A Voice in the
order the book
The dictionary defines: Soteriology =The theological doctrine of salvation as effected by Jesus. Etymology from Greek words including, "deliverance, savior, safe."
What does it take to get to heaven? Who gets to go there? Or...does heaven even enter the picture? This definition of "soteriology" includes aspects of "deliverance." Deliverance from what? A "savior?" Who might that be? Can we be sure of being "safe?" Are we even in "danger" that a discussion of "safety" is even necessary? What is the source of this danger?
Today many people talk of "being saved." They turn over a new leaf, and now proclaim themselves "born again." I know of one person who, out of one side of his mouth was proclaiming to me that he "got saved" and was straightening his life around, and at the very same time was trying to con his sister into sending him money so he could get his next drug fix.
People respond to "altar calls" and go forward. Over and over. What happens when they go forward at these emotional appeals? What gospel are they responding to? Are they being saved?
Church Member: if someone were to ask you "what you believe" can you tell them? "Well, let me check with my pastor what WE believe (as a church)...and I'll get back to you." Or..."let me get you in touch with my pastor, and HE can explain it to you." Dear person: Are YOU saved?
Pastor: if someone comes to you, wanting to know "how to be saved" can you tell them? What "gospel" do YOU preach from your pulpit? Are YOU, yourself, saved?
What about election? predestination? atonement? redemption? foreknowledge? repentance? forgiveness? judgment? justice? love? grace? mercy? etc?
In this series we will find answers to all these questions from God's Word. Yes, even the question, "Are you saved?" By the time this series is complete, you will know in your heart if you belong to God. And you will have a firm foundation to base it on...the Scriptures.
Created in Perfection:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen1:1)
Quite possibly the first part of the "heavens and earth" that God created was the angelic beings. Angels were created to serve and worship God (Ps103:20,104:4,Is6:3) for the benefit of man.(Heb1:14)
According to God's word to Job, it would appear that the angels were created before the earth, as part of "the heavens" of Gen1:1, as He says, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ..who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"(Job38:4,6-7)
Angels were created perfect. Even of Satan it is written. 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created...."(Ez28:12-15)
The "anointed cherub who covers" is mentioned in the article "Treason." When Moses made the Ark, on top was the Mercy Seat and the covering cherubim. The Mercy Seat representing "God's presence" and most intimate fellowship of God. This Ark was a "pattern of things in heaven."(Heb8:5,Ex25:40) This was Satan's domicile at the beginning of creation. In God's very presence. Right next to God's union and fellowship. In perfection.
Then God created the universe, earth and man. What kind of creation was this? A perfect one. All along the way, after each step of creation God observes what He has just made and pronounces it "Good." (Gen1:10,12,18,21,25)
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth.."(Gen1:26) He "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."(2:7)
God takes this man, Adam, and puts him in a most idyllic environment, the Garden of Eden. Vegetation was lush. All necessary food was available just for the picking. The climate was perfect for comfort. Animals were peaceful, as Adam had direct contact with them all, as he gave them all their names.(2:19)
Then, God provided man with the crowning glory to all this, and brought him a helper.(2:18) A woman. Eve.(2:22) This relationship was a perfect one. A perfect match. They were both naked.(2:25) Open, honest, with no barriers between them.
This perfect relationship supersedes all other earthly relationships, as children are to "leave" their parents and "be joined" to their mate. And become "one flesh."(2:24) And is also a picture of the fellowship God desires to have with man, as He came walking in the garden (3:8), and is what Christ desires to have with the Church (Eph5:32), as He called His disciples, His "friends,"(Jn15:15) as He was making known "all things" with them.
And "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was VERY GOOD."(1:31)
"You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God..You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God..you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you."(~Ez28:11-15)
With every advantage and opportunity for happiness, Satan's rebellion began while he was right in the midst of the most intimate place of fellowship with and service to God. Incredible!
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Shining one, son of the morning! ..your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.. you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; ..I will be like the Most High'"(~Is14:12-14,Ez28:17)
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"(Gen3:1)
God had created a perfect paradise. Perfect climate. Enough food to eat. Animals to tend to. Perfect marriage. And they were essentially free to do "anything" they wanted to. There were no laws. No right and wrong. Perfect fellowship with God. No sin. No "repressed memories" of abuse and sorrow. No parents who had "failed" in their upbringing. No restrictions. Except one. The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil."(Gen2:17) They were not to eat of its fruit. If they did eat of its fruit, the promised outcome; "you shall SURELY die."
Satan comes along to Eve and plants a question in her mind. A doubt. 'God didn't REALLY say this did He?'
Eve responds something like, 'We are not to eat it or touch it, or chances are we'll die.'
Oh dear, Eve! Do you realize what you have just done? You have added to God's word. You have changed it. God only said, "you shall not eat." He never said anything about "touching" it. And, let's take another look. He said you will "SURELY" die. No questions about it. It is firm. It is sure.
Oh, but Eve. Let me tell you something. You won't REALLY die. What a silly notion! Indeed! Actually, listen up now. God is keeping a secret from you. Wouldn't you like to be enlightened? There is something called "good and evil." Right! You don't know about that, do you. Pity! That thing God didn't tell you about. This is a new experience for you to try. You think God is looking out for you, but actually He's kinda jealous. You see, the really 'deep secret' He's keeping from you is that, if you eat of this fruit, you'll actually be "just like God" ...knowing "good and evil." He knows this but He's trying to keep this from you. But you won't know what it's like unless you experience it. Don't you want to be just like God? Feel the good! Feeeeel the evil!! There there...sure, go ahead. No...REALLY...go Ahead! You're not gonna die. After all, do you think this "loving" God would REALLY kill you, just after creating you? Preposterous! Naw! Go ahead.... It's OK!
Eve starts out questioning God's word. Lies. Distorts God's word. Lusts after the promised benefits she's being allured to. And then, seduces her husband into her same lust.
And look! They're still alive! They didn't fall down dead after all! See?! God was withholding from them just like the serpent said! I can just about hear him, "See! I tol'dja. Heh, heh!"
Where was the first sin? In the HEART. "You have said in your heart..." "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Mat 15:19) "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jer17:9)
Was it sinful for Satan to be so beautiful, talented and full of wisdom? No. But rather than looking to God Who created him, and being content with God's perfect plan for him, he became puffed up with pride. "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Pr16:18) And before Satan was finished with his insurrection, he had conned a third of the angels to follow him.(Rev12:4)
So, the big question now! "Who made Eve sin?" Can Eve claim, "The devil made me do it."? Was it Satan's "fault" that Eve sinned?
Eve was deceived, most certainly. "..but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression."(1Tim2:14) Satan is the deceiver of the world. (Rev12:9) As he is the "father" of lies.(Jn8:44) However we are told, "each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires [lust] and enticed. Then, when desire [lust] has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.(Jas1:14-15)
Eve made the decision on her own, "when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.(Gen3:6) The serpent did not hog-tie her, and force-feed her. He simply found some loopholes in her doctrine (her IDEA of what God had said), and presented the enticements before her, and her own pride and lust did the rest.
There are many speculations as to why Adam followed Eve in disobedience. But we do know from Scripture that he was not deceived.(1Tim2:14) He did it with full knowledge of what he was doing. Eyes wide open.
So, let's review briefly. Satan's pride vaunted him to rebel against God. He tempts Eve with lies; casting doubt regarding God's word, calling God a liar, directly contradicting God's word, questioning God's motives, appealing to her own sense of pride, self-worth, wisdom...and plain ol' sense of "feeling good," and ultimately...godhood. "You will be like God."(3:5) So Eve disobeys God. And then, in turn, seduces Adam to follow her.
