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Archive for the 'So Great A Salvation' Category

TOS.jpgSo Great A Salvation

Part 6 – Repentance

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13

This “working hard to show the results of your salvation” involves four things: Repentance, Faith, Perseverance and Discipline.

Repentance is a voluntary change in mind, in which the person turns from a life of sin to living a life of righteousness. This is done in three spheres:

  • Mind (Intellect) - recognition of personal sinfulness and guilt before God (Psalm 51:3; Romans 3:20)
  • Emotional (Heart) - genuine sorrow for sin - Godly sorrow... leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
  • Will - decision to turn from sin, self-pleasing and self-centredness to God.

The importance of repentance was central to the teaching of:

  • Jesus (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15);
  • John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-2)
  • Apostles (Acts 2:38; 20:21).

Repentance was commanded by God (Acts 17:30). It was God’s will that all people should repent (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4)
Next week in this series, we look at the role of faith in the life of the Christian Disciple

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TOS.jpgSo Great A Salvation

 
Part 5 – The Who, What, Why of Salvation

“9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
Romans 10:9-10 New Living Translation

Who decides who is saved has been a question asked for centuries!! There are two extremist views in regard to salvation – there is “hyper-Calvinism” that says God has decided all things and there is nothing we can do about it. Then there is the opposite end, “universalism”, which says that God will grant salvation to all, regardless of creed, race or religion.

However, there is a third way. But we need to see these two “isms” in the balance of Scripture. Firstly, God does choose individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9) and He chooses those who are, or will be, saved (John 15:16). These chosen ones are called the elect. However, it is also His will that all people should be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4) and that nobody should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

So in reading those two statements, it is imperative that we accept both these Scriptural statements as equally and absolutely true. When we use words about God with a time element such as 'chose', 'elect', we need to use these considering God's infinite time framework (timelessness), and not in our human finite time framework. So God offers salvation to all, and leaves the responsibility to take up the offer with humans.

Very often Christians will realise that although they thought at the time, they were making their own free decision to follow Christ, looking back they can see how God led them to that point. We choose; he elects. That is a puzzle we will never understand the answer to but that is the way that it is.

As a Christian Disciple you have taken up God’s offer of salvation! But now what? What happens after the decision to become a Christian has been made? The answer to that, next week!

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Part 4 – The Christian is to Walk In The Spirit

 

Today we are looking at the process by which the Christian is declared clean, righteousified and sanctified. Or you may know it as, walking in the Spirit
The Process by which this is achieved, is by the Christian Disciple devoting him or herself to righteousness (Romans 6:19,22) with a desire and choosing to be holy, submitted and consecrated to God. Christian Disciples are to put off the old nature - crucify the passions and desires (Ephesians 4:22; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:5) and put on the new nature created to be like God (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:12-14).

This is done by a work of God (1 Thessalonians. 5:23, Philippians 2:13) for the Christian is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of conversion, and therefore a Christian Disciple is to ‘walk by the Spirit’ and ‘be led by the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16,18).
This is done by:

  • Desiring holiness. Feed the new nature with God’s Word in order to renew our mind.
  • Communicating with God. Talk to Him!! By doing this sin will be starved.
  • Confessing known sin immediately, consciously allowing Christ total control in all circumstances

Remember the Holy Spirit lives within the Christian Disciple and empowers you and I - we can overcome sin and temptation by relying on His power to overcome rather than relying on your own strength. But we do have to accede control to Him. That of course, can be very difficult to do.

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Part 3 - The Christian is Declared Clean

However. There is a problem with the words ‘justified’ and ‘righteous’ in English. They sound so different but translate as two words which are very similar, because they share the same root in Greek. We could replace ‘justified’ with ‘righteousified’, and know what it meant better, if only there was such a word in English!

So we are justified (or ‘’righteousified’) – treated as though we are righteous in the eyes of God (Romans 3:24,26). We receive the gift of righteousness and so will reign in life (Romans 5: 17) and the list of the Christian Disciples sins is nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:13-14).

Sanctification

Then there is sanctification or cleansing of which there are 3 stages.

We have been sanctified and made holy (Hebrews 10:10) by the death of Jesus Christ and we are washed clean (1 Corinthians 6:11). As a result, we are challenged to become increasingly sanctified. (2 Corinthians 7:1). We are also being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) and conformed to His likeness (Romans 8:29-30). We are to be living sacrifices, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). This holiness is the pursuit of moral excellence, not just obeying the law, and is by necessity a high standard (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) because we have to do with a Holy God. We are sanctified and cleansed and we are to go on being sanctified and cleansed. We will only be fully and completely holy and pure before the Lord when we join him in the new heavens and the new earth (Philippians 3: 20-21)

In principle, we are saints, and God has already declared all Christian Disciples sanctified. We have been set apart - separated from sin, therefore we have been made holy (Hebrews 10:10) and we are washed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11). In practice, as growing Christian Disciples, we should be perfecting holiness, being careful to avoid the contamination of sin (2 Corinthians 7:1). Christian Disciples are to work hard at the process of becoming Christ-like (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3: 1-4). That is done by renewing our minds in order to transform our character (Romans 12:1-2). The standard all Christian Disciples are to attain and maintain is as Peter says: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16)

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Part 2 - God’s side of Salvation

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. Acts 16:29-34 New King James Version (NKJV)

Regeneration

Regeneration is the new birth, being born again, becoming a new creation. A regenerated person does not receive a new spirit or personality, but the Holy Spirit recreates the moral basis of our character, setting it free to act according to God’s will giving the desire and ability to seek and follow God. It involves:

  • Being born again (John 3:3-6)
  • Washing by rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5)
  • Becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Becoming a new person created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness - being renewed in the image of the creator. (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10)
  • Made truly alive (Ephesians 2:5)

Justification

Justification is a change of our status before God. As it is an act by which the sinner is acquitted and declared righteous in God’s sight (declared free from the penalty of sin). Remission of sin and its penalty equals forgiveness. The basis of this justification is in Romans 3:26, where Jesus Christ is said to be both Just and the one who justifies.

Because God is holy, sin must be dealt with, He cannot arbitrarily forgive sin. The judgment and penalty of sin, which is death, was poured out on Jesus Christ who is our substitute. He takes our sin instead of us. Therefore justice has been done, because God is just. By faith in Christ we are declared righteous as a free gift, and Christian Disciples are therefore justified.

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Part 1 – What is Salvation?

 

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. (Acts 16:29-34 New King James Version)

Salvation has two sides to it. There is God’s side, which may seem obvious. But there is also the human side of salvation. God provides the salvation, but it is the human’s responsibility to take it.

Salvation includes several parts. Initially there is a call (Romans 8: 30) when the Spirit starts to speak to, and be heard in, the life of the individual. That then leads to conversion, or as Jesus put it in Matthew 18:3: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” That means a voluntary change, turning from sin to God. That is the concept behind repentance. From there, that point of beginning the life of a Christian Disciple, it is a dynamic life and not passive. But what does this entail in regard to salvation?

What must I do to be saved is a question asked in the book of Acts. “Believe in the Lord Jesus” is the reply according to Acts 16:30-31. To believe does not mean just head knowledge; but believing in the heart (Romans 10:9), relying on the finished work of Christ for salvation. That is the human response to God’s offer of salvation.

But what is God’s part of the deal? That is for next time!

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