The Significance of Abraham and Issac

The significance of Abraham and Issac: Throughout human history there are stories people making barbaric human sacrifices to gods who don’t exist. Skeptics of the Judaeo/Christian worldview point to a significant episode in the Book of Genesis, when God orders Abraham to go to a selected place to offer his son as a sacrifice. But they don’t necessarily read the whole story.

Pagan human sacrifices were offered to appease an angry god, but the real creator God does not force man to kill in order to please Him. God does the work and pays the price, because man cannot, under any circumstances, buy, earn or otherwise pay for his salvation.

Here is the text from Genesis:

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”, “Here I am,” he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Abraham finds a substitute

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.

Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:1-18)

God gave Issac to Abraham

Issac was the son God had promised to Abraham and his wife, Sarah, even though Sarah was decades beyond child bearing age. Because of her advanced age, it was hard for both of them to believe that God would actually give them a son by normal biological means.

So, with Sarah’s permission, Abraham selected Hagar, one of their servants to have a child for them. Ishmael was born. Because Ishmael was not the son God had promised, He had Abraham send the boy and his mother away. Ishmael would also become the founder of a nation and that would be the basis of Islam.

When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, it was a test of faith. God had no intention of actually letting Abraham go through with it. It was a foreshadowing of what God would do with His own Son. He would not allow Issac to be killed, but God did allow His only Son to be sacrificed on the cross. God did something He would never order man to do.

God gave us His son

Think of it this way– ”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

God wants us to have faith in HIM! Our actions can be reflections of faith, but in the final analysis, it is God’s actions that count. Our deeds will not earn us entry into heaven. Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ gives us that access to God the Father.

How God Works

How God works: People do not often understand that God’s calling on their lives is not so much a ministry as it is an ordinary, everyday occurrence. We are waiting for the burning bush and a loud, deep voice calling out, or maybe the sound of trumpets and a great cloud swirling above us.

No, it’s different, much more simple and uneventful. Through His Word, God does call out to us. He reveals His will for us. Scripture contains His plan.

God works out His will through us

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11-11-14)

1. GOD SEEKS YOU OUT

When Jesus began His public ministry He collected a group of fishermen, a zealot, a tax collector and the downtrodden to teach. In that time, young Jewish men would go to the Rabbi and apply for teaching. The Rabbi would chose the best candidates, the ones who could pay.

Not so with Jesus, He recruited His group from the least likely places. He sought out fishermen. He invited a tax collector, the most hated of people. Jesus wanted a zealot to join his flock, rather than pursue a life of violence fighting the Romans. You get the picture? He chose ordinary guys to do His extraordinary work.

2. HE PREPARES YOU

The disciples lived with Jesus for some three years and absorbed as much as possible. Jewish students would learn from the Rabbi, learn His stories, copy His style. Jesus, on the other hand, taught and nurtured and wanted His disciples to be themselves.

Rather than mimicking or parroting the Master, the disciples made the message their own. It became a part of them. We are invited to do the same.

3. HE POSITIONS YOU

Jesus sent His disciples out into the world to spread the Gospel. Rabbinical students would wind up in a local synagogue or if they were lucky they were politically positioned, maybe the temple. God has specific plans for each of us.

4. HE EMPOWERS YOU

Jesus wants all of us to be filled with the Holy Spirit to carry on with boldness and complete confidence. In seeking you, preparing you, and positioning you, God gives you everything you need. Jesus, the man, did not do all the miracles under His human power. Rather, He prayed and the power of the Holy Spirit acted.

How God works… through you and through me

God does all the work. We need to allow Him to work in our lives. He will not put you in a hopeless situation, or ask you do something without equipping you with everything necessary to get the job done. Just surrender to His will and say Yes!

Why Am I Here?

Ever ask yourself, or God, “Why am I here?” We think of the here and now, but we most often miss the ultimate point of it all. We get insight into this in the Book of Revelation, when time as we know it will pass and eternity begins.

When the time of man began, there were Adam and Eve in the garden. It was a beautiful and perfect place with an abundance of food, no sickness, no death and no sin. Adam walked with God in that place and had a close, personal relationship with his creator.

They fell out of fellowship. Man’s relationship with God was broken, and so the garden was closed to Adam and Eve. Human history began, with thousands of years of man turning away from God, only to repent and come crawling back.

