sin. (vs 21-22)

2) faithfully show Christ to the world through our words and actions (vs 23)

3) loving, encouraging and sacrificing for other Christians (vs 24)

4) faithfully attending church and encouraging others to do so (vs 25)

All of these are indications of a genuine salvation experience has taken place in our hearts. If we find that we do not strive for continued communion with the Lord there is a question whether we are actually saved (vs 26-27) In these verses, we are told, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

In other words, if we come to a mental acknowledgment about Christ and salvation and yet it does not change our lives, it is proof we have never been saved. This is described as the sacrifice that Christ has made on the cross no longer remains (it has been left behind) by us. All that can be looked forward to is the wrath of God.

Paul then uses the example of those who rejected Moses law faced only God’s punishment. A mental knowledge of the law, if it did not result in a changed life, is of no benefit to anyone. Likewise, a mental knowledge of Christ and His work, if it is not a part of a conversion experience, only results in judgment from the Almighty God.

Paul completes this section by stating “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

If rejecting the law of Moses resulted in such heinous punishment, how bad will the punishment be to those who have heard the message of the cross of Christ and reject it?

To hear the truth and reject it is tantamount to stomping Christ into the ground, counting the shed blood that set Christ apart from all other men (John 17:19) as if it was a dirtied common thing, and to insult the Spirit of God. Surely the judgment of God will be great upon any that reject His truth.

Clearly, these verses are not teaching that rejecting church attendance will result in a saved person loosing their salvation and becoming recipients of God’s wrath.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that it is through repentance and faith that salvation is bestowed upon the sinful human. Good works, baptism, partaking of the Lord’s Supper and church membership, are very important aspects in a Christian’s new life of faith. However, all of them take place following the salvation of the individual.

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 rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

Making It Plain: “Soteriology” = The Study of Salvation

SIH TOTT ICONSoteriology comes from two Greek words:
1. “soteria” which means “deliverance” or “salvation”
2. “logos” which means “word concerning, to discuss, to study”.

This term is not used in the Scriptures.

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.  (2 Timothy 3:15)

Kidron: the Death Valley of the Bible

Kidron was a valley that lay east of Jerusalem dividing Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.  Through this valley flowed the brook of Kidron, a brook which is mentioned several times in God’s Holy Word.  Why is Kidron known as “the death valley of the Bible”?   What can I learn from this “death valley”?

We will be opening the Scriptures to find the answer to our questions….

THE SCRIPTURES:

2Sam 15:13-23 (KJV)  And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.  And David said unto all his servants that [were] with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not [else] escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword…  And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that [were] with him.  And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

1 Kgs 2:36-46 (KJV) And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. For it shall be, [that] on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head…. The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;  And king Solomon [shall be] blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever.  So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

1Kgs 15:9-13 (KJV)  And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah… And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.  And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from [being] queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt [it] by the brook Kidron.

2Kgs 23:4-12 (KJV)  And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.  And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.  And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.  And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that [were] by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.  And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that [were] in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which [were] on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city.  Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.  And he defiled Topheth, which [is] in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.  And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which [was] in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.  And the altars that [were] on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake [them] down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.

2Chr 29:12-16 (KJV)  Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehalelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah:…  And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse [it], and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took [it], to carry [it] out abroad into the brook Kidron.

2Chr 30:13-15 (KJV)  And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.  And they arose and took away the altars that [were] in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast [them] into the brook Kidron.  Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth [day] of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD.

2 Kgs 23:6 (KJV) & Jer 26:20-23 (KJV)  And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.

And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah:  And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt;  And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, [namely], Elnathan the son of Achbor, and [certain] men with him into Egypt.  And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.

John 18:1-5 (KJV)  When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.   And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples  Judas then, having received a band [of men] and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.  Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.

Jer 31:38-40 (KJV)  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner… And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, [shall be] holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

THE STUDY:

The word “Kidron” or “Cedron” comes from a Hebrew word that described an “ashy dark color”, the color of sackcloth.   Sackcloth was a rough cloth made of hair that, in many cases, was worn by those who were sorrowful and in mourning.  (1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 6:30; Job 16:15; Joel 1:13)    Why was this valley, and it’s accompanying brook, given a name related to the color of sackcloth?  This valley was, many times, related to sorrow, mourning and death …

1.  The poor people of the land were buried at Kidron. It was like a modern day potter’s field. (2 Kng 23:6, Jer 26:20-23)

2.  Shimei, an opponent of King David, was not allowed to cross the brook of Kidron under the threat of death at the hands of David’s son, Solomon (1 Kings 2:36-46)

3.  After Absalom took his throne by force, David was forced to flee over the brook of Kidron.  Symbolically this was a picture of the temporary end, or “death”, of David’s reign. (2 Sam 15:13-23)

4.  At various times in history, it was at Kidron, where the false idols ofIsraelwere destroyed thus symbolically representing the temporary termination, or “death”, of idolatry inIsrael.  This took place three different times: under the rule of Asa (1 King 15:13), under the rule of Josiah (2 Kings 23:4-12), and under the rule of Hezekiah (2 Chron 29:16 and 2 Chron 30:14).

5.  It was through this valley that Jesus walked to go fromJerusalemto theGardenofGethsemaneimmediately prior to His arrest and His death by crucifixion. (John 18:1) It was atGethsemanethat the Lord felt the full force of His upcoming death.  It was also atGethsemanethat we see displayed the Lord’s perfect unselfish submission to the will of His Father.

6.  Also, most likely, Judas Ischariot traveled the same path toGethsemane, resulting in the betrayal and arrest of Christ. (John 18:2)

After seeing how Kidron is a place related to mourning, sorrow and death… we find in Jeremiah a very contradictory passage.  Here, the prophecy of the renovation of Kidron relates the valley to a place made holy unto God and set apart for His use forever.  It will no longer be associated with death and sorrow, but now with holiness and God’s glory. This prophecy will be fulfilled at the Lord’s  second coming and the establishment of New Jerusalem on a New Earth.  (Jer 31:40)

How great is our God who is able to make an area associated with mourning, sorrow and death, become a place eternally alive with His glory and honor.   The very area that is closely associated with our Lord’s death will be , in the future, clearly associated with the results of His death…. An eternity set apart from all sadness, mourning and sin….

