Category Archives: Salvation to the uttermost

Perseverance-Needed or not needed?

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Matthew 24:13

 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control PERSEVERANCE, to PERSEVERANCE godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love…for if you do these things you will never stumble.”

1 Peter 5:6, 10

A less popular topic on salvation is our 5th P of salvation PERSEVERANCE.  Enduring, persevering does not fit into the thinking of those who focus only on the first P of salvation…the penalty of sin.

Almost all who ask, “Are you saved?” refer to salvation from the PENALTY of sin….eternal death or hell.  Few would go on to mention that salvation  means saving from the POWER of sin.  Even fewer would talk about preparing for the second coming of Christ when He will take us from the PRESENCE of sin.  An even more abstract thought is to understand the plan of salvation and how one day, the PROPENSITY (the desire or inclination) to sin will be taken completely away.  Why? It will be because the redeemed of all ages will understand about the sting of sin through their own personal experience and through the science of the cross.

Truly Jesus is able and will save us to the uttermost….He will take us from the guttermost to the uttermost.  No one can take this away from you as long as you are in Christ.  But, what happens if you slip back and are overcome by sin?

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10: 28-29

It is true that there is not a single person or an army of people on this earth can overcome Christ so that they snatch you away from Him.  So how does perseverance and endurance fit into the vocabulary or experience of the person who is in Christ?  Are these admonitions  really necessary?

Jesus told a parable that helps us to understand about perseverance to the end.

The disciples listened as Jesus told this parable.  They were like the crowd, they did not understand it.

The Parable of the Sower

Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed,that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.  Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.  But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.  And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.  But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Mark 4: 2-9

No doubt, those who heard this parable had ears.  But, the Savior asks us to understand the deep meaning of this parable.  Just hearing the words is not enough to reap the benefits. from God’s word.

Although the disciples did not understand the parable, they did something that all of us should do when we don’t understand….they were alone with Jesus and simply asked to know the meaning of the parable.  It is true that we receive not because we ask not.

But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

Mark 4: 10

The Parable of the Sower Explained

And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?  The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.  These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Mark 4: 13-20

Sower = The Holy Spirit that “guides us into all truth.”

Wayside hearers = Satan immediately takes the word away

Stony ground hearers = receive it with gladness, but there is no root. They endure for a short time.

Thorn bush hearers = cares of the world and the pursuit of richness choke the word.

Notice that all heard and all responded favorably and they started on their experience, but either Satan, passiveness, or the allure of the world stop the experience.

So, what type of hearer are you?

There are many things in this world that can end an experience with Christ.  That is why we are encouraged to endure to prepare…to put on the whole armor of God.  If our experience with Christ is not in danger, we would not be told to do such things.  Even Christ’s closest disciples were warned.  Jesus told Peter that Satan would try to take away his trust…his faith.

And the Lord said,“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22: 31-32

Was it possible that Peter’s faith could fail?  Of course, this is why Jesus prayed that it wouldn’t.  Good news! Jesus has prayed that your faith would not fail.

Peter would be put to the test many times.  The first was when Jesus was taken and sent before the rulers.  Peter denied knowing Jesus three times!  Then Jesus was crucified.  He watched as the source of his faith was nailed to the cross.  How low Peter must have felt during this time.

Have you ever been low in your experience with Christ?  Has your faith about given out?  Jesus has prayed for you!

________________________________________

There is something more powerful than the prayers of Jesus.  It  is the one thing at the center of the Great Controversy….It is the power of choice.  Wars, death,  divorce, hatred, sickness, and misery have all come about because of bad choices.  So can choice end of an experience with Christ?  Is it possible to have known the way of life and Jesus himself and then chose to go back into the world?

Jesus told another parable about the dangers of not enduring or continuing the faith journey in Christ.  It was a parable about a house swept clean.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Matthew 12: 43-45

Jesus saves to the uttermost.  He will drive out the unclean spirits in our house or lives.  He puts it in order, but the danger is having a house or life that is empty.  Like the parable of the sower, the life is to produce fruit. The solution is to have the house occupied by a different spirit that produce fruit of the spirit.

“…Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:18

We are told that the very words that Jesus speaks to us throughout the entire Bible is life.  If we are to grow and produce fruit we must eat and digest the words of our Lord.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:63

________________________________________________________________

Someone has said that if you are not growing, you are dying.  It is certainly true in the spiritual sense.  If we are just maintaining, we are like the man who was given money and buried it rather than invest it so he could realize a profit. That parable by Jesus speaks to this concept.

“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

Matthew 5:29

This parable was not about money, it was about an experience that is stagnant.  The servant is both wicked and lazy.

Jesus called him a “wicked and lazy servant.” Verse 26  To be stagnant in the spiritual sense is to be like the church that was neither hot nor cold.