God comes walking along in the garden for fellowship, and now with their new enlightenment, they are afraid of God, because, of all things...they discover they are naked. And they run away to hide from God's presence. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way."(Is53:6)
Mankind today is just like this. As was Israel, "As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes..."(Jer44:16-17)
"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."(Gen3:8-10)
Who told you that you were naked? Did you disobey? Did you do the one (the only) thing I told you not to do? To eat of that tree?
Did God need to ask? God already knew, didn't He. After all, "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account."(Heb4:13) God was cutting to the quick. Let's not dilly dally around. Face the matter head-on. And with this question, God was letting Adam know "what's what."
Why did God not come, calling for the serpent? Why not Eve? After all, the serpent "started" the whole thing. And Eve enticed Adam. God came right to the person "in charge." After all, He had made Adam, then Eve. Adam was made in God's "image"(Gen1:26,5:1) And Eve was taken from Adam.(2:21)(1Tim2:13) Eve was formed as a "helper"(2:20) for Adam, in his "glory."(1Cor11:3,8-9)
Adam did the only "manly thing" that could be done. "The woman..." made me do it. Ya Right, Adam! She tied you down, sat on you, and forced you to eat. Right!?
"The woman...WHOM YOU GAVE TO BE WITH ME..."(3:12) Oh dear! Not only are we not manly enough to take the blame, but let's blame it back onto God. God, it's all YOUR fault. If You hadn't given her to me, I wouldn't have done this. "But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" (Rom 9:20)
This follows right along with some current "christian" psychology trends. J.Dobson is quoted as having said that we must sometimes "forgive God" for what we perceive to be His failings on our behalf. Things haven't changed a bit, have they!
Ok, woman, "what is this you have done?"(3:13) "The devil made me do it!"
Passing the buck. Laying the blame on everybody and everything ELSE. Not on self. This is what makes lawyers so wealthy, and insurance so expensive. Everything is always the "other guy's" fault.
"But the Scripture has confined ALL under sin."(Gal3:22) It's a forgone conclusion. No excuses. It's all out in the open. Adam could not say that he had not done it. Nor could Eve. ...and God didn't even give the serpent a chance to speak.
They were all "found out." They were guilty.
So the Lord God said to the serpent...(3:14)
God begins at the lowest common denominator in His judgment. While he is a powerful angel, Satan is nothing. Let us never forget that Satan was merely the "anointed cherub that covers."(Ez28:14) But Adam was made in the likeness of God.(Gen1:27,1Co11:7) Angels were never intended to have a place of honor. They are ministering spirits, created to minister for Believers.(Heb1:14) When Satan came to tempt Eve, he did not come in the splendor with which God came. He could not even come "as himself." He came in deception; embodied in an animal.
The next three proclamations are the basis for the "next" 4-7000 years of world history. What we see today, traces its origins back to Genesis 3, and these three curses. To understand Sin and the human condition, and Redemption; we must understand the Curse.
1) The serpent was cursed from being the most splendid creature (3:1) to becoming the most revolting and despised.(3:14) Science tells us that the skeleton of snakes has places where, "presumably" they at one time had four legs. God removed the legs, and cursed the snake to crawl on the ground.
Why are women, typically, more afraid of snakes? "I will put enmity between you and the woman."(3:15)
"Enmity...between your seed and her Seed." Promise of a constant struggle between Satan with his demons, and mankind...leading up to the final conflict when Christ, the Seed (capital "S") of the woman(Gal4:4), would deliver a crushing blow upon Satan and his desire to destroy God's creation, man. (We'll discuss the "promise" aspect next installment.) However, until the "Seed" would arrive, the serpent would spend 4000 years trying to corrupt the human race, in order that the Redeemer could not come. His attempts would include a genetic perversion which was destroyed by Noah's flood. (Gen6:2,4,9,11) When Israel came along, he was constantly enticing them away from God, trying to corrupt and/or annihilate them. When Jesus was born, he tried to kill him through Herod, the 40-day wilderness temptation; and probably hoped he had succeeded when Jesus was on the cross.
2) Why is child-birth so painful? Why are the monthly cycles such a nuisance, and for many, a real pain? The Curse. "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children."(3:16)
And...'your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
There are several thoughts on this statement. And the original words don't really say any more than our Scripture translations do. So, let's consider them all; as I believe we will find they "all" apply.
Desire ==desire, longing, craving. Stretching out after. Overflowing with. The "intense yearning" of the woman will be "for" her husband/man..in contrast to women or God.
A woman's "natural" (by nature) inclination is to be under her man. Starting with her father, and then her husband.(Nu30:3-8,1Cor11:3)
While this is the "natural" inclination, women have been rebelling; lending credence to the other meaning of "for" in "for your husband." In other words, "your desire..." will be to try to circumvent and overtake the man's authority. And we certainly see this in modern feminist empowerment, as prophesied, "How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth; A woman shall encompass a man." (Jer 31:22) And of the end times, "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; Only let us be called by your name, To take away our reproach." (Isa 4:1) Give us sex, and let us have babies, but we'll raise them by ourselves...it's our "right." We don't need a "man" around, nor a family.
"And he shall rule over you." History has certainly proven this out, as men have regarded their women as "property" in most centuries and cultures. Have heaped abuse upon them. And generally treated them as second class creatures...often, as slaves.
The essence of our more "liberated" societies sees women adorning (or not) themselves to be beautiful. Alluring. While feminists will claim they do it for themselves because they're "worth it," even what they do, along with the others, is to entice the man. Once he's been "willingly" lured in, and their fantasies weren't met, "You don't really love me. You're just USING me! Boo hoo! Sob, Sob!" And the battle rages.
Perhaps this explains why Paul wrote, "Husbands love your wives and do not be bitter toward them."(Col3:19) I'm sure Adam was bitter towards Eve. "The WOMAN" ...made me do it. The man is willingly lured in because of his own lusts, and when he finds no substance, he feels "trapped." The beauty was only skin-deep. Bitterness, hate, wandering desires, and often abuse and cruelty ensue.
God created Eve as a "helper." Took her from Adam's rib. To be along- side. Now, because of sin, he "will rule," and you obey. (Eph5:22,33,1Pt3:1,Col3:18)
3) To the man: The plentiful land will no longer be cooperative. Working for a living will be burdensome and hard. Weeds and thistles. Disease, pain, suffering, and ultimately...dying and returning to the ground in decay.
All these things "just" from eating the forbidden fruit? Yes...because of disobeying God. How much time elapsed from God presenting Eve to Adam and the fall, we are not told. Exactly "when" in all of this did Satan rebel against God originally we do not know. But fairly quickly, all the elements of the sinful heart were created in this one incident. Pride, self-esteem, lust, lying, deceit, disobedience, blaming, accusing, hate, etc.
Yes, the serpent lied. He said, "you shall not surely die."(3:4) And while they were physically still standing, their way of life was taken away. They were chased out of the beautiful garden lest they should eat of the Tree of Life, which was guarded by cherubim,(vs24) so now there was no more access to Eternal Life. Their diet changed from beautiful plentiful fruit, to include herbs.(3:18) They were out of fellowship with God. And the sentence of death was upon them.(Rom5:12) And they died.(Gen5:5)
The Provision & Promise:
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel...also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them."(Gen3:15,21)
Here, in a nutshell is the basis for this series on Salvation. So far we have only discovered the "background" for the topic. What God is promising "here" would not be fulfilled for another 4000 years into the future.
God has created man in perfection. But man, at the tempting of Satan, has rebelled. Disobeyed God. Has "sinned." And so before humanity can even get off the ground and get any "history" going, our very forefather and mother sinned, effecting the whole course of human history.
