Tag Archives: Salvation

By His Grace

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Christ gave us life when we were dead in our sins. What a beautiful statement Paul makes here. I know that my life was radically changed when I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at 24 years of age. I had been raised in the church (my  mom was the church secretary) and ran away from God in my teenage years getting into all kinds of trouble and doing things twasted not only my money, but my life. I was going nowhere fast. Well let me correct – that I was going to hell fast. But God sent a friend and he started to witness. And through a number of letters he planted seeds that eventually resulted in my salvation. Something was born in me that day that just kept growing. It was that new life that he’d given me by his grace. There is no doubt that my spirit was quickened that day

And after He quickened my spirit,  He raised me up so that I can sit in Heavenly places with Jesus Christ. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It’s right here with us. It’s time we started acting like this is the kingdom of heaven. Sharing our love and the love of Christ that he gave us with others so that they can know Christ. We have an obligation to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  That preaching is love for our fellow man. It doesn’t matter who they are or what culture they come from. All that matters is that they know Christ. They need to be raised up, they need to be quickened, they need to be set in Heavenly places just like we are.

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Paul here looks into the future and he wants us to know that there are things to come there are much more amazing than we can possibly imagine. The exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us. Doesn’t it amaze you sometimes when you hear testimonies of what God has done. I have not watched the movie “Miracles from Heaven” but I understand that it’s a powerful show that talks about a miracle and how it affected a family. Those are the exceeding riches of his grace. Over and over again I hear testimony about what God has done and it brings tears of joy to my eyes to know that God still moves in kindness toward us through Jesus Christ. He loves us so much and we should be sharing that love with everybody we know.

 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

These two verses are probably used to explain salvation more than any others in the Bible. I don’t know how much I can tell you about these you don’t already know. We are saved by God’s grace – there is nothing we have done to earn it. It’s a gift. Like any gift it has to be accepted and opened by the receiver. We just had Christmas around here. How many of you left your presents under the tree and said “Oh, I have a gift”. And then you just left it there and didn’t open it. There are many churches that preach that Christ died for their sins and they’re going to heaven. They don’t say anything about the fact that we have to accept His sacrifice personally into our lives. But Christ’s sacrifice is like that gift sitting under the Christmas tree that you haven’t opened if you haven’t ask him into your heart on a personal level. I pray that you have. It will change your life.
Paul emphasizes that it’s not works gets us our of salvation. If it was works the brought us salvation, we would boast and say “Look what I’ve done”. Many Christians do that anyway Pride sets in because of their accomplishments. “Oh, well,I’m  a worship leader”,  “I’m a “minister”,  I’m a teacher”.  In God’s Kingdom we are all the same, there is no room for boasting. Because He doesn’t save us because of the work we do. He saved us because He loves us. Loved us enough to send His own Son as a sacrifice for sin. Only by His grace can we can get into heaven. It is a gift from God, accepted by faith.

Have You Been Quickened?

Ephesians 2: 1-5

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:. 

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

I have always loved the use of the word “quicken” in the King James Version. There is just something about the way it sounds.  I other places in the New Testament it is translated “gives life to” or “made alive”.  It denotes the spiritual life that God infuses into us at conversion.  We were dead spiritually to God in our trespasses and sin, but God infused the Holy Spirit into us, giving us life – quickening  us to His Spirit.

Before this , fulfilling the desires of our flesh,no matter where that took us. We followed the prince and power of this world, the devil’s ways.  His spirit works ijn those who are not saved.  And we were among those.  I know I was!  Drinking, drugs, women, wild parties, defying the law, defying God.  I didn’t care about anything.  I was a child of disobedience.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;

I love this “But God”.  despite all my swearing at God, cursing God, using His name and His Son,s name as a curse word every other sentence, He still sought after me.  He brought me back together with my best childhood friend at out 5th High School reunion, who had got saved while serving in the army in Germany.  we kept in contact and wrote letters to each other.  In every letter he would put a scripture verse, and I would look them up – planting seed.  A year later I came to visit him in Iowa, and received Christ as my Savior while here.  You can read the story of that trip HERE.  By God’s grace, I was saved.  Quickened!  Made Alive!

Working It Out

 Philippians 2:12

” Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Here is quite is testimony to the faithfulness of the Philippian church. Paul declares that they have always obeyed his teachings, not just when he was there in person, but even now when he is away from them.  Paul’s messengers would bring back word to him how the churches were doing, and he always got a good report from Philippi.  If I was Paul, I know this would give me a great feeling, .

Through the years I have witnessed and prophesied to many people.  Some I have been able to keep in touch with, some I have not.  Nothing is more thrilling then seeing someone who I mentored, or who I led to the Lord, doing great things for the kingdom.  When I see this, tears of joy well up within my spirit, and often overflow to my cheeks, as I give God glory for using me to advance His kingdom.  One young man, who I mentored as a teenager almost 40 years ago, is now one of the premier tent preachers in the country.  You never know what will become of someone when God starts to work in their lives, so give it all you’ve got.