God sent His Son for us

God sent His Son to live a sinless life and offer it on the cross to pay the penalty for man’s sins. After the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the mission became one of sharing the good news of salvation in Christ to the peoples of the world. When the end comes, the earth will be made new

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.

They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

John saw the throne of God

The Apostle John, who penned Revelation, was probably overwhelmed by all he saw and heard, as an angel took him on a wild tour in heaven. He saw the throne of God.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

This is the second death.” (Revelation 21`: 5-8)

We are always in God’s presence in Heaven

Heaven is a place where man is always in the presence of God in a close, personal relationship.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21: 22-27)

God wants to dwell with us in eternity

The essence of God’s desire and man’s purpose is that God will dwell with man for eternity and they shall be His people. God desires close fellowship with man. With no sin, no death and nothing to interfere with that perfect relationship, eternity with God is a glorious experience that never ends.

There was no sin in the Garden

In the garden there was no sin. Adam and Eve were, so to speak, innocent, or so we think. We think therefore than man’s perfect state is innocence.

That is not the case. If Adam and Eve were innocent they would not have been deceived by the serpent. They would not have sinned against God. Those in right fellowship with God are certainly not innocent.

To the glory of God, sinful man’s redemption by faith in Jesus Christ. It is by far the greater state, as God’s completed work on the cross. He makes it clear that man is helpless and hopeless without the risen Savior.

Why am I Here? Redemption is the perfect state of man

Therefore, through the power of the shed blood of Christ, man is redeemed. The perfect state for man is redemption, not innocence. We are a work in progress. We are being transformed to the likeness of Christ, to whom all glory and honor is due.

Why am I here? I’m here to receive redemption from God.

Praise the Lord. Amen.

Don’t Look Back

Don’t look back: One of the greatest of all major league pitchers and a wonderful personality was Satchel Paige. Because of racism, he spent most of his career in the Negro League, but he got to Major League Baseball late in his career and when he was well beyond 40.

As dominating a pitcher as he was, he was just as well known for his funny sayings. One in particular stands out for its wisdom and practical value. Paige said, “Don’t look back. Somethin’ might be gainin’ on you.”

God exists outside of time

Most folks at the time just dismissed it as another one of Satchel’s quirky sayings, but let’s take a closer look. God is the “One who was, is and is to come.” Our almighty creator exists outside of time.

For Him there is no time. Countless centuries are but a blink of an eye. There is an eternity past, the moment and then eternity future. He has a pristine memory of all events that have ever taken place throughout time and He has a pristine view of all things that are happening and will happen.

Humans have the moment, but their memory of the past can be distorted by emotion, mental illness or just forgotten entirely.

It’s our memory of the past that serves as a heavy yoke on our shoulders. We do not have an objective perspective on the events of our lives. They are all interpreted through our own lens. This lens does not give us an objective view. God’s view is objective and is the truth.

The old is gone, don’t look back!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.

We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:17-21)

We are “A new creation”

This amazing passage, written by the Apostle Paul, gives us the absolute truth about our relationship with God when we accept His gift of salvation through Jesus.

“A new creation” can be interpreted as erasing the past, because God will not remember our sins against us. He doesn’t forget them, but He doesn’t hold them against us because the price of our sins has been paid in full.

That’s a huge difference in perspective. If we are cleansed of our wrongdoing, if we are forgiven, there is no reason to dwell in the past and all the more reason to look to the future. Satchel was right. Don’t look back.

It is hard to let go of the past

The hardest part to all of this idea of letting go of the past. We often get in the way. Maybe we don’t believe God will make us a new creation, or maybe we focus on what others will say.

People don’t always believe that God can transform us, so rather than accepting God’s truth, we choose to call Him a liar. But God can change anybody.

Saul HATED Jesus

The Apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, was a hater of Jesus and a murderer of Christ’s followers. The man was a Pharisee and believed, deep in his soul, that Jesus was evil. So to preserve the Jewish faith and protect his own turf, he made it his mission to eradicate the message of the Gospel.

But a face-to-face encounter of the risen Messiah changed him forever. God’s fiercest human enemy became God’s most powerful evangelist. Paul wrote much of the New Testament.

God took a filthy cut-throat and transformed him into a gentle, loving and articulate messenger of Jesus’ gift. Think of what God can do for you. Just accept His free gift and don’t look back, because the past is past and the future calls you.

Equivalence

Equivalence: Bill and Frank were rivals for a seat on the town council. Both men were involved in car accidents.

