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A Process

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Loyal
There are those who teach that once you are saved, indicating that salvation is a single, one-time experience, that you are sinless from that point forward, i.e. that you cannot commit a single sin and still be a Christian. Some will say that you lose your salvation every time that you sin and that you have to repent each time to get it back, or you are not saved.

And, then there are those who see salvation as a single, one-time event after which you are guaranteed eternal life with God no matter how you live your life from that point forward.

I believe the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes.

There are also those who teach that salvation from sin is totally God and that we have no part in it at all, other than to “believe,” which is often very ambiguous as to what that means exactly. I mean, even the demons believe, but they are not saved. Or else they misrepresent “belief.”

Some will even go so far as to say that God requires nothing of us for salvation – no obedience, no submission and no repentance, just an ambiguous faith. And, they will often accuse those who teach repentance for salvation of teaching works-based salvation.

But, then there are those who truly do teach works-based salvation in that they literally teach that we earn our way to heaven by our good works and that we really can’t know if we have eternal life with God.

Again, I believe the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes.

The Lord Jesus led me to read Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB).

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Vv. 12-13

I believe our salvation is of God, that it is initiated by God the Father, who draws us to Christ, and that the way made for us to receive it is by the sacrifice of Jesus on that cross for our sins. I believe that it is the Spirit who transforms us from death to life, in New Birth, and that there is nothing we can do, in our own flesh, to earn or to deserve heaven as our eternal home.

So, I believe it is by God’s grace that we are saved, and that this is not something we can accomplish through our own good works. It is the gift of God. But, the Bible says that it is “through faith” (See: Eph. 2:8-10).

Now, I believe that even the faith to believe is a gift from God, i.e. that faith means divine persuasion. It is only as we are persuaded by God with regard to his will for our lives, and of his saving grace, and it is only through the moving of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we are even able to believe. Some will differ with me on this, but I believe faith is God-given, too, and thus, since it is from God, it will submit to his will, repent of sin and walk in obedience to Christ.

Yet, we are not puppets on a string. We do have a free will to choose to obey or to not obey. Every day of our lives we have a choice whether to get out of bed in the mornings and go to work, or do whatever it is we do each day, or we can choose to be lazy and stay in bed. Also, we have a choice to get angry or to show grace, to forgive or to not forgive, etc.

We might be able to do some of this in our own flesh through behavioral modification, but ultimately, the ability, as a believer, to walk in obedience and not in sin is empowered by the Spirit of God, but only as we yield control to the Spirit and cooperate with God. So, this is how we can “work out” our own salvation, and that it is God who works in us, too. It is because the “work” is not the works of the flesh, but the works of the Spirit, and empowered by the Spirit in us, but as we yield control of our lives to God.

A Process

I also believe our salvation is not a one-time event whereby we either never sin again or we feel we can sin “to high heaven” (Rev. 18:5) and still be saved. The Bible says we are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and that we will be saved (future) when Christ returns and our salvation is complete. And, it says that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle), not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-17).

Many of the verses, which give the impression of past belief as being sufficient for our salvation, are translated from Greek into another language, such as into English, which does not share all the same verb tenses with the Greek language. Thus, what many of these verses actually say is that, to the one believing (present tense), they have eternal life with God (Jn. 3:16), i.e. we are not saved on the basis of past belief, but on the basis of present and active belief.

As well, there are many scriptures which state that if we walk according to the flesh, or in darkness, or according to our sinful nature, or in sinful practices, that we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. And, these are given to Christians as warnings not to set their hope on heaven if they are still walking in sin; practicing sin.

The overall message in scripture regarding eternal life with God and true salvation, and with regard to our sin, is that Jesus forgives us our sins, and that he delivers us from slavery to sin, but that if we should sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), we have an advocate to the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. Scripture is clear, though, that if we make sin our practice and if we walk in it, that we should not expect to go to heaven when we leave this earth. So, it isn’t that we can never sin, but that if we walk in sin, we don’t have eternal life.

