Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus our Savior

Barabbas Instead of Jesus

I can’t get away from the account in the Gospels about Barabbas.  This story intrigues me because I see in it the beauty of the substitutionary atonement that Jesus provides for our salvation.   This is a pivotal point of Christianity that runs across the board.  Christians have always held that Jesus died for us, that He died for our sins.  Paul the Apostle states it clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that Christ died for our sins.  He repeats this in Galatians 1:4.  Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:24 that Christ bore our sins in His body on the tree.

The Lord Jesus died for our sins.  We can debate the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and His obedience to the Father but we cannot debate that Christ shed His blood for our forgiveness and that He died in our place.  He was condemned so that we might be saved by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-9).  Paul states that we redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses (Ephesians 1:7).  Hebrews 9:22 states that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness.  Our salvation is based on the Lord Jesus and what He did on the cross by dying for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

In Matthew 27 we see a  beautiful picture of this substitutionary work of Christ.  Here we find Pilate asking the Jews which they want him to release to them: Barabbas (an insurrectionists and murderer) or Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 27:17).  The crowd cries for Barabbas (Matthew 27:20).  Pilate asks them again and they again want Barabbas (Matthew 27:21) to which the crowd asks for Jesus to be crucified (Matthew 27:22-23).  Pilate washes his hands of this murder of Jesus (Matthew 27:24) and the people cry that they want His blood to be upon them (Matthew 27:25) to which Pilate releases Jesus to be crucified (Matthew 27:26).

What I find amazing about this account is that the crowd asks for Barabbas instead of Jesus.  They even want His blood to be upon them and their children.  They were speaking prophetically.  They were simply asking for what the Jews had asked for when they offered up the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:21-27).  Paul the Apostle wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that Christ is our Passover Lamb.  Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who is without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:19).  Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for our sins because He was perfect and He died in our place, condemned for our sins but bore our sins on the cross.  The guilty sinner (Romans 3:23) can now look to the Lamb of God to be saved (Isaiah 45:22).

This salvation is based not on our works but upon the work of Christ alone (Titus 3:5-7).  What could be do to appease the wrath of God?  What works could be possibly do to merit eternal life?  Can we keep the law of God perfectly?  Can we live our entire lives free from sin, completely obedient to the will of a holy and perfect God?  If someone says they can they are lying.  None can (Proverbs 20:9).

I have met people before who claim to never sin.  They will even tell me the date the last time they sinned and claim that they have not sinned since in word, thought, or deed.  I find that alarming.  I confess my weaknesses.  I am not perfect by far.  Ask my wife and she could name hundreds of my sins.  No I don’t wake up going out looking to sin or looking to disobey the Lord but I confess that I have not walked perfectly with the Lord.  I have fallen short many times.  I have not loved God perfectly nor have I obeyed Him perfectly.

This makes me so thankful for the crowd asking for Barabbas instead of Jesus.  I am Barabbas.  My heart has been wicked before God.  I have not been perfect as He requires (Matthew 5:48).  I have sinned (Romans 3:10-18).  But thanks be to God for the gift of His Son (John 3:16).  Jesus died for my sins.  Barabbas could not save for he was guilty of great sins.  Yet the Lord in His sovereignty allowed the hardened Jews to choose Barabbas (who is me) instead of Christ.  Jesus thus died in my place and in the place of Barabbas.  Jesus bore the sins of Barabbas as well as the sins of sins of the world (1 John 2:1-2).

My heart now longs to please God.  Not out of legalism.  Not out of bondage.  But my heart longs now to worship and please the Lord because of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of what Jesus did for me by dying in my place and taking my condemnation, I now rejoice in this great salvation, this great grace!  I pray because I am so thankful for what Jesus has done.  I long to see others saved because of what Jesus has done.  I long to praise my God because of what Jesus has done.  This salvation is all of Jesus and my boasting is only in the Lord Jesus who died for my sins (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

I often have read the story of Barabbas and wonder what happened to him.  Church tradition is that Barabbas did get saved and became a great preacher of the gospel.  How could he not?  He watched with his own eyes as the people chose him (and he knew he was guilty) for the Lord Jesus who had never sinned.  I am sure Barabbas had heard of Jesus maybe even heard Him preach.  I tend to believe tradition at this point and believe that Barabbas became a great preacher of the gospel.  His testimony would have been powerful as he told how Jesus took His place and was crucified on the cross where he should have died.

