A FREE GIFT FROM GOD
Today, we are closer than ever to being drawn up to Jesus in the clouds. Those who are waiting and watching know we are about to "go home". But what about those who don't know? We MUST hurry and tell them, for if we could have told someone, and didn't, we will be held accountable for their blood. SALVATION IS YOURS----ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE!
Our greatest failing is that we do not realize who God is, and what His character is like. We need to realize that G-d is NOT human--He is G-D! There is an endless gap between the highest in us, and the lowest in G-d. We cannot bridge that gap from our side. If the gap is to be bridged, it must be from G-d's side because G-D IS HOLY (set apart). He is set apart from the power, practice and presence of sin, and from absolute righteousness and goodness. There is no sin in G-d, and G-d can't have anything to do with sin. If we are to approach G-d, it MUST be on His terms--NOT OURS! We must be made as holy as G-d, therefore, we must have a NEW LIFE in which our SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN and done away with, thereby being SEPARATED AS FAR FROM SIN AS G-D!
This is the Good News of the Gospel: That Jesus Christ died for our sins, having taken them upon Himself, and has set us apart from them. This is our position before G-d that will NEVER CHANGE. Because of what G-d has done, we can boldly enter into the presence of G-d.
ADAM'S SIN From man's perspective, it does not seem to be a very great sin since all he did was eat some fruit. The sin wasn't in that the fruit was of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which G-d said that he was not to eat under penalty of death (Gen 2:17). Adam, being the first man to ever live upon this earth is known as the "federal head" from which every other man came. Since Adam became a sinner before Eve conceived a child, every human being descended from him is a sinner, also, EXCEPT CHRIST! Because of Adam, sin entered into the human race (Rom 5:12-14) and EVERY SINNER NEEDS TO HAVE A NEW LIFE!
INDIVIDUAL SIN Each man, woman and child from the beginning of the world, to the last birth in the end times is a sinner. Paul says that:
"...their throat is an open sepulcher [tomb]...the poison of asps [a small deadly poisonous snake] is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: They're feet are swift to shed blood [notice the increase in violent crimes]: Destruction and misery are in their ways [whatever man touches, he corrupts]." Rom 3:13-16
All these things show that there is no person who seeks God or does what is right:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after G-d." Rom 3:10,11
Without G-d's righteous, NO ONE CAN EVER ENTER OR STAND IN GOD'S PRESENCE. It should be very clear to see that EVERY man, woman and child needs to have a new life because EACH IS A SINNER!
NEW LIFE: A FREE GIFT You can work for sin, but sin is a cruel master. When you get paid by sin, your WAGES ARE DEATH--You are FOREVER separated from G-d! On the other hand, G-d does not pay wages. He offers a FREE GIFT--eternal life. It is impossible to 'earn' this gift, and if it could be earned-, it wouldn't be a 'gift'--it would be 'wages'.
The basic concept underlying 'life' is UNION. There are 3 kinds of life mentioned in the Bible:
(1) physical life--union of the soul and body;
(2) spiritual life--union of the soul with God; and
(3) eternal life--eternal union of the soul with God.
"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.” Romans 10:27, 28
One receives this gift when he BELIEVES in Jesus as HIS OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR.
NEW LIFE BASED ON CHRIST'S DEATH Salvation is free--not cheap! Salvation is a gift and COST'S ME NOTHING--HOWEVER, IT COST G-D EVERYTHING!!! IT COST JESUS HIS LIFE!!! The wages of sin is DEATH (separation from G-d). G-d's gift is ETERNAL LIFE (eternal union of the soul with G-d). This is possible BECAUSE OF the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary's Cross.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 6:23
JESUS ACTUALLY TOOK SIN'S PENALTY FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD WHO EVER LIVED, OR WILL LIVE, ON THIS EARTH. As He hung on the cross he cried:
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"
(Translated: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? )" Matt 27:46
When all the sins of the world, from beginning to end, fell on Jesus on the Cross, for a short time, Jesus was separated from G-d the Father -- so that we don't have to be. This is the HEART of the ATONEMENT. What is so awesome is that HE DID THIS WHILE WE WERE STILL HIS ENEMIES:
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom 5:8
RECEIVED BY FAITH The best news human ears have ever heard are the words spoken to the Philippian jailer, which clearly tells how we receive G-d's gift of eternal life. When we receive G-d's gift of eternal life, we are said to be "saved". The basic concept underlying Salvation" or "being saved", is "deliverance". We are delivered from the penalty of sin [death, separation from G-d] and from the power of sin. Ultimately, we will be delivered from the very presence of sin and will be delivered into the VERY PRESENCE OF G-D. We receive new life BY FAITH--we BELIEVE that Jesus died for our sins, that His death was IN OUR PLACE, and that His payment for OUR sin is FULLY ACCEPTABLE in G-d's sight.
