Posts Tagged ‘saved’

02

Recently I have been having a conversation with an individual who did not believe in the freeness of the Gospel.  This gentleman tried to tell me that while salvation is initially free (meaning we had to just believe), in order to keep or have it we also had to Remain in Christ, obey, love Him.  All of these conditions were necessary in order to go to heaven.  It was as if he wanted it both ways.  He wanted to merit his salvation.  We are not required to prove to God that Jesus did not wasted His blood for us.  All Christ asks us to do is believe in Him (John 3:16, 6:57).   I have no problem with the things his man proposed for Christians to do, they are things Christians should be doing.  However, our eternal destination is not based upon them, rather it is the finished work of Christ.  To add a list to Christ’s work is to say what He did on the cross was not enough.  John wrote his Gospel so that people would believe in Jesus and that by believing we have life (John 20:31).  If other conditions were necessary then when the jailor asks Paul in Acts 16:30 what must he do to be saved, the response should be “Well believe, but then if you must remain in Christ, obey and love Him.  If you fail in these things then may be you never really believed to begin with or you needed to strive harder to merit eternal salvation.”  It was a simple, straightforward question Paul was asked and he gave a direct answer.  Believe in Jesus, that was all he had to do.  For the jailor this was different than what he grew up with there in Philippi.  There he had to please and appease the gods.  He was used to continually doing something in order to stay in good favor with the gods.  Nothing was free.  Yet salvation is.  Still today man strives to do something for his salvation.  All Jesus asks is to simply believe.

The gentleman I spoke with also referenced the Gospel I spoke of as “Cheap Grace.”  I thought it was interesting he used the term because it is “cheap grace,” because it is Free!  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) and all the world has to do is believe in Him.  It is simple and easy.

Some might say, “Hey where is the accountability here?”  I’m glad you asked the question because we will judged according to our works the things done in our bodies (2 Corinthians 5, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).  We are accountable for how we live.  We should be laying for ourselves treasures in heaven.  Our focus should be on eternal things, not the here and now.  The things of this earth will pass away.

Salvation is free.  There is nothing I can do to merit it.  Nothing I can do to prove to God I am worthy enough.  He has done the work, all He asks is for us to believe.  In a world where religions and churches demand so much from people.  True Christianity stands in stark contrast.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  I like the use of the word “have” in this passage because it implies that we “have” everlasting life the moment we believe.  It’s free.  Will you believe in Jesus today?

He had to speak to him.  He had questions, questions that he or any other person he knew could answer.  Therefore, he waited.  He waited until it was dark enough so no one would notice him.  He was afraid that if caught it could mean he would lose his powerful position in Jerusalem.  He ducked in alleys and peaked around corners as he made his way closer and closer to where Jesus was that night.  It was upon arriving and seeing Jesus that deep down he knew he had made the right decision to visit him.

Jesus told Nicodemus not to marvel that you must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus was perplexed by Jesus’ statement.  The reason he did not totally understand it was because in Pharisaic Judaism there were six different ways of being born again.  In Nicodemus’ eyes he had qualified for four of them.  The other two ways were: 1. Gentiles converting to Judaism (said they were born again), 2. To be crowned a king (would be said you were born again).   Nicodemus did not qualify for either way.

However, the first four he did.  Those ways are: 1. When a Jewish boy becomes bar mitzvahed (this had of course already happened for Nicodemus), 2. When a Jew gets married (He was already married as well, you had to be in order to be apart of the Sanhedrin), 3.  Ordained as a rabbi (He already was a rabbi, because he was a Pharisee), 4.  To become head of a rabbinical school (Jesus said that Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel, the head of a rabbinical school was referred to in this way).  In his eyes he had done everything he could have done to be born again.  Jesus responds to his disbelief with you must be born of water and spirit.  To be born of water was a Jewish expression of physically being born.  This is why he asks Jesus about going into his mother’s womb again.  Being born physically into Judaism was sufficient at that time for entrance into the Kingdom.  Much like Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,”  he was trying to correct Nicodemus’ theology here.  It wasn’t good enough to be born a Jew.  One has to believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 3:13-15).

More than any other book in the bible, the Gospel of John deals directly with the issue of what it takes to go to heaven.   John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”  Receiving Jesus is the same as believing in Him.  To go to heaven one must only believe in Jesus (John 6:47, Acts 16:30-31).  It is really that simple.

“For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…” (1 Thessalonians 2:11).

A question I always had was can people who have heard the Gospel before the Tribulation be able to get saved in the Tribulation.  In a sense will there be a second chance?

Many bible teachers feel that you will not be able to receive the gift of Salvation in the Tribulation.  While this view makes sense because if people reject the free gift then why should they have another chance to receive Christ?

