Posted by: pastortomvabeach | June 9, 2015

Thought For The Week June 14, 2015

As we make our way through the 16 biblical teachings which form the foundation of the Assembly of God fellowship, number 5 is called a “one of four cardinal doctrines” which means that these core beliefs play a key role in reaching the lost and building the believer and the church both now and for the future. They enable and empower us to carry out the mission Jesus has given us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Number 5 of 16 is “The Salvation of Mankind”

Salvation means to be delivered or freed from the condition which we studied last week, that we are born with a nature that is fallen, broken, prone to sin, and destined to eternity separate from God. Who wants to stay that way? The Bible tells us that God has does everything that is needed for any person to be freed from that sentence.

Jesus, God’s Son, took on the nature of man, took our place as a sacrifice for sin (the Lamb of God), and died on the cross. Isaiah says, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6). Paul tells us that God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21).

Because of the obedience of Jesus Christ, who had no sin, we have been given the opportunity to be made right with God, have our sins forgiven, and be guaranteed eternal life. Jesus’ death paid the price and His resurrection assured it was accepted.

Salvation is not something we do or earn. Jesus already did what was necessary and earned the right to offer it to us. This is a free gift which comes through God’s grace which means we don’t deserve it and can’t make it happen. Paul says that even when we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

So if we can’t earn it and don’t have to do any religious acts to get it, how does one get to that place of being delivered from sin? Just like any gift, we simply receive it. If I offered you a crisp $100 bill and said, “Here it is, it’s all yours, just take it,” would you ask me what you had to do to get it? All you’d have to do is let me put it in your hand. You would trust it was free by taking it. Paul writes, by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). God offers salvation by His grace, we receive it simply by believing it’s ours. And the interesting thing is that Paul says even the faith is a gift.

The process usually happens like this. A person is confronted with the truth of his or her own sin (through the conviction of the Holy Spirit) and the fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection that paid for that sin. Desiring to be forgiven, the person makes a decision to turn from that sin (repent) and turn to Jesus (faith). Again Paul says, if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10). Notice there is a turning to what God says is right, submitting to Jesus as Lord, and confession of belief in Jesus’ completed work. That’s it!

Lest you think, woo hoo!, all I have to do is say I believe and I can go out and do any old thing I want, biblical faith means more than just agreeing in my head. It means agreeing and allowing God to change my actions. When I come to Jesus in faith, the Bible tells me that I am instantly changed in my spirit into one who loves and wants to serve God. The evidence that one has received salvation is seen outwardly as a life that is dedicated to pleasing God, avoiding sin, and walking in step with Him. Ephesians 2:10 follows the verse I mentioned above: we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Notice that the changed lifestyle doesn’t save us but proves that we are saved.

This doctrine is cardinal to us and all Christians because it is the central message of the entire Bible. From Genesis to Revelation we see the story of man turning from God and God pursuing those created in His image to restore them into His family. Without this truth all the other beliefs we hold would be empty and without meaning. More importantly, without the experience of salvation, one’s life is empty and without any real meaning.

Have you experienced the life changing gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? If you have, what are you doing to make Jesus known to those you know who have not? If you have not, what is holding you back? Why would you want to stay in truth number 4 – the fallen state of man? I hope this makes you think!

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