Jeremiah 31:40 – “And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, [shall be] holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.”

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

The Lord’s end times renovation of Kidron is a beautiful picture of saving us permanently from the darkness of sin to the light of His holiness….

Col 1:12-18 (KJV)

12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 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.

Acts 26:15-18 (KJV)

And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;  Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Eph 5:8-11 (KJV)

8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:  (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].

For those who have never received His gracious salvation into our lives…

The area of Kidron which was associated with sorrow, darkness and death is a picture of fallen humanity’s condition without the Lord Jesus and the salvation that He offers to them.

Have you ever realized the presence of sin in your life and God’s displeasure with those sins you have committed?

Have you ever come to a point in your life where you realized you could do nothing to save yourself, but you must rely on Christ alone to supply the work necessary for saving you from your sins?

Have you ever turned from your sins, and in faith, turned to Christ for forgiveness?

Do you know that, for certain, you have received the Lord’s forgiveness for your sins and will someday be in eternity with Him?

If you cannot answer “yes” to all the above questions… please open God’s Word, and seek out the truth about the spiritual need in your life.   Come to an understanding of your sin and the only source of forgiveness from those sins… the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.  Look to Jesus and live…

 

Heb 12:2-3 (KJV)

2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

John 3:14-15 (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.

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, 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

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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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 5 – What About Baptism?

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 #5…. What about baptism? ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 2:37-40 (KJV) –

37)Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Acts 8:34-39 (KJV)

34) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

36) And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 22:14-16 (KJV)

14) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15) For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16) And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1Pet 3:20-22 (KJV)

20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21) The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Rom 6:1-6 (KJV)

1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Gal 3:26-29 (KJV)

26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29) And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

THE STUDY:

Before we begin to study the role of baptism in salvation, it is important for us to understand what the term “baptism” means.  “Baptism” in the NT is derived from a Greek word meaning “to dip, or to immerse”.

The basic concept of the Greek term is to fully immerse, or cover something (or someone).  The concept of sprinkling, or pouring, being a type of baptism is totally foreign to the Scriptures.

The definition of baptism is illustrated for us in 1Cor 10:1-2

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”

Please notice that Moses and the Israelites passing through the Red Sea and under the pillar of cloud is described as a “baptism”.  Why?  Because they were entirely surrounded by water;  the waters of the Red Sea surrounded them on each side, while the water that made up the pillar of a cloud covered them from above.  Here, we find the principle of immersion clearly presented.

Also,  there are several passages that speak of going into and coming up out of waters during the act of baptism, also “much water” was used to baptize… (Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:36-38, John 3:23).  Again, it is only immersion (not pouring or sprinkling) that requires “much water”, and involves someone “coming up out of water”.

The next important principle for us to understand is the purpose of baptism.  Why is it so important for us to be baptized? The purpose of baptism is taught to us in 1Pet 3:20-22

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Here, we are told that baptism is not to “put away the filth of the flesh”, but it “answers” (follows, or it is done in response to) the receipt of “a good conscious toward God”.  In other words, baptism is to follow salvation.  Why?  Baptism is the public declaration of our coming to faith in Christ and His work.  Baptism is how we tell others about the work of Christ and the change that has already taken place in our life.

In Gal 3:26-29, we are told, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  In other words, we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus.  Following salvation, at our baptism, we “put on” Christ.  Much like a soldier puts on clothing (a uniform) that associates him with the military branch he is a member of.  At his baptism, a Christian announces  to the world that he has trusted in Christ, and from that point forward is “wearing Christ” (he is looked upon as a follower of Christ).

This is why Philip emphasized the need for saving faith in Christ before anyone could be baptized. (Acts 8:34-39)

So to summarize our study so far, we have seen that Scriptural baptism is immersion in water, following salvation.  It is done to declare our faith in Christ and to associate ourselves with Christ.

Now let’s look at a few other verses about baptism’s relation to salvation…

Mark 1:1-4  “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

 Please note in the above verses, a part of John the Baptist’s message was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  Let’s cover two main points.  First, why is baptism called “the baptism of repentance”?  In our study on repentance we said that repentance was speaking of a change of mind and/or action.  One example of this is turning from our sin to submission to the Lordship of Christ.  When we are baptized not only does it declare our faith in Christ, it also publically declares the great change that has taken place in our lives when we are saved.  The Bible describes this change as becoming a “new creature in Christ” (Gals 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17).

The baptismal act of submersion and then raising from the water, symbolizes our old life is put to death and we now have a new life in Christ. It declares that our life is now changed.  Hence, the phrase “baptism of repentance”.

Paul fully explains this principle in Rom 6:1-6  “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our second question is this… what does it mean when it says we are baptized for the remission of sins?”.   Here, we are told that we are baptized because our sins HAVE ALREADY been remitted (at our salvation).  Much like when a criminal is “arrested for murder”, we are saying the criminal was arrested because he HAS ALREADY murdered.

Remember, if we have trusted in Christ, we are now followers of Him.  Our life has changed.  One of the many changes is our sins have been remitted.  We are to be baptized to declare all of this to others.

The same linkage between baptism and remission of sins is spoken of in Acts 2:37-40 “Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

In this passage, Peter declares to the lost men who were convicted of their sin that they must “repent”… this resulted in their salvation and the remission of their sins.  Then he explains to them that their next immediate need is to be baptized.  Why should they be baptized?  Because their sins HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMITTED.

Unrelated to salvation, another reason for baptism is to gain entrance into the Lord’s local assembly of believers.  When a believer is baptized they become eligible for membership in the assembly.  More on this in a later blog entry.

Peter tells them that once they repent (are saved) and then are baptized (publically declaring their sins are remitted).  At this point,  they would become members of the church at Jerusalem.  Remember, just previous to this in Acts 1:1-4, the church assembly had received the gift of the Spirit.  As a new member of this church, the newly saved and baptized would be recipients of this gift as well.

