Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

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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The Man, The King, The Son of God (A Worship Thought) – Rob

This has been on my mind recently; reading through the accounts of the crucifixion in the gospels we have three phrases that I have personally really enjoyed. These phrases were spoken by men who were actually involved in the action. Two of them were made by Pilate and one by a centurion.

“Behold the man” – Pilate
Pilate had no idea the truth involved in those words. He really never fully grasped the magnificence that this individual before him was indeed a man. We often sing “Verily God yet become truly human, Lower than angels to die in our stead.” Jesus was a man and it was a requirement for the plan of salvation. Pilate desired everyone to look at Christ that day as “a man” and have pity upon Him! Maybe if they could see that He was one of them (a Jewish man) they would let Him go. He was recently beaten and had a crown of thorns and a mock robe. Pilate was only looking for some pity as they gazed upon this man, but none was found. Despite their reaction, they were indeed looking upon the man. Can we not apply this to our lives and worship? Christ became a man for our sake; to die on a cross. We read in John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” meaning he “tabernacled” or made His dwelling/home among us. The God of eternity who had eternal glory in Heaven made his dwelling among men. That should motivate us to a life devoted to service for Him and worship from hearts of unspeakable joy as we “Behold the man.”

“Behold the king” – Pilate
Again, I don’t believe Pilate knew exactly what he was saying. I do believe he was attempting again to appeal to the masses. A bruised, beaten, and disfigured man stood before them and in his innocence he cried “behold the king.” The Jews replied with another rendition of “Crucify Him!” Perhaps the discussion with Christ about truth made Pilate realize who Christ was and he again tried to plead with the crowd on His behalf. Pilate must have heard many things about Christ and I’m sure one of them was that He is “the King of the Jews.” He tried to persuade the crowd with these words but it only fueled their thirst for blood as they cried out “We will not have this man to reign over us!” However, was not Christ the true King of Israel? Was He not the King of all creation? Should this also not affect our lives and worship? As we live here on earth are we aware of our King? If I had my eyes constantly on the King I would be so much more willing to live for Him and submit every part of my life to Him. And my worship? Well I would see Him as King and the one who deserves all of my worship and it would alone go to Him.

“This was the Son of God” – Centurion
I think this phrase is the one that impresses me the most. This centurion may or may not have known much about Christ but he witnessed that crucifixion first hand. He saw the three dark hours and felt the earthquake. I’m sure he heard each of the cries of Christ on the cross. The forgiveness, the love, the obedience, and the sacrifice were all seen by him. What was his impression? He proclaims that the man who was cruelly treated and crucified was none other than the Son of God. What a statement! What a realization! I can’t wait to talk to this man in Heaven (yes, I’m sure he will be there). Will he be equally impressed with my life and worship? When I view Christ does my heart proclaim “This is the Son of God!” If only I would have my eyes on that my worship would be all the more meaningful.

Let our lives and worship be augmented by these three simple phrases as we behold the man, the king, and the son of God.

The Shepherd

Ok, so this post won’t be so much a “debatable” topic. But I would like some feedback and input from all of you reading this. This is something I have been enjoying from scripture and I want to have some more input from others.

I’ve been enjoying the title of Christ as “The Shepherd”. Let’s look at some examples:

The Good Shepherd

Verse:
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”

The Good Shepherd is revealed to us with the distinction of “giving his life for the sheep.” The Good Shepherd is the revelation of Christ as the one who will suffer and die on behalf of sinners. What a marvel that is to those who have come into the good of that. And what an invitation to those that are yet outside of God’s goodness in salvation. Isaiah 53:6 says “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” But thankfully that is not where the verse ends. It would be a sad truth indeed (yes still truth) if the verse ended there. Comparing men/women/boys/girls to sheep that have lost their way, know nothing of safety, are out in the open prime for attack and in grave peril. How defenseless we are in reality. But the rest of the verse reads “and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Praise the Good Shepherd!