 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Revelation 3:16

_____________________________________________________________

The word vomit appears another time in the new testament scripture.  It comes at the end of a warning about being overcome by the world and sin.

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

2 Peter 2: 20-22

This sounds a lot like the parable of Jesus about the house we read earlier.  One’s house or life was put in order after the evil was cast out, the other had escaped the garbage of the world.  The orderly house became disorder again as was the person who had escaped had been entangled again and compared to a sow being washed and going right back to the mud.

These parables are not about houses, dogs, and pigs.  They are illustrations demonstrating the possibility of being clean in the Lord, but returning back and becoming dirty again.

How does this happen?  Jesus has shown us in these parables and others the enemy of perseverance:

With the parable about the seed, the things to watch out for are: 1.) Superficiality in our experience.  We should be real and not REALigous. 2.)  Responding the wrong way when hard times come upon you. 3.)  Letting the cares of the world weigh you down.

With the parable of the house, we are to keep our house or our life filled with the Holy Spirit which comes through God’s word.  How can we expect to live spiritually if we starve ourselves by only eating one time a week?

With the truth found in 2 Peter, we are to stay clear of any temptations or habits that would draw us away from the strong arm of Jesus.

An old man once said, “I wake up in the morning and the devil votes for me and the Lord votes for me.  Whoever I vote for gets me.”  The power of choice is powerful.

It is true there are some things God can not do:

1.)  He cannot lie. He is truth.

2.)  He cannot die. He alone has immortality

3.) He cannot sin.  He is holy

4.)  He cannot force you to follow him.  He is love.  Love does not force.  Love draws. Love encourages.  Love demonstrates itself by sacrificial actions.

“The religion of Christ means more than the for­giveness of sin; it means that sin is taken away, and that the vacuum is filled with the Spirit. It means that the mind is divinely illumined, that the heart is emptied of self, and filled with the presence of Christ. When this work is done for church members, the church will be a living, working church.”

Our High Calling P. 154

Next time, I will tell you my story of how I was washed and returned to the mud, but Christ would not give up on me and drew me back to him after 10 long years of eating in the pig pen.  My testimony about leaving God and returning is, perhaps, more dramatic than my first conversion.  It will give you hope if you are feeling the pull of God’s Spirit to return to him.

_______________________________________________________

How to keep your house (life) filled with the Holy Spirit:

First, be filled with the Word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). This is a command—not an option. The following steps will help us make this verse a living reality.

1.     Read and/or listen to the Word. The incarnate Word that dwelt among us must also dwell in us in the form of the inspired Word. Says the psalmist: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11). Without the Word of God and His commandments dwelling in our hearts and guid­ing the course of our lives, we are constantly exposed to the danger of coming under the influence of the evil one (see also Rom. 10:17; Rev. 1:3).

2.     Study the Word in-depth. A deep and continual study of the Word is necessary so as to be filled with it; a superficial reading or listen­ing will not get us very far (2 Tim. 2:15; Acts 17:11; Ps. 119:11). As Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord and firmly declared that he would not leave Him until he received His blessing, we should also struggle with the Word of God until we clearly see Jesus Christ and His purpose in our lives.

3.     Obey the Word. We should not focus on Bible study to satisfy our curiosity, but rather to main­tain a fulfilling relationship with Jesus. “ ‘If anyone loves me,’ ” said Jesus, “ ‘he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’ ” (John 14:23).

 

Saved From What? The 3rd and 4th “P” of Salvation

We have seen that Jesus can save us to the uttermost or as the great Evangelist Ron Halverson said, “He saves us from the guttermost to the uttermost.”

The first “P” talks about Penalty.  Jesus saves us from the Penalty of the sin (death).  Then He saves us from the Power of the sin and we walk with a new mind overcoming sin in Christ.  The 3rd and 4th “P” is Jesus will one day save us from the Presence of sin and the Propensity to sin.  He does this when he comes in the clouds the 2nd time.  When this happens sin will be no more.  I like the way this author describes it:

“The death of Christ upon the cross made sure the destruction of him who has the power of death, who was the originator of sin. When Satan is destroyed, there will be none to tempt to evil; the atonement will never need to be repeated; and there will be no danger of another rebellion in the universe of God. That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven.”

EGW-Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889

It is the meaning of the cross that will be forever remembered by the redeemed and the unfallen angels that will prevent sin from raising its ugly head again.

Sin and its consequences are destroyed when the Lord makes the earth new:

“And death and hell (grave) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

Revelation 20:4

This second death is complete and utter destruction.  Not only is death and the grave a thing of the past, but also so is Satan and his fallen angels who started sin in the first place.

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire

Revelation 20:10

He is reduced to ashes:

“You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.

Ezekiel 28:18

Then those who have rejected the offer of eternal life through Jesus will sadly be destroyed as well.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15

They too are reduced to ashes:

For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
That will leave them neither root nor branch…

You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 4:1, 3

Sin and its Presence will never be again.