 Now let’s look at another passage that links baptism with our salvation…

Acts 22:14-16  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 Paul had been saved prior to this event, when on the Damascus Road, Paul turned from his life of sin to submission to the Lord.  As a matter of fact, the reason why Paul was standing in the presence of Ananias was due to his obedience to a direct command of Christ.  In Acts 22:10….”And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”  Paul, who had just been saved is demonstrating a submissive will as a new creature in Christ.

Now Paul, with a willing spirit of submission to his Lord, listens as Anaias explains the ministry the Lord has called Paul to perform.  Note “that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”

Ananias, during his explaination of Paul’s new ministry, emphasizes Paul’s need of baptism as a beginning point of his ministry, much like the beginning of Christ’s ministry  on earth was His baptism as well.

As Ananias explains the need of baptism to Paul, he says “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  He tells Paul of the need for Paul to be baptized, outwardly declaring that the sins of his past are no longer a part of his life.  This was of absolute importance for Paul before his ministry could begin.

Remember, Paul’s past life of sin involved the persecution, and murder, of followers of Christ.  Before Paul could begin a new ministry of service and submission to Christ’s will, he had to make sure that he publicly declared this past life had ended, his sin had been washed away by the blood of Christ, and he now was a new man of service to the Lord.

Remember, Paul had said in Gal 1:11-12 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul,  speaking of the Damascus Road experience, says that he had received the gospel (good news of salvation) from Christ during his revelation to Paul (Paul’s salvation experience)…  Ananias did not tell Paul ANYTHING that involved the gospel message, he had given to Paul his instructions to serve the Lord…  “And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”

Furthermore, 1 Cor 6:11 helps us to understand, how our sins are washed away… 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.

The great change that takes place in our life is an act of the Holy Spirit during the conversion experience.  The three main parts to our conversion experience are washing, sanctifying, and justifying.  These happen simultaneously by the Spirit of God.

The cleansing of our sins is brought about through the application of the blood of Christ not applying the waters of baptism.

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 7:14 (KJV)

14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Remember our 1 Peter passage quotation… “The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”.  Making it plain to us that baptism does not involve putting away the filth of our flesh.

Clearly, “wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord” is describing a symbolic washing of sins at Paul’s baptism.  He was declaring to all he was now a follower of Christ and his sins had been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that baptism is a very important way to make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, baptism is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  Baptism should always follow salvation.

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.

 ———————————————————————–

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.”

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 1-Salvation Defined

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 #1…. Salvation….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)

11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Acts 4:12 (KJV)

12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

John 4:21-24 (KJV)

21) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22) Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24) God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

Acts 28:28 (KJV)

28) Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and [that] they will hear it.

THE STUDY:

The Biblical concept of “salvation” carries with it the ideas of deliverance, wholeness, safety and security.  When we talk about a person’s “salvation” we are talking about that person being delivered from sin, being made whole and safe in Christ, all the while being made eternally secure…

We are all a part of fallen mankind…

Rom 3:23 (KJV)  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

 The Bible is filled with references that declare the fallen, sinful nature that is found in all men… (Gen 8:21, Eccl 7:20, Rom 3:9, Rom 5:12, etc etc etc)

As fallen mankind, we are found guilty by God for the sin in our lives…

Rom 3:19 (KJV) “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Just as the sinfulness of man is clearly declared within the Scriptures, so too, the guilt and condemnation of man is made plain as well… (Roms 2:1-2, Gal 3:10, Gal 3:22, etc etc etc)

Because of our sin and guilt we are separated from God and facing eternal punishment for our sins…

Isa 59:1-3 (KJV) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Our sin has separated us from God in this world, and will separate us from God in the world to come. (Prov 15:29, Isa 1:15, John 3:19-21)  Our sin has placed us under the judgment of our Almighty God.  It is this judgment that we will face throughout eternity. (Jer 5:25, John 3:36, Rom 1:18, Rom 2:3-5, Rev 20:12-15)

This is the most important aspect of our need of salvation… it is deliverance from our sins and their results.

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Here, in our Titus passage, we find the three fold salvation that the Lord freely offers to us…

Firstly, deliverance from the punishment of our sin, by Christ making the payment which satisfied the just demands of His Father…

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity:”  (John 10:15, Gals 1:3-5, Gals 3:13, Eph 5:2, etc etc etc)

Secondly, deliverance from the power of sin in this world…

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”  &  “purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Rom 6:4-19, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Eph 1:4, 1 Thess 4:7 etc etc etc)

Thirdly, secure an eternity with Him, separated from the presence of sin…

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Rom 8:30-39, John 6:37-40, Hebs 10:14-18, etc)  This principle is clearly seen by the terms “everlasting life” and “eternal life” … it is a type of life that cannot be lost nor come to an end. (1 Tim:1-16, John 3:15-16, John 10:27-29, etc etc etc)

Just as the Bible is clear about the importance and universal need of salvation by all mankind, so too, the Bible declares the only way of salvation. 

The way of salvation is only through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ….

This is why in the Titus passage He is given the title“Our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ”

This principle is emphasized in Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (1 Cor 3:11, 1 Tim 2:4-6, Heb 7:25-28, 1 John 5:11, etc)

So who can receive this salvation?  Both Jew and Gentile have access to this grace of God…

John 4:21-24 (KJV) – “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

Acts 28:28 (KJV) – Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and [that] they will hear it.

As demonstrated in the above verses, the salvation that God graciously offers to man is not limited to Jew nor Gentile.  ANYONE can receive salvation from the hands of Almighty God. (John 3:16, 2 Cor 5:19-21, 1 Tim 1:15-16)

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principles of the importance and mankind’s need of salvation… In the following blog entries we will be studying, 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.

————————————————————————

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.” 

I’m Sorry

SIH STSTA ICONDo you know one of the hardest phrases to say in the English language consists of only 7 letters which make up only two words?  That phrase is “I’m sorry”.

When we say “I’m sorry” we are admitting to ourselves, and to others, that we have erred.  Whether on purpose, or accidentally; we messed up.  We wish we could take it back; but we can’t.  All we can do is come and speak that dreaded phrase, “I’m sorry”, and hope that undeserved forgiveness is granted to us.