God, Who cannot lie(Tit1:2), promised death (Rom6:23) as a consequence of sin. In this short passage also promises a "provision." A "gift" (Rom6:23b,Eph2:8) of eternal life through the "Seed" of the woman. A "hope of eternal life.."(Tit1:2)
As a symbol of this promise, God instructs Adam and Eve regarding an act of faith. An animal sacrifice. He provides clothing to cover their "sin" through the representative, prophetic death of an animal. The shed blood representing God's imputed righteousness to them, which would be fulfilled ultimately by the "Seed" of the woman.(Heb9:22) The clothing, representing God's provision of the "robe of righteousness."(Isa61:10)
And almost immediately we find the first martyr. Abel offered, by faith, the firstborn from the flock.(Gen4:4) And Cain decided he would try his own idea. When God accepted Abel's offering, and rejected Cain; Cain did not repent. Rather, he became angry with Abel, and killed him. And even in that, what we see today is not new; as the unregenerate insist upon their own wisdom, reject God, and persecute those who do Believe.
At the very beginning God's provision for sin was the shedding of blood and death of a substitutionary animal by faith.(Heb11:4) Until Jesus died on the cross, throughout the O.T. we see the animal sacrifice. Shedding of blood, the giving of a life, since the "life is in the blood."(Gen9:4,Lv17:11) Salvation was "by faith."(Gen15:6)
This series will not cover the various "dispensations" in the O.T. They all, however, possess these two key elements. 1) The blood of the prophetic substitutionary animal sacrifice, 2) offered in Faith.
The rest of the series will discover how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of those 4000 years of sacrifices. The relationship between God and man. ...and Salvation through Faith.
Human Condition at Birth:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned...through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation...For..by one man's disobedience many were made sinners..(~Rom 5:12,18-19) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (Psa 51:5)
This pretty well sums up the matter. Adam sinned, and as a result the entire human race is corrupted.
The result of this sin is death. "The wages of sin is death.."(Rom6:23) The term "wages" indicates "payment-for-performance."
The payment is "deserved" and God is just in His judgment. "You are righteous, O Lord...because You have judged these things..for it is their just due..Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments..."(~Rev16:7,19;1-2)
The payment is for deeds of sin committed. Just as an employer keeps records of the work and time performed by the employee, God keeps records. "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it...and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened...and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books...and anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire"(Rev20:11-15)
All humanity will be judged for their works. Believers, at the judgment seat of Christ.(2Cor5:10,Rom14:12) Where their works will be judged according to the quality of their service.(1Cor3:10-15,Mt25:21,Heb4:13) And will be the basis for rewards.(Rev22:12,1Cor3:8,9:17,Col2:18,2Jn8)
Those who have not received Christ (not in the Book of Life), will receive their "reward."(Heb2:2) And will be judged, and condemned to eternal punishment and torment. "There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."(Mt8:12) It is a place of "outer darkness." A place where there is eternal consciousness.(Lk16:24) "...the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me...their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh." (Isa66:24)
Some will object, "I haven't sinned." Or.."my sins aren't all THAT bad."
"There is none righteous, no, not one...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."(Rom3:10,23) For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin. (Eccl 7:20)
God is holy, and there is no person alive who can measure up to His standard. Isaiah, upon seeing God's glory, wailed, "Woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips."(Isa6:5) And if any would try to qualify their sins as being "not so bad" God says that even "our righteousnesses are like filthy rags."(Isa64:6)
How many sins does it take to be guilty? Only one. That's all it took for Adam and Eve. They had only one chance and they blew it. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."(Jas2:10)
So, what of the theory promoted by psychology: that if babies could be born, and immediately placed in an environment where there was no contact with other humans, that they would grow up good, and sinless...because we are all "born good." They would not follow the examples of their corrupted, dysfunctional, wounded inner-self parents?
Well, consider: that was already "tried" as Adam and Eve had no parents to "corrupt" them. They were placed in a perfect environment. And sinned anyway.
Sorry. The sin exists at the time of conception. "In sin my mother conceived me."(Ps51:5) As mere zygotes we are sinners. The sin is "inherited." We were born "dead in trespasses and sins." We are "sons of disobedience." We are "by nature the children of wrath."(Eph2:1-3)
So, the question then. Which comes first; the sin, or the sinner? We do not sin, and thus BECOME sinners. We are born in sin, and thus, we sin. A dog barks, ducks quack, ...sinners sin.
If you were to attempt to insist upon your own goodness, and lack of need for God, and as such, no need to "believe in this stuff," you would be further illustrating the rebellion as stated, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way."(Is53:6)
Sin separates us from God. "Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."(Isa59:2) There is no fellowship. God is not obliged to hear and answer our prayers.
Those who claim to not believe in God, believe in God's laws "by nature."(Rom2:14) And their conscience speaks to them about God. As a result, there is no answer. Every mouth...is "stopped,"(Rom3:19) and all the world is guilty as charged and bears the sentence of death.
"The soul who sins shall die."(Ez18:4)
Jesus Christ: Seed of the woman:
To the serpent God said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."(Gen3:15) This is the first recorded promise of a "future" Redeemer.
Satan tried to corrupt the human race genetically with the intermarriage between the fallen angels and human females. God destroyed the entire human race with the flood, and saved Noah, the only family whose "generations" were "perfect."(Gen6:9) Uncorrupted.
Shortly after the flood, God separated Abram out of Ur, to make a chosen nation through which to bring the Redeemer. "I will make you a great nation; ...and you shall be a blessing...in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed...in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."(~Gen12:2-3,22:18)
Satan tried to destroy the nation of Israel in Egypt by drowning the male babies.(Ex1:15) But God preserved Moses, and 80 years later brought Israel out of Egypt as His own special chosen people.
Then, David became God's chosen one, as God's plans became more specifically narrowed and defined. "I will appoint a place for My people Israel...I will set up your seed after you...I will establish his throne forever."(1Chr17:9,12) "And the throne of David shall be established before the Lord forever."(1Kg2:45) Jesus is called "Son of David."(Mt1:1,9:27,12:23)
So then, Satan tried to thwart God's plans by enticing the succeeding kings of Judah away from God, sending Judah into captivity to Babylon. And then attempting to annihilate Israel through the schemes of Haman.(Es3:8) But God provided Esther as the savior and prevented the slaughter.(Es9)
After the dispersion have returned, along the way come Joseph and Mary. Both with legal and hereditary lineage back to David, Abraham and Adam.(Mt1:1-17,Lk3:23-38) And Jesus was brought to the "virgin" Mary through the Holy Spirit.(Lk1:35)
It is essential that Jesus was not born of a human male/female union. Otherwise, as we learned in the previous chapter, Jesus' zygote would have been corrupt with "inherited" sin. He would not be a perfect, unblemished, spotless sacrificial "lamb." Because it is through "man" that sin came into the world.(Rom5:12) God's promise was through the "seed of the WOMAN."(Gen3:15) Thus, Mary's pregnancy could not be a result of Human Male intervention.
Even after the fact, Satan tries to discredit the matter through his apostates who insist that in Isa7:14 "virgin" does not mean "virgin." And through perversions of Scripture, that say Joseph was Jesus' "father."(Lk2:33)
So, here we have Jesus: perfect Deity and perfect humanity.
"The Word, Who was in the beginning with God...Who WAS God...became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."(Jn1:1,14) We know that He was Deity because it says, "in Him was life."(vs4) It was "God" who breathed into man's nostrils the "breath of life."(Gen2:7) Jesus later claims, "I am the...life." And further solidifies His claim to deity, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."(Jn14:6,9) And later demonstrates His authority in the garden when identifying Himself, "I am He,"(Jn18:6) using God's eternal name (Ex3:14), and the throng who had come to arrest Him were knocked backwards to the ground at the power of His Name.
