Grace and Salvation

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. Ephesians 2:8 & 9.

GRACE is God’s help and unmerited favor. It is all of God. Salvation is too expensive for us to purchase (the wages of sin is death), and too far out of our reach for us to obtain by any efforts of our own or by any means other than Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 4:12).

The word SAVED simply means to be delivered from God’s wrath or judgment.  Saved is used over and over in Scripture.  It is a good sound biblical word.

FAITH (according to WE Vine) is a firm persuasion or conviction based upon hearing.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).  Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

It has been said that faith is the gang plank used to board the ship of grace.  Misplaced faith can be used to board the wrong ship. Saving faith depends upon Christ alone as one’s only hope of salvation.

Salvation is a GIFT.  It is a gift undeserved.  It cannot be earned or paid for.  It is a gift made available to us only by God’s grace.  It is free; but it came at great expense, which God paid Himself (John 3:16).

WORKS are activities or deeds done by religious people to obtain merit in order to receive salvation. We are not saved by works. We are not even saved by righteous works (Titus 3:5).  To be saved by our works, we would have to become sinless or perfect which is impossible for sinful man.

In order to be saved by grace through faith in Christ, we must cease from our works and rely only upon the merit of Christ.  We must rest in Him.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His (Hebrews 4:10).

The Sabbath is the believer’s rest in what God has already done. Christ declared from the cross; It is finished!  Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath because He finished the work of salvation!  Mark 2:27 says that the Sabbath was made for man.  Jesus says; Come unto me and I will give you rest.  Believers no longer observe the Sabbath day, but they are to observe the Sabbath rest.

And he (Abraham) believed (trusted, rested) in the Lord: and He (God) counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6).

Note: See Romans 10:1-4, 9-13.

Thinking Out Loud #1

I believe that many Christian men just give up on their thought life. It’s too hard, it’s an unceasing battle, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  It is all these things and more.  It is like a leopard trying to change his spots.  Having a pure thought life is everything impossible…………but with God, nothing is impossible.

Having victory begins with taking ownership of one’s thoughts. Wow!…..wonder where that thought came from?  It must have been Satan!  Really?  Chances are it wasn’t Satan, it was just the flesh.  My flesh.  Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Having victory comes with allowing God access to the deepest crevices of our inward being.  Take Him to it.  Tell Him what’s there.  Cry out to Him for help!  Read Psalm 18 for God’s response to the cry of His children.  Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy.” 

Having victory carries the price of diligence. Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”  It has been said that you can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep him from building a nest in your hair.  

Victory in the thought life is much like having humility.  About the time you think you have it, you just lost it.  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” I Corinthians 10:12. Check out the context leading up to verse 12 and the promise following it in verse 13. 

Having victory is an act of faith.  “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee!”  Do we believe this?  Jesus said to the desperate father of the demon possessed boy, after the disciples were unable to deliver him; “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  What should you and I do with the Word of God?  Obedience is a symptom of saving faith.

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”

Note: Fill your yielded heart and mind with the Word of God and before you know it you’ll be walking in the Spirit.  See “Walking in the Spirit”.

Walking in the Spirit

There is a much misused verse in the Old Testament which says; “Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  This verse is not a blank check to fulfill one’s wildest dreams nor is it a promise of independent wealth.  It means that if a believer will delight himself in the Lord, then the Lord will place His desires within the believer’s heart.

So, how do we delight ourselves in the Lord?  In John 5, Messiah Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of the Jews and He says; “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he (the Father) hath sent, him ye believe not.  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they (the Scriptures) are they which testify of me (Jesus Christ).  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

To know Christ we must come to the Scriptures.  Scripture testifies of Christ.  If we have little or no interest in the Bible, we have little or no interest in Him.  The Holy Spirit will draw us to the Bible.  Satan will drive us away from it.  Delighting in Christ involves reading, studying and meditating on the Scriptures because these are they which testify of Him.  After the Lord’s resurrection, He instructed two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus as follows: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Ephesians 5:18 says; “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  The command here is twofold; to not be drunk (controlled by alcohol), but to be being controlled (continuous action) by the Holy Spirit.  

Drunkenness vividly illustrates  how behaviour is affected when one is controlled by alcohol.  On the contrary, being controlled by the Holy Spirit is in vivid contrast to the world’s behaviour.  All Christians are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.  The characteristics of a Spirit filled believer are found in Ephesians 5:19-21.  

So how are we to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  There is a parallel passage to Ephesians 5:18-6:9 in Colossians 3:16-22 which deals with the same subject matter as Ephesians 5.  Instead of using the phrase “be filled with the Spirit”, the Colossians passage substitutes “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom”.  

