Tag Archives: Salvation

He Appeared to Put Away Sin

Hebrews 9:18-24

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

It’s time for a reality check.  The question of the day is “Are you a sinner?”.  I am asking this using the definition of sin, which is disobedience to God.  It is not doing something wrong, or saying something wrong, or acting foolishly and harming others.  Sin is not an action that occurs between people, but it occurs between people and God.  When we do do wrong, it is sin against God, not against the other person, or dog, or tree.

But sin is more than just doing wrong.  Sin is indwelling in every man, woman and child.  We are born with it, and we will die with it.  It cannot leave us.  When Adam sinned in the garden, his seed became infected with sin, in a way. That sin seed travels down through time every time a person is born, and is transmitted by the seed of a man.  It is inescapable.  You and I will always be sinners.  There is no way to avoid having that seed within us.  There was only one who was ever born who did not have this seed of sin, because His seed came from the Holy Ghost.  That is Jesus, who was born of a virgin.  Therefore, He is the only one who can ever claim He is sinless, and He did walk a sinless life while on this earth.  The rest of us will be cursed with this sin seed the rest of our years.

The nation of Israel was no different.  They were sinners, and needed someone to make atonement for them to cover their sin before God.  Every year, only once a year, there was a solemn day called the day of atonement.  We have spoken of this before during this study on Hebrews.  The High priest would take two goats and let one go (the scapegoat) a symbol of sin leaving the camp.  The other goat would be sacrificed on the altar and the blood would be taken and sprinkled on the mercy seat, which covered the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.  It was the only time anyone entered the Holy of Holies all year.  This ceremony took place every year to make atonement for the sins of the people.  Every year.  For centuries it had been this way.  The pattern was set (see my last post on the Pattern of Things).

Then came Jesus.  He was a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  He was sinless, not having the seed of sin within His body due to the virgin birth. He was the only one who lived, or ever will live, a sinless life.  He was offered up on the cross as a sacrifice for our sin.  When He died, the veil of the temple rent from top to bottom, signifying the Holy of Holies was now available for all to enter.  The mercy of God, the law and the power were now all available to us on a personal basis.  No longer a need for anyone to stand between us and God.  The confessional in a Catholic church is so different than this picture.  I’m sorry, but I can go straight to Jesus with my confession, and he forgives me without the need of Hail Mary.  In fact, Mary can do nothing to cleanse me of the sin that so easily besets me.

Jesus is our mediator, as we looed at before.  He is the one who stands before God and makes supplication for us.  He is the one we go to for cleansing, for sanctification, for deliverance, for all things God has for us.  There is no one else in heaven or earth who comes close to the power and authority that Jesus has.  The promises of God are delivered to us through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  There are thousands of these promises throughout the scriptures, all for us.  The only thing we have to do is accept this offering that has been made for us, the offering of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

Paul said that he died daily.  What exactly was he talking about?  He was saying that each day he must get up and die to the sin that still is in his body, that seed of sin that causes us to have wayward thoughts, or do unholy things, or say words that can hurt and make others turn away from Christ.  Christ is our strength, and we can do all things through Him.  But in order to trust Him completely, we must give ourselves completely to Him.  When we start to trust in ourselves, that is when we will fall.  WE have no power against sin.  It is Christ who is the overcomer, and we must allow Him the authority in our lives to help us overcome also.  The only way we can do this is to die to ourselves, so that Christ might live in us.  A John the Baptists said “He must increase, I must decrease.”

The seed of sin has not left my body.  It is still real, and it is still affecting my daily actions.  After all, I am living in a fleshly body while on this earth.  As long as I do, sin will be in my being.  Jesus has eradicated my sin, but it is my obligation to make sure I confess that sin each day to God, and ask for His forgiveness. I also must ask forgiveness from others if I sin against them. Jesus places a high score on forgiveness.   It was one of the last things He said from the cross.  Jesus said if I don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us.  Unforgiveness is sin, and we must steer clear of this.  Sin will knock on our door constantly, trying to make us turn from God.  But God promises that no temptation will come into our lives that we are not strong enough to handle.

We have an appointment with God.  We have an appointed time with death, and none of us knows what day that will be.  Only God knows where this falls on the calendar.  He only opportunity we have to make things right with God is before this death appointment takes place.  Here is no purgatory where we shall be, and where God will give us another chance to accept His offering after our death.  There is only heaven or hell.  It is time you made your choice on where you will go.  Hell is reserved for sinners, for those who are disobedient to God.  We are all sinners until we accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on that Cross.  Have you confessed your sin to Him and turned away from it?  Have you trusted in Him as your Lord and Savior?  If your answer is yes, Praise the Lord!  If it is no, please do so right now, and Jesus will meet with you right where you are.  Be saved by His grace today!