The story use to make me weep at the crowds choosing Barabbas.  I would talk to my Bible and say, “No, let Jesus go free.”  Yet I know that without the cross, I have no salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  The gospel rises and falls on Jesus taking our place.  Jesus fulfilled the words of Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 53 and He suffered in our place.

Thanks be to God!

Mere Christianity?

Dr. James White often refers to what he calls the “mere Christianity” movement where people try to make Christianity as small as you can make it.  In the 2000 years of the Church, orthodoxy has been the standard for what is deemed as Christian.  I grant you that at times this has not always been clear and sometimes people made non-essentials as essentials of the gospel.  In our day, mere Christianity has come to simply believe that if you affirm Jesus, you are a Christian.

I have been following a blogger for some time who I have seen him drifting this way.  His view is that Jesus is what matters yet it seems to me that he does not care what people believe about Jesus so long as they say they love Jesus and desire to follow Him.  While this blogger seems to affirm that the Bible is the Word of God (though I’m not sure if he holds to inerrancy or infallibility), he often muddles the water by using the liberal “red letter Christian” mantras.  It is as if this blogger makes Jesus someone that we should merely copy (and by that I mean be a hippie and be focused on “peace and love man”).  This blogger even has been writing about how he has seen Jesus in a Muslim friend of his and how this Muslim has taught him more about Jesus than many Christians.

This is the mere Christianity movement.  There is no focus on the doctrine of Christ nor about His atonement.  There is little emphasis placed on His perfection for our salvation.  There is nothing said about His death, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He lives to make intercession for the saints.  There is nothing said about His coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  In fact, mere Christianity makes Jesus just someone that we should copy and imitate to have a better life.  Jesus becomes nothing more than a “great teacher” along with other “great teachers.”  Jesus’ own declarations are ignored.

I don’t assume that someone is a Christian simply because they name the name of Jesus.  Jesus Himself said that many would come in His name (Matthew 24:4-5).  John the Beloved wrote that many antichrists had come (1 John 2:18).  Antichrists are false christs.  Paul the Apostle issued curses on those who preach a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  Thus we can see that there are false christs and false gospels.

Not everyone who says Jesus is truly His (Matthew 7:21-23).  Jesus said that those who are His are those who hear His words and put them into practice, who build their lives on His teachings (Matthew 7:24-27).  A disciple of Jesus is one who abides in His teachings (John 8:31-32).  This means that the disciple not only reads the Word of God (and not merely the “red letters”) but they study it as well.  I study God’s Word to know God, to love Him more and to obey Him better all by His Spirit and His grace.

So many claim Christ but they don’t even know the first thing about Him.  They don’t know His Word.  They don’t read His Word.  They don’t study His Word.  They don’t care to study His Word nor do they truly care to know Him because Jesus doesn’t fit our views when we read and study Him.  The perfect Son of God is not like us in that He is absolutely perfect, holy, blameless, and His ways are beyond our ways.  We seek to imitate Him (1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 2:6) but we recognize that He alone is perfect.  He is perfect for our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Because He remains forever perfect, He now stands before the Father in our defense (Hebrews 7:22-25).  As we abide in Jesus through faith (Romans 5:1; 1 John 2:24-25), we find that He is faithful to wash our sins away (1 John 1:7, 9).

The mere Christianity movement wants to place Jesus among others.  Jesus is far above all others (Colossians 1:15-20).  Every knee will bow to His glory alone (Philippians 2:5-11).  This includes all false teachers, all false prophets, all false religions.  Jesus is not equal among others.  Jesus is God (John 1:1, 18; Romans 9:5) and He is to be worshiped as God.

