Tag Archives: salvation

The Ship is Lost

It was a desperate situation for the captain. He had traveled a long way looking for the answers to the question about his soul. He was no longer satisfied to travel the dark seas, and had heard that there was a place filled with light. He had only to find a lighthouse to guide him on his way. Before the captain – in the darkness – stood a grand lighthouse. It had been known to shine so brightly in the past, and many had found the Kingdom of Light by its testimony. The light inside the lighthouse glowed as brilliantly as it ever had. However, the keeper of the lighthouse had become weary in his well doing. In his despondency he had ceased to keep the windows clean. The desperate Capitan would have to look for another lighthouse because this one had ceased to shine.

I continue my journey though the 23rd Psalm. This time the first part of verse three. “He restoreth my soul:” If there is any doubt of the difficulties faced on the green pastures and by the still waters the fact the the Shepherd restores our souls should settle it. Lets cut through the pleasantries and take an honest look at your soul. To many Christians are just like the lighthouse mentioned above, and way past the need for a restoration. The problem is never the Light for it always shines inside of us. Too many souls are so desperate to be restored that the light can not even penetrate into the lighthouse itself. We are discouraged, depressed, worn out, and tired. We still go to church for now, and we may still even work in ministry at our church. We are however just a shell of a Christian serving God out of a habit.

If you doubt me let me ask you one question: Were is your joy?

In Psalms 53 David pleads with God to “restore the joy of thy salvation.” One of the first things to go in a Christians life is the joy that comes with our salvation. There can be no joy in darkness. The really sad part is the number of Christians who are fine being in darkness. They would never say it, but they are as unconcerned about the lost world as they are about themselves. The Fruit of the Spirit has long since been partaken of, and Satan has victory in there lives.

Well, if I have not totally ticked you off, I will show you the good news. The Shepherd knows that you are going to need restoration. He gladly provides it. His love for us is not conditional on our obedience to Him. His fellowship with us can be affected, but He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

So there you stand covered in dirt. Your joy is gone. Your testimony to the world is gone. You are the sheep that is standing at the edge of the flock as far from the Shepherd as you can get. I challenge you to lift up your eyes and look into the eyes of the Shepherd. For He has said, ”Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Your Shepherd stands there now, knocking on your door; waiting to restore you. You need not worry about cleaning the dirt before opening the door. He already knows it’s there, and He will wash you. Spend some close time with your Shepherd, and you will find your joy restored. See the world with His eyes, and your heart will burn for the lost.

It was a desperate situation for the captain. He had traveled a long way looking for the answers to the question about his soul. He was no longer satisfied to travel the dark seas, and had heard that there was a place filled with Light. He had only to find a lighthouse to guide him on his way. Before the captain in the darkness stood a grand lighthouse. It had been known to shine so brightly in the past, and many had found the Kingdom of Light by its testimony. The Light inside the lighthouse glowed as brilliantly as it ever had. The windows, now restored, reflected that Light far into the dark sea. The desperate captain saw the Light. His heart skipped with joy, and tears ran down his eyes. For this sheep, whom once had been lost, now had been found. His life in darkness had now been transformed into sight. This was all due to the sheep who found himself in need of restoration, and surrendered himself anew to the Shepherd.

Article by David Wagner

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God’s Greatest Promise?

God’s Word is filled with promises. It often seems that you cannot read a single chapter without finding at least one promise. A few weeks ago I was reading Romans 8. I hit verse 28, a promise most Christians have claimed on more than one occasion- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” It is a great verse and a great promise.  But as I continued reading in this chapter I came to a verse I had probably read two dozen times before (verse 32).

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

I stopped and read it again, and again. I probably read it six or seven times before I grasped what it was saying.

The Fathomless Promise

Many of God’s promises are amazing. In Matthew 6, verses 25-34, he who seeks the kingdom of God first is promised that “these things” (food, clothing, and shelter) will be provided. God gives us the promise of rest and relief if we bring our burdens to Him in Matthew 11:28-30. But in Romans 8:32 He promises us more than this- He promises us “all things”! I love things that include the word “all.” All-time greatest, all-inclusive resort, all-you-can-eat buffet.

For the child of God, the breadth of this verse is limitless. As the saying goes, “All means all and that all that all means.” Think about it. The very God of heaven is promising you and me all things- salvation, forgiveness, mercy, love, protection, provision, wisdom, righteousness, friendship . . . ALL THINGS! What could be greater than a promise of all things from an all-knowing, all-powerful God?!?

Glad you asked. I told you I liked things that contained the word “all.” I also really like things that are free! Here, God doesn’t just promise all things; He promises to give these things to us freely! I did not catch this the first time I read it. But it makes the promise even more amazing. It’s so amazing it is a difficult to understand what is being said, and to do so fully we must consider the doctrinal underpinnings of the promise.