The Bible goes into great detail about the need for sorrow when we sin against the Lord and others around us. Let’s see what the Bible teaches us about sorrow, and especially sorrow for our sins against God.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 51:1-19

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions… Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.  

 

THE STUDY:

Throughout the Bible, our sin, and the need for sorrow before God cannot be overemphasized… the picture of a sorrowful heart is found in Psalm 51:.  Here, the many aspects of sorrow are described by King David, who after having an illicit relationship with Bathsheba, comes to a realization of his Lord’s view of his sin.

Here are basic principles about sin, sorrow and forgiveness we can find in this Psalm….

Principles About Sin

Our sin is revealed to us by the Lord – Nathan the prophet had come in unto David and revealed David’s sin to him. –  

Heading – To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Vs 6 – and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Sin causes a hindered relation with God.  

Vs 10 –  and renew a right spirit within me.

Vs 11 – Cast me not away from thy presence

Sin causes spiritual weakness and loss of communication between God and man

Vs 11 – and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Sin brings guilt upon the offender and the deserving of punishment, both temporal and eternal.

Vs 14 – Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:

Principles About Sorrow

True sorrow results in a change in our desires.  Our heart now has desries to to be free from the sin that was committed and a desire to follow the Lord. This change in our desires is called “repentance” 

Vs 2 – Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

True sorrow results in a willingness to admit the sin and accepting the blame. True sorrow doesn’t seek to justify or excuse its actions, but readily accepts responsibility and acknowledges that wrongs have been done.

Vs 3 – For I acknowledge my transgressions:

Vs 4 – that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.

Vs 5 – Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

 True sorrow causes the sin to be a plague, never allowing rest until the sin is dealt with.  It is likened to the breaking of bones, hindering every aspect of one’s life. –

Vs 3 – and my sin [is] ever before me.

Vs 8 – [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice.

True sorrow for sin recognizes that not only man, but Almighty, Holy God has been offended

Vs 4 – Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight:

Vs 6 – Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:

True sorrow works shame in the heart.

Vs 9 – Hide thy face from my sins,

True sorrow results in a recognition of the filth of sin and the need for cleansing

Vs 10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God;

Godly sorrow is an absolute necessity for forgiveness

Vs 17 – The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

True sorrow is concerned with sins affects on others

Vs 18 – Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Vs 19 – Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Principles About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an act of mercy.

Vs 1 – Have mercy upon me, O God,

Forgiveness is an act of love.

Vs 1 – according to thy lovingkindness:

God’s love, mercy and forgiveness is unlimited.  There is no sin so great God cannot forgive.  There is no sin that God cannot cleanse. 

Vs 1 –  according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Vs 7 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Vs 9 – and blot out all mine iniquities.

Knowledge of being forgiven by God restores joy, and gladness to the heart that has been broken, knowing the sin has been released.

Vs 8 – Make me to hear joy and gladness;

Vs 12 – Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;

Divine forgiveness is accompanied by a restoration of fellowship and the enabling of the Holy Spirit to begin service to the Lord again.

Vs 12 – and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.

Vs 13 – [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Vs 14 – [and] my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

Vs 15 – O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

Divine forgiveness is not based upon any good works of “retribution”.  True forgiveness is granted based upon God’s gracious intervention in our lives.

Vs 16 – For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

When we recognize the wickedness of our sin and the completeness of the Lord’s forgiveness, our hearts should be melted and our appreciation overflowing.  Should we not serve Him with all our hearts and lives when we consider all He has done for us?

Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For those who have yet to be saved…

As fallen mankind, our greatest need is to recognize the heinousness of our sin and the grief we have brought upon our Lord and Savior.  This knowledge, through God’s intervention, should lead us to godly repentance.  Godly repentance is a combination of: a sincere, heartfelt sorrow for our sin; a desire to forsake that sin; a turning to Christ in helplessness, seeking His salvation; and a submission to the desires of Christ for our life.

If you desire more information about salvation be sure to visit my web page entitled “How To Have A Relationship With God”.   Also, please feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have.  Also I would encourage you to seek out a Bible believing church and talk to the pastor/counselor in that church for more information about sin, sorrow, and forgiveness.

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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.”

—————————————————————————-

Why?

SIH STSTA ICON“Why is the sky blue?”  “Why does a dog bark?”  “Why is ice cream cold?”  The list goes on and on.  When we were much younger, we were concerned about all the “whys” of life.  Sad to say in the process of getting our answers, we drove our parents to the edge of insanity!

However, something happened to many of us as we grew older… the “whys” of life no longer seemed to be as important.  As we grew busier in our life’s activities, we no longer were concerned about “why”.  This change resulted in cheating us out of a greater appreciation of the world around us.

When it comes to God’s Word, understanding the “whys” is an absolute necessity to grasp the entire truth that is being presented.  For this blog entry, I would like us to look at one example of this principle.   Let’s look at the answer to a very common question that is asked by many Christians…. “Why did the Lord forgive us of our sins?”

THE SCRIPTURE:

And you hath he quickened,… That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:1-7)

THE STUDY:

This Scripture text is basically answering two questions:

In verses 1-3 we have the answer to: “What was our condition before The Lord forgave me of my sins?”

In verses 4-7 we have the answer to: “Why did the Lord forgive me of my sins?”

Our study will begin with verses 1-3…

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

Before the Lord intervened in our life we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.  In other words, spiritually we were separated from God and unable to help ourselves.  We could no more give ourselves forgiveness and spiritual life than a dead corpse can give itself CPR and bring itself back to life.

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

Before the Lord’s intervention, our lifestyle was one of disobedience and rebellion to the will and ways of God.   Although we may have lived moral lives, our morality was of no more value than that of filthy rags (Isa 64:6).   Why were they of no lasting spiritual value? Our moral actions were not done out of a heart of love for the Lord.

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;

Instead of our moral works being done out of love for God, they were motivated by the lusts of our flesh and mind.  In other words, our moral actions were motivated out of a love for self and pleasure.  Our entire lifestyle was one of living for self gratification.