Frank stopped at a local tavern to have a drink with his friends after work. One drink turned into two, three or more. When he left, he was over the limit by three points. On the way home, he hit a mailbox, swerved to the other side of the road, side swiped three cars and crashed into a mailbox.

He argued with the police and refused a blood draw. Bill hired an attorney, who pleaded the offense down to driving too fast for conditions. He had to pay a fine and had points added to his driver’s license. His insurance company had to pay out a significant amount of money and quickly dropped him.

Frank claimed equivalence for the two accidents

Bill’s accident was fairly minor, a fender-bender, caused by Bill’s lack of full attention while making a left turn at a four-way stop. There were no injuries, but Bill didn’t fight it, pleaded guilty and was cited and had to pay a fine. Points were added to his drivers license.

While participating in a public debate before the next election,the local newspaper looked up the two incidents and confronted both men. Bill owned up to the accident, gave the details and apologized to the community. Frank, on the other hand, claimed that the police had misrepresented the severity of the incident and had falsified the report.

Frank further explained that the police were acting inappropriately because they knew that Frank was not in favor of increasing funding for the department. He claimed he has been harassed. The judge found him guilty and he paid a fine and lost some points. There was no DUI conviction.

Frank’s accident was not equivalent to Bill’s

Two accidents. Both drivers guilty. But when confronted in the debate, Frank claimed that his accident was no worse, because the police procedures were inappropriate. He had been victimized by police being biased for the other candidate.

They were by no means equivalent accidents, but Frank said it was unfair. He pointed the finger at Bill and accused him of being behind it all.

Equivalence often used to justify wrong doing

We will say”I didn’t anything more then everyone else does, I just got caught.” We as humans can justify most wrong doing by comparing ourselves to others and saying they are just as guilty.

No different 2000 years ago

Two thousand years ago, two thieves were executed outside of Jerusalem. Both men were guilty according to law. In between them was the Lord Jesus Christ, who was completely innocent.

Jesus was likely viewed as guilty using the same flawed reasoning. Jesus had committed no crime against the Roman authority, but the religious leaders had accused Him of blasphemy and according to their law, He had to die.

One thief mocked Jesus and said if He was the Christ, He should save them. On the other hand, the second thief admitted his guilt and merely asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.

Jesus was moved by his confession and recognition that Jesus was the Savior. He assured the man that he would be with Jesus that very day in paradise.

Jesus committed no crime

We do not know that crimes the two thieves had commuted. We know they were both convicted. Any possible offense that Jesus had commuted according to Jewish law, was not legally substantiated. The blasphemies they accused Jesus of were acts of kindness to people who were suffering.

His arrest and trial were illegal under Jewish law, but they happened anyway. All of the signs and wonders were punishable by death according to the religious elite. Healing the sick, restoring sight to blind were unforgivable blasphemies, even though they were done in public, before the authorities and were obviously well received by the community.

What crimes are equivalent?

What crimes are equivalent? Should Jesus have been executed with the other two men? As the old saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

What We Believe Matters

What we believe matters: Parents of a young man shared their feelings on the spirituality of their son when asked if he had any religious beliefs. “We don’t care what he believes, just so he believes in something,” they said confidently. Please indulge me, because I take great issue with that statement.

We don’t care what he believes

The parents don’t realize that their statement is, according to this writer, deadly. It implies that either there is no God, who establishes what is true and what is false, or that God simply doesn’t care because all religions are alike and none of them are any more significant than the others. What we believe matters!

Throughout the time of human history there has always been religion of some form or fashion. It’s the way we are wired. Man, being made in the image of God, is hardwired for worship. But worship of what?

God determines what’s true, what we believe matters

Karl Marx, an atheist, the author of the Communist Manifesto, wrote, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” He understood man’s inclination to embrace religion, but his idea was not complete because it left out the reality of truth. Marx should have said “false religion is the opiate of the masses.”

The almighty creator God of the universe determines what is and what is not true. We live in a post-truth world, where “truth” is relative and there is no absolute truth. It’s inconvenient. People worship what they want to worship; what makes them feel good.

One of the weaknesses of the evangelical church is the emphasis on having a great praise band entertaining the audience, complete with a light show. Or its pastors who our preaching a prosperity gospel, telling us that if we have enough belief or faith things will turn out fine.

