What Is This Thing Called ‘Salvation’?

CROSS - PLAIN, THICK - QUESTS.Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (Greek: new species); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. … Therefore, we … beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

What’s it all about? This “being saved”? This being “born again”? What’s it all about? I just don’t understand it. And I could never get my life straightened out enough and cleaned up enough to fit in with Jesus Christ anyway.”

Ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that you might really like to turn your life over to someone stronger and wiser, who could get it straightened out and make some real sense out of it – give it some lasting purpose and value? But you just don’t think you measure up to God’s standards enough to come to Him?

Well, the good news – shouted loud and strong – in the scripture passage above is that you do not have to measure up to God’s standards – or anyone else’s. You don’t even have to get one little thing about yourself or your life made right before you come to God.

That’s right. I mean what I said. And I can say it with absolute confidence, because God Himself said it first. And He said it over and over again. The passage at the top of this article is just one instance, but, to me, it is one of the most important of those instances. I have two other favorite passages like it in importance: Romans 5:6: “Christ died for the ungodly.” 1 Tim. 1:15: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Now, of course, if you don’t think you need a savior – if you believe you are holy enough to live in the presence of the holy God of the universe, nose to nose, eye to eye, breathing the same air He breathes for all eternity, without being cleaned up at all – then I’m not talking to you. But if you realize that you are not on the level of that holy God – that you are not righteous and pure enough by your own merit to live with Him – then I am talking to you – and so is He!

The simple truth is that the work has already been done for you. Jesus did it all. He gave up the privileges of being on the throne of Heaven, came to this earth as a man, and lived a perfect life for you. Then God laid all of the sinful nature (to which you are heir) and all of the rebellion, disobedience, ugliness, and hatefulness of all the sin in the human race on Jesus (2 Cor. 5 21), and put all the punishment for that sin on Him as well. He bore it all for you, and after His death on your behalf, He came up out of the grave – also on your behalf – with eternal life and the right to bestow that new life on you. We have “been crucified with Christ,” (Gal. 2: 19-20) and “even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ … and raised us up with Him.” (Eph. 2:5-6).

But when we decide we’d like to have that salvation and that new relationship with our Creator, we often hold back because we feel powerless to separate ourselves from sin or the world’s way of life – or even from our own selfish nature. We feel powerless to make ourselves “worthy” of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Well, if you feel that way, rejoice! Because that means you know the truth: We are powerless! But that is okay. Because the work of saving us is His  and His alone! And it’s already been done.

That’s what our beginning scripture is telling us. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He raised Him up as the head of a body – which would be made up of believers – everyone who would believe in that finished work. That’s what the verse in Ephesians means when it says He “raised us up with Him.” And that’s what the passage in 2 Corinthians means when it says that God was – in Christ – reconciling the world to Himself. That word reconcile means to bring back into original or proper position and make the relationship right again. That’s what the Word says God was doing when He crucified Jesus Christ and raised Him up again and seated Him in power and authority forever. He was bringing “the world” back into right relationship with Himself.

Now look at the rest of that verse: “not counting their sins against them.” Who is the pronoun “their” referring to in this verse? The church? The “good” people? The people who call themselves Christians? NO! The only plural noun in that whole verse that the pronoun “their” can refer to is the word world.” Do you get it? God was – in Christ – not counting the world’s sins against them any longer. God was – in Christ (only in Christ) – forgiving all the people in the whole world for every sin counted against them. Can you grasp that exciting truth? In the mind and heart of God, it is already done. In the mind and heart of God, all of your sins are already forgiven – in Christ!

You see, that’s why there is no other way to salvation and eternity with God. There is no other religion, dogma, or program that has inherent within it the forgiveness of all sin and the eternal life granted by God. That forgiveness and that life are only in Christ – because He’s the only one who paid the horrible price of suffering and separation from God that was complete enough and perfect enough to buy freedom for the whole human race.

So, your next question is probably going to be, “Well if it’s already done, then what is my part?” Our part is believing and receiving. Even before Jesus’ crucifixion, when His disciples asked Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus told them, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:28-29).

Now, I do need to explain that the word “believe” from the original language means much more than mental assent. It means yielding or surrendering to and obeying.” To truly “believe” means that you give yourself to it completely. But that is the beauty of it all. We do not have to do the work of salvation. We just have to surrender to that work and let it produce its fruit in us. How do we surrender? We simply pour out our hearts to this great, loving Jesus, who has done all the work. We simply tell him in our own words that we know we need what He offers and gladly give Him control in our hearts and our lives. (That’s what it means to make Him our “Lord.”)

Once we totally surrender, Jesus comes to reign on the throne of our hearts. From that position, He can begin to clean up everything else about us that needs cleaning up. You need never fear. Once He has the position of authority, willingly given to him by you, He knows how – and is well able – to do the rest of the work.