Being perfect Deity insures perfect sinlessness. "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth."(1Pt2:22) Who could claim, "I always do those things that please Him [Father]."(Jn8:29)
When human priests offered sacrifices, they had to first purify themselves.(Heb5:3,9:7) Then, they could represent the rest of the people. Thus, their sacrifices were imperfect.
Being Deity, and perfect, Christ was in a position to offer Himself. (Heb1:3,9:25) And He says, "I lay down My life that I may take it again, No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself."(Jn10:17-18) And, His sinlessness made for a perfect sacrifice, which could atone for mankind's sin. He did not have any sin of His own which needed atoning.(Heb4:15) He came from God, directly.(Heb1:5)
Not only was Jesus "Deity." He was also humanity. The "last Adam."(1Cor15:45) While Jesus' deity could save man's spirit, His humanity saves man's flesh. His resurrection is the "firstfruits" for those who have died in Christ. (1Cor15:20) Adam (a man) sinned and brought death. Christ (a man) brought resurrection of the dead.(vs21) Adam brought sin into the world. Jesus brings righteousness.(Rom5:19)
Being humanity, Jesus was an "equivalent" substitute for man's sin. "Man" had sinned, and thus "man" must die. Thus, if Jesus was to take man's judgment, He had to be a "man." He must undergo the same "test" Adam did to be sure He was well qualified. The opportunity to be tempted to sin, but then to resist the temptation. And that He did. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Heb4:15) Thus, proving to all creation that He "measured up" to God's holy standard.(Col1:15,Heb1:4b,5:9)
While He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father," Illustrating his deity, He laid aside all His splendor of heaven, and took on humanity with all its frailties, He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."(Phil2:7-8) As a person He, "learned obedience by the things which He suffered."(Heb5:8) This, the context of His crucifixion. He was in the garden praying, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me."(Mt26:39) And in Heb5:7 we see His agony, "supplication, with vehement cries and tears" to the Father. More agony than any other human could suffer as He sweat drops of blood.(Lk22:44) ...as His "humanity" DESPERATELY DID NOT WANT TO go to the cross!!
But He did!
Jesus Christ: Redeemer:
"..knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1Pet1:18-19)
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Heb9:22)
"and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Lk24:47)
What Jesus accomplished for us can be illustrated in several ways. Due to sin mankind is in a state of eternal "hock." We have been set aside in judgment and eternal separation from God.(Eph2:12) Given over as "children of wrath."(2:3) But Jesus redeemed us out of the "pawn shop" of sin and destruction.
He did this with His own blood. As we learned that even "our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"(Is64:6), He washed us from our uncleanness "in His own blood."(Rev1:5) So, once saved, we are clean.(Rev19:8)
Scripture speaks of Jesus as the "Lamb." He is our Passover Lamb. Israel took the blood of the lamb and [struck] it upon the door posts of their houses.(Ex12:7) As it says of Jesus, "by His STRIPES we are healed."(Is53:5) And when the death angel was passing over the land of Egypt, when he saw the blood, he "passed-over" the house, and its occupants lived.(Ex12:13)
And thus, we come to this word "remission." In medicine a person is "in remission" of whatever the disease is. The symptoms are not visible. The person goes along in life as though he is now "well." However, the doctors know that at some future point it could flair up again, thus, the patient goes in periodically for examinations...just to be sure. But the doctor pronounces the person "well."
With Jesus' blood shed, the sinner is in remission. God does not "see" the sin. When the sentence of death is proclaimed, death "passes over" the person covered by Jesus' blood. Thus, John proclaimed, "behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!"(Jn1:29) Jesus, our Passover Lamb.
We were cursed, but Jesus became a curse for us.(Gal3:13) He shed His blood. No other way is possible than through His blood; as He gave His life, since the "life is in the blood."(Lev17:11) And then we receive remission of sins...release from the debt, penalty, obligation due to sin. While Paul laments over the residual sin that is left in these earthly bodies (Rom7), It is the DECLARATION of righteousness. "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom3:24)
However, if Jesus had only died, His redemptive work would not be complete. He might have paid the penalty for sin, but these earthly bodies would still die. But He rose from the dead so that, "just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."(Rom6:4) And not only that, those who have died in faith of Christ have the assurance of resurrection, as "Christ..has become the firstfruits of those who have [died]."(1Cor15:20)
In His resurrection Jesus leads the way into what we will become. "It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."(1Jn3:2)
Adam was a "living being/soul." But Christ "became a life-giving spirit." (1Cor15:45) We start out in dishonor, but are raised in glory. The natural body is replaced by a spiritual body. The corruptible puts on incorruption, and the mortal puts on immortality. And death is then [fully] conquered. (~1Cor15:42-56) Jesus has already passed this way, making the way for us. For the believer, this fulfillment is yet future...which we will consider in greater depth in a later chapter.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God...For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus...which God prepared beforehand..(Eph2:8,10)
More often than not in Scripture, when the term "God" is written, the reference is to "God the FATHER." Salvation comes about because of the work of God, the FATHER.
Salvation is the "wisdom" of the Father (1Cor1:21), with a message which seems "foolish" to the world. It is the "power" of God.(1Cor1:18) The Father is "pleased" [He WANTS] to give us good things.(Lk12:32)
It was the Father's love which sent Jesus. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (Jn3:16-17)
While God does not wish to condemn us (2Pt3:9), He is the one before Whom we stand at judgment, as the One Who sits on the throne.(Rev4:2,20:11)
Jesus said of the Father, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.(Jn6:44) So, while the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1Jn4:14), we do not even come to the Son in repentant faith without the Father "drawing" us. Tugging, coaxing (Jer25:4,44:4), putting up hedges before our wayward paths. (Hos2:6) Whatever His wisdom knows is required to get us to look to His Son.
Once we have believed, our service is to the Father. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the words of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."(1Pt4:11) We are to "glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom15:6)
Even the Son, Jesus, glorifies the Father.(Jn13:32) He said, "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." (Jn8:29) And when He (Jesus) was raised, He went and sat down at the "right hand of the Majesty on high."(Heb1:3) The person occupying the throne is of greater stature than the one who is at his "right hand." Paul puts it this way, "I want you to know that the head of very man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."(1Cor11:3) And when God's wrath is about to be poured out upon the world, the Father is the One "on the throne" and Jesus comes as the "lamb" to take the scroll. "Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne." (Rev5:7)
And while Jesus has been given authority, and will rule the nations with a "rod of iron" ...when He is treading out the winepress of wrath, it is the wrath of "Almighty God."(Rev19:15) And while He has been given the title "King of kings and Lord of lords" (19:16) This authority having been given to Him by the Father (Heb1:8-9,13), He ultimately will "return" everything back to the Father. "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." (1Cor15:28)
However, as God said to Moses, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." (Ex33:20) ...because, God is a "consuming fire." (Deu4:24)
So, how can there be communication between God and man? This is where Jesus comes into the picture. "Immanuel, God with us."(Mt1:23,Is7:14) Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."(Jn14:9) Jesus is the "express image" of His [God's] person. (Heb1:3) He provides the mediation, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1Tm2:5) While God is so awesome that the "earth and heaven fled away"(Rev20:11), Jesus came in the form as a man.(Phil2:8) Something that mere man could understand. An "equivalent substitute" as a propitiation for our sin...to satisfy God's requirement of "death for sin."(1Jn2:2)
Having redeemed us by His own blood, He is now seated at God's "right hand...making intercession for us."(Rom8:34,Heb7:25) As God would condemn the sinner, the Son, sitting at His right hand, says, 'I paid for him. He is righteous.' After all God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."(2Cor5:21) And if, as His children, we slip up and stumble, Jesus is right there, advocating our cause.(1Jn2:1) Because of Jesus, God does not see the Believer as a "sinner" but as "righteous." Righteousness is "imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead."(Rom4:24)
This word "imputed" means, "charged with, attributed to, credited" with RIGHTEOUSNESS. When our sin was washed away with Jesus' blood, our name was written in the Book of Life.(Phil4:3) (Next chapter we will note that this accounting was made "before Creation.") While our life was full of sin, Christ went in and "deleted our file" and even performed HD maintenance so that even the traces of it no longer exist in any clusters. "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Ps103:12) And has no more memory of it. "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."(Heb8:12)
And finally, it is Christ Who raises us up from the dead (or) raptures us, when He comes again. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die."(Jn11:25-26) In this context of Martha's words of the "Last Day," Jesus promised that the dead would be resurrected, and those alive [at His coming] would never die.