Being controlled by the Holy Spirit is the filling of our hearts and minds with the Scriptures by listening, studying, meditating on, and obeying the word of God out of a willing heart. The transformation of our inward man takes place as God’s word, the sword of the Spirit, is wielded in our hearts by Him.

Are you struggling to experience power over sin?  Stop wasting effort on outward conformation!  Stop pursuing some mystical experience!  Believers are to be transformed inwardly by the renewing of our mind through the Word, which is God’s desire; that we may know the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).  When inward transformation occurs, the outward man will follow suit.  Outward conformity without inward transformation is hypocrisy.  

Inward transformation begins when one is saved or born again; when a personal relationship with God is established by trusting Jesus Christ as one’s only hope of salvation.  Inward transformation continues as believers partake of the meat, milk, bread, and honey of God’s Word.  As Christ said in John 6:63b, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

Note: Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a feeling, it is a choice.

Letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly is a way of life.

Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.

For Christian Husbands

How does a Christian husband, who is supposed to be the spiritual leader in his home, submit to his wife?

One of the characteristics of a Spirit filled believer, found in Ephesians 5:18-21, is submitting to one another in the fear of God.  What does that look like from the husband’s perspective in a Christian marriage?

The verses following vs 21 lists wives, husbands, children, fathers, bondservants (employees) and masters (employers) with an explanation to each of them on submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Under husbands, there are three word pictures that God gives us to illustrate what a husband’s submission to his wife looks like:  

  • Love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.  
  • Love her as you love your own body.  
  • Love her as you love yourself.

Suggested exercises:

  • Make a list of the characteristics of Christ’s love for the church.
  • Make a list of the characteristics of your love and care for your own body.
  • Make a list of the characteristics of your love for yourself (how you like to be treated as a person).

After making each list, spend some time meditating on how to make those characteristics the characteristics of your relationship with your wife.

Place these lists in your Bible and periodically review and revise or add to them.

Share what you’ve learned with someone else.

Note:

  • Biblical submission recognizes God’s order and His authority.
  • To demonstrate God’s love one must have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  
  • God’s love will be exhibited by a Christian walking in the Spirit.
  • Never focus on what the spouse should be doing, deal with self!

 

Who Is Jesus?

Many years ago as a young college student, I recall having a conversation with a fraternity brother whose name I cannot remember.  As a matter of fact, about the only thing I remember of the conversation is something I said concerning Jesus Christ that is burned into my memory.  In a noncommittal and uninformed attempt to say something positive about the Lord, I said I thought He was a good man.  I was wrong!  He cannot be a good man if He is not who He said He is.  If He is not who He said He is, then He can only be a fraud and a liar.  If He is who He said He is, He is so much more than just a good man.

 What did Jesus say about Himself?  Who did He say He is?  In His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, she said, in response to the Lord telling her things about herself; I know when Messias is come, he will tell us all things.  Messiah or Christ is the title given to the anointed one of Old Testament prophecy, the One sent from God.  Jesus responded to her comment; I am He.

When Jesus went up to Jerusalem and healed the impotent (blind, halt, or withered) man of his thirty-eight year long infirmity on the Sabbath, the Jewish religious leaders sought to have Him stoned. They sought to kill Him because He had not only broken the Sabbath, but had also said that God was His Father,…..making Himself equal with God, John 5:18.  (See also John 10:33)

In John chapter 8, while Jesus was teaching in the temple, the Pharisees questioned Him asking; Who art thou? and Whom makest thou thyself?  Jesus answered them; Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.   When Moses asked God at the burning bush whom he should say had sent him, God replied; Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

In John 10:37&38 Jesus challenged the Pharisees saying;  If I do not the works of my father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe me not, believe the works: that ye may know and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in Him.  Jesus Christ came preaching, teaching, and healing to show unbelieving Israel that He is the promised Messiah.  In addition to the multitude of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in Him, the eye witness evidence is overwhelming.  While He lived among us He changed water into wine, healed the sick, fed the multitudes, healed congenital defects, healed lepers, restored sight to the blind, raised the dead, walked on water, calmed the storm, rose again from the dead and transformed the lives of those who trusted in Him.  He displayed His power over sin, nature, disease, Satan, and finally death itself. He continues to minister among us by transforming the lives of young and old individuals, from every nation, tongue, and race, who trust in Him alone as Lord and Saviour.

Who is Jesus Christ?  He is God.  His message is true and His works prove it.  You should read His resume’.  It is called the Bible.  To ignore Christ is to spurn the love of God and leave your soul in jeopardy of eternal loss.  What will you do with Messiah Jesus?

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  John 17:3.

Hello world!

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

I can lead you to the living water, but you will have to drink.

Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:14

saying:

Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never

thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of

water springing up into everlasting life.  

She drank………read the outcome in John 4.