Belief, Forgiveness and Salvation, Mine and Yours pt. 3
Salvation and a place in the kingdom of heaven is not free
Salvation, the reality of right now being saved, is not a free gift from God.
You may know that becoming a Christ follower is sometimes referred to as being born again. Briefly, this means that we die to our selfish ways and sin, and through the spirit of Christ we are born again and made new.
1 John 3: 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
1 John 3: 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
In this passage John is being clear that in our Christian rebirth we will not continue to sin. Our actions will show that God is within us. We all will continue to have selfish desires that we struggle with, however it is by God in us, the Holy Spirit, which we choose to be righteous in total disregard for our selfish desires. Here it is clear from the Apostle John, we are forgiven, but we do not have the Holy Spirit in us if we keep sinning. Peter says the same thing:
1 Peter 1: 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
However, being born again isn’t some freebie. This new birth means we change and that change is the key to this article. Here Peter addresses my expectations to change in a frightful way.
2 Peter 2: 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
Peter actually says it is better to never know Christ than to know him and then go back to a sinful lifestyle! Jesus said the path is narrow and Peter and John have confirmed it! We cannot waiver in our dedication and love of God and Jesus Christ.
Follow Jesus Christ: that is the way into heaven
Is it possible that the Apostles misunderstood Jesus Christ? Obviously not and I will share two more scriptures to help cement what they said. Both of these are quotes of Christ Jesus in the book of Matthew:
Matthew 19: 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Here Jesus is speaking of the young rich man who wanted to get eternal life. Jesus gave him the list of things he must do and the final command was in verse 21:
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
This is truly his command to all Christians, “come, follow me”. It isn’t enough to believe in him, Satan does that, or to accept his forgiveness and his sacrifice, any greedy person will accept another’s sacrifice. How then can you, in your heart, accept Christ Jesus’s sacrifice? That is the point of my articles – believe in him, admit you are sinful and accept grace. After belief in him and confession of our sins we can accept forgiveness. When we accept his forgiveness we see his love for us and we can love him back.
When we truly love God and Jesus we have to change, this change is our salvation. As we grow in our understanding of his gift we realize we don’t need a command to obey God, we want to. Our journey is to find that truth inside us where we want to obey God. When we find that we love him we are his and he is ours.
Love of God is our salvation
Matthew 10 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Jesus is stating ways in which we are not worthy of even following him. Neither earthly love nor earthy desire can outweigh the love of our creator and his gift of Christ Jesus to us. Only through our total commitment to God through Jesus Christ can we be worthy of his sacrifice and forgiveness. Only then can we inherit everlasting life in heaven. This is when we have reached his goal for us, to love him because we want to.
I’m not there yet and as long as I’m on this earth I’ll come up short from time to time. The bible is clear to me though, that through my belief in God and his Son I can learn to accept their forgiveness for my sins. When I understand that forgiveness and the infinitely deep love that is the source of it I can begin to love God back. When I truly have love for God in my heart I will no longer choose myself. I can then overcome my selfish desires because I have found something more important and it shows in my actions and choices. In this way I am saved.
- 1. I Believe in God, Holy and Perfect
- 2. I Confess My Sins To Him
- 3. My Confession Allows me to Receive The Gift of Grace
- 4. Jesus Died As a Sacrafice For Me
- 5. I Love Him Because He Loved Me First
- 6. I Was Just Me, Now I am Me and Also My Love For God (Christ In Me)
- 7. My Love For God Changes My Choices
- 8. My Change is My Demonstration of Jesus In Me
- 9. My Change Is My Salavation
Let us pray:
Father, I pray that I always remember your love for me. Your perfect love that forgives and forgets my every sin I bring to you. I pray to always keep my love for you in my thoughts and on my heart. I know that when I love you first I am truly following Jesus Christ and I will have a place reserved for me in heaven. Your parable of the workers in the vineyard tells me it is never too late to be saved just as your parable of the bridesmaids tells me I can never be complacent in my preparation for you. With fear and love I seek you every day. Amen.