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Archive for the ‘salvation’ Category

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”  – Mark 1:15 (NIV)

Doing as He Says

Repentance and belief are what lead to salvation.  The first calling for us as believers is to salvation.  We are called to believe the Good News (the gospel).  Upon our internal belief in it, then we confess our belief in Jesus as Savior before men.  This our public profession of Him as our personal Savior.

This is our first calling as Christian.  It is what makes us Christians.  We accept Christ as Savior and enter an entirely different realm of existence, for His Spirit indwells within us upon belief.  That is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Many of us may differ upon the numerous other things that transpire upon belief.  Some things are more inherent to our denominational traditions and beliefs rather than biblical facts. However, as believers, we all have a common faith with Christ as the head authority over us all.

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11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

– John 1:11-13 (KJV)

We know that He came.  He arrived almost in as miraculous fashion as His conception.  He arrived to poverty.  He arrived to persecution.  He arrived to save humanity.

However, what about before He arrived? What was going on?

John tells it like this in John 1:1-3 (NIV):

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made

Before He arrived, prophets spoke of Him coming:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

Before He came, angels spoke of His coming:

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David – Luke 1:31-32 (KJV)

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. – Matthew 1:20-23 (KJV)

. . . Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  

He came to be with His people.  He came to live among them.  He came to bring them life and eternal life.

John’s Gospel says He arrived like this:  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NIV)

Isaiah’s prophecy in Chapter 53 described Him as:

. . .  he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But keep in mind that He came right on time.  He came for the redemption of “those under the law” just as Paul wrote so many years ago.  He came for all of the right reasons.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

– Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)

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There isn’t much to worry about it.  It is already taken care of by Christ.  He’s done all of the heavy lifting.  We just have to accept it as so.

You see, we were once lost.  We were “slaves to sin” as Paul so eloquently depicts us all (Romans 6:20).  In other words, we were not just lost.  We were so lost that we were headed in the wrong direction and playing for the wrong team.  We were utterly living as “enemies of God.”

But isn’t God’s plan good?

Right when we were at our worst, Christ died for us and reconciled us with God.  He stood in as the propitiation of our sins.  He suffered and sacrificed for our salvation.  He saved us.  He took us from lost to liberated by grace as the atonement for our sins.

Christ has set us free for freedom.

Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to

the bondage of slavery again.

– Galatians 5:1 (CEV)

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Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Rome.  We come to know it as an epistle where we can find words like justification, redemption, and others that explain our prior condition as slaves to sin and the gift of our salvation.We can find key phrases in the Book of Romans such as “all have sinned,” “filthy rags” and “how shall they hear without a preacher.”. Yet, by further exploring the Book of Romans, we can discover a key verse of inspiration.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can  be against us?” (8:31, NKJV)

How can anyone be against us with God on our side? How dare Satan attempt to dreceive and detour the saints of God when we have the backing and full fledged guarantee of the Almighty working on our behalf?

Believers need to believe that God has their best interest in mind and at heart, even in His hands.  No demonic or satanic force or tool can devise a scheme strong enough or wicked enough to defeat God’s purpose and plan for us.  He is on our side.

Satan desires to destroy us and devour us.  He seeks to separate us from the love of God through Jesus the Christ.  He does not want us to embrace the idea that he cannot defeat us due to God who “is for us.”

Never expect the worldly and carnal people around you to encourage so.  Let loose of any idea of “good people” doing good deeds foe the good of all without any inkling of God actively involved in their lives.  Know that you cannot put trust in man who can do no good thing. As long as you have God who is love is on your side, for just as He told the prophet Isaiah, you will fully understand that the help of man is useless.

God is on our side.  Nothing can separate us from the bond that we have with Him.  Jesus sealed the deal with His sacrifice of blood and we entered a new age covenant with God, receiving the indwelling of His Holy Spirit upon our acceptance.

He is on our side.  Who can be against us?

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What do we hear or say when we read in the news how DNA evidence freed an innocent who was serving life in prison for a crime that he did not commit? We tend to wag an accusing finger at the justice system and remark of how such a tragedy and travesty should never happen if Lady Justice is really blind.  We start to speak of fairness.

