Two-Sided Salvation – part 6

Often, those who reside on the side of life prior to salvation are plagued with faithlessness. Why? Many of us are raised in this world with a ‘scientific’ viewpoint; i.e. ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Yet a plethora of the population believes in the ‘Big Bang,’ while not ever contemplating that it takes some kind of ‘faith’ to believe that the universe and how we got here was resulted from a series of random events.

Many take for granted that every time they flip the light switch, illumination will result – even though electricity, for the most part, cannot be seen.

Lack of faith can produce several deleterious results. For example, what if you don’t have faith in a hereafter? If you haven’t noticed, this life flashes by in heartbeat. Moreover, it is chock-full of trials and tribulations, with no true path for navigating them or rising above them. To make matters worse, the world’s concepts of happiness yield fleeting results at best. Contentedness is a rare commodity.

What if you don’t have faith in love? It’s hard to possess sometimes, given the inherent shortcomings of our humanity. We can’t trust most people to put other’s welfare above their own. And again, the world provides so many destructive paths that lead to failure in love.

If you don’t have faith in yourself, life will be doubly hard. Life keeps coming at you whether or not you are prepared to weather it. If you don’t know how, you’ll view yourself as weak, flawed and unacceptable. Hardly fertile ground for growing relationships. Instead, you can find yourself in isolation, depression and subsequently suffering from all the self-destructive activities one dives into to suppress them.

If you don’t have faith in God, who then are you going to turn to deliver you out of this mess?

That’s where salvation comes in. God has been waiting for you since before your first day of life on this earth, yearning for your return to His original purpose for you:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (Jesus). Eph. 1:3 – 6. NKJV

God had every intention of delivering you from the world and its ways and its consequences. He built it into your path. And the gate to the path is Christ:

In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty of our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the richness of His grace which He lavished on us. in all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight], He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Christ, with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages] – to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny – we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:7 – 12. AMP

So, God wants to draw you to Himself but He cannot do so unless you are holy (sinless). Can we of ourselves come into His presence in that state?

…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kings 8:46 NKJV

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags… Is. 64:6 NKJV

Thus, not only are we sinful, our best efforts to atone for them are for naught. But praise be to God, you can see that He has made us ’acceptable’ in His grace through the blood of Christ that pays the price for our transgressions and gathers us into His love for eternity. That is the gospel message, that is salvation.

Notice though the last line of the scripture, we who were the first to hope in Christ; (emphasis mine). ‘Hope’ equates with ‘faith.’ If you have no faith in Christ, who He is, what He’s done and His gospel, you will have no salvation. The consequence is that at the end of time, you will be placed into the category of what Jesus says are ‘goats’ that He gathers in HIs left hand:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’…Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ “… Mt. 23:31 – 34 & 41. NKJV

Doesn’t sound like a great outcome for those goats.

Bottom line: it takes faith to receive salvation. So, what is faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

Faith is the hope in things that are not tangible to our five senses. And faith is required to have a relationship with God:

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and act He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Heb. 11:6 AMP

We can’t even approach God without some measure of faith. When we possess that faith, the love of God confers upon us our salvation – totally by His doing, not by any efforts of our own:

For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). Rm. 3:28 AMP

The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct or the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Mk. 1:15 AMP

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jn. 5:24 NASB

It’s all about the faith, because if you don’t have it, you cannot be delivered from that stain of worldly dross:

“…if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

We need the faith, but how do we get it? That’s the best part!

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… Gal. 5:22 ESV

…let us with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. Rm. 10:17 AMP

Thus, God gives us a free gift of faith that He created through His Son, which is delivered by the Holy Spirit and nurtured and strengthened when we immerse ourselves in the hearing of the gospel.

God never leaves us hanging. Once, Jesus came upon a boy that was suffering from demon-induced epileptic seizures. The boy’s father asked Christ to cure the him if He was able. Jesus replied:

“All things are possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23 ESV

The father immediately responds, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mk. 9:24 ESV

And Jesus healed the boy.

So, not only do you receive divine faith when you ask for it, Jesus makes sure you have enough.

Have faith.