“and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Our sinful nature, which we received from Adam, was deserving of God’s punishment.  We shared this same type of nature with all mankind.  Everyone, possesses this same nature within themselves. (1 Cor 15:22)

(Note on verses 1-3….Please notice these verses set the groundwork for the following verses 4-7.   Basically what we are saying is this…. Since I was in such a horrible condition (vs 1-3) why did the Lord ever make the time and effort to save me? (vs 4-7))

In verses 4-7…

So why did The Lord forgive us?

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

Reason #1

We are forgiven because of His mercy and His love for us.   In other words, He is willing to withhold our deserved punishment from us (his mercy) because He so greatly loved us.

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

 This is a quick review of our horrible condition before His intervention in our lives. This review is given to remind us that we didn’t deserve, nor did we earn, His love or mercy…. It is given entirely by His willingness to give us undeserved blessings.  These undeserved blessings include His forgiveness which saved us from the punishment of our sins.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Reason #2

We are forgiven so we might live eternally with Him.  The Lord raised us from our spiritual death, so that we might share an eternity in heaven with Him.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Reason #3

We are forgiven so that The Lord might be glorified.  From the moment of our salvation, the Lord glorifies Himself in the lives of those He has saved.  Anyone who is truly saved, becomes a new creature in Him.  Because of this great inward change, our outward lives change as well. (2 Cor 5:17) This change glorifies Him.

Also, throughout eternity, our presence with Him in heaven will be a continual testimony of His grace and forgiveness that He has given to His people. (Rev 4:10-11)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

When Christians are asked “Why did the Lord forgive you of your sins?” their two favorite responses are… “Because He loved us” and “Because He wanted to go to heaven and not hell”.  In our above text, we saw both of these are true.

However, please notice the third reason why He chose to save us.  It is because He wants to glorify Himself in our lives.  This is so important for each of us to understand.  If we have been saved we are to serve Him with our lives.  By doing, this we are bringing to fulfillment His third desire … that He might be glorified.  (Eph 2:8-10)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never received the Lord’s gracious forgiveness… you can see your horrible condition without His intervention in your life. Turn from your sins and turn to Him in faith, recognizing He is your only hope… He will not cast you aside. (John 6:33-40)

____________________________________________________________

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.

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.”

In God We Trust

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on US coins during the Civil War era.   Since that time, with only a few exceptions, the motto has continuously appeared on US government coins.  For a full, in-depth account of the motto’s history please refer to the following:

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

Without a doubt, this motto has stood as a public testimony of our nation’s belief in the existence of God.   This motto is a part of our legacy as a nation… throughout history, our nation has sought out  God during it’s most troubling hours.   Despite the current attempts to remove this motto from our coinage, our historical reliance on God can never be denied.

The Bible talks about a nation’s need to trust in The Lord.  But in a much more personal context, the Bible repeated declares the necessity for an individual to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only One who can save us from our sins.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And if ye call on the Father, … Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1Pe 1:17-21)

THE STUDY:

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

All mankind will stand before God the Father and be judged for the works that they have done during their life on earth.   (James 5:9, 1 Pet 4:5)   Knowing this, we are to take our time on earth very seriously.  We are to always have a reverence for the Lord, and His desires for us, so that we will not be found wanting at our judgment. (2 Cor 7:1, Hebs 12:28)

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

“Redeemed” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to be released from bondage through a payment”.

For those who are saved, we need to remember that we have been removed from the bondage of our sin through a payment much more precious than gold or silver.

This payment was not received through the empty pursuits of our previous lifestyle.  It was received as we turned from our past lifestyle of sin to Christ and His work. (Acts 26:17-20, Acts 14:15, Hebs 9:14)

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The precious payment made was that of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was the sinless Son of God who came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of His people.  (Matt 20:28, Eph 1:7, Col 1:13-22, Rev 7:14)

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ’s earthly ministry and death on the cross was a part of God the Father’s sovereign plan from before the creation of the world. (Rom 16:25-26, Eph 1:4-14, Eph 3:11, Titus 1:2-3 ).  The fall of man, and man’s need of a Savior, did not come as a surprise to the Lord.  This is another display of His greatness…He is truly an all-knowing God. (Isa 45:21, Isa 46:10, Acts 15:18)

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

“believe” is translated from a Greek word that means “to entrust” “to commit to”

If we commit our sin, our life, and our eternity to Him…we receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal security through Christ.

It is through the work of Christ that we can receive the ability to believe in God (John 6:26-29, Eph 2:4-9, Mat 16:17, John 6:65)   This same God is the One that brought Christ from the dead and glorified Him at the Father’s right hand in heaven. (1 Cor 15:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 2:32-33, Phil 2:5-12)

Why did Christ die for us and grant us faith so that we could be saved?  So we could live our lives trusting in God and having hope for our future knowing we are saved and headed for a wonderful eternity in heaven.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should never undervalue the great price that was paid for our salvation.  Although our salvation was free it was by no means cheap.  Out of appreciation for His great sacrifice and price paid, we should be willingly serving Him.  Knowing we are bought with a great price.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.(1Co 6:20)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By committing yourself to Him (your sin, your life, your future), you will be forgiven of your sins and assured of an eternity with Christ.   Without trusting in Christ, the Bible makes it plain that you must face the eternal judgment for the sins you have committed.  The worst aspect of this judgment is being separated from God for an eternity, while receiving your punishment in the Lake of Fire.

God is sending an invitation to you through His Word to turn to Him, entrusting your life to Him, before it is too late.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)

——————————————————————————————————————–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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Are We Lost In Space? Or Maybe Lost On Earth?

SIH STSTA ICONWhen I was a kid, I used to LOVE watching the TV series “Lost In Space’, it is still one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  It’s all about the Robinson family of space explorers who are thrown off course and become lost in space (get it…. that’s where they get the name! yuk yuk)  Anyhow, the series is about this family traveling from one planet to the next always looking for a way back to earth.

YouTube has many clips of the show (here’s one example … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP-s3OqCGhA) Also, you can watch the entire series at http://www.fancast.com/tv/Lost-in-Space/)   I would heartily recommend this show for wholesome family viewing.

