Two-Sided Salvation – part 3

Continuing in our examination of the two sides of salvation – life before, and after…

In the days before salvation is realized, we walk this earth with an incongruity in ourselves – a clash between the sins desired by the flesh versus the innate Law of God that He planted in our souls. The Law is not meant to create hostility however, it is for revealing right thinking and acting (by way of conviction), as well as to generate a hunger for the love and peace of God that can only be satiated by the salvation found through Christ.

The Law warns of death for the unrepentant, while the gospel of salvation promises eternal life for the saved. The gospel reveals that you are not godly in your present state, but that your godly Savior will render you so by covering you with His righteousness. Indeed, it is only when one is first convinced of their ungodliness, can they enter the door of reconciliation with their Creator – i.e. only after the Law has done its job.

Again, you can only be found by Jesus when you realize that you are lost. Without that knowledge, you’re unaware of your need for God’s mercy. And because of the pride built into your flesh, you don’t seek it out.

God put the Law in place, but after it’s done its work, He wants to comfort you from it with His righteousness, justification and sanctification through His Son:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies… Ps. 103:3, 4. NKJV

Another possible obstacle to salvation is if the unsaved falls victim to ‘religion,’ that is, scripture and religious practices perverted to serve the will of man. It is a vehicle for glorifying oneself, so it flies in the face of the example of Jesus’ pursuit of selflessness in service.

The philosophies of man are false doctrines which are usually opposed to divine truth, making them noxious to the soul.

There are no manmade works that can bring salvation to anyone. It comes purely by the free grace of God. However, good works should be an outcome of that grace:

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your’ works [nor attempts to keep the Law], so that no one can boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. Eph. 2:8 – 10. AMP

Our part in our salvation is to know and accept our redemption through the gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins, and give our lives to Him by living by His Father’s words.

Jesus gave His life for our redemption. And only He could have done that, because through His virgin birth, He was spared from the damning contamination of Adam’s sin. Only Christ could make a sinless offering of Himself – shedding His blood in death so that our souls would be cleansed. In so doing, we can enter into the Father’s presence for all eternity.

Unfortunately, even after you’ve received your divine reconciliation, you will continue to fall. The good news is that in our saved state, we can approach the throne of our Father in earnest repentance and reap the restoration of His mercy.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need. Heb. 4:16 NASB

You may have sinned, but you are now a ‘saint.’ That old sinner in you has died:

For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3 AMP

Once saved, God does not call you to condemnation. And who is the worst condemner? It’s you. It’s a negative habit that you formed in your childhood; but you can get rid of it by paying attention to what God says about you. He sees you through the eyes of Christ, your divine Mediator, which makes you perfect, lovable, good enough and acceptable…

Hallelujah!

Goodnight and God bless.

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Two-Sided Salvation – part 2

We were talking about the two states that we find ourselves in, with regards to salvation: the predicaments we can experience prior to salvation, versus the position that we hold after having been saved.

There are many obstacles that prevent us from reaching out for salvation. One may be ignorance, i.e. not having heard the gospel. All the other obstacles are things that we put upon ourselves.

Aside from sin, the most formidable of these is the practice of living in the past. When we occupy that timeframe, we subconsciously indulge our wounded child within, who, constantly begs for our attention with regards to its unhealed miseries.

We try to oppress those hurts with busyness, distractions or addictions, rather than open them up for the healing of Christ; and we become mentally and / or physically sick in the process.

We yearn for connection, all the while living out a life from an illusion of being separated from God, other people and our true selves, that we concoct through self-judgment over our roles (actual or perceived) in past events. That illusion gives birth to thoughts and actions that are derogatory to both ourselves and those around us – making the separation real.

This ultimately leads to a life wasted in a flurry of unfulfilling exertions to still the fear of abandonment and to attempt to survive in a world of our own making. So, we suffer. But, it is in our fleshly nature to look for pleasure and avoid suffering. That keeps us trapped in a place that prevents us from understanding, accepting and loving ourselves. Furthermore, the incessant search to soothe the flesh gnaws away at the joy in our spirit, which is toxic to the soul.

Sounds grim, yes? And that’s exactly the way our adversary wants to keep us:

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times.  That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry] seeking someone to devour. 1 Pt. 5:8 AMP

Everyone suffers from this dilemma at one time or another; it’s only a matter of degrees.

We see then, why it’s so important for those who have been blessed with salvation to reach out to everyone sitting on the unsaved side on the fence, and show them the way of God’s grace towards their own healing. Of course, to be the most effective at the ‘Great Commission,’* we must have submitted ourselves for His healing as well.

* “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mk. 16:15 NKJV

So, going back to 1 Pt. 5:8 above, we see that to ‘be ‘sober, alert and cautious at all times’  (emphasis mine), demands that we live in the present moment rather than die in the ways of the past. We cannot connect with God or receive His gifts of salvation (healing, peace, revelatory guidance and eternal life but to name a few) unless we are living in the ‘here and now’ with Him.

No one knows us better than our Creator. That’s good because so many times we bury the past that drives us under many layers of unconsciousness. So, we can ask our blessed Mediator (Christ) to search our hearts and help us see the sources of our suffering and sorrow that robs us of the life He came to bring us.

“…know the God of your Father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” 1 Chr. 28:9 NKJV

…the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weaknesses…[knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf…And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Rom. 8;26 – 28. AMP

We’ve got to grab a hold of God while we still draw breath, praying for revelation about the strategies that we’ve constructed that keep us in the world of the past. And then we can pray with exactitude about how to take on godly characteristics to thrust that construct from our lives. Then, we will be free to serve God in freeing others with the same afflictions by leading them to His salvation.

It is in the telling of that redemption where we’ll find that the truth about salvation sells itself.

Salvation is that where God gives the breakers of His law another opportunity to reach righteousness through the gospel of Christ Jesus – freeing His children from His wrath of judgment, filling them with peace and joy of the Spirit.

It changes the recipient by filling his or her heart with love, saving them by freely granting them the righteousness the law demands that they could not possibly fulfill on their own.

For Christ is the end of the law [it leads to Him and its purpose is fulfilled in Him], for [granting] righteousness to everyone who believes [in Him as Savior]. Rom. 10:4 AMP

God loves everyone:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Pt. 1:2 – 4. NKJV

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Pt. 3:9 AMP

He is willing and waiting to bring everyone into His everlasting kingdom.

The only ones who will not gain entrance are those who steadfastly refuse to be saved. God will not violate free will, He won’t compel.

Indeed, this is why we must first teach others the Law of God so that they can see their utter helplessness to save themselves without His mercy. They must understand the deathly consequences of the contamination of sin. Then, the hearer can understand the need for Christ – first by gaining the knowledge of the gospel and then accepting it wholeheartedly by faith, whereby we receive and live under His grace and find our satisfaction in Him.

God wants you to rise above your worldly misery and accept His merciful gift of His Son’s work on the cross. He will never refuse you. He wants you to come to Him as you are, not as you wished you would be:

My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart [broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise. Ps. 51:17 AMP

God is ready and willing to work with you – because He loves you so much…

Goodnight and God bless.

Two-Sided Salvation

I don’t mean that salvation has a double meaning. You are either saved or you’re not. What we will examine here is the state where you find yourself before you are saved (that which may drive some to finally seek salvation), and the transformed reality we step into once we receive it.

We are all born into sin:

…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one able to stop it or escape its power], because all sinned. Sin was [committed] in the world before the Law [was given], but sin is not charged [against anyone] when there is no law [against it]. Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse – Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation]…through one trespass [Adam’s sin] there resulted condemnation for all men…through one man’s disobedience [his failure to hear, his carelessness], the many were made sinners… Rom. 5:12 – 14, 18-19. AMP

Adam’s sin thrust itself generationally upon all of us. Its grip takes hold as soon as we become aware of the Mosaic Law (the foundation of which is the Ten Commandments), when we become of an age where we can grasp right from wrong, at that moment when we tap into that same Law that God put in all of our hearts:

“I will put My law in their minds and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…for they shall all know Me…” Jer. 31:33, 34. NKJV

Just how important is that Law?

“For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days…” Dt. 32:47 NASB

We are born in sin, born in and bound by the Law until we receive the grace of God’s salvation through Christ; and we have this Law divinely implanted and innately available. Our obedience to this Law is tantamount to the quality and length of our lives.

Furthermore, add this to the mix:

“…it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times…This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they may grasp Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us.” Acts 17:25 – 27. AMP

“…God overlooked and disregarded former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old ways of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness…” Acts 17:30, 31. AMP

So, God put an innate hunger in us that leads us to seek out our Creator. Further, He asks us to line up with Him, in order to be saved from His judgment that He will serve upon those who don’t.

Our hunger for answers show up as, ‘Who am I? What am I? Who created me? What is my purpose? What happens after I die?’

You can see how our ‘unsaved experience’ can cause one an enormous amount of consternation.

Our initial instinct, (thanks to Adam) is to seek out answers through the flesh, adding more sin to our dilemma. We feel condemned because of the Law God placed in our spirit that revealed our sin nature. We sin some more to assuage the feelings we endure, because of our condemnation, and we draw into ourselves to hide from what we may assume is an avenging God.

The Law was a gift of mercy. It showed us what was right and wrong. All we had to do was obey it, perfectly. Unfortunately, that has proved to be humanly impossible. So, the Law condemns us to death for disobedience. It promises us an eternal life yet doesn’t reveal a workable path to get there. But what God was trying to get us to see through the Law, was our immediate need for salvation – forgiveness to deliver us from the hopeless condition created by our Law-breaking.

I say ‘immediate need’ because we have no idea when we will depart from this earth; and if we haven’t embraced Christ before that time, we don’t get to ride that heavenly bus.

What God is doing through the conviction of the Holy Spirit is to reveal these things, so that we might be led to a genuine repentant state and take on a humility of the heart.

God sends His children out into the world with the gospel message, preaching His grace and loving-kindness in sending Jesus to save the hearers from condemnation through their having faith in who Christ is and what He’s done. And who is Christ? Is He not the author of our faith? (Heb. 12:2) He freely supplies the faith that you need.

The flesh has a far greater tendency to cling to the Law and reject God’s promise through Christ. Thus, we grab hold of the faith in our spirit and declare that our sin-debt, our death-debt, has been paid by the Son of God: “I have forgiveness of sins through Christ, having faith that He has transformed me from within.”

On the other side, when we receive our salvation, been forgiven our sins, we also have to take on living in a godly way to the best of our ability. Jesus will then bridge the gap where we fall short. In addition, we need to stay connected with God through His word, prayer and meditation so that we can know His will and realize what actions we need to take.

We need to take our minds off of ourselves and live a loving life of servitude. Our spiritual perfection only comes when we forget about perfecting ourselves, amassing possessions and follow in the footsteps of Christ.

We can then release ourselves from the concept of ‘mine,’ knowing that everything belongs to God in Whom we rest; thus, everything is ours without having to fret over the ‘rightful ownership’ of it.

Indeed, we are at our most free when we love God and accept His love and peace, even if we don’t see it manifest in the world. It is there in our spirit. God facilitates our reconciliation with ourselves, so that we may return to that wonderful person He made us to be. When we achieve this reconciliation, we are also one with Him. Then our old battles within can cease…

To be continued.

Goodnight and God bless.