Jesus was an innocent man who was slain for the sins of this world. Isaiah considered Him as a “man of sorrows,” while John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God. He suffered and sacrifice for the sake of sinners.

But the question remains: Is it right that the innocent should take such cruel and harsh punishment while the guilty seem to get away with it?

Biblically speaking, it is still justice. Someone has to pay the debt. Someone has to supply the guilt or sin offering. It needs to be unblemished, too, by the way. In other words, it ought to be spotless and stainless. That was Jesus.

Jesus was perfection taking on our transgressions. Jesus was purity standing in the stead of our impurity. He was worthy of so much, but He stepped into humanity headed for Calvary to conquer the grave and death itself as He put sin in its place.

Is it right?

God saw it befitting to do so. John 3:16 is our verse for why He did what He did. He loved the world so much, even in its wretched and wicked state of being, He was willing to part with His “only begotten son.”

He doesn’t call us to understand it all. He does not even ask us to accept all of it at once. He offers us salvation based on belief in the Son as Lord and Savior.

We cannot explain how or why He did it so in a way that would satisfy theologians and humanities professors of sociology and psychology. Yet, if we can come like a babe in Christ, we can sip the sincere milk of our faith. We come to know. that the price that we should have paid was executed already on our behalf by an innocent man on a lonely hill hanging between two criminals as He gave all for a sinful world.

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

I have always been impressed with the Gospel of John’s opening words.  It seems to reach a peak when John speaks of the Word becoming flesh.  In other words, Jesus takes on human form for the sake of salvation and redemption.

Incarnated godliness in human form.  Total holiness coexisting with total humanity.  All in the same place and at the same time is wrapped up in the same oneness.

I marvel at such a majestic maneuver on the Lord’s part.  Since He is the Almighty, we know He could have spoke and it would have been done.  Since He is the Creator, He could have created a new breed and done away with sinful man just to start over again.

No but He decided to go out of His way for us.  He decided to become like us so that we might have eternal life and life out this earthly life like Him.  He became flesh.  He took on the form of a man.

He became flesh for us and our sakes, our salvation.

Read John 1:1-17.

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for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

We all have sinned.

The Bible does not mince words when it comes to that. It speaks clearly on that fact, especially where Paul is concerned. We come to know that we never truly measure up to God’s standard.

Thank God for salvation.

Thank God that grace covers our sins. Praise be to God for the blood of Jesus that covers us so completely that we are not viewed by our sins but by His miraculous works.

Sin caused us to need the Savior, but it was not poweerful enough to keep us out of His family. He loves us as dear children, considering us both heirs and sons of God. He assures us that nothing and no one can pluck us from His hand.

We are still sinners, but God’s love for us ushered in salvation. Therefore, much akin to how Paul stated it to the Romans: we were saved as sinners.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

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14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

-Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)


God is available to us.  We do not have to await a mediator in the form of a priest or anyone else.  Jesus serves as our “great high priest” who “did not sin.” He is our mediator, seated at the right hand of the throne of God and advocating for us before God.  

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 
– Mark 15:38 (NKJV)


He makes our access to God available to us.  The work of Jesus upon the cross brought about the torn veil that led to the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple where access to God was limited to those of the priestly order.  That was destroyed and torn in two by the sacrifice of Jesus.  We, as believers through His shed blood, now have access to God.

Take some time and spend it with God, meditating on the sacrifice of Jesus.

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Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” – Exodus 24:8 (NIV)

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. – Matthew 26:28 (NIV)

When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.  He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” – Hebrews 9:19-20 (NIV)

Blood dripped down from the cross.  Droplets of shed blood hit the soil.  Many had bled there before.  Countless slain criminals had hung above the earth and died there, soaking the ground with blood.  However, something appeared different that day. 

The man hanging among the thieves was innocent.  He had been tried in a religious court that had refused to accept His message.  He had put up little defense against their accusations.  Even when they handed Him over to the Romans, He stood in silence as He faced His inevitable death sentence.  He said little as He endured the cruel beatings from the Roman soldiers.  He had offered no resistance when they forced Him to march with His cross through the streets.  Even as He hung upon the cross, the few words that He offered were mumbled as he neared death.