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But Christ

Hebrew 9:11-14

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Back in my late teen and early twenties, I didn’t have a care in the world./Life was just a party. I had a great job that I could do drunk, stoned, tired, whatever condition I was in. I had friends who liked to party around me, and even one who was a dealer and got me free pot. Life was good, or so I thought.

In 1975 I want to my high school 5th reunion, and there ran into me best friend from younger years. He had been in Vietnam and we lost contact. He told me he had gone from Vietnam to Germany for a bit and there had some kind of religious experience with Jesus Christ. He said he had been saved and wanted me to know about it. I wanted nothing to do with that. I was having too much fun. He was heading to Florida from here to the beach, and I wished him safe passage as we committed to keeping in touch. I heard his words of faith, but ignored them.

But Christ had planted a seed, and my friend watered it over the next year. My friend kept watering that seed in letters we exchanged over the next 12 months or so. He would put a scripture address in those letters forcing me to look them up to see what he was referencing. A year later, I decided to visit him in Iowa, and there I met Jesus myself. I got saved sitting on his couch, in his living room. Christ knew my need, and he met it. I thought I was happy, But Christ gave me a new joy I had never known.

Two years went by, and my friend and I stayed in touch. I decided to go visit him again in 1978, not knowing what God had in store. I came to visit my friend and had no intention of meeting anyone else, But Christ knew better. He always does I shared this whole story a few weeks ago, and you can read it HERE. When I thought life was going one direction, God had other plans, better plans. He had plans to keep me blessed for a lifetime, and for 44 years, His plan has been wonderful. I thought life was good But Christ knew how to make it better.

In 2008 I was wallowing in a sea of pride. M wife tried to tell me about it, but I didn’t listen. I was taking advantage of my position at work to do things I knew were a serious violation of company protocol. I was steeped in sexual sin, but kept leading worship, being a deacon and showing everyone I was someone special. My wife even tried to tell me I was full of pride, and I didn’t listen. Instead, I told her I was humble, very humble. But my pride got the best of me, and I got fired from my job. I had to tell my wife and my pastor what had happened, and they were so mad at me. I had betrayed my Pastor’s trust, and he had helped me pay through this sin once before, 5 years earlier. But I hid it from everyone, and he was ready to kick me out of his church. He found out about a place called Pure Life Ministries, and told me I needed to go there if I ever wanted to set foot in his church again. I said I would.

I had been sent there to deal with what I thought were sexual sin problems. But Christ had other plans. Instead, they dealt with my pride, which was enormous, At one point I remember being proud of the pride I had! I came to realize that my wife was right all along, and that I had a serious pride problem. They dealt with it by revealing it to me, and showing a way out. I had been sent there to deal with this blatant pride and arrogance and that’s exactly what God did, He dealt with it!

But God had other plan as well. When I left there, my counselor told me not to do any type of ministry for two years, so I did not. I watched over my grandkids at church while my wife played the piano. I told my wife that it was her decision when I would start top enter back into ministry. hen, through a series of events I will share at some other time, God started to give me songs – lots of them. I heard His voice, and I heard the melody. I wrote them down and recorded them on my phone. I thought God had done all He planned to do after Pure Life, But Christ had better plans that I was just entering into.

In 2016, after two bouts with pneumonia, my doctor did a CT scan, and they found Multiple Myeloma lesions. This type of leukemia was pretty rare and I was sitting there in stage two out of three, facing two stem cell transplants and 2-1/2 years of chemo treatments. his meant over 40 days in a hospital bed and a long recovery/. This was an attack of the enemy that would put me on my back and out of ministry for many months. But Christ had other plans. In that hospital bed I started this Bible Study blog. I also wrote poem after poem after poem, with songs mixed in. Through a little advertising, my poetry Facebook page grew to over 3,000 page likes, and I had hundreds, sometimes thousands, reading these poems sent from God every day. I was laying in a hospital bed, But Christ used that time to teach me to listen even closer. He had a better plan.

The nation of Israel was looking for a Messiah. They longed for Him to come, but when He came they did not recognize Him. They thought He would come to free them from the Roman and had no idea He came to set up an eternal Kingdom. They thought he would win battles with weapons of warfare, and had no idea He would win souls by the power of His words. They thought eh sacrificial system was there way top find peace with God. But Christ had other plans. He sent Jesus, who was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, to offer Himself as a sacrifice for their sin. He became that perfect lamb whose blood was spilled to give the people remission from their sins. And not only for the Jews, but for all mankind. For you and for me.