And, added to that, there are also many scriptures which say we must remain in Christ and in his Word, and we must continue in the faith we profess, and we must endure to the end, etc., if we want to have eternal life with God. The message is clear that the kind of faith which results in salvation, in eternal life with God, is the kind which endures, continues and which perseveres to the end. Again, we are not saved on the basis of past belief, but on the basis of present belief.

For His Good Pleasure

So, what does it mean to “believe” in Jesus Christ? The Bible defines true faith in Christ as that which results in death to sin and living to righteousness, and walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh. For if you are walking according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, you have eternal life. But, if you are walking (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, you don’t have eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).

So, not only is true belief death to sin and living to righteousness, of the Spirit of God, i.e. it is repentance and obedience, because it is of God, and it is a lifestyle, not a one-time experience and “bam,” you have eternal life guaranteed no matter how you live your life from that moment forward.

If you look up the Greek word for “believe” (See Jn. 3:16), you will find that it means to be persuaded by God. If we are persuaded by God to believe, and not by humans, who may be persuading us the wrong way, then we will be persuaded to yield our lives over to Jesus Christ in surrender to him and to his will for our lives. Then, it is true faith and not human-generated faith which is relying on the flesh and not on the Spirit. It is not the kind of belief the demons have, but it is belief that is proved genuine by what it does.

So, are you relying on human belief to save you, or have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ, repented of your sins, and turned to follow Jesus with your life, because you are being persuaded of God as to his will and purpose for your life? Has the Holy Spirit taken you from death to life, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God? Or, are you just trying to add faith in Christ on to your old life of living for sin and self?

Jesus, Lead Me / An Original Work / July 22, 2011

Jesus, lead me all the way.
Be my hope and be my stay.
Gently lead me where I should go,
So Your Spirit, I want to know.
Open up my heart to You.
Fill me with Your love and truth.
Make my heart want to obey.
Be my Lord today. Gently lead always.

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleanse my heart, and make me whole;
Be transformed in my heart today,
As I turn from my sin and pray.
Make Your will known to my heart.
May I not from You depart.
How I long to hear You now,
As I humbly bow. Jesus, hear me now.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 5:58 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word. Move in our hearts today, giving us the desire, the strength and the power to walk in your holiness and righteousness. Amen!
 
Loyal
Indeed... a process.
The Bible has many scriptures talking about Christian maturity. The entire chapter of 1 Jn 2 comes to mind here.

1 Jn 2:1; My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

1 Jn 2:12; I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake.
1 Jn 2:13; I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
1 Jn 2:14; I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

1 Jn 2:18; Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

1 Jn 2:28; Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

1 Cor 3:1; And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.

How do you know if you are a spiritual "child", or "teenager" or "adult"? This is a good guideline.

It never says children have already "overcome". Maybe they haven't been tested yet, or if
they have, maybe they haven't passed the test yet.
It says "young men" are strong and have already overcome the evil one. These are those who have passed the test, at least a few times.
It says "fathers" 'know Him'. Children may know who He is... but I don't think they know His fullness yet.

1 Pet 1:6; In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1 Pet 1:7; so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
 
Loyal
1 Cor 1:18; For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
2 Cor 2:15; For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

Php 3:12; Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
 
Loyal
Indeed... a process.
The Bible has many scriptures talking about Christian maturity. The entire chapter of 1 Jn 2 comes to mind here.

1 Jn 2:1; My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

1 Jn 2:12; I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake.
1 Jn 2:13; I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
1 Jn 2:14; I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

1 Jn 2:18; Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

1 Jn 2:28; Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

1 Cor 3:1; And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.

How do you know if you are a spiritual "child", or "teenager" or "adult"? This is a good guideline.