Sin and sinners are forever destroyed by what God calls His “strangel act.”  It is strange because God is a Creator and takes no pleasure in the death (destruction) in the death of the sinner.  It is against his nature that He must wipe his creation off the face of the earth and create a new earth.

 For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.

Isaiah 28:21 KJ

In the next verse, we are told what is his “strange work” and “strange act”

“Now therefore, do not be mockers,
Lest your bonds be made strong;
For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts,
A destruction determined even upon the whole earth.

Isaiah 28:22 NKJ

Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!

Isaiah 33:11

It is the enemy who is the author of death.   it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all live.  The whole Bible is God’s appeal for man to turn from His sin and find life in Him.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

The context of this statement is the in regards to those who scoff at the idea of Christ’s return. as shown in the previous verses:

... knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation

2 Peter 3: 3-4

Peter opens our eyes to several things in these few verses:

1.) The mind set of the world is that all things have continued the same day in and day out.  The sun rises and it sets.  Nothing has changed since Jesus left this earth.

2.)  God is “long-suffering” with us.  He is patient.  Why?  Because when Jesus returns, it is the end of those who failed to respond to his call to repentance.  What awaits them?  They will perish when Jesus returns.  It doesn’t say they will live in hell….they will perish.

Perish is used in the most famous verse of all.  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Notice the contrast of destinies of the saved and the lost.  If it is true that the saved have everlasting life, it is true as the opposite that the lost will perish…they do not have everlasting life.

Some would have us believe that the wages of sin is not death (perish), but living in hell. (For more on the teaching of hell, see Lord Tell Me about Hell-Part 1)

All through the Bible, the theme of destruction trumps any twisted interpretation of scripture to make it sound like God will torture the sinner throughout the dim lights of eternity.

Those who have the attitude of mocking the second coming of Christ as described in 2 Peter are not only caught off guard when He comes, but they are destroyed:

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

1 Thessalonians 5:3

The fate of this first earth is destruction as are those who choose sin and rebellion against God:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10

There are some who would have us believe that the 2nd coming of Christ is secret…it is quite like a thief. But, when He comes, it is like a thief in this sense.  A thief is one who surprises the owners of the home.  They are not prepared for the thief.

Ask anyone who has come home to find their belongings gone and they will tell you of the shock of surprise.

We are told that the followers of Christ are prepared and the Second Coming is not like a thief to them.  They are not surprised.  They have seen the signs and know that Jesus’ promises are coming to past.  As they are looking for him, they are preparing their hearts and minds to embrace Him.  The others are more interested in their day to day activities.

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5: 4-6

The element of surprise feeling life is peaceful and things continue as they always have…sun rise….sun set, but Jesus returns and “takes them all away.”

 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be

Matthew 24: 38-39

Luke says the same as Matthew about those caught by surprise, but uses clearer language when he comes to the part about the flood taking away those in Noah’s day and what it means.

They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Luke 17:27

By comparing these two inspired writers, there is no doubt that those who are more interested in this life on earth and put their souls into everyday living without God are destroyed when Jesus returns.

Some teach and refer to Matthew without comparing to Luke to make this say that the “taking” is the rapture, but that is to go against the plain teaching of scripture.

As one compares scripture with scripture, the fate of this earth without Jesus is destruction.  When he comes, it is compared to flaming fire.

when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power

2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9

Notice that the fate of the lost is destruction.  In fact, even the Anti-Christ is destroyed at the brightness of His coming:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2: 8-10

God will save us from destruction.  It is His desire to give us eternal life and to separate us from anything related to sin.  This is why both sin and sinner must be destroyed.  To believe that God has reserved this earth or a place of the universe where the reminder of sin exists is to go against not only plain scripture, but also a correct understand of the character and nature of our great Creator.

_________________________________________________________

Jesus will rescue us from the Presence of sin (the 3rd P of salvation) when He comes to take us where he is:

 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:3

When Jesus returns he takes us to where he is now at this very moment.  Where is he?

 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

Hebrews 10:12

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying:  We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

Hebrews 8:1

Jesus has not only made it possible for us to live forever, but also to enjoy the gift of life by seeing and doing things we never imagined.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.

2 Corinthians 2:9

Jesus takes us to a beautiful city in a different place in the universe where God the Father is located. When we are rescued from this planet of sin, all heaven is emptied. This includes the angels, God the Father, and of course Jesus.

“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.

Matthew 25:31

…. He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Matthew 8:28

(For more on the 2nd coming of Christ, See

Part 1 Second Coming

 Part 2 Second Coming,

Part 3 Second Coming)

The place that Jesus has prepared for us is called the New Jerusalem in Revelation chapter 9.  Here is a small section of its description:

….the great city, the holy[Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,  having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.

Revelation 9:10-13

This great gated city has a tree and a river that runs through it.

