Thursday, May 14, 2009

Biblical Salvation a tract

Click here for a great tract from Bro Kevin @ puritanfellowship


Biblical Salvation!

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God…John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…
All things must originate here; God in His rightful place is first. God existed from eternity past and was present before anything created. God does not become more or less due to what He makes, for God is truly the only independent entity that exists. God told Moses that His name was “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14); which can be summed up God who was, is, and will always be. In Malachi 3:6 God makes this saying clear “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” God is always the same. In our world, from our perspective we see a lot of change and man accepts change; as time progresses standards, morals, and norms change. Now does this mean that God adapts as well? Consider God’s reply to man in
Psalm 50:21 “You thought I was altogether like you”.

Does God resemble man? Does God see things the way we do? Well in
Isaiah 55:8 the Lord says “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways”
So we can easily conclude that God does not think or act like we do. God has a clear and perfect view of things. Man cannot figure out God, no man on earth can come close to how God acts or thinks through human logic. To emphasize this truth let’s look further in that same passage in
Isaiah 55:9 it reads “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts then your thoughts.”
So how close do we come? Heaven vs earth! Seems like God is saying that we are not alike at all. Of course man being the prideful creature it is doesn’t realize this on its own, most men (mankind) have a pretty high view of their opinions. In fact the book of Proverbs in 14:12 and 16:25 states “there is a way that SEEMS right to a man but it’s end is the way of death.”
Well one might ask how can we know the right way? Funny one of Jesus’ disciples asked this question as well, In John 14:6 Jesus replies “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
So in Jesus we find truth, He is the Living Word! It must be made clear that what Jesus has said is exclusive, not a truth but the truth. There are no other ways, truth is not a perspective or an opinion; truth is a person, an attribute of God. The God who doesn’t change has His own truth; the only truth. His standard doesn’t change with time, what He hates, He will always hate, and what He loves, He will always love. In order to have many truths and many different ways to God; then God must be either one of two things; very tolerant with no clear definition or punishment of right and wrong making God impersonal or a God that changes and adapts to us making God our servant. Both of these are clearly wrong and could never be found in scripture. So we must consider something; Since God is Lord and Creator of the universe should God adapt to us or should we adapt to God? I hope that it is clear that it is us the creation, that needs to change. For this change to occur we need instruction we need relevant truth. Jesus said in Jn 17:17 “..Your word is truth.” The truth that we need is found in the word of God. This is eternally crucial because on that final day when we stand before God Almighty to be judged there will only be one constant by which we will be judged; Jesus tells us in
John 12:48 that “He who rejects Me and does not receive My words, has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
As a judge uses established laws to judge by, so will God judge each one of us by the law of His word. God will judge you my friend; He will judge your heart! I amazed that people say things like “God knows my heart” as if that means God is satisfied as long as somewhere deep down you TRY to be good, as if God looks at your wrongdoing and erases it because you didn’t really mean it. If you’ve ever said or thought that, please understand that this is a common misinterpretation! That is not what the scripture is saying when it talks of judging the heart,