So what about that term “born again”? Well to start with, we must remember that man was created by a spirit God and therefore is primarily a spirit being, having a soul and living in a body. Now go back to our original verse: “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (Greek: new species).” When Jesus Christ comes in, our real man – the spirit man — is literally born again. A brand new species (the God-man species of Jesus Christ) comes in and generates its life in our spirit. Therefore, the Word tells us again and again that, once this happens, we are to be aware of the fact that we are now “children of God.” (Romans 8:16, 1 John 3:2).

Now all of this work is done – finished. In God’s heart and mind it’s a “done deal.” But remember: it is done ONLY IN CHRIST. Therefore, it is only when we make the decision to yield ourselves to Jesus Christ and receive Him into ourselves and our lives that we get the benefit of this finished work. Although it is done, if we choose not to access it, we get no results from it in our personal lives.

You might compare it to the process of getting data from the Internet. You know there is data out there covering the subject about which you need information. But that data will do you absolutely no good at all unless you sit down, turn on your computer, take yourself to that site, open up the channel, and deliberately download that information. So — you must open up yourself to Jesus Christ and all He has done for you, and by believing (yielding, surrendering) download every single bit of it. It’s all yours. It has your name on it. But you have to hit the download (I Believe) button to receive.

So what is salvation? It is the free gift of a loving Father who has paid the deepest, truest, most sacrificial price to restore His rebellious children to Himself. It is the free gift of the brother Jesus, who has given Himself in our place and paid the full price, receiving brand new life to pass on to each one of us. The work of salvation has absolutely nothing to do with us. Our only work is to believe what He has done and surrender to it.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

Receiving Physical Healing from a Spirit God

HEALING HAND - DARK SEPIA - FEATHEREDWhen healing is needed, some people tend to think that it’s easier to trust medical science and physical medicines and treatments from the natural realm than it is to trust the Lord to work supernaturally to deliver them.  Evidently that feeling is due to the fact that they believe the sickness or infirmity is primarily a physical problem — with a physical root — so, of course, physical remedies and treatments would best serve their need.

However, exactly the opposite is true. According to the Word of God, all sickness and disease has a spiritual root, and came into this physical world as a result of man’s sin — and the resulting curse on the sin and everything it contaminated. Now, every single bout of sickness is not necessarily the result of some particular or specific sin on the part of the sufferer. That is not what the Word says. Rather, all sickness came into the world as part of the curse resulting from rebellion and sin in the Garden of Eden, and that curse has continued to function and bear fruit in the world ever since. Sometimes sickness in an individual’s body has nothing to do with that person’s own sin. Often it is simply that the sickness (infection, infirmity, malfunctioning) currently at work in the world has managed to attach itself to that particular person.

But since sickness came as the result of sin — which is a spiritual thing — then the root of all sickness is spiritual — not physical. And the Lord has provided a spiritual remedy for all sickness: Jesus Christ and His finished work, along with His Word, which applies that finished work to our bodies and our lives.

In the Word of God, Deuteronomy, chapter 28, the Lord tells us explicitly that sickness and disease is part of the curse of the broken law. He specifies several diseases and maladies by name, but then, just so there won’t be any question, He also says, in verse 61, that every sickness and plague “not written” in the book is also included in the curse. The book of Romans, chapter 8, refers to the “law of sin and death.” That law causes sin to result in death, and death in process in the human body tends to manifest itself in the form of various sicknesses, pains, and malfunctioning.

But we must make special note of the fact the Galatians, chapter 3 tells us clearly that Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has totally redeemed us from the curse of the broken law. So we have a legal right to be free from sickness and disease as long as we are in right covenant with Jesus. However, we must know that truth — from God’s Word. Then we must believe that truth. And then we must apply that truth in faith by praying and believing for God’s healing — and by commanding sickness to leave our bodies and confessing with our own mouths what the Word of God says about our healing and health.

So you see, no matter what physical ailment you may be suffering from, the actual root of it is in the spirit realm, and once you can comprehend that fact, believing God for healing becomes much easier — and makes sense even to the human intellect. God is a Spirit, yet He created everything that is material. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God ….” He had no raw materials with which to work. He had only Himself, and He created all that we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel out of spirit. Since spirit created all that is physical, everything physical must — and will — obey the pressure of spirit upon it.

That’s why the Lord said that if we exercised God’s kind of faith, we could speak to the mountain, and it would move. That physical mountain was created by the Spirit God, and when the voice of God — through believing men speaking God’s Word — commands that mountain to do something, it has no choice but to obey the command of its creator.

A person may have a malignant tumor on his arm. That tumor is a physical thing, but it came about as the result of the curse and the law of sin and death — so it has a spiritual root. When we feed on God’s Word and His promises of healing until we truly believe them, then we speak those words to that tumor and command it in the name of Jesus Christ to be destroyed and dissolved from our bodies, it must obey.

It is important to note, however, that “trying” this “method” is not going to work. This truth we are talking about here is NOT A ‘METHOD.’ Nor is it a formula. And “trying” something is not an act of faith. We must get so much of God’s Word inside of us that it creates real faith. There must be a “knowing,” not an “experimenting,” for God’s Word and His power to be set free to work.

In the final analysis, it all comes down to living in the Word of God. It is the Word that shows us the truth about sickness and disease. It is the Word that shows us the truth about healing and God’s will concerning it. And it is the Word that enters into our very marrow and affects the creation of the cells of our body so that we can be healthy. (Hebrews 4:11). It is also the Word that God has chosen as His own personal form of medicine for the human body. (Proverbs 4:20-22). And that seems only right. Jesus said His words were “spirit and life.” Since sickness and disease have a spiritual root, then God’s “spirit and life” words must have the cure.

Looking At Your Lamb

 

LAMB - LIGHTER

Today is ‘Good Friday,’ and it brings us almost to the end of the 6-week Lenten season. During that season Christians all over the world have focused on the suffering and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, contemplating the awful price He paid for man’s rebellion and sin. John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).

The Word of God also says, in the book of Hebrews, “He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. …We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Now where there is forgiveness … there is no longer any offering for sin. Since, therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus … let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”

As believers consider what Jesus has done for all mankind this season, it would be good to remember this truth: Even under the Old Covenant, when a man brought a lamb to be sacrificed for his sin, neither the priest nor God Himself looked at the man to see if he measured up to a certain standard so that his sacrifice could be accepted and his sin forgiven. The only thing they looked at was the lamb itself. If the lamb was unblemished — spotless — perfect — the sacrifice was accepted, and the man walked away free of all guilt and condemnation.

So it is in the better covenant that Jesus instituted through His death and resurrection. In the New Covenant — as in the Old — God is not looking at you and me to see if we measure up well enough to be forgiven or to be admitted into His presence.  He’s looking at your Lamb.  He’s looking at my Lamb.  So we can rejoice, beloved!  We can go free from all sin and guilt and shame. We are forgiven and accepted totally and freely — for OUR LAMB IS PERFECT!

~

What Is This Thing Called ‘Salvation’?

Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (Greek: new species); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. … Therefore, we … beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

What’s it all about? This “being saved”? This being “born again”? What’s it all about? I just don’t understand it. And I could never get my life straightened out enough and cleaned up enough to fit in with Jesus Christ anyway.”

Ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that you might really like to turn your life over to someone stronger and wiser, who could get it straightened out and make some real sense out of it – give it some lasting purpose and value? But you just don’t think you measure up to God’s standards enough to come to Him?

Well, the good news – shouted loud and strong – in the scripture passage above is that you do not have to measure up to God’s standards – or anyone else’s. You don’t even have to get one little thing about yourself or your life made right before you come to God.

That’s right. I mean what I said. And I can say it with absolute confidence, because God Himself said it first. And He said it over and over again. The passage at the top of this article is just one instance, but, to me, it is one of the most important of those instances. I have two other favorite passages like it in importance: Romans 5:6: “Christ died for the ungodly.” 1 Tim. 1:15: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Now, of course, if you don’t think you need a savior – if you believe you are holy enough to live in the presence of the holy God of the universe, nose to nose, eye to eye, breathing the same air He breathes for all eternity, without being cleaned up at all – then I’m not talking to you. But if you realize that you are not on the level of that holy God – that you are not righteous and pure enough by your own merit to live with Him – then I am talking to you – and so is He!

The simple truth is that the work has already been done for you. Jesus did it all. He gave up the privileges of being on the throne of Heaven, came to this earth as a man, and lived a perfect life for you. Then God laid all of the sinful nature (to which you are heir) and all of the rebellion, disobedience, ugliness, and hatefulness of all the sin in the human race on Jesus (2 Cor. 5 21), and put all the punishment for that sin on Him as well. He bore it all for you, and after His death on your behalf, He came up out of the grave – also on your behalf – with eternal life and the right to bestow that new life on you. We have “been crucified with Christ,” (Gal. 2: 19-20) and “even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ … and raised us up with Him.” (Eph. 2:5-6).

But when we decide we’d like to have that salvation and that new relationship with our Creator, we often hold back because we feel powerless to separate ourselves from sin or the world’s way of life – or even from our own selfish nature. We feel powerless to make ourselves “worthy” of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Well, if you feel that way, rejoice! Because that means you know the truth: We are powerless! But that is okay. Because the work of saving us is His and His alone! And it’s already been done.

