From the Book of Acts 16v29-34 – “The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family. “
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. So for the next two discussions, hopefully that is going to be the topic: salvation..
Salvation includes several parts. Initially there is conversion, or as Jesus put it Matthew 18v3: “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” That means a voluntary change of 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 to be passive. But what does this entail in regards to salvation?
What must I do to be saved is a question often asked in the book of Acts “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” is the reply according to Acts 16v30-31. To believe does not mean just head knowledge; but believing in the heart (Romans 10v9), 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?
God’s side of conversion
Firstly there is 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.
- Being born again (John 3v3-6)
- Washed by rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3v5)
- New creation (2 Corinthians 5v17)
- New person created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness - being renewed in the image of the creator. (Ephesians 4v24; Colossians 5v17)
- Made truly alive (Ephesians 2v5)
Then there is Justification - our position before God. Justification is an act by which the sinner is acquitted and declared righteous in God’s sight (declared free from the penalty of sin). It is remission of sin and its penalty equals forgiveness.
- Nailed the list of the Christian disciples sins to the cross (Colossians 2v13-14)
- Clothed in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61v10)
- Righteousness of Christ (Ephesians 1v7; Acts 13v38-39)
- We receive the gift of righteousness. (Romans 5v17)
- Righteousness from God through faith in Christ (Philippians 3v9)
Justification therefore is the result of being in Jesus Christ. The basis of this justification is Romans 3v26, whereby Jesus Christ is both Just and the Justifier. 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. Therefore justice has been done, because God is just. By faith in Christ we are declared righteous as free gift, and Christian disciples are therefore justified.
Then there is Sanctification or cleansed! We have been sanctified (Hebrews 10v10); washed clean (1 Corinthians 6v11) and have perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 7v1) and are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3v18) and conformed to His likeness (Romans 8v28-29). We are to be living sacrifices, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12v1-2). This holiness is the pursuit of moral excellence, not just obeying the law, and is by necessity a high standard (1 Thessalonians 4v3)
Our condition before God is now
- Set apart - separated from sin
- The attainment of moral holiness.
In principal, we are saints, and God has already declared all Christian disciples sanctified
- We have been made holy (Hebrews 10v10)
- We are washed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6v11)
In practice, as growing Christians, we should be
- Perfecting holiness, freed from the contamination of sin (2 Corinthians 7v1)
- Process of becoming Christ-like (Romans 8v29; 2 Corinthians 3:v18)
- Transforming of character by renewal of our minds (Romans 12v1-2)
The standard all Christian disciples are to attain and maintain is “Be holy, as I am holy” (1 Peter 1v16; 1 Thessalonians 4v3)
The Process by which this is achieved is by the Christian disciple devoting them self to righteousness (Romans 6v19) 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 4v22; Galatians 5v24) and put on the new nature created to be like God (Ephesians 4v24) This is done by a work of God (1 Thessalonians. 5v23, Philippians 2v13). Being indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of conversions, Christian disciples are to ‘walk in the spirit’ (Galatians 5v16).
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.
- Confess known sin immediately, consciously allowing Christ total control in all circumstances
For more to think about please do read Galatians 5vv16-25. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. As a Christian disciple, how has my life changed since I started the Christian journey?
Q2. If I am now sanctified before God, how do I show I wear the robe of righteousness?
Q3. Do I exhibit the fruit of the Spirit to those who are not Christian disciples?
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