The mere Christianity movement has to dethrone Jesus to make Him equal among others.  For example, the Muslim view of Jesus is not at all equal with the biblical view.  The Quran teaches that Jesus is not God, that He is not even the Son of God.  Yes Islam says that Jesus is the Messiah but they deny His divinity and the Quran condemns to hell those who would say that God is a man or has a son.  The Quran falsely believes that the doctrine of the Trinity includes Mary.  The Quran denies that Jesus died for our sins.  Most Muslims believe that Jesus didn’t even die on the cross but rather Allah made someone else to appear as Jesus on the cross such as Judas.  While Islam teaches that Jesus will return, they believe that He will return and set up an Islamic kingdom on the earth.  The Islamic confession of faith is focused on Mohammad and not on Jesus.

And yet mere Christianity says that since a Muslim claims to love Jesus (the Jesus of the Quran and not the Jesus of the Bible), then they are “saved.”  If a Muslim denies the Quran’s teaching on Jesus and embraces the biblical view of Jesus then I would submit that they are not a Muslim but a Christian.  Of course, true salvation requires faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19-20; 17:30-31).

One final point.  The mere Christianity movement especially detests evangelism.  After all, the evangelist is preaching that Jesus alone saves (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  The evangelist preaches that faith and repentance are necessary for eternal life (Luke 13:5; John 5:24-25; 6:29; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 5:13).  This goes against the mere Christian view that all religions are essentially good so long as they love Jesus.  It also goes against the postmodern mindset that there is no absolute truth since Jesus Himself claims to be the truth of God (John 14:6).  When religious people are confronted with their sins and with the truth of Jesus, they always strike back with a vengeance.  I have witnessed this myself. People don’t mind if you preach a peace and love Jesus but the moment you preach that a person must repent, they quickly turn on you.  People love Jesus but the Jesus they create in their own images but not the biblical Jesus.

I am often confronted by the biblical Jesus as I read.  I am confronted with my sins.  I am confronted with my lack of being like Jesus in all I do.  I am confronted with how wonderful Jesus truly is and the more that I study Him and the more that I seek Him, the more I find that I am not like Him, that He is God and worthy to be praised, and I will never truly grasp Him in this life.  Jesus is simply too wonderful, too mighty, too holy for me to perfectly understand but what I do know is this: He died for my sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18) and He is coming again in glory (2 Timothy 4:1).  I long to see Him and worship Him forever.  I will continue to preach the biblical Jesus and preach against the false christs of this world.

We Never Cease to Need the Gospel

I have written before on sinning every day.  Do we sin everyday?  Can we stop sinning?  These are all for another post and another debate.  Many disciples feel that we cannot but sin every single day of our lives.  They believe that we sin in word, thought, or deed each and every day.  For them, they often mean that they don’t love God like they should (Matthew 22:37) nor do they love their neighbor as they love themselves (Matthew 22:39) and therefore they sin every day.  They would also assert that they do not pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) nor do they evangelize at all times (Matthew 28:19) nor do they give to the poor at all times (Matthew 6:2) nor do they study the Bible at all times (Psalm 119:11).  Simply put: they do not love God enough nor as worthy as He deserves.

I can see their point.  But sadly, this view is often taken to further extremes and these sins of omission are often channeled into sins of commission as well.  In other words, the lack of loving God perfectly is seen as the same sin as viewing pornography.  After all, sin is sin!  I can’t help but sin since this is all I can do.  At my best, my righteousness is still filthy before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6) so why strive for righteousness when I can’t obtain it in the first place.  My best efforts are meaningless before a holy and righteous God.  And so I am just stuck with sinfulness.  It is who I am.  It is what I do.

And that view leads to an antinomian view of the Christian life in which sin dominates and the Lordship of Christ is reduced to Him submitting even to our sins.  Even the precious blood of Jesus (while certainly able to wash away our sins) is not able to conquer our sins.  I mean a few do get “victory” over some sins but they still sin in word, thought, and deed every single day.  Before God, they still are sinners whether they are living in adultery or failing to study their Bibles like they should.