This world thinks they have it all figured out But Christ knows better. he is our creator. He knows what we need. Our biggest need is for a Savior because we all have sin within us. It is in our souls from our very birth. It is in the seed passed down from generation to generation since the time of Adam. Only one person in all of history has ben born without that seed of sin, and that is Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, through the Holy Spirit. There was no sin in Him – ever. Only He can save us from our sinful ways to serve a holy God. Only He can turn us from wretched sinners to righteous saints. Only Jesus!

Do you have But Christ moments in your life? I could share many more, but want to leave room for yours. Please put them in the comments, and invite your friends to do the same by sharing this post.

The New Covenant

 Hebrews 8:10-13

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

If the Hebrew people were not riled up about what Paul was saying before this, they certainly would be now.  “What does he mean, the first covenant is old and decayed?  We have had this covenant with God, all of these covenants, forever.  Covenants never die, they never get old.  How can he make such a statement?” It would be almost like someone coming and saying to Americans that our old constitution is decayed and needs replaced by a new one.  We have to remember that the law and the covenants formed the Jewish governmental laws as well not just their religious laws.  Paul was, in effect, saying their government needed to change because a new covenant had replaced the old.

But wait!  The Jewish people knew this would come when Messiah came.  It was a prophecy from Jeremiah.  In fact, Paul quotes directly from Jeremiah 31:33-34.  He doesn’t just pull these words out of thin air.  These words of Jeremiah were known by Hebrew children and adults as a promise that the Messiah, the coming King, would bring to pass.  When Paul wrote these words, all would know what he was saying and implying by them.  He was not making up these words to try and prove hiss point!  He was proving his point by words already written over 600 years earlier.  He had to really have their attention now!

Let’s take a look at what this new covenant consisted of.  First, the law would be written on their hearts and placed in their minds.  The law at this time was only written on scrolls to be read only in the synagogue. The people did not have copies of the law like we have their bibles.  They had to rely on going to the synagogue to hear the word of the Lord.  As children, they learned certain portions of scripture, but there was no way to memorize all the words of the Lord in the Torah the history books, the Psalms, proverbs and the prophets.  One thing they were well trained on were verses that pointed to the coming Messiah.  Most had heard them over and over again.  hey yearned for Messiah to come, thinking he would free them from Roman captivity.  Psalm 22, Isaiah 6, 9, 53 and 61 were all familiar to them as well as many others.

The second part of this prophecy says that every man, woman and child will help each other to understand the word of God.  We will teach our neighbors, and our brothers to know the Lord.  How do we do this?  Some might say it is through the words we speak, and that would be part of it.  But much more important is the life that we live in front of other people.  I used top have a Pastor who always said “What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I cannot hear.”  If your witness does not line up with the gospel, we can use all the words we want and we will not reach a soul.  In fact, we will most likely turn people away from God if our works do not show that Christ rules in our life.  You and I will teach our brothers and our neighbors to know the Lord by our actions in everyday life.  This is the most powerful witness we have.

Third, He will be merciful to the unrighteous.  He will remember our sins no more.  Hallelujah!  What a wonderful promise this is.  The nation of Israel always thought the Messiah would be a leader in battle, like Joshua and David were.  They thought of Him as a deliverer of their flesh, not necessarily of their souls.  Little did they understand the magnitude of this part of the prophecy.  They thought this was their God, and that He would be Messiah to the nation of Israel.  But He came as Messiah to all the nations of the earth, every tribe and every tongue.  All the unrighteous would be shown His mercy, the mercy that was shown on the cross. All their sins would be forgotten and remembered no more.  Paul was extending this prophecy past the nation of Israel to all the unrighteous.  All those teachings of Jesus to love our enemies, do good to those who despitefully use us, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek would now come to back to their memory.  God is a God to all the nations, not just to Israel.

This is the new covenant.  Not just a covenant to Israel, but to every man, woman and child on this earth.  To all races and creeds now and forever more.  The Messiah was brining the fulfillment of this prophecy, and every other prophecy, to everyone throughout time.  Paul was making the case for this in His letter to the Hebrews by showing them that Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  In these days, only a priest could remit sins, and that only through the sacrificial system.

There was no other way for the people to be cleansed from their sins to stand before a holy God.  This all changed when Jesus came.  The prophecy came true, and Messiah had come for all mankind.

