Monday, May 4, 2015

What is salvation?

Every human being, by the virtue of being born of Adam is born in a state of sin and so commits sin that comes from the heart (Mark 7:21-22) and this goes to the mind and to the rest of the parts of the body – see Romans 3:9-19:
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

Therefore, every person in the whole world is a sinner by nature. The sinful heart, thoughts, desires, appetites and actions are symptoms of this sinful nature. Yes, you sin because you are a sinner! This state of sin is described in the Bible as being dead in sin and trespasses. See, Ephesians 2:1-3:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
While all human being are not sinful in the same way or to the same extent, everyone is not only sinful from the heart, but also utterly unable to do any spiritual good that would get him out this state of sin and misery. After all, what can a dead, cold spiritual corpse do for itself? Nothing! Therefore, God declares in His Word, no one is righteous, no not one. No one does good! But remember that the law of God declares that the wages of sins is death (Rom. 6:23) and that the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)
This means that for a sinner to be saved, an external help has to come from one who is both willing and able to given eternal salvation. This is the point of the good news – that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Yes, God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). When the angels announced the birth of Jesus to Mary, they said that He was to be called ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus came to the world to deal with sins. He came not to call the righteous but the sinners.
How does Jesus save? In two ways –
·         His life on earth: By his perfect and sinless life on earth the Lord Jesus obeyed perfectly all the law of God and by so doing He achieved all the necessary righteousness for His people. The righteousness of Christ was acceptable to God the Father and so God said that He was “Well pleased with His son” during his baptism and at his transfiguration.
·         By His death and resurrection: Christ’s death paid the penalty of death that was due all sinners. The indication that the price of the death of Christ was sufficient was that Christ said “It is finished!” when He was on the cross on the verge of death. Furthermore, God raised Him from death. The resurrection of Christ meant that the sacrifice was acceptable and the new life is given.
For you to be a beneficiary of this vicarious Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, you have to:
·         Experience the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit: You have to be born again/above. This means that for an unsaved person (who is dead in sin) to be saved, the Holy Spirit must come in his life and give new life so that the person so that he can respond to the good news. This is what Christ told Nicodemus – you must be born again for you to see or enter the kingdom of God. This was not something that Nicodemus could do. There is nothing a baby does to be born, in the same way new birth is absolutely and only the work do the Holy Spirit. The Lord said that just like you do not know from where the wind blows and where it is going so it is the sovereign work of the Spirit in conversion.
·         Have faith in Christ: Stop trusting in yourself and trust wholly, fully and truly on Christ. But how do you know that you have such a faith in Him? You turn to Christ in faith and repent all your sins to Him and plead for His pardoning mercy and saving grace.  Faith and repentance are the first signs of spiritual life, just like a new born baby sneezes and cries for the mother and the midwife to know it is not stillbirth. Once the Holy Spirit comes in a person, the person believes in Christ and repents of the sins. This is why the work of a preacher is to command and demand faith and repentance, nothing more and nothing less.
One great example of a person who repented is the tax collector in Luke 18:13 who cried, “Be merciful to me, the sinner!” and then he went to his house justified or Paul who said in 1 Timothy 1:12-16,
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because … though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.   

Like Paul if you were to believe in Christ today, you would obtain His mercy and so have eternal life, secured by Christ’s eternal love. Tell the Lord Jesus Christ the sinful life you have lived and ask Him for forgiveness. Thankfully, He has promised that whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out (John 6:37). In fact He calls out, “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28) Thank God, for Jesus is willing to save. And behold – He is able to save. God has said in His word that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all those who draw near to God by faith through Him (Hebrews 7:25). You will be wise to believe Him now and repent of your sins and obtain this wonderful, eternal salvation.

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