As Jesus was explaining that He was going away to prepare "a place" He promised to come again to "receive you to Myself."(Jn14:3) Those who have died before that time He promised, "I will raise him up at the last day."(Jn6:44) And He has authority to do this, since He was the "firstfruits" of those who are "asleep."(1Cor15:20) But not all will "sleep."(15:51) But Christ will come in the clouds and all those who are in Christ, dead or alive, will meet Him in the clouds as He snatches us up to Himself (1Ths4:17) in the "twinkling of an eye."(1Cor15:52)
By comparison, the work of the Holy Spirit is much less "glamorous." Nevertheless, every bit as important as what the Father and Son do. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would not operate on His own authority as the Father does, or as was "given" to the Son. "..for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak."(Jn16:13) His "job" is to take of the Son and give it to us. Since the Father has given all things to the Son (vs15) this means that the HS imparts to us what God wills.
God, by His very essence IS "Spirit."(Jn4:24) Thus, we cannot know the Father without the Spirit. And we cannot have fellowship with the Son (1Jn1:3) apart from the Spirit.
When God draws us to Christ, He does so through the Spirit.(Jn16:8-11) And when Christ's blood cleanses us and gives us the "new birth"(Jn3:3,Rom6:4) the Spirit "seals" us with the "promise" of eternal life.(Eph1:13) So, as we become a "new creation" in Christ (2Cor5:17), and we have our "abode" with the Father and Son,(Jn14:23) This occurs through the Spirit. "He [the Father] will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth."(14:16-17) And this, then, becomes a gauge as to whether or not we are truly In Christ. "You are...in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."(Rom8:9)
As we can see, Salvation is something which God, all of Him, provides for us. We cannot cling to only one Person of the God-head, rejecting the others...and be saved. Each Person has His part. Each part is of equal importance, and intertwines inextricably.
For such a powerful, glorious, awesome God to look at mere insignificant, rebellious, obstinate sinners; and go to so much trouble to save us! Such Love! There aren't words to tell...to describe such Grace and Mercy!
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him [man] a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. (Ps8:3-5)
But-- "...salvation is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: in transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood, justice is turned back...truth fails. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor...
Therefore HIS OWN ARM BROUGHT SALVATION for Him: and HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, it sustained Him. (Is59:11-16)
As a result-- "...you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1Pt2:9-10)
"Knowing that you were...redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world.."(1Pt1:18-20)
"The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.."(Eph1:3-4)
"..whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."(Rev13:8)
"..whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world."(Rev17:8) "..although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."(Heb4:3)
As we have looked at our God Who provides salvation, we also see a God Who is in complete control. As people contemplate "creation vs. evolution" one of the primary arguments is that of "order vs. chaos." "Planning vs. chance." As theoretical mathematicians punch the keys of their calculators, the stark reality is that the universe as we know it could not possibly have come into existence apart from an intelligent Creator who specifically designed it. This same Creator knows each sparrow that falls, and has our hairs all numbered.(Mt10:29-30)
This same God knows all time. Past, present, future. One of the things which distinguishes our God Most High (Gen14:18,Ps57:2) from all other so-called "gods" is His relationship to time. He retorts against them, "Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure," (Isa46:9-10)
Before He ever started creating, "Let there be light" He knew all things. He knew that Adam would sin. He knew that Jesus would be dying on the cross for sin. He knew who would believe in Him, and He knew who would reject Him. While we presently look to judgments as being yet "future" He knows the outcome. As far as He knows, the works that He will judge at the Great White Throne have already been completed from eternity past "before the foundation of the world." And the same with righteous deeds.
Thus, those who believe in Christ through faith have been "predestined." (Eph1:5) Many people struggle with the concept of "predestination vs. free will," as I used to. But it is actually very simple. Just as He knew that Satan would rebel, that Cain would martyr Abel, that Jesus would die on the cross...He also knew who would humble themselves in repentance and believe in His Son, Jesus. And so, he chose/predestined those..."whom He foreknew." (Jn15:16,Rom8:29) And thus, based on this foreknowledge, He takes each person so chosen and "calls them" (vs30) and "draws" them to His Son (Jn6:44), and when they come to His Son in repentance, He "justifies" (Rom8:30) them and "glorifies" them. To us "glorification" is yet future as we wait for the "redemption of our bodies"(Rom8:23,1Cor15:42-44). But to God, it is already accomplished! And was, before the foundation of the world.
So, in review: According to the power of God, He "saved us and called us with a holy calling...according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began."(2Tm1:9)
He not only foreknew and purposed this, but this "hope of eternal life" God "PROMISED before time began."(Tit1:2) And He does not break His promises. (Josh21:45,23:14,1Kg8:56) He fulfills His word down to the minutest details. (Mt5:18,Rev9:15)
"As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Gal1:9) For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,(Heb10:26)
First of all we "have received," and NOW HAVE, the fullness of the Gospel and knowledge of the truth. These warnings indicate that everything we need, we have, and the warning against looking for something else and rejecting that which we have.
What is the "gospel?" Jesus summed it up, "for the Christ to suffer [die] and to to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name."(Lk24:46-47) Paul sums it up, "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day.."(1Cor15:3-4) ..and man's response: "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."(Acts20:21) And in vs.20 he claims that he had given them everything they needed to know and "held nothing back" to be saved. This Gospel is available to us...NOW.
One of the things we NOW HAVE is grace. "For by grace you HAVE BEEN SAVED."(Eph2:8) ..as we have received mercy.."(2Cor4:1) "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not."(Lam3:22) The very fact that we are not obliterated from the face of the universe is testimony to God's mercies towards us. And thus also, our state of being "saved" is God's "present" mercy towards us.
As we are saved (Acts16:31), Christ redeems us, we receive forgiveness of our sins.(Col1:14) Typically, when forgiveness is granted, where there was guilt, there is a clearing of the conscience.(Heb9:14) Before we were cleansed, our conscience was defiled. But now we are purified.(Tit1:15) And when a conscience is cleared, typically there is a feeling of peace. Jesus gives peace. And even though the world may bring trials and sorrow our way, we can still "be of good cheer" because Jesus has "overcome the world."(Jn16:33) And this is a peace that the world does not give. It only comes from Christ (Jn14:27) And thus, there is no fear.
