Monday, December 18, 2006

Path to Salvation

If you were to die today do you know for certain that you would go to heaven?


So many people misunderstand how they can have eternal life. Some believe they can just be nice, be good, and God will allow them into heaven when they die because they were good people. Some think because God is love, and He created us, then He surely wouldn't let those He loves and created to go to a place called Hell. We might think that maybe those people that do evil things should be the ones that God sends to Hell, but not me... I'm a good kindhearted person. I've never been in trouble, and the good I do certainly outweighs the bad I do, so I really believe that God will let me in. Well it sounds good and all.... but if you think this way, you have not read what God says in His word, the Bible. He says in the bible that the way to heaven is a narrow road, and there is only one way to enter His Kingdom. Lets look at what God says.

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
We must understand and realize that we are separated from God because of our sin. So how did we get in this state of sin? Why are we born separated from God? What caused this to happen?
Well it all began back in the book of Genesis, chapter 2 and 3 of your bible. You can read about how God created Adam and Eve and how He gave them everything they ever needed in the garden of Eden. He allowed them complete freedom in the garden to eat from any tree in the garden except for one tree. They were given one rule to obey. They were not allowed to eat the fruit from the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil." Well the serpent (Satan, Devil) tricked Eve into eating the fruit from this tree and then she gave some to Adam and he ate as well. Enter the presence of SIN. God was very disappointed with them both because of their disobedience and he cursed mankind from this day forward because of their sin. God banished them from the garden of Eden and after sending them out God stationed a mighty angel (cherubim) to guard the garden. God then placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to another tree in this garden called the "tree of life." Genesis 3:22 tells us that whoever eats from the tree of life lives forever. Because of Adam and Eve's sin the tree of life is now protected. No one may eat from this tree unless God allows it to happen. So now we have a problem. All of mankind started from Adam and Eve's offspring, so when we were born, we were born as sinners and we all fall short of God's glory. There is nothing we can do to earn God's favor. We are all sinners! At this point the future just doesn't look to good for us, does it? Well I have Good News......

Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our lord."
When we think of wages we think of payment, don't we? Well that's exactly what this verse is telling us. Our payment for our sin is death. The death mentioned here is one of eternal separation from the love of God. And the destination of this death is a place called Hell. Basically this is our wage or payment for our sin. BUT, God in His mercy and grace has offered us a free gift. The gift of salvation. It's an eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. In other words we deserve death (Hell) but He offers us eternal life (Heaven) through Christ Jesus if we make Him our Lord.
Have you ever been given a gift? The gift is free. You didn't earn it. It's not to be paid back in any way. It was simply given to you out of someones love for you. It's the same with God's gift of eternal life. We can't earn it. we certainly don't deserve it. But because God loves us so much and wants to spend eternity with us, He offers us this gift of salvation.

Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Can you believe that God loves us so much that He allowed His Son Jesus Christ to die for us? Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

John 3:16 says it best... "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
So now we realize that we are all sinners. we understand and we know that because of this sin we are separated from our Holy God. we understand that we deserve death, but that God has offered us the gift of eternal life. And finally we understand that if we believe that Jesus died for us, we will not perish but will have eternal life with Jesus in heaven. So now what? How can I know for sure that I have been saved. How can I know for certain that I've received this free gift of eternal life?

Romans 10:9, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Romans 10:10, For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Romans 10:13, For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

When we acknowledge our sin, and realize that God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sin. (that penalty was death) The bible says that if we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over sins death, then we too can be saved from this death that separates us from God. Jesus paid the price for you and me! We deserve this death, but Jesus took our place and rose to give us eternal life in Him.
This realization of what God did for us causes us to repent. To repent simply means to turn away from the life we used to live and to begin living a new life for Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us to do this. When we give our heart to Jesus and accept God's free gift of eternal life, it's at this moment that God sends us His Spirit to live within us. Listen to these words of Jesus....

John 14:26-27, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. (meaning temporary) Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
These words spoken by Jesus give us great comfort in knowing that His Spirit is with us, teaching us, and giving us peace so we don't have to be afraid anymore. After all, we belong to Christ. There is nothing that can separate us from God's love once we have given our lives to Him and accepted His gift of eternal life. Paul writes in the book of Romans....

Romans 8:35, "Can anything ever separate us from Christ love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?"

Romans 8:37-39, "No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." (38) "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love." (39) "No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

These are the words of Jesus... John 10:28, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me."
So you see, once we give our heart and life to Jesus, we belong to him for eternity. No one, nothing, can snatch us away from Him.

Do you remember me telling you about the tree of life that was in the garden of Eden, and that this tree is protected so that no one can eat from it because if they did, they would live forever? Well in the book of Revelation this tree is mentioned again. The bible tells us that there is a way to eat the fruit from this tree.

Revelation 22:14, "Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life."
To wash our robes simply means to be born again, to be cleansed, to be made righteous. The only way for this to happen of course is to give our heart to Jesus and accept His free gift of eternal life. You see, God loves us so much that He has provided a way for us to live eternally with Him even though we are sinners. God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sinfulness. All that is required of us is to simply believe and confess Jesus as our Lord.
Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Do you believe that what you have heard here today is truth? If God's Spirit has convicted you of your sin and convinced you of His truth, then you have a decision to make. Take the free gift that God is offering you today and secure your life to be spent with Him forever! Are you ready to accept this gift of salvation? If so, then pray these words with all your heart....

"Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin, and I believe that You rose from the dead to give me eternal life. I ask that you forgive me of my sin and help me to live my life for You. Thank you for saving me. Amen.

If you said that prayer and believed with all your heart what you said, then you have been saved. You've been saved from an eternal life in Hell. God's Spirit now lives inside of you. The Holy Spirit will be with you always to teach you, to guide you, and to help you understand God's truths as you grow in your faith each day. So, how do we grow to be mature Christians rather than remaining as infants in Christ?

  1. Attend a bible believing, Jesus preaching Church. Attend Sunday school and fellowship with other believers in Christ so you can see what God has taught them as they have grown.

  2. You'll want to be Baptized. This is an early act of obedience. Jesus tells us to be Baptized. This is your way of publicly telling others that you belong to Christ. It's symbolic of death to our old life and risen in new life with Jesus as we come out of the water.

  3. Read God's Word. The bible is your source of truth. God will speak to you through His word. The Holy Spirit within you will reveal understanding of His word as you read.

  4. Pray. This is how we become intimate with Jesus. We talk to Him and we tell Him our fears and troubles and He comforts us. He speaks to us through our minds and we feel His presence in our lives as we pray. This is how we communicate with God.

  5. Last but not least.... Just because we give our life to Jesus, doesn't mean we won't struggle with sin in a different way. Our old nature is still within us and the bible teaches us that our new nature (our new Spirit) and our old nature will battle for control until we go to be with Jesus in heaven. So it's going to be a daily decision of obedience.

When you fail...and you will. Just know that God loves you and you need to repent and turn back to Him and He will forgive you and guide you back to living for Him. Remember, nothing can snatch you away from His hand. You belong to Christ and you have eternal life! Stay focused on Christ Jesus and He will make your path straight. May God's blessing be upon you as you walk with Him.

In Christ love, your brother in Christ.... Steve

1 comment:

We are a family of six said...

Steve! The blog is great. I look forward to reading more, as you are able to post. Isn't is a great venue?