The second part of this scripture says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. You have to remember that this portion of scripture is written to people who are already saved and have been obeying Paul’s commands faithfully. It is impossible to be saved by our works. Salvation only comes by faith through the grace of God (Eph 2:8-9). We can do nothing to earn it.

That being said what does it mean to work out our salvation? Well I have two thoughts on this. The first has to do with the parable of the sower and the seed (Matt 13:3-23). If you know this parable you know that there are four different categories of people that are addressed. The first is where the seed is sown on hard ground and never takes root. These are people who don’t accept the word at all so they would not be saved to begin with.

The second group are those who receive the seed but they have rocky ground and the seed cannot root itself deep enough to produce a plant and it dies out. These are people who do well for a little while, but when trials or persecution comes, they leave the faith because it never really took root.   If a saved person doesn’t know that they need to become a part of the fellowship with believers and read their Bible then they will flounder and most likely not be serving Christ very long. The problem is that they will think they’re saved because they made a profession of faith but they never really gave themselves a chance to grow.

The third category are those that did accept the seed and started to grow but thorns and thistles grew around them and eventually the nutrients in the ground were all used up and the plant died. These are people who received the word, they get involved in a church, they do read their Bible and they seem to be doing well. But the cares of everyday life start to take priority again, and soon they are back to their old self.   They lack the ability to stay focused on Christ and they didn’t have anyone that could turn to to help them get through. Churches need to have a mentoring program for these new Christians so that they can grow those new converts into disciples. And the last group are those that flourish as Christians.

The second meaning is actually a thought that I had and really haven’t seen in any commentaries. When we accept Jesus Christ we accept Him into our hearts. My thought is that He then needs to work out of our hearts to our bodies. This is a much slower process that takes a lot of work on behalf of the person that got saved. Too often we think a person should change on the outside right away and we criticize them or judge them because they haven’t. given certain things up yet. But God could be doing an amazing work inside of them and we need to allow God to do his thing in his timing as long as we see them making an effort to improve in their relationship with Christ. Don’t rush a newborn Christian into being what you think a Christian should be

Lord, help me be patient with newborn babes in Christ, and allow you to grow them at your pace, not mine.

Philippians 1:29

” For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him,

but also to suffer for his sake.

 

 

Salvation  is a two-edged sword.  One the one side it is a wonderful, life changing event that was made possible by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on a cross many years ago.  He took the penalty of our sin, and freed us from the bondage of sin.  This was foretold in Genesis 3 when Eve is told by God in verse 15 – her seed will bruise the heel of the serpent.  The thread of salvation flows all the way through the Old Testament.  Prophecies in places like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 tell details of what Messiah will suffer.  And once the events took place, His salvation was available for all who will call on His name (Rom 10:9-10, 13).   guidance

 

The good side of this salvation includes healing, deliverance from addictions and torments, love, joy, peace, fellowship, the Holy Spirit, revelation into His word, grace, mercy, -I could go on and on.  Oh, and it gives us eternal life in heaven with all the others who have called on His name.  We have hope now, a hope that is forever.  Those without Christ are headed for a hell they have not even imagined in their wildest dreams.  We hear jokes about hell all the time.  Things like it’s hotter than hell, or I’m going to party in hell.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Hell is a place of torment forever and forever.  You do not want to go there, for any reason.  Imagine­­­ constantly grinding your teeth to ease the pain (Matt 8:12), eternal punishment (Matt 25:16), fire and worms all over (Mark 9:48), and finally cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).  Salvation in Christ is the only way to avoid hell.  Please make sure you do do.

 

But the other side of the coin is that we who are saved will suffer persecution while we still live.  When you get saved, depending on your previous life style, you will probably have to give up friendships or you may lose your salvation.  You may be made fun of for becoming a religious person, you may be cast out of your social circles.  Now, there are new friends to be made, don’t get me wrong.  Betting into a local church will bring people around you who can help you with your walk.  They will be a blessing to you.  Persecution and suffering gets worse if you get into ministry.  Missionaries in some countries risk their lives to preach the gospel.  But it is worth it to them, just like it was to Paul the apostle (Philippians 1).

 

Accept Jesus as your Savior.  Avoid Hell at all costs.  And allow God to walk you through the storms that may come.  He is worth everything!

 

 

Lord, I thank you for your amazing grace and mercy.  You took a lost sinner and saved me from a devil’s hell.  You turned my life around when II need it, gave me a wonderful family, filled my heart with the heart of a worship leader and preacher, and keep me in every storm.  What a wonderful Savior you are.