Truth fades as man worships himself

Not to belabor the point, but the church, by demand of its congregations, often drifts father away from the truth as time goes by. Here in America, we are numbed by the entertainment industry and social media. As truth fades, it’s all focused on us.

Since the earliest days, man, in his desire for worship, chose to worship himself, wealth, power, celebrity. All of these are false gods. We do, however, compromise at times by telling others, “what is true for you may not be true for me.” The statement is illogical.

We turn our back on God and truth

We don’t necessarily want to follow the path that God has laid out for us. Adam and Eve went against God in the Garden of Eden by eating the fruit God had forbidden them to eat. We supersize the free-will that God gave us by turning away from Him and rejecting his mercy and love. Call it pride, arrogance or just stupidity, but we chose to focus inward rather than outward.

Nothing has changed really. In so much of the world people live under a dictator, mainly because they have no will to fight against repression. Authoritarian rule is all they know. Even in free countries, authoritarianism is on the rise.

People seem to like a strong leader, just as the Israelites chose Saul for a king, rather than the judges that God had installed. Like all authoritarians through history, Saul fell.

There are plenty of things to worship. The truth has always been before us.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

God’s truth is absolute

God’s truth is the narrow path, because it is absolute. Everything to the right and to the left is false, which is why Jesus said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7

What is true is revealed through God’s word. The Bible tells us the truth. Through its 66 books, the contiguous story is told. If you want the truth, it’s there for you. You are also free to reject it.

What is “original sin”

“Hey, don’t blame me. I was born that way!” This famous excuse for bad behavior has a ring of truth to it, but it doesn’t carry any weight in the light of God’s truth and Holiness. Yes, we were born that way, that is, with a sinful nature.

It’s called “original sin” and it was handed down through the generations of people from every nation, every race and creed. It comes to us through Adam, who chose to break God’s law in the Garden of Eden. It’s human pride and arrogance. But we were born with it. We didn’t ask for it, but we got it just the same.

Adam’s fall causes original sin

Original sin brought on by Adam, exposes our moral corruption. Because of Adam’s fall, we are denied our original righteousness and with that comes a propensity to allow evil to enter our lives. That evil, is the root of all sin(disobedience to God).

The Apostle Paul described the sin of the flesh as lust, ignorance, blindness and at the heart of our alienation from God. We are born with original sin, which is like the proverbial monkey on our back, but Jesus Christ offers the way out of that sin. Again, Paul explains it well.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14)

We all know right from wrong

Unrepentant sin is a killer. That newborn baby comes into this world with original sin, but the child is not accountable for that sin. God will not judge and punish a baby.

Children at various ages, will come to the age of accountability. They will know what sin is and the consequences of it. They learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

God is just. That means that He is perfect and will not make mistakes. His love for us renders countless chances to make things right with Him.

Woe to those whose hardened hearts will not tolerate the grace of God. They deny the sin in their lives, or worse yet, embrace their bad behavior in a defiant stand against God.

Most things we cannot control

There are so many things in life we have no control over. Did we chose our parents or when and where we are born? How long will we live? Do we get to chose our race, or our gender, or how tall we are?

When we begin to make our own choices, against the will of God, who made us what we are, it leads to separation from the one who loves us the most. Our sin nature, that original sin, kicks in and we cause our own misery.

We didn’t ask to be sinful creatures. Yes, we were born that way. Live with it and learn how to accept God’s mercy and grace.

What is baptism?

The Exodus Begins
God parts the Red Sea

The meaning of baptism depends largely on what Christian denomination is answering the question. Baptism comes from the Greek word “baptisma,” the act of immersion, submersion and emergence from water. The root is “bapto,” meaning “to dip.”

In the New Testament of the Bible, we see this word used in reference to the ministry of John the Baptist. John, Jesus’ cousin, started his ministry shortly before Christ to alert everyone that the Messiah, Jesus, was coming. John baptized many people in the name of Jesus and ultimately baptized Jesus.

For some churches baptism is also called christening

In churches, we see varying forms of baptism. For most traditional Christian denominations, baptism is done shortly after birth by the sprinkling water over the forehead of an infant. Some denominations hold to the belief that baptism washes away “original sin,” and therefore is necessary to protect a newborn. It may be called a “christening.”

Some churches use this to make the infant a member of the church, that is they are baptized into the church.

Evangelical churches don’t baptize infants

Evangelical denominations or non-denominational churches hold to a more literal approach to the subject, meaning that believers are baptized in a public display of faith, by full immersion.