Saved to the Uttermost

Hebrews 7:25-28 

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Here is the heart of the matter.  Saved to the uttermost.  Hat saying fascinates me, so I looked up various translations, and it makes this even more amazing.  Other translations say “save completely”, “forever save”, “once and forever save”, “give life for eternity”, “save to the very end”.  Do you get the picture here.  When Jesus saves us, there I no further need to be saved any more.  He priests in Jesus’ day, and in Paul’s day, needed to make intercession for the people daily.  Every day blood had to be shed to forgive the nation, and the people, forgiveness for their sins, according to the law. In fact, they had to give a sacrifice for their own sins before they could make offerings for the people.  His was a cycle that would go on eternally.  And, if not for Jesus, it would be the only way that even we, the Gentiles, could find any type of forgiveness of sin before God.

But Jesus came.  Jesus lived a sinless, holy life.  He lived to show the love of the Father, in fact top show us the Father Himself, in the signs, wonders and teachings that He brought to this earth.  During His time on earth, He was harmless, He never hurt anyone. He never took up a sword or a spear, but instead relied on the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  He was holy, never sinning while on this earth, and without the seed of sin in His body.  The seed that had been [passed on since the time of Adam.  Because He was not the child of Joseph, bit the child of the Holy Spirit, who came on Mary to bear a Son to a virgin, as spoken of by the prophets.  He had no tins within Him at birth, and He had no sin within Him when He hung on the cross.  He was holy throughout His life.  Undefiled by sin, or by this world, he walked in purity of thought and mind every day.  His separated Him from sinners, because He had no sin.  He was perfect.

His made Him, Jesus Christ, able to offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins once and forever.  A perfect lamb, without blemish, was the accepted offering for sin.  It could not have scar, or broken bone, or cleft hoof.  Nothing out of place, nothing of sickness or decay.  A perfect lamb was the only acceptable offering.  We recall the words of John the Baptists, who prophetically spoke “Behold the Lamb of God, who take away the sin of the world.”  Sin, singular, not sins, plural.  All sin was taken by Him.  Sin, all our sin, was wiped clean that day.  All our sin, past, present and future was redeemed by His sacrifice. Here was now not any need for a sacrifice for sin, because the ultimate sacrifice had been made, and it would last forever.

Why?  Because Jesus was not ordained by man.  He was not imperfect when he was called to be the high priest for our sins.  He was perfect at His calling, perfect all the way through His life, and perfect at His death.  His body was marred, scarred, tortured, beaten and bruised, but He committed no sin.  He sins of the world were upon Him, but He had no personal sin of His own.  He was the perfect High Priest of the most-high God.  And He would be set apart, consecrated for ever in the heavens, taking His seat on the right hand of God.

What a Savior we have in Jesus.  What a friend to the lost.  What a miracle it is that God would have such grace on a sinner like me, who could never have found his way to an every-loving God if not for the precious gift of His Son, His only Son.  It is beyond my comprehension that God would do such a thing, but He did.  He sent His only Son, to be a sacrifice for my sin, that I would be with Him forever.  Now I can walk on this earth knowing I am forgiven by God, and knowing that he will help me everyday to walk in His ways, above the ways of the world.  What a treasure!  What a gift!  He forgave me!

His makes me ask myself the question – “So who am I to not forgive others?”  Who am I to stand in judgment of others because of their sin?  Jesus died for all.  For the least a s well as the greatest.  He forgave all, even if all have not accepted that forgiveness.  What gives me any right at all to not forgive?  If I have no right to forgive, I also have no right to condemn or criticize.  Did Jesus criticize me?  No, He saved me.  He forgave me.  Did Jesus come to condemn me?  No, He came to save me (John 3:17).  We are to follow His example. We are here to lead others to the cross that He was led to.  Are purpose is to bring others to the same saving grace He brought us to.  We can’t do that by judging, or condemning, or by not forgiving someone else.  Did you deserve His forgiveness?  I know I did not.  Do your friends, and your enemies deserve His forgiveness?  No, they do not.  But He died and gave the ultimate sacrifice for them as much as He did for you.  So, if Christ can forgive them, why can’t you? He has saved us to the uttermost.  Let us take this eternal salvation to all of those we meet.  On the street, in the grocery store, in our workplace, and anywhere we come in contact with others.  Let us sow this seed of grace wherever we can, and let the world know that their sins have been forgiven.  This is the calling of every believer, especially me!

Patient Endurance

Hebrews 6:13-15

13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Our salvation does not come overnight.  It does not magically appear in the instant we accept the sacrifice of Christ by saying a few words at an altar, or wherever we are.  There are some who say that once we are saved, we are always saved.  Nothing can change that, they say.  I disagree.  Let me share my thoughts on this today.