Now, what I find marvelous is the connection we have to the Psalm of David in Psalms 22. Many would know of the prophetic nature of this Psalm in what David wrote. The first verse was the cry of Christ that broke the silence after he bore the sin of the world, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This is the Psalm of The Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep. David beautifully wrote of The Good Shepherd in this prophetic Psalm of the cross. The suffering of the savior was so immense that had he not been the Son of God the emotional suffering alone would have killed him; not to mention the sixth to the ninth hour of complete darkness when God the Father punished God the Son for sin that was not His.

That is our Good Shepherd.

The Great Shepherd

Verse:
Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

We saw that The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep but Christ is also called The Great Shepherd. What is the difference? The aspect of Christ that the Great Shepherd brings before us is the one who cares for his sheep. The verses above tells us that God is working in us to make us “perfect” or complete unto the things that are well pleasing in His sight! Is this through ourselves God is doing this? No, this is through the Great Shepherd! Something I always enjoyed about Christ is in Isaiah 9:6 we see “and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Notice, his shoulder here is singular. But what about the story of the shepherd who sees that one of his 100 sheep has wandered and gone missing. He leaves the 99 sheep and goes to find the one that was lost. In Luke 15:5 we see the result, “And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” When Christ finds the lost sheep he returns with that sheep on his shoulders. Plural. Eternal security in the Great Shepherd that cares for his sheep! No matter what comes into our lives we can be rest assured that the Great Shepherd is leading and guiding us to make us complete unto the things that are well pleasing in God’s sight.

The Good Shepherd could be tied to Psalm 22 so perfectly but what about the Great Shepherd? I think at the word shepherd most of our minds when to one of the most famous Psalms in the Bible. Psalm 23 starts out “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Read through the 23rd Psalm and keep in mind Christ as the Great Shepherd! One who brings us to green pastures and still waters, restoring our souls, leading in righteous paths, always with us, our comfort, preparing tables, overflowing our cups, and inviting us to stay in His house forever! I love verse 6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There is so much more to this Psalm than I am pointing on in this post but I really enjoy seeing The Great Shepherd who cares for us in every circumstance and trial in our lives. No matter what we are going through or how we feel we can say “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” We live in the house of the Great Shepherd who cares for his sheep!

That is our Great Shepherd!

The Chief Shepherd

Verse:
1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

So what about the Chief Shepherd? Peter was writing here in chapter 5 to the elders in the local churches that received this letter to encourage and exhort them to take extra care in tending to the flock (the local churches). The Chief Shepherd is the one who owns all the flock(s). In The Chief Shepherd we are reminded of the eternal reign of Christ. This is significant for church elders because their work will be rewarded by The Chief Shepherd by a crown of glory that is eternal! This is significant to everyone because everything we do for Christ is not lost! There is no other king or ruler. Christ is eternal and will give each saved person an everlasting crown of glory when he appears again! That should give us all motivation to do what we can for him! Because it is worth all of eternity!

Now, just like the Good Shepherd and Great Shepherd, by now you are expecting a Psalm connection. Thankfully, the Spirit of God (I think) gave one of those too! Look at Psalm 24 as verse 1 about sums it up, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Everything here is Christs, whether you accept it or not 🙂 Over and over we are reminded to “Lift up your heads!” Why? Because of the King of Glory. It reminds me of that Third Day song (which this is where they got the lyrics from haha). “Who is this King of Glory?” I love the answer in verse 10, “The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory.” Let us give thanks for the Chief Shepherd that reminds us of His eternal reign! I hope that is an encouragement to you as it is to me. To serve the Chief Shepherd who is the reigning King of Glory forever and ever and gives rewards of crowns of glory that never fade!

That is our Chief Shepherd.

I am thankful I am purchased by the Good Shepherd, cared for by the Great Shepherd, and serving the Chief Shepherd!

~Rob