The Foundational Principles

At least two things undergird this promise – the omnipotence of God and the fact that He purchased and now freely offers salvation. If someone other than God Himself was making this promise it would be much less amazing. As a matter of fact, it would not be believable. Also, if God the Father had given something less than his most precious possession (His only Son) to begin with or if He had not offered salvation as a free gift, the promise would similarly lose its significance. To put it differently, the first half of this verse is what provides substance to the second half. But the fact is that God IS the one making the promise and He did FREELY sacrifice Jesus Christ for each of us. Because God did not withhold what was most dear to Him, I can be confident that there is absolutely nothing He will withhold. It is on this basis that I can fully, unwaveringly rely on this promise.

The Final Point

You may think that salvation is God’s greatest promise. Salvation, as great as it is, doesn’t compare to the promise made in verse 32. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the basis for this verse, just as it is for salvation. But salvation is simply one side of this multi-faceted promise. You may disagree, but I truly believe this might be the greatest promise of the Bible precisely because it is rooted in the greatest gift ever given.

Read Romans 8:32; meditate on it. As I did a few days ago, I was left with one thought. It has come to mind numerous times since.

The fact that the God of heaven gave up His Son Jesus for me is proof that there is NOTHING that He will withhold from me. 

Article by Bryan Likins

@bmlesq

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What Does ‘Being Saved’ Mean to You?

While reading through a devotional book, my wife asked me this simple question, “What does being saved mean to you?” In a poor attempt to flex my spiritual muscles and show her how well versed I was in theology, I fired off a line of seminary answers that were sure to dazzle her mind. I made sure to mention key words like propitiation, sacrifice, imputation … you get the idea. After a nice display of verbal acrobatics, I sat back and waited for my pat on the back — it never came… She responded with an answer I wasn’t suspecting, “No, that’s what being saved IS… I’m asking what does it MEAN to YOU!” Howbeit, (a little embarrassed to say the least) I wanted to know her opinion and response to that question. The answer was so good I had to share it:

Being saved to me means having a peace about life and death and a purpose to living. It means acceptance and forgiveness, grace and mercy, but also responsibility and urgency… – My Much Better Half

I’m not entirely sure that I could say it any better, but then again, that was what being saved meant to HER … But what does it mean to ME? What does it mean to YOU?

What is unique about salvation is that it will always mean something different to each and every person. For those who have accepted and trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the reasons of what THAT truly means to them are no doubt as colorful as the people themselves! With that being said, I can’t leave you hanging — Salvation in its purest form is a reference to being delivered from something; so here are a few declarations I can make:

I can LIVE EACH DAY WITHOUT FEAR of tomorrow because I have been DELIVERED from DEATH

(Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us – 2 Corinthians 1:10)

I can OVERCOME MY FLESH through Holy Spirit because I have been DELIVERED from MYSELF

(Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1)

I can ENJOY THE FUTURE because I have been DELIVERED from THE PAST

(For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. – Hebrews 8:10)

I can SHARE MY STORY because I have been DELIVERED from THE WORLD

(For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:4-5)

The more I put my mind to it, the more I COULD add to that list — because salvation is so vast and so expansive. So I ask you the question again, WHAT DOES BEING SAVED MEAN TO YOU? Leave YOUR answer in the comments below; I’d love to hear them. As long as there is an emotion in your soul, your salvation will always mean something … Because it is just that GOOD!

 

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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Oh, Glorious Day!

It’s been said by many before that as Christians,we should be careful not to get our theology from songs. Very true statement — there are plenty of songs out there that take scriptural principles way out of context and by singing them, the listener THINKS that it is Biblical. While there are certainly some bad songs out there, some of them are VERY good!

On June 28th of 2012, I celebrated 14 years of salvation. I will never forget the Sunday night that I pulled my father aside as a 12-year-old boy and explained to him that I was in need of a Savior. Lovingly, he knelt down with me at his bed and shared with me the blessing of Christ! As I reflect back on that day, one song (with great scriptural meat) flooded my mind.

In 1910, a preacher by the name of John Wilbur Chapman penned the words to a song that in my opinion, portrays the full scope of the finished work of Christ: Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me). Granted, Casting Crowns rendition is a little more catchy, but they use the exact same words:

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming—O glorious day!

What a chorus! To full understand the depth of what is being said, I want to compare those lyrics with a famous passage of scripture that is often misread. In Romans 6, we receive from Paul the significance of the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Lord with the assurance of ETERNAL SECURITY as a bonus!

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: (Romans 6:3-5)

First off, let’s understand that just because you see the word “Baptism”, it doesn’t mean that it is referring to water (Baptism of Fire, Spirit, Suffering, etc). What baptism DOES equal is IDENTIFICATION or ONENESS. For example, remember in 1 Corinthians 10, that Israel was “baptized” or identified unto Moses.  With that being said, let’s again look at Romans and the first line of the chorus:

… dying, He saved me;

that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

To be saved, you must be IDENTIFIED with and be ONE with Christ’s death. It is essential that we understand that Jesus had ZERO sin to die for, and that HIS death was what WE deserved.