Purification also speaks of sanctification. God Who "called" us from eternity past, sanctifies us.(Jude1) He sets us apart as a distinct people, "His own special people."(1Pet2:9) We are no longer conformed to the world, but are transformed into the image of the "glory of the Lord."(2Cor3:18)
This transformation is because of the "new birth."(Jn3:3) We are a "new creation."(2Cor5:17) Old things have passed away, and we put on the new man.(Col3:10)
At the core of this transformation is the indwelling Holy Spirit. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.(1Cor2:12) Jesus promised His coming.(Jn16:14) And He is actually THE DEFINITION of our salvation. Paul writes that we now are characterized by, "Christ in you the hope of glory."(Col1:27) As Jesus promised, "We will come and make Our home with him."(Jn14:23) Paul states that if we don't have the Holy Spirit, we do not belong to God.(Rom8:9)
What does the Holy Spirit do? First of all, at the very moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit "seals" us with "promise."(Eph1:13) Next chapter we will see the parts of salvation we don't yet have, which are yet future. But until those things happen, the Holy Spirit is the notary's official imprinted seal. The document of God's promise (1Jn2:25) of eternal life is stamped and signed. Jesus signed it with His blood, and the Holy Spirit seals it with His indwelling. And because of the Spirit's indwelling, it can then be said, "the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His." (2Tim2:19) And conversely, we KNOW that we are children of God because, "the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."(Rom8:16) In other words, if a person has a question in his/her mind as to "whether or not they are saved" ...they are not. By definition.
This "sealing" of the Spirit is also God's guarantee of the inheritance until the redemption of the "purchased possession."(future)(Eph1:14) We are not yet "fully saved" until Christ comes to "receive" us to Himself.(Jn14:3) We are not yet fully what we will be, like Jesus, because we do not yet see Him as He is.(1Jn3:2) So, until that day, the Holy Spirit guarantees our "spot" in heaven. Assures that our "reservation" will still be there when we are taken there to claim it, when Christ comes to claim us as His and "confess us" before His Father and the angels, as our names are in the Book of Life.(Rev3:5) And since we are not yet "like Christ" we presently have "Christ in [us] you"(Col1:27) through the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, if a person has not become a Christian, has not repented and received Jesus in faith, the one other thing for the "present" is to come to God...NOW. "For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2Cor6:2)
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended [taken possession]; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."(Phil3:13- 14)
"We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body."(Rom8:23)
The fact that our redemption isn't complete is illustrated by Paul, "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice...it is..sin that dwells in me...who shall deliver me from the [body] of death?"(Rom7:19-20,24) If anyone was a "Christian" it would have been Paul. He wrote most of the NT teaching on it.
While we have become a "new creation"(2Cor5:17) through the new birth(Jn3:3), we are still in these earthly bodies. Remember how we learned that sin is inherited at PHYSICAL birth. (Ps51:5) Our new birth is a SPIRITUAL birth.(Jn3:8)
One of the things that is yet future for salvation is the transformation of our bodies. Jesus promised, "He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"(Jn11:25-26) Jesus was responding to Martha about "the LAST DAY." When Jesus comes to "receive [us] to Himself"(Jn14:3) those who have died will "rise first" and those alive will "be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."(1Ths4:16-17)
When this happens, these corrupt earthly bodies will be replaced instantly (1Cor15:52) with Incorruption, Immortality, Power. A "spiritual body." (1Cor15:44) Where Paul laments the constant struggle in Romans 7 because of the two natures, flesh vs. spirit; "now" the two will be perfectly matched, "spiritual." And we will be "like Christ" because we will "see Him as He is."(1Jn3:2,1Cor15:49)
This transformation is closely related to another future aspect of salvation; that of being "Saved From Wrath" and the "Blessed Hope." We are told that we "have now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."(Rom5:9) The words "shall be" is future. "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."(1Ths5:9)
What is "wrath?" "..wrath in the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God."(Rom2:5) "The wrath of God is reveal from heaven."(Rom1:18) "..His wrath...and the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction."(Rom9:22) Throughout the book of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" we see the expression "wrath of God."(Rev6:16- 17,14:10,19,15:1,7,16:1) We find that the "wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."(Eph5:6) ..to judge the world.(Rom3:6)
Only a few times in history has God's judgment been poured out upon the earth in great measure. At "Noah's flood" God destroyed all air- breathing life.(Gen7:22) When He brought Israel out of Egypt, He rained judgments upon Egypt, destroying their gods, saving Israel through it and bringing her out.
What is the "blessed hope and glorious appearing" of Christ?(Tit2:13) It is the Pre-Tribulation "rapture" of the Church. God is going to judge the world and its unbelievers. His wrath is going to be poured out upon it. But He is not going to subject His Church to His wrath. Jesus speaks of "as it was in the days of Noah"(Mt24:38) and again, "as in the days of Lot."(Lk17:28-29) Noah was saved from the flood in the ark. Lot was taken out of Sodom before destruction. You notice He never says, "like it was in the days when I brought Israel out of Egypt." Israel went "through" Egypt's judgment..as they will again, through the time of God's wrath upon the world.(Mal3:3)
LET THERE BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING!! God's "wrath" often referred to as "the Tribulation" is not the same as the "tribulation/trials" that God allows satan to bring upon the Believer for testing. (Jn16:33,Job1:12,2:6,Lk22:31) The trials and persecution that the Church has experienced throughout the centuries is Satan's attempts to do away with the Church.(Mt16:18) And will also occur to those who "call upon the name of the Lord"(Joel2:32) during the Tribulation as the "beast" makes "war with" them to overcome them(Rev13:7), as he requires worship of the image(13:15) upon the pain of death. But that group, while being called "saints" as all believers throughout history are called "saints", is not the "Church." What is yet future, which God will spare His Church from is [GOD's] WRATH, poured upon the WORLD in JUDGMENT.
Jesus asked Martha, "Do you believe this?" VERY IMPORTANT, this question! You notice how Paul equates "having been justified by His blood" with "shall be saved from wrath through Him."(Rom5:9) Wrath begins with the Tribulation, satan and his followers being destroyed when Christ comes (2Ths2:8,10-12), and culminates at the Great White Throne where "anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."(Rev20:15)
The assurance that the Church will not endure God's wrath is the "blessed hope." "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."(Heb6:19) This word "hope" is fascinating from this standpoint. It is not.. "well.. I hope I have it; perhaps, maybe, if I'm lucky I might have it." It's a sure thing!
It has been promised. "the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus."(2Tm1:1) This promise for the Future was made "before time began."(Tit1:2) And God does not lie. And since God Himself is the "guarantee" of it, through the Holy Spirit, (Eph1:14) we KNOW it is sure. There is no better guarantee than God's "own" word. "Since He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself." (Heb6:13) What greater guarantee is there! What greater security!
Another way of looking at the promise is with the word "Inheritance." We are "born again"(Jn3:3)...the God and Father...according to His abundant mercy has BEGOTTEN us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Pet1:3-5) When we were born into God's family, we received an inheritance. We don't have possession of it yet. But, considering Who our Father is, it's a sure thing. It is in heaven, waiting for us.
This inheritance is received when we are "adopted."(Rom8:23) This is a take from Greco-Roman society. A child was brought up and raised by teachers and guardians until an age predetermined by the father, at which point he came into "manhood." As a child he was heir to the father, but did not possess the inheritance...as he learned submission, obedience and did not have ready access to the father. But at the appointed time he officially was "adopted" and became the "son" with all the rights and privileges. During the time he was under tutelage, he "knew" that "one day" he would possess all, because he was "in the family." He could look forward to "that day" with "hope."
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus...and if you are Christ's, then you are...heirs according to the promise."(Gal3:29) "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..."(Rom8:16-17)
"...if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."(Rom8:17-18) ..so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Heb9:28)
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls." (1Pet1:6-9)
What Must I Do?
Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (Jn6:28-29)
And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:30-31)
"...they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent..."(Acts 2:37-38a)
"how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20-21)
With everything that has been said up to this point, one might be tempted to think that "salvation" is quite a "difficult" matter. So many things to think about and to know. But actually our "part" is the simplest part. God has taken care of all the hard things, because we were incapable, "when we were still WITHOUT STRENGTH [ability=infirm, feeble], in due time Christ died for the ungodly."(Rom5:6)
Essentially there are only two things we do, and then we are "saved." We must 1) Believe on Jesus Christ, and 2) Repent.