In this form of baptism, it requires the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a decision, a choice made by a person of their own free-will. The age of the person is not the issue, the full understanding of what they are doing is the point.

Baptism can refer to the suffering of Jesus on the cross

Another use of the word refers to the suffering and agony of Jesus on the cross. Jesus told his disciples:

But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!” (Luke 12:50)

He took on the entire sins of the world and paid the price for man’s transgressions. He was immersed in that suffering. We see this referenced in Matthew when Jesus rebukes the mother of two of his disciples.

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” (Matt 20:20-23)

Christ spoke the truth explaining His sacrifice

Christ’s answer to a loving mother might seem harsh, but as the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” Jesus knew his end was coming and the tremendous pain and suffering that was essential for paying the price of man’s sins.

Jesus anticipated what was coming in that dreadful sequence of events. From the surging, to carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, and then to being nailed to the cross. Christ’s “baptism” on the cross was necessary and something that only He could accomplish. We can only identify with that baptism, to recognize the horror of that day.

Washing one’s self also a form of baptism

Forms of baptism also include the washing of one’s self. John the baptist told his followers to repent and be baptized in order that they might receive salvation. Again, this is a public confession. Baptism for the remission of sins.

In Christian practice, one would confess sins, ask forgiveness and receive Christ as Lord and Savior, then go through baptism. That is why many Christians enjoy baptism Sundays at their church. They celebrate the entry of a believer into the family.

Israelites crossing to freedom at the Red Sea

In the Old Testament, the Israelites experienced a kind of baptism, crossing the Red Sea, with huge walls of water on each side, under the cloud of God leading the way.

Some belief that baptism washes away sin, while, others will maintain that only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin. One interpretation is more ceremonial, while the the other, the blood of Christ, is quite literal. Jesus shed his blood for the forgiveness of sins.

Faith in Christ critical

Whatever way you see it, the key is faith. Without faith in Christ, baptism is meaningless.

What is salvation?

From a Biblical perspective, salvation is a gift. It is mentioned 122 times in Scripture, but it is never talked about in terms of something that is deserved, or purchased, or earned. In some churches people talk about salvation in terms of being “saved,” but being given salvation and being saved are the same thing.

Christianity is the only faith that offers assurance of salvation. Simply stated, salvation, or being saved, means a person has come to the realization that they are a sinner, destined for an eternity separated from God. They are in a helpless and indefensible state.

They’re guilty as charged and they know it. They understand the ugliness of their sin, in comparison to God, who is Holy, glorious and perfect. People, having sinned, have nowhere to hide. But the gift of salvation is offered.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23-7:1)

Salvation is God’s gift of eternal life

The gift of eternal life is salvation. Being saved is knowing you can go to heaven when you die. Free from the bondage of sin. Saved people will live forever in God’s Kingdom. There is no catch, but salvation is not a “get out of jail free” card.

Coming clean with God means confessing our sins and repenting. Repent means to change, to “turn around.” We seek to cast off our sinful human nature and walk with God. Having repented, a person must turn to the only one who can save them from hell, the Lord Jesus Christ.

They accept Jesus as their savior

Acknowledging that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, in their place, they accept Him as Lord and Savior. They invite Jesus into their heart to direct their life. Coming clean means a person has to be open and honest with God and themselves.

Going through the motions, trying to get off without punishment, is not a strategy, because God, being all knowing, will have none of it. A young man wanted to know what HE had to do to be saved. He did not like the answer Jesus gave him.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said.

“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Mark 10:17-22)

Jesus knows what is in our heart

Jesus does not require that people give up all that they own, but He does know what is in their heart. The young man could not buy his way in, but it was obvious that he valued his wealth and wanted to hang on to his money.

As for keeping the commandments, the young man did not fool Jesus. Again, all have sinned. We all have broken the commandments in one way of another. If a person did keep all the commandments and lived a perfect, sinless life, they would be welcomed in heaven.

The trouble is, nobody has ever done that, except for Jesus. Having lived a sinless life, Jesus was the only one who could go to the cross to save those to believed in Him and had faith. God made His son, who was without sin, the bearer of all the world’s sins, past, present and future.

Salvation means going to heaven

For those who believe in God, salvation means going to heaven. For those who do not believe in God, or do not believe in an after-life, salvation might mean cleaning up your act before you die.