 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:2

Hard for us to image the beauty of this city.  Did you notice that the tree of life is in the city and it has the special task of “healing the nations?”  This same tree was in the garden of Eden at the beginning and it is there at the end.  Perhaps as all the nations eat from the tree of life again, all differences are resolved and it perpetuates eternal life literally.

But, this new Jerusalem in heaven stays there for only 1,000 years before God moves it to our little planet.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21: 2-4

(For more on the 1,000 years, see Part 4-Second Coming-1,000 Years?)

Finally, this meek inherit the earth when the New Jerusalem sits down on the New earth:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing,
And her people a joy.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying.

Isaiah 65: 17-19

This passage sounds a lot like Revelation 21:2-4  doesn’t it?

We will be busy on the new earth as described by Isaiah:

They shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit….And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Isaiah 65: 21-22 (partial)

_____________________________________________________________

The Lord is “preparing us a place”  by his ministry not his carpentry work.  It is not about the mansions, it is about preparing us (you and me)  that we might be able to be there.  It is a work of completely changing our hearts through the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest.  Our experience with sin, death, salvation, resurrection and glorification will assure that sin never occurs again in God’s kingdom.

Indeed Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost.  We have seen that He saves us from the Penalty of Sin (death), the Power of sin (rebirth), the Presence of sin (Second coming), and finally the Propensity to sin (sin is eradicated).

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

Great Controversy, p.678

Dear reader,  if you have felt the pull and convicting power of the Holy Spirit to consider letting Jesus come into your heart, your mind, your way of thinking; I encourage you to yield to His pull.  Now is the time to repent of your sins and ask Jesus to give you eternal life. He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you.  Then walk in the power of the new life you have in Christ.  Don’t neglect the daily opportunity to read His word and grow.  Then one day, He will come and deliver us all from the presence of sin and never will we experience any tears or crying again.

His work in us will then be complete. We are saved to the uttermost by our Great Creator-Jesus

Saved from What? The 2nd “P” of Salvation

 “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

Hebrews 10:39_

Christ came to save us from the Power of Sin. This is the 2nd “P” of salvation

We learned from our previous two studies that we are in a tight spot regarding sin.  We have all sinned.  Adam and Eve sinned and we have inherited the nature of sin so that we sin without having to think much about it.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me

Psalms 51:5

We are born with a bent towards sin like the “slash” in this picture:

SIN   \    Righteousness (Jesus)

But when we invite Jesus into our lives, he gives us a new heart and now we are bent towards Him and righteousness like this picture

SIN    /       Righteousness (Jesus)

Because we are born with a “bent” towards sin, if left unchecked, we will reap the Penalty of Sin i.e., eternal death.  But, through the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit we are drawn towards Him and eternal life.

Once we confessed our sins and repented of our sins and received Him into our life, we move from the curse of death to the promise of eternal life.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

John 5:24

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Acts 3:19

________________________________________________________

While the saved are still mortal and subject to the first death, they are not subject to the second death.  Instead they are resurrected to eternal life.

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power,

Revelation 20:6

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:28, 29

Yes, It is at the resurrection where we realize the promise of eternal life.  We die the first death with the promise of being resurrected.  It is not until then that we “put on immortality” and will never die again.

“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption (subject to death), and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54

The above verse is in the context of the second coming when the trumpet shall sound in the dead in Christ shall rise first.

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

1 Corinthians 15: 51-52

This is in complete agreement with what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:

 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16

Plainly stated, we are not immortal until Jesus returns, resurrects us,  and gives it to us.

___________________________________________

Let’s turn our attention to the second “P” of salvation.  Jesus saves us from the Power of sin that is in our life.

As Christ was brought back from death to life by the glorious power of the Father, so we, too, should live a new kind of life.

Romans 6:4

After receiving Christ, we are to live a new kind of life.  It is a life of obedience to his word….his commands

If you love me, keep my commandments

John 14:15

With our new heart, we will follow Jesus and do His will not in order to be saved from the penalty of sin, but because we have a new heart.

When we are baptized, we began a life of obedience.  We were following the command of Jesus to be baptized as a demonstration of a changed life.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

Jesus gives us the power to walk in this new life.  We do not say, “Thank you Lord for saving me from death.  I will take it from here.

No!  As we received eternal life by faith, we are to walk by faith.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Colossians 2:6

What does it mean to be saved from the Power of sin?

The sins that you once enjoyed, you no longer enjoy them.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have a struggle with them, because you will.  The old life will try to draw you back

The things you didn’t enjoy before, you now enjoy (e.g. Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other Christians, and doing good for others),

The liar will stop lying, the thief will stop stealing, the adulterer will stop chasing women.  You will have a new appreciation for your parents.  You will be careful how you use the name of Jesus and God.  Because of Jesus and your rebirth, you will be different.  Your friends will see a change in you.