Belief in Jesus is not merely a mental assent to His existence. That He lived historically. We must believe that "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 Scripture."(1Cor15:3-4) This is the "Gospel."
When we believe in "Christ" we are affirming that He is [THE] "anointed One."(1Jn2:22) That the Word [WAS] God.(Jn1:1) Many, including JW, believe that Jesus was "a" god. That He is one (of many) "christ/s." But we must believe that there is ONLY ONE Redeemer, the Son of God. Satan "believes" in Jesus (Jas2:19), but seeks to replace Him with other things and people...and "trembles."
Even though we don't see Him, we believe that He rose from the dead. Jesus said to doubting Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believe."(Jn20:29) "...whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1Pt1:8)
As Jesus is knocking at the heart's "door"(Rev3:20) we must "receive Him" and "believe on His name."(Jn1:12) He then promises to, "come and make Our home with him."(Jn14:23)
The word "REPENT" is [the] definitive word in Scripture for being saved. While there are references to "saving" others (1Cor7:16,Jude23), a person does not set out and seek to "get saved." What an individual, personally, does is to "repent." And their act of repenting is called "repentance."
The Lord leads us to repentance.(Rom2:4) "Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation."(2Cor7:10) God "grants" repentance. (2Tm2:25) God desires for all to "come to repentance."(2Pt3:9)
So, if we are called to repentance, we need to know what it is.
Repent; metanoeo ==to change one's mind for the better; heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins. There is another word for repentance, "metamellomai" which speaks of "caring" after having done something wrong. An emotional, "feeling bad about" having done something. But the repentance we are called to is one in which our whole life and being are changed. Not just "sorry" for some deed here or there, but a total abhorrence of our whole existence and essence.
Most of what passes for "repentance" at altar calls is of the second variety. People come forward "feeling bad" about their sin[S]. But otherwise, they essentially don't look upon themselves as being really ALL THAT BAD; they are, after all, basically "good" people. Thus, that trip down the isle DID NOT SAVE them!
When Isaiah saw God, and then reflected upon himself, he moaned, "Woe is me, for I am undone!"(Is6:5) "Undone" meaning, "destroyed, perish/ing." In other words, "under damnation." Self-esteem went flying out Job's window when he saw God, "but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."(Job42:6) Remember our "condition at birth?" Even our "righteousnesses are like filthy rags."(Is64:6)
Our repentance, then, is not for our sin[S] (plural) but for our SIN. Our sin nature in which we were conceived.(Ps51:5) We are repenting of our VERY EXISTENCE in sin. Realizing we are utterly helpless. That our judgment is just. And we plead for mercy,(Ps51:1) and for God to blot out our sin.
The natural outcome of such repentance is transformation, which is the subject of the next chapter. If we have become "born again"(Jn3:3) and are, thus, "new creatures"(2Cor5:17), it will be a natural thing for us to "do works befitting repentance."(Acts26:20,Jas2:14-26)
This, too, is the scourge of modern "conversions." The message preached is "love and faith." Just have love "in your heart" (not for Jesus). Just have "faith." Some sort of generic nebulous "faith" in some ethereal never-never-land (not in Christ's redemptive work on the cross). People are told that "God accepts them...JUST AS THEY ARE" and that He "doesn't care" about their sin. Just "believe in Him" ...and incidentally... "don't worry about the sin." So, this newly "converted" person remains the same as they were. Aah! Let's see. Something is wrong there. "Conversion" means "change." They are NOT REALLY "In Christ."
A person repents "towards God."(Acts20:21) After all, it is He Who "sits on the throne" Who judges.(Rev20:11) Believing in Jesus Christ, Who is our propitiation.(Rom3:24-25) We are "Saved" from wrath, (Rom5:9) which ultimately would have ended a person up in the "lake of fire."(Rev20:15)
Again, perhaps, with all these words the matter of Faith and Repentance seems complex? Not really. Jesus said that a person needs to come in child-like faith. (Mk10:15) If you feel you don't understand "faith" do what the man did, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." Remembering that even our faith is a "gift of God."(Eph2:8)
If you are reading this after the "Rapture" and all the intricacies of the Gospel seem to be lost in all the confusion of the Great Deception, God's message is quite simple...
"Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."(Joel2:32)
The thief dying on the cross next to Jesus didn't have time for a mini- course in "Soteriology." He simply asked, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Lk23:42-43)
Qualities of the Christian:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new." (2Cor5:17)
This is likely THE definitive verse describing a Believer in a nutshell. A "Christian" by the very word, indicates a person who believes in, is a follower of, holds to the teachings and characteristics of "CHRIST." In addition, there is fellowship. Jesus spoke of "abiding" in Him. (Jn15) And this happens through the agency of the Holy Spirit. (Jn16) There is, then, oneness. (Jn17) This oneness is likened to the marriage relationship, "..the two shall become one.."(Eph5:31-32)
While the Father might look at us yet in our flesh and frailty, and as Paul bemoans the carnal tendencies to fail (Rom7), Jesus steps up to the Father. He shows the document sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph1:13) which indicates Jesus' shed blood on our behalf as propitiation (payment) for our sins (Rom3:25) so God "passes over our sins" as Jesus sits at His right hand (Heb1:3) and serves as our Advocate before the Father.(1Jn2:1)
So, what the Father sees is, "Christ in you.."(Col1:27) When the Father sees us, He sees Jesus Christ. Christ owns us because He bought us.(1Cor6:20) So, we now have Christ's righteousness.(Phil3:9) As far as God is concerned, we are perfect. We are holy. (1Pt2:9)
We are "NEW CREATUREs." This comes about by the new birth. (Jn3:3) A Spiritual birth.(Jn3:8) When we were born "of woman" we were born in Adam's sin. When we are "born again" we are born of the Holy Spirit.(Rom8:9,14-17) We gain a new entity. A new nature. John speaks of genetics. His "seed" remains in him; thus, he cannot continue in habitual sin.(1Jn3:9) We are "born into" Christ's righteousness.
Thus, OLD THINGS PASSED AWAY. There is a misguided notion that God "heals" our sin. Actually, our old nature was put to DEATH. When we were born again, we died to sin. When Christ died for us, that was actually "us" dying on that cross. When we come to the foot of the cross, we are symbolically "dying with Christ."(Rom6:3) Thus, the symbolism of baptism where the person goes UNDER the water. (Yes, immersion.) We are figuratively buried with Christ. (vs4)
As such Paul writes, "Put to death your members which are on the earth..."(Col3:5) and goes on to list the various characteristics of the unbeliever. And he says, "in which you yourselves once walked [past tense] when you lived in them."(vs7) In other words, in God's formula there is no such thing as "therapy" to "work-through" all sorts of things and learn "how to deal with" the past. No! It is PUT TO DEATH! Gotten rid of.
When a person TRULY comes to faith in Christ, 12-step programs are not necessary to deal with drugs or alcohol. Counseling is no longer needed to discover repressed memories of childhood abuse. We will no longer continue lying and cheating. It is no longer in our "genes" (seed) to do so. When the prophet wrote, "by His stripes we are healed" (Is53:5) this is what was meant. The addict no longer "needs" that nicotine fix or the alcohol, nor will there be those outbursts of rage; because Jesus takes it away. Period. Because the old has been put to death.