Most religions of the world focus on personal deeds as a means of salvation. Those who believe in reincarnation talk of an upward journey from life-to-life, as the soul tries to cleans itself, through living many lives.

Christianity is different. Religion is all about what man can do to make himself acceptable to God. Christianity is all about what God did to make man acceptable. Jesus paid the price we could not. We are saved by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus.

Establishing that true and lasting relationship is essential. Faith unto salvation. Praise be to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What Does “Wages of Sin” Mean?

The wages of sin is death: So many things in the Bible can be hard to understand if we don’t have the proper frame of reference. Because the Bible’s 66 books are one contiguous story. A lot of our “why” questions can only be fully understood if we have knowledge of how events came about.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “The wages if sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a). A wage is something you get as a result of an action. People get a paycheck for the work they have done on behalf of their employer.

“Wages of sin” is easily explained as something you get for an action you have taken against God and more specifically “Sin” is an action we take against the will of God. That’s why there is the 10 Commandments, which is a basic series of statements outlining God’s will for our lives.

Not to over complicate this, but sins, large and small, all carry the same weight. If a person says “I wish that guy was dead,” from God’s view, it is the same as killing him. Just the act of thinking about ending the life of any other person is the same as actually doing it. If you’re really honest, through thought, word or deed, we have all broken all of the commandments.

Some don’t believe in sin

People easily dismiss “sin” or deny there is any such thing as sin. God’s word disagrees with that. The the third chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we see clearly the first sin committed.

In the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, we see God’s final answer to man’s turning away from Him. It is a horrifying account of God’s wrath being poured out. Yet even in the midst of His wrath, there is a precious and tender account of God’s grace and love. Saving those who turn to Him and acknowledge who He is and what He has done for them.

Two ways into heaven

Entry into heaven is very simple. There are two ways. You can obey God’s 10 Commandments to the letter, every moment of your life and never break one. Ya right. Nobody but Jesus has ever obeyed all the commandments.

Here we are, standing before a perfect, holy and righteous God, who is all powerful and the creator of the universe and we’re going to look Him in the eye and tell Him He’s wrong? Tell Him that we didn’t sin?

All the great people we read about in the Bible were all seriously flawed. The prophets of the Old Testament, the Apostles are all just human and they did sin. They all fell short, no matter how hard they might have tried or how close they might have come, they’re were sinners. Without the gift of God, they’d all be in hell.

Jesus is the second way to heaven

The second way to heaven is through the gift of God in His son Jesus. From Genesis to Malachi in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), man failed. Therefore, being human, we are in an absolutely hopeless and helpless state.

God sent His son to fulfill all of the righteous requirements of His Law. In short, what we cannot do ourselves, God did for us. All we need do is admit that we aren’t perfect, admit that we sin. Accept that we need forgiveness from God. He offers all of us a free gift. When we acknowledge His gift, we receive life everlasting. Jesus, who died on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins.

God wants us to accept His gift

God does not desire that any person should perish. But sin, turning away from God, must be punished. The wages of sin is death according to God’s law. God is perfect and righteous, but if He did not punish sin, He would not be perfectly just. Therefore, while offering the gift of life through faith in Jesus, He warns us of His wrath.

Sin is ugly, nasty and ungodly. God must and will eradicate it. God desires to save us all. Jesus said:

For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him, shall not parish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

God gently shows us the way to avoid an endless, eternal state of pain and suffering… the wages of sin. It is an offer of endless love and affection. It is a wonderful alternative to an unspeakable fate.

God knows we are guilty offers amnesty

Let’s put it another way. You go before a judge. The prosecutor lays out the truth, a fact-driven, ironclad case. You are guilty. You know it, the judge knows it. The judge passes sentence, either a long prison term or an enormous fine, so great you could never pay it.

The judge passes sentence. Then he stands up, removes the judge’s robe and walks around the desk and stands next to you. The judge reaches into the pocket of the rope and comes up with the huge amount of money to pay the fine. Justice has been served and the penalty is paid in full. That is what God offers us to pay the wages of our sin. Again, what we can’t do, God does through Jesus.

The Gospel of John describes sin and redemption

God’s tells us of His gift in the Bible. The Gospel of John is a good place to start your own research into wages of sin. Also, Paul has a lengthy dissertation on wages of sin and the human condition in the Book of Romans. We are all encouraged to examine God’s word to gain a deeper understanding of His law and gifts.