Perhaps in the future I will take a look at these false teachings about our sinfulness and about sanctification.  I fully believe that Jesus is able to deliver His saints.  Matthew 1:21 promises that His very name would mean “the Lord saves” and He will save His people from their sins.  While I fully acknowledge that His blood is sufficient to wash away our sins (Matthew 26:28), I would go further and say that His blood empowers us to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15-16).  The gospel always leads first to forgiveness of our sins and then toward holiness in this process of biblical sanctification (2 Corinthians 7:1).  Hebrews 10:14 is clear on this:

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is sufficient to fully save the sinner (Romans 10:4, 13) but this is just the beginning.  The Lord also sanctifies His people as Hebrews 10:14 promises.

But none of us, not one of us ever comes to a place where we don’t need the gospel.  Some think that the gospel is only for the sinners.  No!  It is for the child of God as well.  We need the gospel.  The precious truths of 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:1-9; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; etc. are true for the child of God.  The truth of Hebrews 4:14-16 is a truth I often pray.  I need the work of Christ always to be saved.  I need His intercession to remain saved (Hebrews 7:25).  I need the blood of Jesus to continue to cleanse me from sin (1 John 1:7).  I fall nowhere close to the holy perfection that God demands (Romans 3:23) and thus I need the work of Christ to stand before a holy God (Romans 3:24-27).  I never cease to need the gospel.  I need to preach the gospel to myself always.

At the end of the day, I need the work of Christ.  I know that the world needs to hear the gospel (Romans 10:14-17) but I need to hear the truth of the gospel as well (Romans 1:16-17).  I need to be reminded that I have not arrived, that I always need the grace of God to overcome.  My pride likes to think that I have arrived but I have not.  I am still seeking.  Still hungry to know this God who saved me.  I am still longing to be like Jesus in that I say or do (Colossians 3:17; 1 John 2:6).  I despise sin but the gospel shows me that my sins are forgiven and that I can overcome sin by the grace of God (Titus 2:11-12).  The gospel shows me that Christ is faithful, sufficient, and He is my victory, my holiness, my salvation, my power to overcome.  Christ is the one that I need to focus on and not myself or my works.  They are full of holes but Christ is perfect and He is my gospel.

In every area of my life I need the gospel.  I need the gospel over my marriage, how I raise my children, how I spend my money.  I need the gospel over my home, over my job, and over my reading.  I need the gospel in my habits.  I need the gospel in my talks with the lost.  I need the gospel for forgiveness of my sins.  I need the gospel when I am driving my truck.  I never cease to need the precious truths of the gospel.  Never.

I pray that you, my reader, hunger to know the gospel as well.   The gospel is not abstract.  It is not rules.  The gospel is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the living One (Revelation 1:17-18).  The gospel is not memorizing steps to peace.  The gospel is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is my longing, to know Christ (Philippians 3:8-11).  I pray that I make my boast in the cross of Christ alone (Galatians 6:14).  His cross is my cross.  His death is my death.  His resurrection is my resurrection.  I need Him every hour!

The Levites: Picture of the NT Saint (Part One)

I have been reading through the Old Testament in my devotional reading and recently went through Deuteronomy.  I was struck by the Levites.  These Jews were selected by God Himself to serve Him in His holy place (Deuteronomy 10:8).  In fact, Yahweh said about the Levites in Numbers 3:12-13 (NKJV):

12 “Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, 13 because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord.”

God claimed the Levites for His own.  They were to serve Him and He was to be their portion in the land.  While the other Israelites were to settle into the land of promise and obtain cities and farmland, the Levites, even among their fellow Jews, were to be consecrated unto the Lord.  Outsiders were not allowed into the Lord’s presence (Numbers 3:10) and God was to be the Levites reward for their sanctification.  Numbers 18:20 (NKJV) reads:

Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.

Joshua, after dividing up the land for the Israelites, proclaimed in Joshua 13:33 (NKJV):

But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.