The thing about the Robinson family was that they knew where they wanted to go, but they didn’t know how to get there.  I am afraid that this is the situation that many of us are experiencing in our lives today.  We desire peace, lasting joy, a sense of belonging, a sense of accomplishment, assurance of our destiny in the after life… the list goes on and on.  We know what we want but, sadly, many of us don’t know how to attain it.  We turn to many different worldly sources of advice to give us guidance in fulfilling our desires, but to no avail.  Nothing this side of heaven gives us the peace, joy and satisfaction and assurance that we so greatly desire.

If it were not for God’s grace, none of us would have the know-how or the ability to attain any of these goals.   But, thanks to Him, the realization of our goals becomes possible through His Word and His divine intervention in our lives.

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1Co 1:27-31)

THE STUDY:

Lets quickly notice in our first set of verses:

1. The Lord makes it plain we should not be surprised at the world’s inability to give satisfaction and peace to man.  (vs 27-29)

2. The result of the world’s inability to satisfy is described in the phrase “That no flesh should glory in his presence”. (vs 29)  In other words, no earthly human being can stand up and say “I can give you true peace, joy and satisfaction, come follow me and I will fulfill all your desires.”  No human can supply to us our life’s needs.

3. The source of true peace and satisfaction and our eternal security is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we have a personal relationship with Christ, His Spirit indwells us.  The Spirit, in turn gives us an understanding of His Word and supplies guidance to us as we live our day to day life on earth.  It is through Christ, and His Spirit, that we can find true spiritual satisfaction and security.  (vs. 30-31)

4.  The Godly basis of our life’s satisfaction and security is described by four terms:

A. wisdom –  Godly wisdom is the ability to take God’s Word and apply it to the decision we make in life.  This is the wisdom that enables us to make choices that honor God and lead a life that is honest,  and kind towards man.  Possessing this wisdom gives us confidence knowing that our life is pleasing to God and man.

B. righteousness –  Godly righteousness is being “lawful” in the eyes of God and also man.  To be righteous means to have peace within knowing our Lord has forgiven us of our sins and that we have  His innocence placed on our account.  Possessing His righteousness also means that we are now living lives that are just and fair to others around us.

C. sanctification – Godly sanctification results in us being “set-apart’ for God’s use.  It places us in His family of believers, and takes us out of the dominion of sin.  Sanctification also aids us as we submit to His will and resist temptation.

D. redemption – Godly redemption results in us being “purchased” through the death of Christ on the cross.  His redemption placed on our account tells us we are loved by God, the price for our sins has been paid, and we are eternally secure in Him.

By knowing the Lord has intervened in our lives in all 4 ways gives us the peace, joy and satisfaction we so greatly desire.

The above picture by Paul Cheng illustrates the stark difference between a life lived with Christ and a life lived without Him.

Paul’s description is a great summary of our need to be sure we have been saved…  “As you can see, only in the cross there is life but outside there is no life. It is symbolically a parallel universe where our spiritual destiny is determined by our choice to believe in Jesus or not today (John 3:16).”

(You can see more of Paul’s wonderful art at his website:  http://www.certaintyofdrawings.blogspot.com/  Take a look at Paul’s work… it will be a great blessing to you.  Also my thanks to Paul for allowing me to use his work on this blog posting.  It is greatly appreciated.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, let’s be sure to praise and honor the One who has made our life complete.  It is only through Christ and His work that we can truly lead fulfilled, contented lives.

For those who are not saved, if you have begun to see the great void that exists in your life, look to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him to intervene, save you from your sins, and fulfill your desires for peace, love and security.  It is only then that you will be able to live your life to it’s fullest.

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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.

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.”

There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On!

SIH STSTA ICON

Author’s Note:

Over the Labor Day weekend, Christchurch New Zealand suffered a 7.1 earthquake. By God’s grace there were no fatalities and only a few minor injuries. (Please be in prayer for the people of Christchurch concerning the expected aftershocks.)  It light of this event, I thought it was the right time to post this to my blog. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/04/new-zealand-earthquake-curfew

Jerry Lee Lewis had it right, even though he didn’t know it when he sang” “there is a whole lotta shakin goin on” (his 1957 hit song – You can see him performing the song at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yRdDnrB5kM)

Back then he had no idea his song would apply to the age we are living in.  In today’s time, there is increasing number of earthquakes rocking the globe.  In the above chart, you can easily see that there has been a definite increase in reported earthquake activity over the past 18 years. (Above is a chart that clearly shows the increase in the number of earthquakes taking place over the past 18 years….  You can see the raw data that this chart was derived from at the USGS.gov website.  Please use the following links to see the data:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/info_1990s.php

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php

Please note the data they have for 2009 and 2010 is incomplete and not included on the chart)

Some scientists look at the data and have come to the conclusion that climate change is the culprit in this issue.  They claim that, until climate change (they used to call it global warming until our environment started to cool) is in check, we can expect the number of earthquakes to continue to increase.  I do not doubt the earthquake rate is increasing…. But I question the cause in their “theory”.

Then there are other scientists, on the other side of the issue, that say that there really is no increase in earthquake activity but simply an increase in the number of seismographs worldwide.  Their reasoning is that what is happening is that there are simply more earthquakes being reported due to the increase in number of measuring devices.  In actuality, they say, the number of earthquakes has not increased.  I believe, they are denying the obvious.

So what is going on with all these earthquakes?  Does the Bible even mention them or explain what is going on?  Let’s see what we can find in our study today….

THE SCRIPTURE:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Rom 8:18-25)

THE STUDY:

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, not only was mankind affected; but, so too, all of earthly creation.  This is the meaning of the phrases “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly” and “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption” found in our Rom 8: text.

This principle is a pretty easy one for us to grasp.  When man committed sin in the garden, not only did it affect mankind, but it also affected nature.  Where once you had peace between all animals, you now have animals feeding on one another.  Where once you had animals that were in perfect submission to man, you now have animals that are wild, not easily tamed and dangerous to mankind.  Where there used to be no weeds or thistles to harm our crops, you now have them spring up all over the place making an added burden upon man to keep them under control.   The cataclysmic change in weather following the flood of Noah’s day is directly attributed to the sinfulness of mankind.  (Gen 6:5-8)  In these, and in many other ways, nature has changed due to sin.

