August 4, 2016
One of the most controversial subjects in the Christian world is the question of salvation. Some people believe that you’ve been forgiven of all sins right up until you ask Jesus to be your Saviour, but from that time on it’s up to you to stay “saved”. This unscriptural way of thinking can lead to much anxiety. Everyone sins whether we’ve accepted Christ or not, so how bad do you have to sin in order to lose your salvation? “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. The next question is, if you’ve sinned and lost your salvation, how good do you have to be in order to regain it? Human standards of perfection are far different from God’s and if it was up to us individually to stay saved we would fail miserably. By His grace we are saved, and continue in salvation even when we fail in our Christian walk. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 3:24. Don’t take what He has done for you for granted.
God’s word is quite clear about the fact that we cannot lose salvation once we have truly accepted Jesus as our Saviour. Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30. There is no place as secure as being held in the hand of God the Father and God the Son. Not only that, but once you sincerely accepted Christ for salvation the Holy Spirit is sealed within you. There is nothing you or anyone else can do to take that salvation from you. Fellowship is another matter. It is possible to be saved, but out of fellowship. That’s when inner turmoil happens, which spawns anger and unhappiness.
In the above passage of Scripture, notice that Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and “… they follow me“. Accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross will bring forgiveness of past, present, and future sin, but that doesn’t give anyone a license to continue sinning. We are saved by the grace of God, but that grace is not to be taken lightly. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2. Grace may be freely given to Christians, but it came at a great cost for God. Never look at that free gift of salvation as something you deserve or treat it as if it’s no big deal. Jesus was fully God and fully human. He was human in order to be our Kinsman Redeemer, but His blood was pure. His sacrifice takes all our sin away if you truly believe. Even though He faced the same temptations we face, He didn’t sin. Yet, He became sin for us “For he that made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. He sacrificed more than we can ever understand when He allowed Himself to be crucified. The sin that you and I are so used to as being a part of our daily life was not a part of Jesus until He hung on the cross as our once for all sacrifice. That’s when He felt the separation from God the Father. “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” Matthew 27:46b. He chose the cross and that time of separation from His Father so that humans can be redeemed through His blood. Oh, Lord Jesus, thank You. Brothers and sisters, don’t take your salvation for granted. Hear His voice and follow Him. Turn from the sin in your life and honor what He did for you.
In order to follow Him you need to make a choice, and that choice can sometimes be difficult. When you choose to follow Jesus you will never regret turning away from worldly ways. “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14. He is our Good Shepherd and will only lead His flock along a safe path. If you wander away you will find trouble. For most of us, we have to make that choice daily. We all make mistakes in our thinking and quite often in our behavior. This is an ongoing battle of the will. “I will follow Christ in my choice of friends, words, and actions” or “I will allow Satan to pick my friends, words, and actions”. If you choose to turn your back on Jesus in order to be accepted by worldly friends, then you need to ask yourself just how much you care about what He did for you.
Many people teach that in order to accept Christ you need to repent of every sin you have ever committed. A new Christian probably has no idea what every sin is, so naming them all is really impossible. Even older Christians don’t seem to be aware of sin. Repent means to change your mind, not become perfect. A new Christian may understand that murder is a sin, but probably doesn’t think about anger as being just as bad as murder. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul reminded him that from childhood he had been taught Scriptures. Timothy had received a solid foundation, but what he built on that foundation depended on how he treated God’s word. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. That also applies to women of God and is as still true today. If you see a brother or sister living opposed to God, don’t say “If you were a Christian you wouldn’t be doing that”. Instead say “Since you’re a Christian, let’s look at God’s word and see where you’ve gone wrong”. Always look to Scripture for “reproof”. Sin isn’t a pleasant revelation, but it’s important in restoring fellowship with God. It’s easy to make excuses for our sin, but no sin is condoned by God. He wants fellowship with us so He has given us our Bible in order that we will know Him and stay in fellowship.
An accusation that people who love their sin like to throw out is “You’re judging me”. Here’s a hypothetical situation. You and I are at the park and a young mother is sitting on a blanket watching her toddler play. The child runs off and the mother runs after him leaving her purse on the blanket. You jump up, grab her wallet, and take her money. Am I judging you if I tell you to that it’s a sin to steal? I would be as guilty as you if I just let the situation pass. Now, what if you lived a lifestyle of sin. Maybe you habitually lie, commit adultery, embrace homosexuality, or any other sin. Am I judging if I bring your sin to your attention? Jesus said to use good sense in judging. “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24. Use Scripture to know how to make a righteous judgment. Christians need to help each other stay in fellowship with Christ and restore broken fellowship.
If it wasn’t proper to correct Christians in behavior, we would have very few letters in the New Testament. These letters provide guidance and confront sin that was sneaking into the various congregations. The congregation in Corinth was filled with sinful ways that needed correction. Was Paul judging when he brought out the sin of the man who was having a fling with his father’s wife? “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” 1 Corinthians 5:1. Not only was this abomination taking place, but the congregation was proud of it. How many similar abominable acts are accepted within congregations today? Judging according to God’s word is important to our fellowship with God. “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,” 1 Corinthians 5:3. Many people in Corinth didn’t like Paul, but he wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest. He was concerned for the people in that congregation. They were allowing sin to destroy their witness and mock Christ. He showed love by telling them to put that man out of the congregation until he repented. Other New Testament letters were written to admonish the recipients, and us, to hold fast to Biblical truth. Some of the letters deal with Gnosticism, some with angel worship and encourage spiritual warfare, and some admonish against Christians trying to go back under the Law of Moses. You see, sin and false doctrine have a way of slowly sneaking into a person’s life or a congregation///i. If a little sin is accepted it will grow until it overpowers all else and ruins our fellowship with Christ. Brothers and sisters, you cannot love someone and allow them to live opposed to Christ. All things need to be done and said in love and in strict adherence to Scripture. You also need to be sure that you recognize the sin in your own life and ask for forgiveness.
Christ died to bring salvation to a lost and sin-filled world. He loved you enough to leave Heaven, step into His creation, and shed His blood for you. If you have accepted His free gift then show your love and appreciation by studying His word and applying it to your life. If you’re out of fellowship with Him, then it’s time right now to rid your life of whatever sin is coming between you and full fellowship with the One you claim to have placed your faith in. Repent. Change your mind about sin and go to Him for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. He wants fellowship with you to be restored.
Once you’ve placed your faith in Jesus your salvation is secure. We are saved by our faith and not our works, but if it’s easy for you to embrace worldly ways, the ways of Satan, then there could be a problem. Ask yourself if you’ve truly turned to Jesus in faith for salvation. Be honest. If you have, then you’re out of fellowship and that is a bad place to be. The world and the sin you love so much have nothing to offer but unhappiness. Rewards are promised to Christians who work for the Lord in this life, and when standing at the Bema seat you will want a crown. You may think holding onto your sin is pleasurable here and now, but it’s in no way worth spending eternity thinking “What if….”. Death can come when you least expect it. No matter how young or old it could come today. The next time you get into a car you could easily have a fatal accident or you might just go to bed one night and your heart could stop. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14. Tomorrowmay be too late for you to change your mind about the sin that grips you.
Death could be closer than you think. The Rapture could happen at any time. Don’t be foolish. Be sure of your salvation and don’t lose fellowship.
God bless you all,