The Open Study Bible gives the following information about the Levites.  Their duties were:

  • Serve the LORD (Deut. 10:8)
  • Serve the priesthood (Num. 3:5-9)
  • Attend the sanctuary duties (Num. 18:3)
  • Distribute the tithe (2 Chronicles 31:11-19)
  • Prepare sacrifices for priests (2 Chronicles 35:10-14)
  • Teach the people (2 Chronicles 17:8-11)
  • Declare the verdicts of Law (Deut. 17:9-11)
  • Protect the king (2 Chronicles 23:2-10)
  • Perform music (1 Chronicles 25:1-7)
  • Precede the army (2 Chronicles 20:19-21, 28)

The Levites were chosen by God’s sovereign choice (Numbers 17:7-11).

As New Testament disciples, we no longer have a special group of people who are priests unto the Lord while we laity are not.  God no longer has a priesthood other than the fact that Jesus Christ is our faithful high priest (Hebrews 4:14).  Jesus stands before a holy God for us and He makes intercession for us (Hebrews 4:15; 7:25).  Jesus rises even above the Levitical priesthood for two main reasons.  First, unlike the Levites, Jesus was absolutely perfect and holy (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15).  Jesus died for us and He didn’t need any blood shed for His forgiveness before God because He never sinned.  Jesus lived a perfect life under the Law and He fulfilled the Law for us (Galatians 3:13-14).  Hebrews 7:24-28 (NKJV) is powerful at this point:

24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

Notice that the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that the human priests (other than Jesus) have to offer sacrifices for their own sins but not so with Christ.  He was perfect before God and He was able to fulfill Isaiah 53:4-6 and offer Himself to God for our sins.

Secondly, Hebrews 7:4-10 speaks of the Melchizedek priesthood which Jesus fulfilled.  The writer of Hebrews shows that the Melchizedek priesthood was superior to the Levitical priesthood in the foreshadowing of Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20).  Hebrews 7:11-24 speaks of the failure of the Levitical priesthood in that it featured a sinful priest and the priest died but not so with Jesus on either points.  Jesus was perfect and He lives forever (Hebrews 7:21).  Because Jesus lives forever, He is able to make intercession for us forever (Romans 8:34).

While the Levites in the Old Testament were sanctified by God to serve Him, the Lord Jesus was chosen by God to serve Him (1 Peter 1:20).  The writer of Hebrews repeats this over and over again citing Psalm 110:4 four times in the book of Hebrews to stress that the Lord Jesus was chosen by God to serve Him as our faithful high priest.  We now no longer look to earthly priests or temples or holy places or to animal sacrifices for our salvation but we look to our faithful high priest who has done the work of redemption for us.  When Jesus uttered “It is finished” in John 19:30, He was saying that the work of redemption was complete.  The perfect Lamb of God had given His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).  At that very moment, all earthly priests were now done.  Jesus and only Jesus would now be our faithful high priest.

Next we will look at how, through Christ, we are now priests unto God.  All of us.  There are no special priests in the kingdom of God.  There is only Jesus our Savior and faithful high priest who lives to make intercession for the saints of God and there are priests in His house who serve Him.  While we all have different gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7), all of us are equal before the Lord in terms of service unto Him and in terms of being His priests.  This is the wonder of God’s great salvation that He brought about through Christ alone.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/02/2014 at 6:48 PM

Jesus Gives Us Boldness and Access

I was reading from Ephesians 3:11-12 which reads:

11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

I noticed the words “boldness” and “access” in verse 12.  These words are similar to Hebrews 4:16 which reads, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In Jesus, writes Paul in Ephesians 3:12, we have boldness and access.  In Hebrews 4:16, the Holy Spirit also says that we have confidence to draw near.  Jesus gives us that boldness and the right (John 1:12-13) to access the very presence of God.  We need not fear when we approach through the name of Jesus for He shed His blood for our salvation (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:14) and we have the right, as children of God through faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26), to come before God.  We will be received because of Christ.  We will be accepted because of Christ.  We have a Father who will hear us because of Christ (John 14:12-14).