Goodnight and God bless.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

February 18 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Jesus Contact 6

Author Finisher, Founder and Perfecter of your faith

No faith, no God. Oh, God is still there, but He doesn’t connect with the unfaithful. Faith is the bedrock of Christianity:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

When Jesus began preaching, He lamented over the lack of faith in the Jews regarding His message:

Unless you see signs and miracles happen, you [people] will never believe (trust, have faith) at all. Jn 4:8 AMP

Jesus was approached by a nobleman who urged Him to come to his home and heal his dying son. That’s what prompted His afore-mentioned utterance. Yet, He pours His compassion forth and says:

“Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. Jn. 4:50 NKJV

The son was healed before the man got home! Why? It’s because the nobleman had placed his faith in Jesus’ words.

Shortly thereafter, Jesus returned to Nazareth and began to preach in a synagogue. He starts by laying out His entire purpose for coming to this world by quoting Is. 61, 62:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Lk. 4:18, 19. NKJV

The ‘acceptable year of the Lord’ is alluding to the ‘year of the Jubilee,’ which was a specified year when all debtors and slaves were set free in Israel. Jesus is saying that He came to set them free from spiritual darkness and the consequences it brings.

All eyes are on Jesus when He delivers the clincher:

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk. 4:21 NKJV

How did the people of Nazareth respond? They scoffed at Him because they were blinded by their familiarity with Him due to the fact that He grew up in that town. They had no faith. Guess what? Neither did they receive any miracles.

Even Satan and his demons have faith in Jesus. When Jesus was preaching in another synagogue in Capernaum, the devil entered into a man who stood up and said:

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Mk. 1:23, 24. NKJV

The people in that town had faith and brought all of their sick and demon-possessed to Jesus for miracle cures, and He healed them all!

While still in Galilee, Jesus was approached by a leper who entreated Him:

“If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Mk. 1:40 NKJV

He brought his faith. He got his miracle. Indeed, many times that Jesus performed miracles, He stated that His ability to do so was facilitated by the recipient’s faith. (Lk. 7:50, 18:42; Mt. 9:22; Mk. 2:5.)

Let’s look at one more. Jesus went into the apostle Peter’s house to preach. Because the house was crammed to capacity, friends of a paralyzed man took the roof off the house and lowered their paralyzed friend to Jesus:

And when He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Lk. 5:16 NKJV

There were scribes and Pharisees in the audience who went apoplectic with rage over Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins. Jesus read their minds and rebuked them, saying that in order to prove He had that power, He was going to heal the paralytic as well – which He did.

Christ has the power to overcome sin. Notice that He cleansed the man of his sins before He healed him. Consider too that it was the faith of the man’s friends that provided the atmosphere for Jesus’ healing power to manifest.

Faith is at the center of everything:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mt. 21:22 ESV

“All things are possible to him who believes.” Mk. 9:23 NASB

Faith bonds all of God’s children as one. (Eph. 4;4 – 6.) Having faith is the only way to please God. (Heb. 11:6) We are justified and sanctified by it. (Rm. 3:28) It brings us divine strength (Ps. 125:1) and protection. (Ps. 31:23, 56:4, 71:5, 6.) Faith even wards off the devil himself. (1 Pt. 5:8, 9; Eph. 6:16.) Our happiness is based upon faith, our revelation, (Jm. 1:5, 6.) healing, (Jm. 5:15) as well as all the rest of God’s blessings.(Pr. 28:20; Lk. 1:45.)

So, where do we get this faith?

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is…faithfulness. Gal. 5:22 ESV

It comes from God Himself! He’s helping you do the believing. In fact, we can’t even understand the gospel message until that faith is activated. (2 Cor. 4:3, 4.) We must have the gift of God’s grace to be able to know Christ and have Him reside within us.

We continue to strengthen that faith by continually immersing ourselves in the hearing of our newfound understanding:

So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips of Christ] (the Messiah Himself). Rm. 10;17 AMP

By faith you touch God, not by works. By faith you accept that Jesus has done everything – making us totally acceptable to God. In that faith, we act on the word of God, to live by it at all times. And what lies at the crux of that work? Your faith:

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Jn. 6:29 NKJV

Your salvation in a nutshell…

So what’s left?

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

Looking to Jesus, making that contact…
Goodnight and God bless.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

May 13 2016 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »