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.

What Happened On The Cross: The Book of 1 Corinthians – part 5

This installment is the last of our series on Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth, now known as the Bible book of 1 Corinthians. Let’s dive right in:

…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to be present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of time. 1 Cor. 15:2 – 8. NKJV

Thus, Paul begins making the case for the first and most important event at the cross: that of Jesus’ salvation death and resurrection – of which there were many witnesses. Indeed, Paul makes that salvation connection next:

…Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.

The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 1 Cor. 15:20 – 26. NKJV

Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him (God) who put all things under Him, (Jesus) that God may be all in all. 1 Cor. 15:28 NKJV

When Christ was transformed at His resurrection into this new God-Man existence, He became His Father’s agent of Man’s resurrection. Jesus is the first fruit of the ‘resurrection harvest’ of humanity, at the end of time. He guaranteed resurrection for God’s children by wiping out the spiritual death, (which ultimately results in physical death as well) brought on us by Adam’s original sin.

That cleansing is only available to those who accept Christ’s invitation for salvation – which frees God’s children from the ravages of time and death. Given that this is so, Paul now attempts to get the Corinthians to clean up their act and prepare themselves for Christ’s return:

Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.
Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. 1 Cor. 15:33, 34. AMP

Paul then tells them how God will make it possible for them to rise from their graves:

The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust, the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:42 – 58. NKJV

Wow! Christ’s work at the cross enables us to be resurrected as both righteous, and transcendent of the Law. We get a new body, made in His image, which never wears out! Our physical sufferings are a forgotten memory, and we stand ready to enter into an eternity of the unimaginable; and it’s all about The Love…

Such a deal! Makes a great case for connecting with our God through Jesus, yes?

(Well, because our message today was a quite a bit shorter than usual, I’m going to insert a short historical segue that will lead us into the Bible book of 2 Corinthians:

The date is approximately 55 A.D. Nero is the present ruler of Rome.

Paul paid a second visit to the church of Corinth which did not work out very well, although we are not given much details about the ‘why.’ He then returned to the city of Ephesus, whereupon Paul sent the Corinthians a ‘tearful’ letter – implied to be one that expressed his disappointment of their spiritual state, as well as his dismay over the manner in which they received him.

Unfortunately, just like Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, this tearful letter was lost as well.

During Paul’s stay in Ephesus, he preached against idolatry – the outcome of which produced a loss of revenue for a certain silversmith who fashioned and sold pagan idols. The silversmith stirred up a the unbelievers to riot against Paul.

Paul left Ephesus and traveled to the region of Macedonia. He wanted to return to Corinth, but he first waited for a report that was to come from his brother in Christ, Titus. Titus sent a good report, informing Paul that the Corinthians were happily waiting for his return.

Paul’s first response was to send a letter to encourage the faithful – a letter we now know as the Bible book of 2 Corinthians.)

Next time…

Good night, and God bless.