As we continue on in our text, we find that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”  (To “groan” has the idea of the noise founded in grief due to great loss.  The earth, just as mankind, lost much due to the fall. To “travail” means birth pains.  It implies increasing frequency and intensity as time progresses.)

To rephrase our verse… now that creation has fallen with man, creation is slowly decaying and wasting away waiting to be purified for the 2nd coming of Christ (Rev 19:11-Rev 20:5) and then reborn as the new heavens and earth for eternity (2 Pet 3:10-13, Rev 20:12-Rev 21:5)

One result of the earth’s decaying and wasting away are the increasing earthquakes we are experiencing in today’s time. The Lord speaks of earthquakes in connection with the signs of the last days several times in Scripture (Rev 11:13, 11:19, 16:18, Zech 14:5, Matt 24:7 etc.)

As these earthquakes take place, they are a solemn reminder of sin’s affects on the earth and the coming end of the world, as promised in the Scriptures.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved the earthquakes should awaken within us the urgency of spreading the good news of Christ to a lost world.  The earthquakes are one proof that mankind truly is fallen and in need of salvation, but it also causes us to reflect on the end of this sinful world and the restoration that the Lord has so graciously promised.

When I think of these things, Romans 13:11-14 comes to mind:

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

For those who have never experienced the saving grace of God in your life.  Allow these earthquakes, and their significance, to motivate you to seek the Lord before it is too late.  There is no question of mankind’s need of salvation… the Bible is so very clear about this (Rom 3:9,19,23, 5:12, 11:32, Gals 3:22 Etc.)   But also, the earthquakes remind us that time is short… we should not delay coming to Christ in submission, placing our spiritual life in His hands, by faith.   The Word makes this urgency clear…

“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Co 6:2)

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer 8:20)

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.

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.”

Who’s Our Boss?

SIH STSTA ICON(Rob’s Note: Following my Monday posting of “The True Wonder Of Nature… Ignored!”  I have received several emails asking for further information on why the Bible would say that if we reject God as our Creator, it results in many other sins to be committed. 

I was planning on posting today’s blog entry sometime next month.  However, I thought that this entry might help to answer your questions, so I have chosen to post it today.  If you had questions about the relationship between rejecting our Creator and the sin that flourishes around us, please review Monday’s posting after you read this entry. 

It is my privilege to answer any questions you may still have about Monday’s posting,  just leave a comment or send me an email.  It is only through your input that I can know what needs clarification.  Thank you for graciously reading my blog, you are all a great blessing to me.)

In the mid 1980’s, Tony Danza, Judith Light and Alyssa Milano starred in a situation comedy called “Who’s the Boss?”   This show was a classic about a professional woman, her male housekeeper, and their children.  Over the course of the show’s 8 year run, the continual theme was who was running the household, the woman or her housekeeper.   Many times, the housekeeper would override the woman’s instructions, creating havoc for the entire household.

If you are not sure if you’ve ever seen this show, just listen to the theme song, it is one of the most memorable theme songs on TV.  If you’ve heard it, you will recognize it in a heartbeat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBKsHdZJjZM

In a sitcom, confusion about who runs things can be humorous and harmless.  But in the world today, our society is falling apart, due to the confusion concerning to whom we should submit.   It is a very serious issue… we are watching our society implode due to a lack of recognition of the ultimate authority that is over us.

Who holds the ultimate authority over us?  What should our attitude be towards this authority?  The Bible gives us an answer to both of these questions…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?(Rom 9:20-24)

THE STUDY:

Today we complain about our appearance, or maybe our vocation, or our financial status in life, or even our family and friends.  In our text, the people were complaining about their eternal destiny (Rom 9:10-19).

Paul, by the inspiration of God, begins to address these complaints…

Man was complaining to the Creator of the Universe, the true God over all, Jehovah.  Paul makes it plain that NO ONE has the right to complain to the One who created him.  Why not? Because the God who created us has every right to create us as He pleases.  (vs 20)

If a potter desired to make a cup without a handle, he has every right to do so.  However, if He desires to make one with a handle, he can do this as well.  Does the cup without the handle have a right to complain to the potter due to his lack of a handle?

Oh course not, Why not?  Because the potter was not obligated to make only cups with handles.  SINCE HE WAS THE CREATOR HE COULD MAKE THE CUP AS HE PLEASES.  The cup is obligated to recognize his creator and submit to his desires.

In the same way, if He desired to show the greatness of His wrath in my life, He certainly could do it.  But He desired to save my soul from sin and withhold the judgment I deserved. In either case, He would be fair and just (vs 21-24)

Since all men deserve eternal punishment, He can allow it into any one’s life.  If He chooses to show His grace and mercy in the life of some, He has every right to do it as well.   We are obligated to recognize Him as our Creator, therefore recognize His authority and submit to His wishes for us. (Isa 64:8)

What’s THE major problem in our world today?  We are in denial about Jehovah God being our Creator.   Because of this, we do not see the need to submit to His will for our life.  This is why we see such heinous sin taking place in our society.  Once we denied Him as Creator, we no longer see the need to submit to His desires for us.  This is the insidious result of denying His Creatorship.  This is the state of our society today… we have rejected His Creatorship and, therefore, no longer see the need to submit to His will.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

As a Christian, we need to recognize that God is our Creator.  He is the Creator of both our physical and spiritual life.  Oh, what a responsibility we have to submit to His desires for us.

Our life’s slogan should be…Since God is my Creator and my Savior, I owe Him my all.  He has every right to do with me as He pleases, I have no right to complain to Him about my lot in life. No exceptions.  He has already blessed me above measure with my salvation.  I am only to always be in alignment with His will.  (see Jer 18:3-6)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Remember, He is our Creator (Gen 1:-2:), therefore, we are obligated to conform to His desires for our lives.   What is His utmost desire for us?  To come before Him, humbly trusting Him to do what we cannot do… save us from our sins.  If you would like more information about receiving the forgiveness He so graciously gives,  please take a look at the page labeled “All About Salvation” just beneath my blog heading above.  May the Lord bless you.

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.

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.”

