Coffee, Theology and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Tag: peace

What Salvation Does: Part 2

Ok so in Part 1 we looked at what salvation is.  In its essence biblical salvation is agreeing with God that you are a lost sinner who cannot save himself (or herself) and turning to God for forgiveness of a debt you cannot pay (your sin).  Christ paid the price of redemption on the cross so that everyone can be saved but only those who believe on Him will be saved.

But now that we know what salvation is we should probably look at what salvation does.  If salvation was only “fire protection” from hell that would be a sad thing indeed.  Real salvation has real results! Being a believer is to obey Christ, to rest on him for salvation, and by God to be committed unto heaven’s doctrine of salvation.  We accept Jesus as our Prophet, Priest, and King.  Salvation is much more than just “a rescue from hell” although it is that.  Let’s see what the Bible says salvation does!
Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

John 7:37-39
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

1 Corinthians 6:19
What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

What did Christ teach during His ministry?  He taught that the Spirit of God was going to indwell believers which is much different from the Old Testament experience where indwelling was a temporary thing and the Spirit of God would come and go.  Since the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God descended (and after the transitional experiences of early Acts) we see that all believers are immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit permanently.  This CANNOT be lost.  This is probably the most important aspect of salvation.  Why?  Because the Christian life is actually impossible without the Spirit of God.  We have a teacher, a guide, a leader, a provider, a comforter, and a witness.  Salvation is a fresh start and it gives us the ability to live the life that God intends for us.

A New Man

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Colossians 3:9-10
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.

Salvation is not “a license to sin” because a person that has come into the good of God’s salvation realizes the price of it.  A person who has been saved knows that the price of salvation was the shedding of the precious blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary so to continue sinning is to add to the punishment of Christ.  Would a true believer ever think that salvation gives the freedom to sin?  God forbid!  But as Christians we are given new life as a new man (or woman).  We can be assured like Paul in Romans 7 that our sinful nature is still within us and shall be until we die or are taken up with Christ by the rapture but with Salvation we are able to serve the law of God.  Now, I made a comment in an earlier post that just because you are a Christian does not guarantee you will produce fruit for God.  I think I should clarify that statement a bit.  Christians will fail and fall, stumble and stagger, and sometimes be shipwrecks but the overall tenor of a life that has been saved by God should be of victory and bearing fruit.  What I meant by my comment was that just because we are saved does not guarantee that we will not fail and always produce fruit for God. If we continue to feed our fleshly nature then we cannot produce fruit for God but like David in Psalm 52 there is always restoration for believers (and salvation for unbelievers).  God gives us the power to overcome our sinful nature and gives us new life as a new man but we must walk in it to be victorious and a true Christian will not be happy unless they are abiding in the vine.  Now, we are not to be the salvation police going around and declaring people to be saved or not but if I am claiming to be a true Christian who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and given new life as a new man I had better be living to prove that and if I’m not I would hope that my fellow Christians would rebuke me and straighten me out.  We have a tremendous amount of “Christians” in this world that confess to be so but from their lifestyle it appears that this is just a nominal title.  Christianity is not a religion it is a relationship with God through a man who gave His life at Calvary.  So when we say we are tied with that man and act nothing like Him, why would anyone else want what “we have” (i.e. a changed life, a new man).  True salvation does change lives!  James gives us that when he says “show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.”

Peace

Romans 5:1
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For me, one of the best things of salvation is that it brings peace.  Peace is something that this world is searching for.  Peace in the Middle East, peace in schools, peace in homes, peace of mind, etc. Everyone is looking for peace.  I would argue that the reason drugs and alcohol are so rampant is this one simple word: peace.  Everyone is looking for it somewhere.  What most people fail to realize is the reason there is no peace is because peace comes from God.  Now, I am not saying that Christians have no problems and enjoy very peaceful lives from the moment of salvation until the end of their life here on Earth, but what I am saying is that true Christians enjoy peace for the entirety of their lives.  When God gives peace it is not just peace from certain circumstances and dangers, and it is not just empty peace that things will turn out ok, but it is peace that whatever God is doing is the best possible plan for me.  Since we have been justified (made righteous by Christ), we have peace with God.  It is very important that this is only through the Lord Jesus Christ.  We won’t find this true peace anywhere else no matter how long we look.  I personally knew a former drug addict and dealer (who was actually the largest dealer in PEI, Canada) who got real salvation and it was the first time he EVER had real peace.  God’s salvation brings real peace because there is now no fear of death, no fear of the “afterlife,” no fear of what life may bring, because God gives peace.