It never says children have already "overcome". Maybe they haven't been tested yet, or if
they have, maybe they haven't passed the test yet.
It says "young men" are strong and have already overcome the evil one. These are those who have passed the test, at least a few times.
It says "fathers" 'know Him'. Children may know who He is... but I don't think they know His fullness yet.

1 Pet 1:6; In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1 Pet 1:7; so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
We should always be growing, always changing and maturing in our walks of faith until the Lord returns.
 
Loyal
The closer to God I get the more I see the need for a savior. The more I see the work he has and is doing in me.
 
Active
I dont know I would call it a 'process' but more of a 'walk'.

Some people walk backwards and forwards. Some people go round in circles. Some people believe if they just sit there and not do anything, Jesus is going to rapture them. Some people get distracted and go another way that leads to a dead end so have to walk all the way back. And some actually look back and go back, but then get stuck so cry out and hope God can save them out of the slimepit. Then theres some people who dont look where they going and stumble, and people blocking the path and going well this ways better it will get you there quicker. Hop in the car, Jesus take the wheel!

Look in the bible its all about walking.
 
Loyal

Luke 18:9-14

[9] To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else,
Jesus told this parable: [10] "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men -- robbers, evildoers, adulterers -- or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

[13] "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

[14] "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
 
Active
Jesus said They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentence. Luke 5:31-32

Does that mean we need Jesus less as our walk goes on? Jesus shows us the way to the Father. Well personally I will always need Jesus, I go to some churches and they seem to forget about Jesus since they are children of God already and kind of dont feel they need to talk about Him anymore. So I go to another church where the sermons are always talking about Jesus and I dont know, its kind of different!
 
Loyal
Jesus said They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentence. Luke 5:31-32

Does that mean we need Jesus less as our walk goes on? Jesus shows us the way to the Father. Well personally I will always need Jesus, I go to some churches and they seem to forget about Jesus since they are children of God already and kind of dont feel they need to talk about Him anymore. So I go to another church where the sermons are always talking about Jesus and I dont know, its kind of different!
In context:

The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

I believe, in context, and in relation to what else we know of Jesus' communications with these Pharisees, that "well" or "whole" and "the righteous" may be meant not in the strictest literal sense, but more to make a point. The Pharisees were looking down on the "tax collectors and sinners" because they saw them as beneath themselves, and they saw themselves as super righteous and they did not acknowledge their own sinfulness. I believe, by what Jesus was saying, that he was, in essence, saying that he can only help those who realize that they are poor, naked, blind and in need. He can't help those who think they have it all together and who think they are without sin, because they won't humble themselves and admit that they are sinners in need of the Savior. But, the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners, which is what they called them, knew they were not well and they knew they needed help and healing, so Jesus could help them, which is why he invested his time in their lives.
 
Loyal
and they saw themselves as super righteous and they did not acknowledge their own sinfulness. I believe, by what Jesus was saying, that he was, in essence, saying that he can only help those who realize that they are poor, naked, blind and in need. He can't help those who think they have it all together and who think they are without sin, because they won't humble themselves and admit that they are sinners in need of the Savior.
I think Jesus was almost saying this tongue in cheek. "Well obviously.. since you aren't sick... you don't need a physician."
 
Loyal
I think Jesus was almost saying this tongue in cheek. "Well obviously.. since you aren't sick... you don't need a physician."
Yes, I think there is a term for this literary style, which is to make a point, but I couldn't think of what it is called. It was not that they were healthy, but they thought they were healthy, that they were whole, and so they didn't see that they were really sick, so he couldn't help them. I think he may have said something like this more than once.
 
Active
Hallelujah if you are healthy its all thanks to God anyway!

Obviously Jesus was the kind if physician that if you didnt really need to see him, he wasnt put out. He would go to the emergency cases, like triage that desperately needed him.

Sometimes you think well the rich are enjoying their reward now, so, they not going to actually miss heaven if they dont see it as important. But the poor, who have nothing, do need Him.

Its like the rich man and lazarus. Such a wide gulf between them.
 

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