That’s what our beginning scripture is telling us. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He raised Him up as the head of a body – which would be made up of believers – everyone who would believe in that finished work. That’s what the verse in Ephesians means when it says He “raised us up with Him.” And that’s what the passage in 2 Corinthians means when it says that God was – in Christ – reconciling the world to Himself. That word reconcile means to bring back into original or proper position and make the relationship right again. That’s what the Word says God was doing when He crucified Jesus Christ and raised Him up again and seated Him in power and authority forever. He was bringing “the world” back into right relationship with Himself.

Now look at the rest of that verse: “not counting their sins against them.” Who is the pronoun “their” referring to in this verse? The church? The “good” people? The people who call themselves Christians? NO! The only plural noun in that whole verse that the pronoun “their” can refer to is the word “world.” Do you get it? God was – in Christ – not counting the world’s sins against them any longer. God was – in Christ (only in Christ) – forgiving all the people in the whole world for every sin counted against them. Can you grasp that exciting truth? In the mind and heart of God, it is already done. In the mind and heart of God, all of your sins are already forgiven – in Christ!

You see, that’s why there is no other way to salvation and eternity with God. There is no other religion, dogma, or program that has inherent within it the forgiveness of all sin and the eternal life granted by God. That forgiveness and that life are only in Christ – because He’s the only one who paid the horrible price of suffering and separation from God that was complete enough and perfect enough to buy freedom for the whole human race.

So, your next question is probably going to be, “Well if it’s already done, then what is my part?” Our part is believing and receiving. Even before Jesus’ crucifixion, when His disciples asked Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus told them, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:28-29).

Now, I do need to explain that the word “believe” from the original language means much more than mental assent. It means “yielding or surrendering to and obeying.” To truly “believe” means that you give yourself to it completely. But that is the beauty of it all. We do not have to do the work of salvation. We just have to surrender to that work and let it produce its fruit in us. How do we surrender? We simply pour out our hearts to this great, loving Jesus, who has done all the work. We simply tell him in our own words that we know we need what He offers and gladly give Him control in our hearts and our lives. (That’s what it means to make Him our “Lord.”)

Once we totally surrender, Jesus comes to reign on the throne of our hearts. From that position, He can begin to clean up everything else about us that needs cleaning up. You need never fear. Once He has the position of authority, willingly given to him by you, He knows how – and is well able – to do the rest of the work.

So what about that term “born again”? Go back to our original verse: “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (Greek: new species).” When Jesus Christ comes in, our real man – the spirit man — is literally born again. A brand new species (the God-man species of Jesus Christ) comes in and generates its life in our spirit. (You must remember that man was created by a spirit God and therefore is primarily a spirit-being, having a soul and living in a body). Therefore the Word tells us again and again the we are to be aware of the fact that we are now “children of God.” (Romans 8:16, 1 John 3:2).

Now all of this work is done – finished. In God’s heart and mind it’s a “done deal.” But remember: it is done ONLY IN CHRIST. Therefore, it is only when we make the decision to yield ourselves to Jesus Christ and receive Him into ourselves and our lives that we get the benefit of this finished work. Although it is done, if we choose not to access it, we get no results from it in our personal lives.

You might compare it to the process of getting data from the Internet. You know there is data out there covering the subject about which you need information. But that data will do you absolutely no good at all unless you sit down, turn on your computer, take yourself to that site, open up the channel, and deliberately download that information. So — you must open up yourself to Jesus Christ and all He has done for you, and by believing (yielding, surrendering) download every single bit of it. It’s all yours. It has your name on it. But you have to hit the download (I Believe) button to receive.

So what is salvation? It is the free gift of a loving Father who has paid the deepest, truest, most sacrificial price to restore His rebellious children to Himself. It is the free gift of the brother Jesus, who has given Himself in our place and paid the full price, receiving brand new life to pass on to each one of us. The work of salvation has absolutely nothing to do with us. Our only work is to believe what He has done and surrender to it.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

HE IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!


And now we are FREE from our sins of the past. We are FREE from the need to sin in the future. We are FREE from sickness and disease. We are FREE from poverty and lack. We are FREE from evil habits and addictions. We are FREE from worry and fear. We are FREE from defeat by our enemies. The Word of God says that all of these things are part of the curse of the broken Law, and that Jesus redeemed us from that curse by His finished work on the cross. (Deuteronomy 28, Galatians 3).

So now we are FREE to break the power of the enemy over us and our families. We are FREE to walk in forgiveness and love. We are FREE to enter the holy presence of God Himself with confidence and joy. We are FREE TO BE JUST LIKE HIM!!!

JESUS!    “… there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 3:12).

 

(Artwork courtesy of gospelgifs.com).