He had been called Rabbi.  John the Baptist had called Him the Lamb of God.  Some had said that He was the Christ (the Anointed One).  He was even called the Messiah by others.  Yet, some mistook Him for one of the prophets like Elijah or Jeremiah.

No matter what He was called.  He hung high above the ground and shed His blood for the salvation of the world.  Nothing would ever be the same once His blood was shed.  No one who called on His name and believed His message would not have the new covenant presented through His shed blood and slain body.

And that day was the preparation,
and the sabbath drew on.
– Luke 23:54 (KJV)

What Moses had offered in the wilderness was hardly anything close to what Jesus offered on Calvary’s cross.  Jesus bore all of our grief and sorrow for our sake.  Jesus offered a covenant that Moses could only imitate at that point.  Moses could only offer a ceremonial sprinkling of the blood for the covenant.  Jesus offered a prophetic and redemptive covenant that showed the power of God through His shed blood.  Souls are saved continually through what Jesus offered as a supreme sacrifice on that day.

Do not believe the naysayers.  Do not accept the lies and the misunderstandings.  The blood of Jesus still saves.  The blood of the Lord paid the price for our sins for our salvation.  He stood in and paid the penalty for our wrongdoing, for our transgressions and infirmities.

Let the covering of the blood continue to work on you.  Let the blood remind you of His sacrificial love.  Never forget that the blood of the slain Savior who suffered for sakes soak into your soul like it once soaked into the soil of Golgotha.  Let the image of that blood settle into your spirit and keep you close to Him in this new covenant.  Hold dear to Him as your Lord and savior, for His blood still has power.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead
works to serve the living God?
– Hebrews 9:13 (NASB)

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God.
– Hebrews 10:12 (NIV)

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Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
 – Isaiah 53:10 (NKJV)

God’s people are to live in such a way that their lives please God.  God’s people are to live to please God.

It doesn’t sound like the Christianity that many of us signed up for when we walked down the aisle of our home church and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives.  It does not resemble the only-believe sermons that echoed in tent revivals throughout Middle America during the times of Progressives prior to the Industrial Revolution of America.  No, it does not even seem to resemble any of the tenets of religious righteousness that seem to make the headlines as the Religious Right.  That doesn’t sound like the normal Christian life that many pastors, evangelists and others have spread throughout the nation and the world about prosperity, being born again, and serving to be saved. No, it doesn’t sound like any of that at all.

However, that is what the Word says.  We are to live in a way that pleases God.  We are to model our lives after the service, sacrifice and suffrage of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah’s “Suffering Savior,”  the “man of sorrows,” presents us with a humble manner of submission that we can see and reflect in our own daily lives.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. . .

Sadly, we often interpret God’s pleasure as an image of the Heavenly Father looking down and smiling upon Jesus on the cross.  That sounds far from the accurate interpretation of the matter.  God’s pleasure in the situation is the satisfied debt of sins.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the debt of sin through the Lamb of God who was “without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19, NKJV).  Therefore, Jesus submitted to God and offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  As John says, He serves as “the propitiation of our sins.” Read Hebrews 2:17 and 1 John 4:10 about His sacrifice for our sins.

He paid a debt that we could never repay on our own.  He had to serve as the propitiation of our sins in order to satisfy the debt that we could never repay ourselves.  As Paul wrote, salvation is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).  He stepped up and stood in for us, only to sacrifice all and suffer for our sakes.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:2-4 (NKJV)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

We need to reflect Christ’s sacrificial living.  Paul stated that we should have the mind of Christ.  Peter said that we should suffer just as Christ suffered.  James, the brother of the Lord, said that we should embrace being tested and tried.  We are to live in a manner that satisfies God.  We are to please God.

Our daily lives are to please God.  Let not Christ’s suffering and sacrifice appear to be in vain.  Do not disregard the cost of salvation.  God did not hold back.  He offered His best.  We, too, are called to offer our best.  God offered His best in Jesus Christ.  God expects us to offer our best by following the example of Jesus Christ.

Live to please God.  Live a repentant and revived life.  Live a renewed life as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. – Psalm 147:11 (KJV)

“It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi quotes)

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