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

Here it is clear that regardless of how you rationalize what you do or have done, God will repay you according to your actions. In other words God sees through the façade and sees your wicked heart and judges you by it. Jesus went through an extensive teaching on this in the “sermon on the mount”, in Matthew chapter 5 Jesus listed several issues of the heart and how God looks at them, Jesus equates anger with murder and lust as adultery. So it’s no relief that God judges us by our hearts, that’s to say that what we would do is the same as doing it! Don’t flatter yourself expecting paradise without any evidence that you will go there. God won’t weigh out the good and the bad, God is not judging on a curve. It’s so easy to think, “Well I’m not as bad as that person or I deserve forgiveness but not him!” How incredibly ignorant then are those who think like that of their sins, don’t you understand that God hates one sin. That sin is anti-God; God is just and will not let the unjust be with Him.
Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.2But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
Iniquities and sin are one in the same; the point is that what causes a break in man’s relationship to God is sin. God indeed wants all to fear Him, to fear His standard, His holiness and His power; just as a zoo expects you to respectfully fear a lion that you could get closer to, if you jumped the viewing wall but don’t because you fearfully honor that lion’s power! Jesus said “..narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14). It’s few that get there because few put any thought or effort to the reality of eternity. The bible makes it clear that we are all equally deserving of punishment, that we have all equally violated God’s holy laws, and that we have all chosen our own ways. Allow me to reiterate that we must adapt to God according to His word: in fact this adaptation should be easily categorized, meaning true Christians are going to have an overall similar view on God, salvation, sin, eternity and so on. Why? Because their source of truth has the same origin.
The gospel message is most clearly seen at the cross: when the cross is examined then all things come into perspective. On that cross, God’s justice was appeased; the cross is where the fine was paid. Jesus on that cross was our perfect substitute; God punished Him as if it was Him who sinned. On the cross Jesus bought our freedom, provided our salvation, and offered us hope. Now if it was true that people are generally good and that sincere nice people will go to heaven, then Jesus was wasting His time on that cross. Never forget why Jesus came, “to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). What is a ransom? A payment, right?! God is a just God, that will not put aside justice, when His standards are broken there must be a price to pay. So Christ became that payment, Jesus pardons us. Backtracking to an awesome picture of returning to God let’s look at
Isaiah 55 once again, this time verse 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
When it comes down to it, sin is rebellion against what God says to do or not to do; it has nothing to do with our opinion. The only question that we should ask God is why Jesus would die for a sinner like me and the answer is love. God chose to love you unconditionally, and He proved it at the cross. Not because God needed you, but because He wanted you and choose to, without any influence of our goodness ("there is none good' Rom 3), God gave us a way to be forgiven.
Romans 5:7,8 Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
This however doesn’t take away from the fact that sin must be punished and that God is infinitely holy. Either we will take cover under Jesus allowing Him to take our sins or we will pay for our sins on judgment day. Now the question is how does one take part in this great and awesome forgiveness? Jesus declares the good news first in
Mark 1:14,15 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Repent and believe that’s the key. Some have termed it repentant faith: the word repent means to change one’s thinking and the word believe means to entrust oneself with someone. So what does this really mean? God wants you to accept His truth as exclusive otherwise you are calling God a liar. When you agree with God’s truth then you will have a seriously different view of sin, no longer will you try to justify it, no longer making excuses but now you will see that it is wrong. Let’s make this plainer, probably the most known scripture verse in the New Testament is John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son….. but what is most interesting is what Jesus continues to say in this discussion He is having.
John 3:18,19 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
Jesus clarifies what real belief is and is not, the thing that causes people to be judged is the fact that they choose to stay or walk in darkness instead of responding to the light (Jesus). Those who receive the light do so because they have chosen to walk away from such darkness. This results in confession, not words but an attitude, you will admit guilt. Believing in God or having faith in God has nothing to do with just acknowledging His existence. You believe that God hates sin, believe that Jesus died for your sins and believe that’s the only way you can be free from sin. This trust is simply a surrender of yourself to God almighty, meaning you are now giving up trying to be God and have decided to follow and obey the only true God. So those that are truly saved have a desire to please God, they have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this amazing grace, that they joyfully serve Him. It’s such an amazing transformation that Jesus called it being “born-again”. Now many have never done this but yet call themselves Christians, maybe because they agree with some things or maybe they grew up that way whatever… The bible says this about them:
I Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Now this list given, is describing attitudes and actions of people that don’t serve Christ. What is shocking about this passage is after the description: “having a form of godliness but denying it’s power” So these people, like many today have a “form of godliness” perhaps they own religious symbols, go to church, quote some bible verses, and even do good works. Yet they are not Christian, they only wear Christianity as a coat you can put on and off, they are Christian as long as it is convenient. They “deny its power” the word deny means to refuse, and the word power used here is talking of God’s power to do mighty things. These people have nothing more than demonic faith;
James 2:19-20 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

So even though these people have a form they resist God’s power: they resist God changing them and so all that they are, is accredited to only them. The change that God wants to bring cannot be accomplished on our own; God isn’t impressed with you cleaning up your act, because nothing you do can erase the sin problem. God changes man from the inside out, and first He deals with committed sins, through what Jesus did God forgives us and cleanses us; then God works a change within us, one that we must surrender to. For God this is one process, those who won’t obey God have never been forgiven by God. Jesus makes it plain in
John 14:23-24 23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me." There are no buts, no opinions, no “well I think” and no “well I was told”. It’s either we surrender to God and receive this gracious gift or we continue to mold God according to our own sinful finite minds!

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