Buried, He carried my sins far away;

… Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:

To comprehend the magnitude of that statement! After the crucifixion, the body of Christ, LADEN WITH THE SINS OF THE WORLD, was buried. Our sin was buried WITH HIM! But the best part is the next phrase:

Rising, He justified freely forever:

… 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.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Romans 6:8-10)

WOW! Realize that Jesus died ONCE for sin — He is not dying again. If you are identified with His death, that means YOU DIE ONCE! If you are ONE with Christ, YOU will be raised from the dead to live with Him forever. What an assurance!

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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7 Reasons You Can’t Lose Your Salvation

1. ADOPTION

When we receive Christ and are saved, we are God’s sons & daughters.  He has imputed His righteousness onto our account (irreversible) and made us part of His family forever.  *See Romans 4:5-9, 16.  Ephesians 1:4-5 says that is His desire [will] and choice that has brought us to Him – that’s impossible to fight against.  John 1:12 says that we believe and become His children.

2. COVENANT

Marriage covenants are strong, but they are secondary to that of Christ’s covenant with His people (Ephesians 5:25-26).  God hates divorce because if gives a false picture of His faithfulness (book of Hosea).  When we are saved, God covenants with us – never to leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5, 20).  All believers should expect to share in the marriage supper mentioned in Revelation 19 as His Bride.

3. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

God’s love is greater and stronger than whatever man can do.  I didn’t do anything to earn or deserve God’s love, so it is also true that I cannot do anything to make Him stop loving me.  He loved me when I was still a sinner (Romans 5:1-11).  God can’t love me any more or any less – just look at the cross for the most compelling example of this kind of love.  While this doesn’t mean that God saves everyone or that He overlooks sin, it does mean that, because He hath set his love upon me, I can be assured of eternity through grace and faith.  *See John 5:24, 6:37-40; Titus 3:4-5.

4. GRACE

God’s grace is connected with His power … and He is far too strong to ever let me go (1 Peter 1:5)!  His gracious commitment to me when I commit my soul to Him precludes my past sins and all my future sins (Phil. 1:6).  God agreed to save me when I was 12 yrs old – even though I hadn’t even committed the bulk of my sins yet.  He knew what I was going to do, and still He graciously saved me from my sins.  Just as my acts of goodness cannot count toward my salvation, neither can my acts of sin and selfishness count against it.  I was saved by grace, and grace is always victorious over sin (Ephesians 2:8-10)!

5. CHASTENING

As a child of God, I understand God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11).  He does not treat me like a convict feeling the need to constant punish (Romans 8:1).  He understands that I am flesh and will require training… and I’m thankful.  Some would say that sins destroy my relationship with God, but John writes in his First Epistle that my relationship with Christ is secure (sin only jeopardizes my fellowship with Him).

6. PETER

The chosen Apostle’s example is one of great encouragement to the worst of sinners.  Peter committed the worst of sins  — the ‘unpardonable sin’ of denying Christ (blasphemy).  Not only once, He denied three times (Mark 14:66-72).  Three wasted opportunities.  The third time he even swore with an oath.  Did not Christ tell Peter that any man denying Him would be denied before the Father (Matt. 10:33)?  Yet Jesus didn’t just throw away this soul to Satan!  He didn’t give up on Him, quite the opposite… He gave Peter three ‘second chances’ to voice His love for His Savior (John 21).

7. SO MANY SCRIPTURES

Is God indecisive?  Is the Bible divided?  No!  Yet some would question hundreds of clear Bible teachings (teaching eternal security) because they do not understand a dozen vague passages (seemingly implying insecurity of salvation).  The whole of Scripture has a singular teaching about salvation… either the Bible teaches you CAN or you CAN’T lose your salvation – not both.  Over 10:1, the Scriptures teach that eternal life is a present possession (1 John 5:12) given to those who receive Christ by faith (John 6:37, 10:28-29), guaranteed for our assurance and faith (1 John 5:13-14) to the intent we believe even more.

>> There are far more reasons, this is just a quick list that is personal to me… please add your own reasons in the COMMENTS, below!  Thanks.

What about QUESTIONABLE PASSAGES?

*I must admit that I don’t have all the answers!  I firmly believe that many false teachings have been born out of a person’s inability to say “I don’t know” and leave it at that.  We long to be dogmatic and know that we know certain things.  We must agree to study and search the Scriptures, comparing verses with each other, drawing conclusions that gel with the whole of the Bible.

*Let context rule!  Many cults and false teachings are based in the very same book I’ve built my life on.  Consider the audience, date, dispensation, literary type, etc.  of difficult passages.  For example, John 15:6 is part of a parabolic teaching (Jesus doesn’t really give me sap or expect me to grow grapes on my fingers and toes.  So why would I isolate the fire as literal ‘hell-fire’?).  Also, Hebrews 6 is a difficulty to many, but it was written to Messianic Jews.  Don’t try to apply verse 6 to your experience… it is simplify understood when you consider the author is speaking of the Jews who lived along side Jesus and saw His life, miracles, death, and resurrection first-hand, yet did not believe.  He says that if they didn’t believe that, what else would they believe – there’s not another Jesus coming to save them (10:26).

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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