The Acrostic Summarization of FAITH:
We are to FORSAKE ALL--REPENT of our sins, and to take him--by FAITH turn to God for our salvation:
"Testifying to both the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24
Everlasting life, in the Bible, is one benefit of finding new life in Christ. You can summarize the character of this awesome reality by carefully looking at each word: "Life" stresses the quality of this new relationship to God:
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10
It doesn't mean we aren't physically alive before salvation, it just stresses the fact that we enter a NEW, PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with GOD that gives us a fullness of spiritual vitality that we once lacked:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Eternal--Everlasting: LIFE WITHOUT END!!! The complete fulfillment comes with our future redemption, however, it is still a present possession which cannot perish:
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:28
Everlasting life should not be conceived of as an exclusively future possession, but it's possession is clearly seen in our actions. So therefore no murderer has eternal life abiding in him:
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." I John 3:15
LOVE is the confirming evidence that we do, in fact, have eternal life:
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." I John 3:14
The greatness of this spiritual reality constitutes a fantastic incentive to boldly proclaim the gospel to those who are still "dead in trespasses and sins":
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" Eph 2:1
NEW NATURE This term refers to the spiritual transformation that occurs within the inner man when a person believes in Christ as Savior. The Christian is now a NEW MAN as opposed to the old man he was before he became a Christian:
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, htat the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."/b> Rom 6:6
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;" Eph 2:15
This concept of newness may be traced to an important choice between two Greek words, both meaning "new".
(1) in the sense of renovation (to repair); and
(2) in the sense of fresh existence.
#2 is the word used to describe the Christian. He is not the old man, renovated or refreshed; he is a BRAND NEW MAN with a brand new family, a new set of values, motivations and new possessions. The old man is still present in the new life and expresses himself in corrupting deeds such as lying:
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" Eph 4:22
"Let not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;" Col 3:9
The New nature must be cultivated or nurtured by spiritual decisiveness to grow in Christ. We must NOT revert to putting on the old suit of the former life; rather, we must continue to grow in this new life:
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: Eph 5:8
The message of the new nature is a message of supreme hope: the Spirit of God can accomplish a life-changing transformation for all who will only believe in Christ.
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." Isa 61:10
One of the most awesome requirements of G-d made upon men and women is that they be righteous, that is conform to His ethical and moral standards:
"He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." Ps 15:2
"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy G-d?" Mic 6:8
He cannot allow sinners into his presence because G-d is HOLY:
"And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isa 6:3-5
Since all persons are sinners, they could not be saved any other way than from the supernatural intervention of G-d.
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Rom 3: 10,23 The righteous demands of G-d, plus the inability of man might present an irreparable dilemma. However, God Himself has graciously solved the problem by sending Jesus WHO NEVER SINNED, to die for our sins and therefore satisfy His own wrath toward us. In other words, G-d, at the cross, treated Christ as though He had committed our sins even though He was righteous. On the other hand, when we believe in Christ, He treats us as though we were as righteous as Christ:
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor 5:21
This type of righteousness is called "imputed righteousness" in the Bible:
"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works," Rom 4:6
That simply means, God puts to our spiritual account the very worth of Christ, much as though He were a banker adding an inexhaustible deposit to our bank account. There are, sadly, many people who still refuse to believe that such an abundant blessing can be theirs as a FREE GIFT:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of G-d. Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph 2:8, 9
The Bible clearly urges ALL MEN to trust in JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR, and, therefore, BE RECKONED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS BY G-D!
"But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;" Rom 4:24
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of G-d. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
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