Forgiveness

SIH STSTA ICONA note from the author:  The following Bible study should be read with a Bible close at hand for two reasons…

 First, due to lack of space, I had to place many references in the text of this lesson without displaying the entire Bible passage.  Reading these passages will add more information that can be used by the reader.

 Secondly, please keep in mind, that the importance of this Bible Study cannot be underestimated, therefore, it is vital that we look to the Bible for all of our beliefs on this subject.  I have tried to diligently declare only what the Bible says on the subject of forgiveness, however, for the reader’s benefit, an open Bible used alongside this study make certain this study contains only Biblical truth.

 May the Lord Jesus be glorified in this study,  Rob Barkman

Have you ever lived with dread, knowing that you have wronged someone severely and there was nothing you could do to “take it back” or “undo it”?  Do you avoid the person you have wronged, knowing every time you see them you are reminded, and guilt stricken, at what you have done?  Do you ever wish you could start all over and be freed from this burden of guilt and shame? Thanks to a small, eleven letter word we can begin again, freed from the awesome weight of our guilt.

That word is “forgiveness”.  Although a small word, “forgiveness” has a very huge meaning…. “to release, to let go, to send away.”  Forgiveness is saying that we no longer hold the offense against the offender, instead it will be put away; we no longer desire retribution for the offender’s actions, but now seek a restored relationship with them.

What would life be like without forgiveness? Forgiveness is the only thing that can restore broken relationships and allow healing to begin.  Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues that man can possess.  With forgiveness, the broken can be fixed and the crooked can be made straight once again.

The Word of God presents to us many different types of forgiveness… from one-time forgiveness for the smallest of infractions (Lk 11:4), to the need for multiple acts of forgiveness for great offenses (Matt 18:21-22), the Bible presents to us the necessity of forgiveness in our day to day walk of life.

But beyond human forgiveness, the Word speaks of a special type of forgiveness that is given by God to man through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the forgiveness that is given by God for offenses we have committed against Him….

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 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:” (Col 1:12-14)

From these three verses we can learn much about God’s forgiveness and it’s results in our lives:

1.  Giving thanks unto the Father” – If we are forgiven by God, we are thankful!

No one can begin to describe the awesome sense of relief, and gratitude, we possess when we receive the forgiveness of our many sins!  Just having the knowledge that we will never face an eternal judgment for our sins, but instead eternal paradise with our Lord, results in eternal gratefulness for His forgiveness…

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” (Psa 107:21-22)

2.  “which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” – If we are forgiven by God, we have a new inheritance from Him!

Just think of it… once our sins are forgiven, the Lord promises us an eternal dwelling place where God Himself will be present with us.  And beyond that, we will have an eternal life freed from pain, sorrow, and sickness and, most importantly, sin!

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. “ (Rev 21:1-4)

3.   “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” – If we are forgiven by God, we are no longer the servants of sin, but now the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before our salvation, the Bible described all of us as being the “servants of sin”.  This is because following the original fall of man in the Garden of Eden, a sin nature began to exist in all of mankind.  Because of that sin nature, all humans are born separated from God, the servants of sin, and facing both physical and spiritual death.  (Rom 5:12-14, Rom 6:23, Ezek 18:4, 1 Cor 15:21)

The phrase “physical death” is speaking of the soul/spirit being separated from the body.  This is the death we read about in the papers everyday; this is the death that separates a loved one from this earthly family and friends.  (1 Cor 15:55-56)

The phrase “spiritual death” is used to describe a different type of separation.  It is not separation of the body from the soul/spirit, it is the separation of an individual from God.  As sinners, our relationship with God has been ruptured by our sin.  (Psa 66:18,  Prov 15:29,  Isa 1:15,  John 9:31)  Being spiritually dead, results in eternal punishment and separation from God in a place called hell, the lake of fire and everlasting fire (Luk 16:21-31, 12:4-5, Rev 20:13-14, Mat 25:41)

The physical and spiritual death that we face, due to our sin, is devastating; devastating to our life on earth, and devastating to our eternal existence; as well as devastating to our loved ones and the world as a whole.  But, through the work of Christ, we can be delivered from our sin and changed to servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Where we once were bound in death to sin, we are now alive to serve our Lord Jesus.  (Rom 6:11-12)

What a magnificent work of God in our lives!  To take us, as a member of rebellious, sinful mankind, wanting nothing to do with Him; and, then, making us a part of His privileged family, given an eternal inheritance and blessings beyond number!

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”   (Rom 6:17-18)

4.   “In whom we have redemption through his blood” – If we are forgiven by God, we have been purchased by Christ through His death on the cross!

The most important question we should ask is “Now what?”  What do we do now that we see our horrible straits? How do we receive the blessings that are awaiting us?  Christ, through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension has given us the perfect answer to this very perplexing problem.

Christ, during His life on earth, made it very plain what we must do to have our sin problem taken away.   We must look to Him in faith, trusting Him as our Deliverer and Lord of our life. In doing so, we will be trusting Him, and His work, while turning from our sins (repentance) to serve Him as Lord.  (Rom 3:21-26,  Gal 2:16, Eph 2:5-10, Heb 6:1)

Christ, through His shed blood on the cross, took the punishment of the sin of His people upon Himself so that we would not have to be punished. (1 Pet 3:18)

Christ, through His resurrection, declared to everyone that He had successfully paid the sin debt of His people and was the God He had claimed to be. (1 Cor 15:12-28)

Christ, after His resurrection to heaven, is now standing, pleading our case on our behalf to God the Father… he is ever living to declare our justified standing to God (Heb 7:23-28)

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. “ (1Pe 1:18-21)

5. “even the forgiveness of sins” – If we are forgiven by God, we have been released from the shame, guilt and punishment for our sins!

As we trust in Christ, we find that we are justified (declared innocent) of all the sins that we have committed.   No longer do we have to labor under our sin debt, nor do we need to be concerned about our future.  (Rom 5:1-2)  We can know that Christ, as the indwelling spirit, is with us helping us in this life and securing our future with Him.   (Col 1:27, John 14:16-17, 1 Cor 1:20-22, Eph 1:13-14)

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1Jn 1:5-10)

May we all praise the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all he has done for us….

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “  (Php 2:5-11)

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.

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.”