Why?  Because Jesus has saved you from the power of sin which is transgression of His law.  Instead of transgressing, you will have a new respect for the will of God and desire to do it.

_______________________________________________________

Now listen carefully what the word has to say about this new walk.  It will not be without resistance from the enemy and from your own sinful nature.

The carnal (flesh) nature that you still possess has resistance to the spiritual nature Jesus has given you.  As time goes on, you will experience the battle that takes place daily between good and evil between carnal and spiritual.  Paul put it this way:

“…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Romans 8:4

Did you catch that?  The requirements of the law are fulfilled if we walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh.  Obedience comes from a new nature and walking by that.  Obedience is not the way to salvation, it is the result of salvation.

Our daily life with its many activities is called a “walk.”  It is what you do and say every day.  These activities are to be done in faith or trust, just the same way you received Christ (by faith)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Colossians 2:6

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:1

Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

Romans 13:13

By walking in the Spirit, we are following the spirit-inspired word of God which is His will.  We will not have activities that include such things as described above e.g. drunkenness and parties.  Why?  Because our hearts have been changed.

___________________________________________________________

Your new walk will not go unchallenged by the flesh.  It will call you back at weak moments in particular.  It will try to draw you back.

As our opening verse states, it is possible to be be drawn back to perdition (state of sin and unbelief).  This verse is set in the context of endurance from the verses before it:

“For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God you may receive the promise.”

Hebrews 10:36

Notice that those who receive the promise do the will of God.  This is how they are identified and what distinguishes the true from the false follower.  Jesus asked,

 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

Luke 6: 46-48

The Bible is filled with warnings of staying close to Jesus and to put on the whole armor of God.  We are in a fight, but as we “walk” in faith with Jesus we should have no fear.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

The weapons you use will assist in your daily walk and the fight between the carnal and the spiritual nature

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

Ephesians 6:14-18

If your daily walk was not a dangerous one to your soul, why would we be told to suit up with all these items?  Notice the items that help us in our daily activities:

truth (God’s word)

righteousness (given to us by faith in Jesus)

salvation (knowing God has saved us)

the gospel of peace (a kind nature towards other people)

But most of all, we are told to take the shield of faith.  Above all the items listed, the shield of faith is the most important.  If we have a shield, we can block the attack of swords, knives, and darts.  This faith is called trust in the one who was able to change our hearts in the first place.  Do you trust Him?  If you do, you have the shield that will repulse the attacker.

It is clear from God’s word that the enemy and our own carnal nature will bring upon us trouble to discourage us and entice us back to the life we once left.  Sorry to say, but there are many who are overcome by self and the enemy and lose their way.  Jesus told a parable that makes this clear.

____________________________________________________________

The Sower sowed seed.  The seed fell on different types of soil.  Some of the seed produced a crop, while others did not.  The disciples did not understand the parable and asked Jesus.  His explanation is not a parable, but the truth behind the story:

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Matthew  13: 18-23

Notice that the parable as explained by Jesus is talking about people who “hear the word.”  Some people hear it and don’t understand it because the wicked one snatches it away from them.

Other people hear it and are joyful (notice it doesn’t say that they understood it), but there is no root and therefore no endurance or strength.  This is the person whose experience is based on feeling and not on the truth.

The third person  hears the word also does not understand it, but their cares and the lure of the world and its riches choke the word and they stop growing or producing.

But the last person both hears and understands.  They have roots that give endurance and the cares and riches does not choke them.  Their walk is one of faith in Jesus and understanding of His word.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:21

_________________________________________________________

Jesus saves us from the penalty of sin and the power of sin.  Salvation is not just being rescued from the wages of sin (eternal death), but it is a rescue from our sinful ways in this life.

It is not a one time transaction in the front of the church.  It is a walk of growing in Christ.  But this walk is not ours.  We are to entrust it to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must fail. Jesus says, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,–all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly,–by abiding in Him, –that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith. It is Christ first and last and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way. David says,

“I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

Psalm 16:8.

Steps to Christ, p. 69

________________________________________________________

Next time, we will discuss the third “P” of salvation.  Blessings to you as you walk with Jesus.

Saved From What? The 1st “P” of Salvation continued…

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly.” 

Titus 2:11

_____________________________________

There is so much about the 1st “P” of salvation that I must continue with more thoughts before I move to the 2nd “P” of salvation.

______________________________________________________

Let’s review and expand.

Jesus saves us to the “uttermost.”  First, He saves us from the Penalty of the law.  All have sinned.  We have broken the 10 commandments and turned away from God.  And we have sinned in many other ways as we shall see.

The wages of sin is death.  This simple Bible definition of sin is found in the writings of the beloved disciple.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

1 John 3:4

By departing from God and disobedience, we sin.   Because of our sinful nature, we will continue to break the law of God.  By doing this we place ourselves under the curse God promised for disobedience.

Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

Daniel 9:11

___________________________________________________

All of us have sinned.  Not one of us has not sinned:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:23

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3: 10-12

Not only have we sinned, but if not for the proactive work of God, we would not seek God and we would lack knowledge on spiritual truths.

Because of our transgression and because of the way we are, we are under the curse of sin which is death.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5: 12

But, God the Father and Jesus made a way to come out from under the curse of the law (death)

 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 3:24

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:13

When Jesus was nailed to the cross, He took upon himself the sin and curse we were under and made the payment for the wages of sin, which is death.

The death of Jesus shows the immutability of the law of God.  Because it could not be changed.  If it could, Jesus would not have needed to die, the law could have simply been watered down and adjusted to our needs or our situation.

Jesus made it clear, that His purpose was not to change even the smallest letter or punctuation mark in God’s law and that the law would outlive the earth:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Matthew 5: 17-18

Heaven and earth is still here.  Is it not?  Yes, he fulfilled the law and the prophets, but that does not mean that they are destroyed.

____________________________________________________

Because of our sin, disobedience, and rebellion we are hopelessly lost, But, His grace working through the faith he gives us we are saved.

God did not have to save us, but He loved His creation and demonstrated it by the substitutionary death of His only begotten.

Let us never forget that God saves us.  We don’t save ourselves by any amount of good work.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:8

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Look carefully at John 3:16.  Salvation is salvation from perishing.  Death is exactly what it means.  It is not living somewhere else in the universe or living in a place of torment.  To learn more about the mortality of the soul (being) and the errors of everlasting torment, click here: Lord Tell Me About Hell-Part 1

According to John, we are saved from persishing (death with no hope) because Jesus perished for us and paid the penalty for sin (transgression of the law).

I like the description by this author about how serious Jesus’ death was for us.  We think of the physical pain, but there was so much more that he endured for us:

Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.

The Desire of Ages, p. 753 

Perhaps, this is why Jesus cried out,

MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?

Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34

 This is the grace and love of God demonstrated in a real way.  Both the Father and the Son suffered that day, but Jesus endured the cross because he could see it would be worth if for us.

…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 

So this is what we are saved from….eternal death…Jesus makes a way by His death that is initiated by the grace and love of God.  But look again at Ephesians.  There is something we have to do to receive this salvation.  It doesn’t come to everyone.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:8

The grace of God cannot lead to salvation alone, there must be faith by the one receiving it.

The sinner must make a choice to trust God. But how does this happen?

First the Holy Spirit does the work of conviction and pulls the sinner towards Jesus.

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

John 16:8

This conviction comes through the Spirit who often uses the word of God and the the law of God.

you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

James 2:9

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

Romans 7:9

When a person comes into contact with the word of God, it brings conviction of sin.  God’s word is powerful in the work of salvation, because our thoughts and beliefs are changed:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

As we see Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, conviction overwhelms the sinner and the love of God draws us to Him:

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

John 12: 32 NKJV

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

Jeremiah 31:3

This drawing is described as knocking in the book of Revelation:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Revelation 3:20

Now the sinner has a choice.  They can yield to the pull of the Holy Spirit or “open the door” and Jesus promises to come into the life of the person and give them peace and eternal life.

Peace is the first feeling of yielding to the pull of the Holy Spirit, the meaning of the cross, and the fellowship of Jesus.

It is at this point, that the person is born again.  Their life is changed.  They have a new master, a new direction.  The things they once liked to do, they no longer want to do it.  The things they once hated, they now want to do them.

The friends you once hung out with….the ones you drank and partied with, now no longer recognize you and you have a great desire for them to know and experience what you have.

Before, you hated church, Christians, prayer, and Bible Study.  Now you can’t get enough!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Now you listen to God’s word and want to follow him.  It is by this new feeling of belief in God that let’s you know you have been reborn.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 5:24

Notice that the person who hears God’s word and believes in Him (God the Father) has everlasting life and will not come into judgment like those who do not hear God’s word or believe in God.

This is good news!  Praise God! Jesus has saved you from eternal death.

If this is truly your experience, you begin to obey God’s word.  Not to be saved from eternal death, but because it is the natural result of being in Christ and being saved.  This is the test of whether one has been reborn and saved.  Obedience.

In fact, your first act of obedience is when you are baptized.  The act itself does not save you, but it is evidence you want to give to the world evidence that you are walking in a new life of following Jesus

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.

Romans 6:4

I can’t image a person who has been saved to disobey the command:

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:16

Notice that obedience of baptism comes after salvation not as a pre-requisite.  In fact, not being baptized by choice demonstrates unbelief.

Jesus identifies the saved as His followers who obey him by asking a rhetorical question:

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Luke 6:46

The born again person loves Jesus and will now call Him Lord and will follow him.  Once again, they will obey Him out of love, not in order to be saved, but because they are saved and they love Him:

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15

Here now stands the person who has been saved from eternal death and has begun to follow Jesus.