I came to Christ through the fervent prayers of a friend.  He prayed for me, sent me scripture verses in letters, and gently urged me closer and closer to the cross.  I was living a despicable lifestyle of drugs, sex and booze to go along with my foul mouth and corrupt speech.  I was happy in my sin, and really did not want Christ, or any type of religion in my life.  When I came to visit my friend in Iowa and he took me to his church, God grabbed my heart.  I confessed my sin later that week and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.  I was saved that night.  My sins were washed away and I was made a new creature in Christ.  There is no doubt, and no disputing that fact.  I never spoke another swear word, I started going to church and reading the Bible, I changed my lifestyle to some extent, and I started walking with God and seeking His counsel.  Two years later, I visited Iowa again and met the women who would be my wife.  God definitely had a plan, and I moved to Iowa a couple months later, married that girl and now we have been married for 44 years.  Tomorrow, I will share the story of how we met, so tune in.  It was surely by the grace of God.

So, now I am saved.  I am walking with the Lord and trying my best to put all my past failures behind me.  I am trusting in His Word that His love will never leave me (Romans 8:35-38) and I know he has forgiven me.  I am a completely different man than the one that first came to Iowa.  I have changed and there is no way anyone can deny that.  My life is full of God now, and I am learning more about Him every day.  There is a zeal that surpasses any zeal I have had for anything in the past.  But as time goes on, that zeal subsides a little, and I start to drift away from Him.  He never moves, but I do.  I stop reading so much in His word, and some of my worldly ways start to invade my life again.  I find myself like Paul in Romans 7:19-25 where he talks about doing the things he doesn’t want to do and not doing the things he does want to do.  His is a perplexing place to be, and one we can all associate with (I think).  It is in these moments I am in danger of losing that salvation that I once enjoyed.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the prodigal son.  When he was feeding the pigs, and only hoped to have the husks of the ears of corn to eat because he was so broke, he was outside the love of his father.  Not because His father ever stopped loving him, but because he walked away from that love. He decided there were better things in life than his father’s love.  It is true that God will never stop loving us, and that He is always there, waiting for us, to take us back in if we return to Him.  But we can walk away from that love and move outside its protection.  We can come to the place where we are no longer doing the will of the Father, but doing our own thing.  We can reject the salvation we have received and walk back into the world of sin we came out of.  We can be saying Lord, Lord, and still not be known of God (Matthew 7:21-24).

This is where patient endurance comes in.  We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13).  When we are saved by accepting Christs atoning sacrifice, we are saved in our innermost being.  The Holy Spirit coms in and starts to clean up our heart and mind.  But that all takes a lifetime to work itself out to the rest of our flesh.  It takes a lifetime of following Him to truly bring our salvation to fruition.  We don’t just go to the altar, accept Christ, and then walk away and do whatever we want.  We are not saved so that grace may abound toward us (Romans 6:1-2).  We are saved so that we can then present ourselves to God a living sacrifice and be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2).  This is not a passive salvation; it is an active salvation.  God is continually drawing each of us closer and closer to Himself, and we must be willing to be drawn.  Despite all the trials we face, He is still working within us to bring about our salvation.

Seven times in the book of Revelation, God makes a promise to those that overcome.  Overcome what?  Jesus said that he overcame the world (John 16:33).  What is there left for us to overcome then?  We have to overcome ourselves, with His help.  We have to allow God to change us, renew us, transform us, sanctify us into the perfection He desires for us.  Not a perfection that never does anything wrong (although wouldn’t that be nice), but a perfection that knows all things work together for good and that He is always working within us to bring about our salvation.  I have not arrived until I walk through those pearly gates.  My salvation becomes complete when I cast off this corruptible body and put on incorruption (1 Cor 15:31-33). Until then, I am a work in progress. And to get there, I must have patient endurance.  Patient with God to bring me to that place, and patient with myself to allow God to give me the strength to work out my salvation within me.  Only He can provide that kind of strength.  Remember what James says?  I shared this yesterday, but it bears sharing again today.  James 1:4 says we must let patience have its perfect work, so that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 sums it up nicely also “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  It is so essential that, once we are saved, we continue in His word, learning, growing and changing so that we too can be thoroughly furnished, which means fully equipped, to do the works that God has intended for each of us.  These works are the way our salvation is worked out – by doing for others as we discussed yesterday.  It is a process, not one isolated incident.  And, although that one incident is life-changing, it is nothing compared to the magnificent changes God desires for us (Psalm 37:4).  But it all hinges on us continually working out that salvation that began with our repentance.  Day after day after day, it never ceases, and we must always be diligent and practice that patient endurance that will lead us to the promise of God, just like it did Abraham.