So salvation is much more than being saved from hell, it is to know your sins forgiven, to be adopted into the family of God, to be coheirs with Christ, to be justified, to be sanctified, indwelt by and sealed by the Spirit of God, and the list could go on.  But as Christians we are given a new standard of living and should consider Christ as our role model.  Our lives should reflect well of Him who we claim to trust.  Let that salvation you have be the change that a chaotic worlds needs to see and be a light for the Gospel!

~Rob

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Joy in Tough Times

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Recently, I was reminded of the practical truth of these verses when my uncle, my wife, and myself went to help and visit with a lady from our local church who was just released from the hospital and has been given two weeks to a month to live.  We went to help her move her old bed out of her apartment so that the medical company could deliver her hospital bed the next day.  We spent a good amount of time with that dear sister after we were finished just talking and actually being encouraged by one facing so much difficulty.  She also has a burden for many of her own family members who do not know Christ.  However, this sister was the happiest, most joyful person you’ll meet and so full of jokes and laughter.

I am reminded of John 15.  One of the seven “I Am” statements of Christ in the Gospel of John.  “I am the vine” is the message of the first part of John 15.  One of the keys to understanding the implications of John 15 is to remember that salvation is not a fruit bearing event.  In other words, Jesus was not talking about salvation here, He was talking about life after salvation.  One who has not been born again cannot bear fruit, but being born again does not mean you will bear fruit.  The point He was making was that He alone is the one who will spiritually sustain us but it is up to us if we want to be spiritually sustained.  Bearing fruit is the honor of one who continually does the will of God and “abides in Him.”  Bearing fruit is not an automatic right of Christians.  If we yield our life to Him, respond to the Spirit within us, and do His will then we will bear much fruit!  Why do I bring this up?  Because I think what He says after all of this is of utmost importance:

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11

Where do we get real, sustaining joy?  From abiding in the vine! How do we abide in the vine?  By submitting our lives and wills to God!  I have been guilty in the past of looking at the options and knowing what God would have me to do but instead I go for the “instant pleasure” option.  Sure, I have a bit of happiness for a bit but the lasting, sustaining joy is not there.  I have sorrow of a wrong decision, maybe guilt of sin, or sadness for time wasted.  Had I went the way the Spirit was leading I would have abided in the vine and my joy would have been full.

So how does it all fit together?  Well, when I look at this sister who only has a few weeks of life remaining she told us of her ride to the hospital and witnessing to the EMTs, then telling the hospital staff about Christ, and no matter who came in to see her she did not spare the opportunity to tell them about her Savior.  Why? Because her joy was full from all of the time she has spent abiding in Him!  Her joy comes from the fact that she is constantly abiding in Him.  You can tell by the outflow of what she has to say about the one who has her affection.  When we love something we also love to tell others about it.  I love my wife so I happen to talk about her a lot.  She loves her Savior and she happens to talk about Him a lot.  They go hand in hand.

So when life throws curve balls and trials how does a Christian remain joyful?  By abiding in the true vine!  Hoes does one accomplish that?  First, by accepting Christ as your personal Savior because without the issue of sin being taken care of no fruit can be produced for God.  Sin is the cause of separation between God and man but we just celebrated Christmas which is the day we celebrate the birth of the only one who had the mission to die.  He died upon the cross for sin so that sinners could be made righteous.  He said “It is finished” and God was satisfied, are you?  When the relationship is established, the Spirit of God is given to dwell in you and obeying the will of God has the promise that you will yield fruit.  Doing His will brings the joy of serving one who died to save and it is in the vine we find that joy.

-Rob

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