Prayer then is not about merely asking God for things but is direct fellowship with God.  Unlike the pagan religions, we disciples of Jesus know that prayer is not about religious rituals or empty phrases as Jesus puts it in Matthew 6:7.  We can come boldly (Hebrews 4:16) before the Father knowing that He hears us not because of our own righteousness but rather because of the Lord Jesus and His saving work for us.  Jesus, and not me, makes me able to pray.  All that I have from God comes because of Christ.  My salvation, my forgiveness of my sins, my righteousness, my glorification, my access into God’s presence through prayer and worship – all this comes because of Christ.  Jesus makes me worthy to pray.  Jesus opens the doors of heaven so that I can spend time with God and have both boldness and access into His presence.

For the disciple of Jesus, let us remember that prayer rises before the throne of God like sweet-smelling incense (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4; cf. Psalm 141:2).  Prayer is not about the time we spend (though we should pray always according to 1 Thessalonians 5:17) but it is about communing with God our Father.  We need not think that prayer must be an act of penance or that we must be wholly sanctified to pray but we must see that Christ Jesus allows us access and boldness before the throne of God.  We can pray because we have a faithful high priest before God (Hebrews 7:25; cf. 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Jesus is our Advocate before God (1 John 2:1).  He grants us boldness to pray and He opens the door for our prayers to be heard.  He is our boldness and our access.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/15/2013 at 9:37 AM

Saved From Sin, Saved From Wrath

What does it mean to be saved?  We use that term in the Church very often yet I fear that we have not thought much about what it means to be saved.  We are implying by the term that we are saved from something or someone.  In the biblical sense we are saved from several things including Satan (Hebrews 2:14), sin (Matthew 1:21), the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10), and death (1 Corinthians 15:55).  But ultimately we are saved from the very one who can destroy us and that is God (Luke 12:5).  God is the final Judge of all the earth (Romans 2:5-11).  Our salvation is no doubt from Satan, sin, wrath to come, and death but the focus in the Bible is upon God Himself.  We are reconciled by God from God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

We receive mercy from God when we turn away from that which brought us to this place and that is sin.  Sin is what separates every human being from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23).  The wages of sin are always death (Romans 6:23).  Those who repent of their sins receive the mercy of God (Isaiah 55:7; Proverbs 28:13; Acts 8:22).  Those who remain in their sins will receive the wrath of God (Romans 1:18; 2:5, 8-9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6).  All who abide in sin will receive the just wrath of God (Exodus 32:33; Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:8-11; 2 Corinthians 10:6; Colossians 3:25; 2 Peter 1:17; 1 John 3:15; Revelation 21:8; 22:15).  As a disciple of Jesus, I am to avoid sinning (1 John 2:1-2) and not be a partner with those who are under the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6-7).

What can save me from the wrath of a holy God is nothing but the blood of Jesus.  I am not saved by my works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The work of God, Jesus said, was to believe in the one whom the Father sent (John 6:29).  I am saved when I repent of my sins and have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who alone bore my sins (Isaiah 53:5) and who alone is able to save me (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Jesus is the only mediator we have before God (Hebrews 7:25).  Jesus alone is the only one who was sinless and therefore is able to help sinners who cry out to Him (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-10; 7:22).  Jesus alone is the one who turns away the wrath of God (Romans 3:22-27).  He is our only hope for salvation.

Let us then keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Let us not turn to a life of sinning (2 Peter 2:20-22) but let us focus on Jesus and stay close to Him (1 John 1:7).  When we do sin, let us repent and ask for God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).  Let us not turn aside to false teachings about Christ (Galatians 1:6-9) or to a life of sin but let us remain faithful to Him who deserves all of our worship and praise.  There is no Savior but Jesus and so let us not seek to find forgiveness of our sins any other place but in Christ alone (Romans 4:5).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/27/2013 at 3:23 PM

How To Find Joy in Our Salvation

Salvation is a free gift of God given to those who repent and believe the gospel (Romans 6:23).  Salvation cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Salvation comes through Christ alone (John 14:6) who alone is our mediator before a holy and just God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Salvation is not found in our “good” works (Isaiah 64:6; Titus 3:5-7).  Salvation is not found in being  a part of a religious group (Jehovah’s Witnesses, a church of any kind, religion in general).  Salvation is found through faith in Christ alone through faith alone (Romans 4:5).