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him..."(Rom6:6-8)
This is why Jesus' resurrection is so important for us. We have died with Christ, putting away the old. And now, because of His resurrection, "we also should walk in newness of life."(vs4) We "reckon [ourselves] to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."(Rom6:11)
ALL THINGS BECOME NEW. So, whereas we used to be characterized by lying, cheating, stealing, immorality, pride, etc. ...we are now characterized by humility, kindness, meekness, love, peace, etc.(Col3:12-15) And, doesn't this make sense? If we are "new" ..we should be characterized by "newness." Forget the notion that says, "God's grace doesn't care about our sin, or our old ways...He accepts us just as we are...and we can continue that way!" No! The new characteristics prove the new nature.(Jas2:14-26) e.g.If a friend claimed to have traded up to a brand new BMW or Porsche, and we went to have a look, and all we could see was "Y-U-G-O" on the name plate, and when he started it up, we could walk faster than it could go, we would wonder, wouldn't we! We would be pretty sure that he had not upgraded. By its very definition, "repentance" indicates a CHANGE. This is why we stated in a previous chapter that true repentance is more than "feeling bad about" the "naughty things" we've done; but is rather an utter hatred for our VERY EXISTENCE in sin. And in faith receiving Christ's "newness" which He gives us, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."(Tit3:5)
Furthermore, because we have the Spirit (His anointing --1Jn2:27), God's love has been "poured out in our hearts."(Rom5:5) And as such, we have the wherewithal to be obedient to Jesus when He commanded, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples.."(Jn13:34-35) This is not the warm-n-fuzzy "Luuuuv" that the world swoons over. This is a love that gives one's self for the sake of another. God's love was demonstrated by Christ's death.(Rom5:8) And thus, we are to give our lives "for the brethren."(1Jn3:16)
What, now, is our relationship with the world? We are strangers and sojourners.(Heb11:13,1Pt2:11) We are passing through, not sinking in roots as though to settle in. Our citizenship is in heaven.(Phil3:20) As such, our time here in this world is as "foreigners." We don't really "belong" here. We are only here temporarily.
Furthermore, our demeanor should be as "ambassadors for Christ." (2Cor5:20) An ambassador is a "representative" to the "foreign" people, retaining all the characteristics of the sending government. Not engaging in activities which would in any way jeopardize the integrity of the home country. An ambassador is uniquely distinct; different. Separate..."holy."(1Pt1:14-16) So, why do we see so many (so-called) "christians" trying with all their might to be as much LIKE the world as they can! Again, they are known by their fruits... (Mt7:16,21-23)
Finally, what is our task while thus engaged as ambassadors? We are "witnesses." Witnesses to what? "Thus it..was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations...and you are witnesses of these things.."(Lk24:46-48)
How can we, who live 2000 years after the actual events of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection be witnesses? We did not actually SEE these things take place. Remember, as Christians the Father sees Jesus when He looks at us. If we are truly "in Christ" (2Cor5:17) and Christ is "in you" (Col1:27), then, not only are we witnesses...they can actually see the resurrrected Christ LIVING THROUGH US. Jesus said that the whole world will know we are His by our "love" we have for the brethren. We are witnesses to the work, change, transformation in the life that comes about through faith in Christ. This is why we are to be "different" from the world. To be "holy." If we are so much like the world, what will they see that they don't already know?
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles..."(1Pt2:9-12)
Culmination and Fulfillment:
"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2Tim4:8) These, the words of the Apostle Paul, as he was facing certain execution, as he is nearing the end of his ministry and life. He could confidently claim, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."(vs7) He was about to go through the door and be met on the other side by his Master who would say to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."(Mt25:21)
As He was about to be crucified, Jesus assured the disciples, "In My Father's house are many mansion...I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."(Jn14:3-4)
Consider for a moment that the universe was created in 6 days. Jesus has been "preparing" for almost 2000 years. When we consider the vastness of the universe, can you imagine what the nature of heaven is, by comparison, and the new heavens and new earth? We are given a glimpse in Rev.21-22. All things will be "new."(21:5)
There is the river of water of life. The Tree of Life. The tree provides healing. There is fellowship with God, as He dwells amongst His servants, and His name is on their foreheads. Once God wipes away the tears, there is no more sorrow or crying. The past is forgotten. There is rest. And there is no more corruption and sin.
Overcomers Jesus promises to "not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but will confess his name before [His] Father and before His angels."(Rev3:5) If you are a Believer, can you imagine the gathering, like a graduation ceremony, and God the Father is at the podium. Jesus reads your name from the Book of Life, and announces to all creation, "This is [your name] whom I redeemed." And all the angels of heaven and all creation rejoices. After all, Jesus said, "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Lk15:10) And you proceed to "go up higher"(Lk14:10) to meet your "Maker." "In that day a man will look to his Maker, And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. (Isa17:7) "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker." (Ps95:6)
And we will rule and reign with Him. "This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (2Tim2:11- 12) Those taking part in the "first resurrection" will reign with Him through the Millennium. (Rev20:6)
What tasks and responsibilities will we have? It would seem that our faithfulness (or lack thereof) during our present time in life will determine that. "His lord said to him, 'well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things."(Mt25:21) The account in Luke19 seems to indicate that greater faithfulness will result in greater responsibilities, and mediocre or lesser faithfulness, will result in lesser responsibilities.
However, if you are coming to Christ at the end of history, you still receive the full benefits of Eternal Life. "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard..." and throughout the day he goes and finds more workers. Now, about 5pm he goes and finds more unemployed and asks, "Why are you sitting around here?" ...'No one hired us.' So he says, "You also go..and whatever is right you will receive." 6pm comes along and he gathers the workers all around, and starts out paying those who came aboard at 5pm. They each received the "full-day's" wages, just like those who put in the full 12 hours.(Mt20:1-16)
Some who worked the whole day through the heat grumbled, that each was getting paid the same, some for only 1 hour's work. But the master replies, 'be content. It's My money. I can pay out as I wish. You agreed with me for [Eternal Life] and you received it. These who came along at the last hour also receive Eternal Life. This is what I wish to do.'
This is what Jesus promises, "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Jn10:28)
Conclusion and Invitation:
"And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (Jn4:36) Why do the [spiritual] workers "rejoice?" Because through our labors we can rejoice with you when you come to Christ..."because your names are written in heaven." (Lk10:20)
Through this long series many things have been covered related to salvation. Various terminology, complex thoughts and concepts. What if you didn't fully understand everything? Does this damn you to an eternity under God's judgment? No. Jesus said, the kingdom of heaven was such that a person has to come "as a child."(Mk10:15) Obviously, a child does not understand complex issues. So, let's review the important key points; without which, salvation is impossible.
The Gospel, in a nutshell was given by Paul, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."(1Cor15:3-5~) And His "resurrection" was not a hoax...there were witnesses. This, Paul gave as introduction to his teaching about resurrection. And many will stop here. But do not be deceived.
God provides salvation. But if the sinner does not respond, the salvation is ineffective. Thus, this same Paul also states in review, "I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you...testifying to Jews and [Gentiles], REPENTANCE toward God and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ."(Acts20:20-21)
So, in a nutshell; how do we become "saved?"
--GOD PROVIDED the means through Jesus' 1) Death and 2) Resurrection. --WE RESPOND in 1) Faith and 2) Repentance.Jesus summed it up succinctly, "..it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name."(Lk24:46-47)
Do not be fooled by those who teach that all you have to do is "believe." You must "repent." Without it, there is no "remission" of sins. For satan also "believes" ...and shudders.(Jas2:19) You notice Jesus' summary doesn't even include the word, "faith," Repentance being the primary need. ...however, it should be obvious that without faith it is impossible to please God.(Heb11:6)
While this series may have seemed "long" there is so much more that could be written about salvation. ...as John wrote about his account of Jesus' ministry, "and there are also many other things...which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."(Jn21:25) ...but these are written "that you may know that you have eternal life."(1Jn5:13)
Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."(Mt5:6,Jn4:14)
And the invitation is given..."the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." (Rev22:17)