Does salvation end at the baptism tank?  What does the Bible teach about the  2nd “P” of salvation?  Next time we will talk about how Jesus saves us from the Power of sin.

The thief will turn from a life of theft, the liar from a life of lying, the adulterer from a life of adultery. Why?  Because Jesus wants to save us not only from the Penalty of sin, but the Power of sin that can still show its ugly head from time to time even if we have a new life in Christ.

I don’t know of one Christian who has not been tempted by sin after beginning their walk with Jesus.  What does Jesus do to save us from the Power of sin and the desire to live a life in Jesus?.  How do we walk in newness of life?  The scripture will give us the answers.

We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.

Steps to Christ, p. 64

If you are feeling the pull and conviction of the Holy Spirit, yield and surrender your life of sin to Him.  He will come in, as promised, and give you peace and a new direction.  But, He will also give you Power over the sin that “once so easily beset you.”  I am praying for you my brother and sister.

Saved From What? The Four P’s of Salvation

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.

Hebrews 7:25

_________________________________________________________________

In the movie, Titanic, the audience hears the story of a young couple meeting and falling in love on the ill-fated ship.   Their backgrounds and upbringing  were very different.  Jack,  a care-free poor young man who made his living drawing.  To him, life was an adventure.   The young woman of the story (Rose)  comes from “new money” wealth and is soon to be married to a wealthy narcissistic man from Pittsburgh.

But, as we all know, the Titanic sank and so did their young love.  Rose survived the cold water and went on to live a long life, just as Jack said she would.  As Rose takes us through the story of their few days on the ship, she ends with this statement,

“He saved me, in every way a person can be saved.”

What did that mean?  How is this statement similar to Paul’s statement in Hebrews 7:25, when he said, that Jesus is “able to save us to the uttermost“?

Salvation is more than most people think or are taught.  Salvation is at the heart of the gospel, but what are people saved from and how can we know we have salvation?

Jesus is able to save us in every way a person can be saved.  It is a salvation than is more than the saving from the death on a sinking ship.  There is more.  He is able to save us after we get to the safety of the shore because the shore has dangers as well.

__________________________________________

The First “P” in salvation is that Jesus saves us from the Penalty of Sin.

It was Jesus’ mission to come to this world and “save” sinners

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…”

1 Timothy 1:15

We are all sinners.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

Not only have we sinned, but we fall short of God’s standards.

There are none born into this world that has not sinned nor meet God’s standards.  The payment for this sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death

Romans 6:23

We did not come into this world by choice.  Our parents made  it for us.  We were given the gift of life,  which is priceless in so many ways.  Bu,t because of the sin of Adam and Eve, our bodies (originally meant to live forever) are now subject to death.  It is a disease possessed by everyone.

…just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned

Romans 5:12

As hard as we may try at being good and not sinning, we will always fall short of the “glory of God.”  Because we came into the world with the seed of sin and rebellion and  unrighteous from the start, we can never claim to be righteous on our own.

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one

Romans 3:10

I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

Psalm 51:5

Because of this reality, each one of us is born rebellious, sinful, narcissistic, prideful, and sinful.  Our destiny is to live a short life and then die.  That is our payment.

But, God knows this and he made a way out for the planet in rebellion.  This  plan of salvation was made known to Adam and Eve from the beginning.

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

Genesis 3:15

These words were spoken directly to the Serpent that deceived Eve.  Read it closely.  This is both symbolic and prophetical.  The first part talks about “enmity” (hostility and hatred)  between Satan and the woman, which we find out later in scripture to be God’s followers or church.  So there will always be ” enmity” between Satan and Jesus’ church. But, also enmity between our carnal nature and the spiritual nature given us when we are reborn.

In the 2nd part of God’s declaration in Genesis 3 is about a “He” (Jesus) that will “bruise” Satan’s head and Satan’s bruise of the heel by the “He” (Jesus)

The injuries to the heel would not lead to eternal death (the cross), but bruises to he head of Satan will lead to his eternal death.  Here is the beginning prophecies of the Messiah and the enmity that would exist between Jesus and His followers and Satan and his followers… even to this day.

“When Satan heard that enmity should exist between himself and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, he knew that his work of depraving human nature would be interrupted; that by some means man would be enabled to resist his power. Yet as the plan of salvation was more fully unfolded, Satan rejoiced with his angels that, having caused man’s fall, he could bring down the Son of God from His exalted position. He declared that his plans had thus far been successful upon the earth, and that when Christ should take upon Himself human nature, He also might be overcome, and thus the redemption of the fallen race might be prevented.”

“Heavenly angels more fully opened to our first parents the plan that had been devised for their salvation. Adam and his companion were assured that notwithstanding their great sin, they were not to be abandoned to the control of Satan. The Son of God had offered to atone, with His own life, for their transgression. A period of probation would be granted them, and through repentance and faith in Christ they might again become the children of God.”

Patriarchs and Prophets Page 66

The plan of salvation was revealed to Adam and Eve. They taught it to their children and hoped that each child born would be the promised one.

_____________________________________

The plan involved a substitutionary death for sins and required faith in the plan.

The sacrificial system began with this new family.  But, God was particular in how and what was sacrificed because in the sacrificial system, it was to teach of the coming Messiah and a life of faith.  Cain did not sacrifice accordingly and the first death in the Bible is recorded.  It was motivated by jealousy and a self-serving attitude.

“…Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

Genesis 4: 2-8

The Lord tried to intervene in Cain’s anger and depression by encouraging him to do well.  But, Cain was determined to do bad. Our God is always trying to intervene when we are going down the wrong road.  He draws us to himself and away from the bad we would do.  If only we would only yield to this pull, we would find salvation from doing sin.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

John 12:32

Moses and the Prophets taught of the coming Messiah and the plan of salvation.  Moses formalized the plan under the direction of God himself.  The years and years of the sacrifices and ceremonies found in the Old Testament were the school master to teach those before the cross about the mission of Jesus so that by believing in Him they could have eternal life and escape the penalty of sin (death)

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3: 24, and 25

Many try to make Galatians about the 10 commandments, but it is clear that Paul is talking about the law that was added after sin came into the world.  It was a sin when Cain slew Abel even though it would be years before God would formalize the 10 traits of His will on stone.  The law that was added because of sin and was appointed by angels whereas the 10 commandments were written by God’s own finger.

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:19

He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone,written with the finger of God.

Exodus 31:18

The lessons taught by the sacrificial system ended when Jesus became its fulfillment.  Jesus’ death did not end the 10 commandments, which is an eternal law.  The  ceremonial and sacrificial law given to teach those on the other side of the cross about Jesus was temporary until type met anti-type.

See the difference in their descriptions and mortality in the following verses.

 First, the sacrificial law is demonstrated to end at the death of Jesus on the cross as recorded by the events of that day.

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom;

Matthew 27: 51

This veil separated the holy place where the priest minister daily and offered sacrifices and incense before the curtain.  On the other side of the curtain was the Most Holy Place.  Because of the death of Jesus for our sins we have direct access to God without priests or bloody animal sacrifices.  This system met its fulfillment in Jesus and is no longer needed.

 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4: 15, 16

But as to the 10 commandment laws, the principles found therein did not end when Jesus came and died for He said,

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5: 17-19

Heaven and earth have not passed and neither has the 10 commandments

Lying, murdering, coveting, adultery, dishonoring parents are just as much as sin today as it was during the days of those before the cross.  It is also still a sin to have other God’s and to take the Lord’s name in vain…to make images and bow down to them…to forget the Sabbath.

John exclaims that sin is defined as breaking the law:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

1 John 3:4

James tells us that if we break one of the 10, we have sinned.  He goes on to tell us that we shall be judged by this everlasting law that liberates:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

so speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

James 2: 10-12

Jesus  mission was to save us by paying the debt we owed which was death for transgressing the law of God (defined as sin)

Those in the Old Testament are saved from the Penalty of the law (death) just as we are in the days of the New Testament.  It is by faith in the one who died for our sins.

Those of the Old Testament looked forward by faith to the cross of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.  We look back to the  cross for the same reason.  Both are saved by grace through faith and not works.

There was never two methods of salvation e.g. one by works and one by faith.  In fact, in Hebrews 11, there is the “Hall of Faith” that hangs the pictures and models of faith. They are all Old Testament people.  Here is an example:

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous…”

Hebrew 11: 4

Did you catch that?  Abel was made righteous by faith! But it came by doing the will of God.  Faith requires action and obedience.  This action “obtains witness” or demonstrates righteousness.

This is what James meant when he said,

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

James 2:18

We can never work our way into righteousness, but without obedience/works we do not have a “witness” that we have faith.  It is all talk, if we talk of faith without the works.

James shows us the results of salvation and the relationship of works from a changed heart, while Paul shows us the method of salvation.  It is by faith without works

“For by grace are you saved not of works…”

There is no contradiction only a deeper understanding.

___________________________________________________

So in summary, we have all sinned and will die unless we choose to yield to the pull of God’s pulling and knocking.  When we do, we place our faith in Him that He has forgiven us.  Then we pass from the sentence of death to the promise of eternal life.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 5;24

When we hear God’s word and believe Jesus to be all He claimed to be, we have experienced the first “P” of salvation.  We are saved from the Penalty of Death.  But, Jesus also saves us from the Power of sin.  This we will discuss next time.

_________________________________________________________

I leave you with this thought from one of my favorite books called Steps to Christ. If you want a copy, let me know.

“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.”

Steps to Christ, Page 18