God in His infinite Grace and Mercy will give the whole world one more chance during the Tribulation.  Once believers are Raptured up there will be no one left here on earth to tell them about the Lord, however, God will provide two witnesses to introduce the Gospel one more time (Revelation 11).  The identity of these two witnesses is unknown.  Through their ministry in Jerusalem, there will be 144,000 Jewish males, who hear the Gospel message from the Two Witnesses.  They will go and tell the whole world.  At this point in the Tribulation, Antichrist is still a little horn as Daniel calls him.  He has not yet reached world-leader status yet.  Half way through the Tribulation he will require people to worship him by accepting the mark on their forehead or wrist.  People will not be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark.  It is important to remember that the mark has nothing to do with a cashless society or credit cards.  The mark is the name of the beast or Antichrist.

I believe the “strong delusion” of 1 Thessalonians 2:11 will not happen until after the abomination of desolation, which is halfway through the Tribulation.  Therefore, people will still have the opportunity to accept Christ.  I make this assumption because there is nothing in the bible that says that they can’t.

What does this mean for us living today?  Tell others about the Lord.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you in your life to share the Gospel. The Gospel is free to us, but it cost Jesus His life.  It is our responsibility to go and tell.  It is up to us.  If someone in your family, or relative, or friend rejects Christ then there will still be one more opportunity for them to believe.

How do you know that you will be Raptured up?  It has nothing to do with how faithful, or how many times you go to church.  In fact, you may never go to church and still get raptured up.  Jesus said in John 6:47, “He who believes in has everlasting life.”  Jesus did not give any qualifiers, just faith in Him.  Everlasting life or eternal life starts the moment you believe in Christ.

Ephesians 4:30 tells that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.  That day is when we are raptured up to be with the Lord.  Our salvation is not based upon how good we can be.  If it were then why did Christ have to die.  We are not saved because we are eternally faithful to the Savior, we are saved because He is eternally faithful.   In Acts 16:30,31 a jailer asks the Apostle Paul what he must do to be saved, and all Paul tells him is to believe on Jesus.

I have read and heard from some bible teachers and pastors use Matthew 7:21 which says, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven.”  I believe there is even an extremely popular Christian writer, pastor who proclaims this in his best selling book.   Please remember any body can make the bible say what they want it to say.  The truth of what a verse is saying is in the context of the passage not a single verse.  If you look back at Matthew 7:15 you see that Jesus is speaking about false teachers.  This passage is from the famous Sermon on the Mount.  When you go even further back you get the audience of who He is talking to in Matthew 5:1, the disciples.  Multitudes of people were there yet Jesus takes the disciples out of the crowd and to a hillside to privately talk to them.  Therefore, Matthew 7:21 is not talking about the regular Christian person who stumbles but the false teacher who leads people astray.

Salvation is free.  You don’t need to say a prayer or join a church.  It is not conditioned upon your faithful or faithlessness.  It is a gift that Jesus offers.  Only He can offer it because only He rose again.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye we will be changed forever (1 Corinthians 15:52).  At some point in the Lord will come back for His church and when he does we shall be caught up to meet Him in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  In churches, seminaries today we call this “caught up” the “rapture.”   The word “rapture” is a Latin term that means “caught up.”  There are many terms that are not in the bible, and yet they are still true concepts.  For example, the word Trinity is not in the bible.  Yet we see that concept throughout it.

I believe in a Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the church.  What that means is that the church will be raptured up before the Tribulation begins.  The Tribulation is a time when God will judge the earth, and put His attention back on His people.  When you read through Revelation you notice that chapters 2 and 3 discuss different churches then all of a sudden the church goes missing from chapters 4 to 17.

The rapture can happen at any moment.   1 Thessalonians 5:2 tells us that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.   Obviously, a thief does not tell people when he is coming to break.  The same can be said of the day of the Lord.  Some people subscribe to a Mid-Tribulation, or Post-Tribulation or even a Pre-Wrath Rapture views.  Here is a quick summary of those views: Mid-Trib= God raptures us in the middle of the Tribulation, Post-Trib= God raptures us right before He returns, Pre-Wrath Rapture= God raptures us about 3/4 of the way through the Tribulation.  My problem with these different views is that they take away from the suddenness of the rapture.  If you know it is happening in the middle or 3/4 or you gotta go through the whole thing then you will be ready.  Yet when you scripture like 1 John 2:28, which talks about abiding in Christ so we will not be ashamed at His coming, you realize that it is sudden and without warning.

The life I have now I want to live for the Lord.  I do not have to be perfect because He was perfect for me and everyone.  I just need to live my life knowing He could return and to be ready.