If this is the case and we are saved by God’s grace through faith, why do we often lack joy in our salvation.  I believe it comes because we fail to preach the gospel to ourselves.  The very subtle thinking can creep into our minds that we are saving ourselves.  We begin to think that our salvation is dependent upon our merits, our works, our laws.  In my mind I begin to think that I must read the Bible this much or I do not love God nor am saved.  I begin to think that I must witness to so many people or I am not saved.  This thinking is not from the Lord nor from the Word.  It flows from my own prideful flesh and the enemy who attacks the child of God for their faith in Jesus.  Like those in Galatians 3:1-5, it is easy to begin to think that I am now being perfected by the flesh.  I lose my joy in my salvation when I begin to think that my salvation comes from me instead of preaching the truth of God to myself and seeing that I am only saved because of the work of Christ alone (Hebrews 10:10, 14).

We find joy in our salvation when we stop focusing on us and start looking at Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Christ, and not us nor anyone else, should be the object of our faith.  He is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Jesus and not a plan nor a movement nor a theological position is what saves us (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Our focus must be Christ for He is our life (Colossians 3:1-4).  When Christ becomes our focus, the joy of the Lord fills our souls as we realize that our salvation is based on His work and not ours (John 19:30).  Jesus bore our sins on the cross (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 John 1:7; 2:1-2).  All I have before God is not based on my prayer life, my Bible study, my evangelism, my own steadfastness.  All I am before God is based on Christ and His grace (Acts 15:11).  Christ is the one who saves me and keeps me (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).  Christ is the one who alone is the one that I should look to for my salvation (John 3:14-15).

Joy flows from the gospel.  Joy comes from knowing that my salvation is not from me or through me.  Salvation is all of grace through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  Salvation fills my heart with joy because I know that I have peace with God through Christ alone (Romans 5:1).  I pray because of my standing before God through the gospel (Hebrews 4:14-16).  I read and study my Bible because I long to know this Savior who saved me (John 17:3).  I share my faith because I want to see God glorified among the nations (Psalm 2:10-12).  I seek God earnestly not to find salvation but to know the One who saved me through faith in the Lord Jesus, His one and only Son that He gave for my sins (John 1:12-13).  I want to know Christ because He took hold of me (Philippians 3:8-11).

Charles Spurgeon preached the truth of this when he said,

Every day keep your eye only on Christ; and so long as your eye is single, your whole body must and shall be full of light. But if you once look cross-eyed, first to yourself and then to Christ, your whole body shall be full of darkness. Remember, then, Christian, to hide away to the cross. When that great black dog of hell is after you, away to the cross! Go where the sheep goes when he is molested by the dog; go to the shepherd. The dog is afraid of the shepherd’s crook; you need not be afraid of it, it is one of the things that shall comfort you. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Away to the cross, my brothers! away to the cross, if thou wouldest get rid of thy doubts. Certain I am, that if we lived more with Jesus, were more like Jesus, and trusted more to Jesus, doubts and fears would be very scarce and rare things, and we should have as little to complain of them as the first emigrants in Australia had to complain of thistles; for they found none there, and none would have been there if they had not been carried there. If we live simply by faith on the cross of Christ, we live in a land where there are no thistles, but if we will live on self, we shall have plenty of thistles and thorns, and briers, and nettles growing there. “They looked unto him, and were lightened.”

Oh saint of God, find joy in your journey toward the celestial city through the gospel that saves you and keeps you!  Christ alone is our salvation and we find our joy in Him!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/24/2013 at 10:32 PM

Posted in Salvation

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: