Propitiation, is a word that many liberal Christians do not like at all. What is propitiation? The Greek word is “hilasterion” which means appeasing or expiating. Another meaning for the word propitiation can also be mercy-seat. Paul when writing to the Romans expounded on why the wrath of God would fall on all of mankind who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.He also makes the point that no one can be saved by the works of the law. The law could make no one righteous before God. The rabbinical teachers of Paul’s days taught that by keeping the law i. e. the Torah with its 613 commandments would save a person.Paul makes it very clear that no one can keep the law perfectly and that righteousness before God cannot be attained by the works of the law. “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20. Righteousness can only come by faith i.e. believing in God and His promises. There is not one righteous, no not one”.Paul writes: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…” Romans 3:9. Since there is none righteous before God and the works of the law cannot save a person, how than is someone saved? This is where the word propitiation comes in, God in His mercy and grace provided the atonement necessary to appease Him and justify the believer.“ But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Rom 3:21-26“whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by His blood.” The phrase “by His blood” is to be taken in immediate connection with “propitiation.” Christ, through His expiatory death, is the personal means by whom God shows the mercy of His justifying grace to the sinner who believes. His “blood” stands for the voluntary giving up of His life, by the shedding of His blood in expiatory sacrifice, under Divine judgment righteously due to us as sinners, faith being the sole condition on man’s part.Liberal Christians are very uneasy about this wrath of God and that God needed to be appeased. Some of them even go so far to say that the God of the OT is an angry and blood thirsty God and so different from the God of the NT. Nothing could be further from the truth.The God of the OT is the same God of the NT. “For I am the LORD, I do not change…Mal 3:6. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Heb 13:8. God who is a just and righteous God has to punish sin, He cannot compromise or overlook sin. Otherwise He would not be a just Judge. In the OT before Christ, God judged people, nations and sin either directly or indirectly. In some cases God used Israel as His instrument through which the judgment came to the pagan nations that surrounded Israel.In other instances He brought the wrath directly i.e. the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the rebellion of Korah and others recorded for us in the OT. In the OT times God gave the nations many warnings through His prophets about His judgment if they would not turn from their sins. God was and is long-suffering, take for instance the Amorites, God waited 400 years before He judged them for their iniquities.“Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. “And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. “Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. “But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Gen 15:13-16.God gave this prophesy to Abram before his son Isaac was even born. We need to keep one thing in mind when unbelievers make the argument that God is a blood thirsty cruel god, who loves to punish people and wipe them out. The nations that God punished in the OT, were the most vile and brutal people. They sacrificed their children on altars to their many gods or burned them. These pagan nations did many ungodly practices that offended the true and living God. Throughout the OT we can read about the judgments of God against these nations and their vile and evil practices, which are also recorded in secular historical writings.When we come to the NT, God through His Son Jesus the Messiah judged sin once and for all. The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross paid for the sin of the world. There were no more blood sacrifices needed to atone for the sins of the people of Israel as instructed in the law given to Moses. God provided the sacrifice needed to appease Him and justice was served by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross.God did what Abraham told Isaac on mount Moriah, when God tested him and ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son. “But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Gen 22:7, 8.This is a beautiful picture of what God did 2000 years later on the very same spot. God provided the sacrifice, His son as a propitiation for the sins of the people. The blood of Jesus was sufficient to pay the penalty of sin. The instituted blood sacrifices of animals were done away with, they could only cover sins, the blood of Jesus took away the sins once and for all. The price was paid in full. Believers in Jesus Christ are justified before God by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. God looks at the believers through the blood of Christ and the believer is declared righteous before God because of what Jesus did for them. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.It is the imputed righteousness of Christ that is imputed onto the believer. There is nothing that anyone can do to appease God, not by works or any other means. People must come through Jesus Christ, the propitiator, the appeaser that justifies the believer. For those who do not believe in the wrath of God and object the propitiation of Jesus, they will have no excuse at the time of the divine judgment. God has paid a very high price to redeem mankind, the precious blood of Christ.Those who reject will be judged accordingly and the wrath of God abides on them. These are not my words, but the words of Jesus: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
Update: I wrote this before the Boston Marathon bombing and some other tragedies that have occurred before the Sandy Hook Shooting. Just in these few month since the school shooting we see an increase in violence around the world.
We witnessed another tragedy in the US, a shooting at a school in Connecticut. Twenty young children and eight adults including the 20 year old shooter died on this horrific day. My heart and my prayers go out to the families that lost their loved once today.
It was a day filled with evil, pure evil. Evilness is real and is on the rise worldwide. We are seeing it first hand in days like these. A few days ago it was a Shopping Mall that cost the lives of people, before that it was a movie theater in Aurora.
Columbine is another haunting memory and there are many more and there will be more in the future. People are looking for answers, how can something like this happen?
Psychologist try to find answers why people do these horrific things with a scientific explanation and look at these evil acts as something that is caused by society and circumstances in peoples lives.
They admit that there is a problem in today’s society, but they come from a point of human reasoning. A human perspective. If we could just change the behaviors of people in society, these horrific acts would lessen or disappear they believe.
They forget that there is darkness in the world, a darkness which is satanic and evil in nature. They look at the world from a purely human level rather than from a spiritual level.
Evil exist, darkness exist. The only way to fight this darkness is to shine light on it and it will flee. Darkness can only exist due to the lack of light. Darkness i.e evil cannot exist when light is present.
Jesus Christ is that Light and we as believers are partakers of that Light in this dark world. We need to shine light onto that darkness and expose it for what it is; pure evil.
We can blame guns and other things all day long for these atrocities, but as long as society dismisses the fact that evil exist and that it is controlled by an unseen force, they will never see the truth. We are living in a fallen world and the ruler of this world is the evil one.
Many people do not want to acknowledge that Satan exist, exactly what he wants. As long as people are in the dark they will not see the Light. They serve the prince of this world, unknowingly to most, but as Bob Dylan once sang, “you gotta serve someone.”
Jesus spoke about the darkness quite often. We have a choice, to either listen or ignore what Jesus said. Many ignore Jesus and basically make Him out to be a liar.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. “Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” Luke 11:34-36.
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Mat 24:12.
That is exactly what we are seeing today, people without a conscience or feelings. They can take the life of others and commit horrific crimes without feeling an ounce of guilt.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32.
I believe that it will get darker in the future and believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior need to stand against the darkness and share from God’s perspective and His Word that was given to us. There is an answer to our sinful and fallen world, that answer is Christ.
Many want to live and participate in that dark world, even after Jesus offered them the gift of eternal life by dying for them on the cross. Why? Because they love the darkness.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:16-20.
I pray that some who may read this and not yet know the Lord, to seek Him. Come out of the darkness into His marvelous light.
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12.
We are inching closer to a two state solution which would be disastrous for Israel. The day will come and looking at the Middle East especially the massacre by the Syrian regime on it’s own people without the UN really helping the people of Syria.
The world just looks on while according to the rebel forces over 40.000 people have been slaughtered.
I believe that we are coming very close to Joel chapter 3 being fulfilled:
“For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem.” Joel 3:1.
God did that in 1948, when Israel was back in the land. Prophecy fulfilled.
“I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.” Joel 3:2.
The first part will come after the division of the land, which will happen. Note, it says “they have also divided up my land.”
Israel will be divided, whether Israel likes it or not.
This will happen in the very near future. Something will happen with Syria. There is one prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled. It is a prophecy in Isaiah 17.
“The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1.
Damascus is one of the oldest inhabited city in the world. Listening to the news and the advancement of the rebels towards Damascus could bring this prophecy into reality sooner as we may think. All it takes is one nuke.
The stage is set for a two state resolution, Syria is in a civil war and Iran is going rogue, sympathizing with the Syrian regime, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.
In Egypt, the Muslim brotherhood has taken over and President Mursi is trying to set himself up as a dictator. The US is almost powerless in the Middle East and has lost the confidence of some Muslim that want freedom and a democracy in the region. Maybe one of the reasons that we can’t find America mentioned in the Bible?
The Middle East is a powder keg that can go off big time at any time. Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon threatening to wipe Israel of the map. Ahmadinejad is reigning in chaos and is eagerly awaiting the 12th Imam.
We are truly living in biblical times and we see things that no other generation has seen. We see the globalization of the world, the US moving toward socialism and President Obama as a promoter of a global economy i.e a one world order with a worldwide currency.
Now is the time to watch. Everyday something is changing and I do believe that God is shaking up the world. The world is struck with perplexity and we hear of wars and rumors of war.
Jesus told us about all these things that will come to pass and there will be a person that will emerge to bring a peace plan to the Middle East. A 7 year peace plan that will according to the Bible fall apart in the middle after 3 1/2 years which will usher in the Great Tribulation.
I’m not making any prediction when this will happen, but looking at the way things are developing, it’s time to wake up and look up.
I think that we will see some things in the very near future that will drive the world into a tailspin. Are you ready?
The study of Eschatology is important, especially now that we are getting closer to many prophecies come to pass.
Ezekiel 38, 39. Daniel, Mark 13, Luke 21 and Matthew 25, some of Paul’s writing, the book of Joel, Zechariah and of course the book of Revelation. There are other that I didn’t mentioned, but God has given us His word. We should not be surprised or shocked as the world will be, because the Lord has given us all knowledge.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the Muslim world and pray that many people will come to the knowledge of the truth. God is working all things for good. He is on the throne and He is in control over all things.
The signs of the time, society heading into the wrong direction. It was not President Obama who chose this picture, but once again the liberal media portrays him as a Saint. I let the Word of God speak for itself.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrew 4:12, 13.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” Romans 1:18, 19.
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:24-32.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20.
“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1Cr 1:11-13.
Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth almost 2000 years ago. Even in the early days of the church, divisions and conflicts plagued the church in Corinth. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus to correct and rebuke them. People had formed cliques and had their own leaders. There was the “Paul Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the founder of the church, the apostle Paul. We’re the ones that are right with God!” There was the “Apollos Party,” who declared “We are following a man who is great in power and spiritual gifts, and impressive. We’re the ones really right with God!” There was the “Peter Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the man who is first among all the apostles. Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and he’s our man. We’re the ones really right with God!” There was the “Jesus Party,” who declared “You all are so carnal, following after mere men. We are following in the footsteps of no one less than Jesus Himself. We’re the ones really right with God!”
Really not all that much different from today’s church. There are many denominations that claim that they are right with God and others are not because of what they believe or teach. They believe that the have the truth. There are so many denominations that it can get outright confusing for believers, let alone unbelievers.
Many unbelievers that watch the church are asking the question: “Which of all the different churches is the right one? Shouldn’t you Christians all be the same? How come there are so many contentions and divisions amongst you?” I can see their point. There are the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterians and the list goes on. Which one holds the the truth? They all claim to be the right church, yet there are vast differences between them.
Than there are these Tel-evangelist who are fleecing the people of their money, selling their anointed holy oil or prayer cloth on TV like a shopping channel. Some teach the prosperity gospel, talking about sowing “your seed” so that God will bless you. Send in a seed of a thousand dollars and God will double it. God is not an ATM machine. Some of them want you to send them a love gift. These people are greedy and exploit people. They prey on the vulnerable and weak. They come in the name of God, but have alternative motives. Mostly to fill their own pockets and boast about their awesome ministry and how God has blessed them. No, you ripped off the people, that’s how you can afford to be on TV selling your anointed prayer cloth.
Jesus never taught a prosperity gospel. He never taught that we should be after riches in this lifetime. Seeing these TV preachers makes me not want be a identified as a Christian sometimes. They turn me off and admittedly they do make me angry.
What about so-called churches like the Westboro Baptist church that demonstrates at military funerals, condemning all homosexuals to hell and preach on the street corners that God caused 9/11. Is that anything like what Christ taught? Did Jesus come to condemn the people? Shame on these so-called Christians. They are not representing Jesus and they are far from Him. Is that how the church should act or look like to the outside world? Is that what a Christian church should look like?
What is the church? I know on thing for sure, it is not a building, a temple or denomination. The true church is the bride or the body of Christ. Every true believer are individual stones that make up the temple of God, with Jesus being the cornerstone.
There are so many today just as in Paul’s days that follow a denomination, a certain preacher or liberal theologians. Many of the churches have compromised with the world, they are lukewarm and some are so far removed from the true faith that I could not even consider them as true followers of Jesus Christ. Many of those are seeker friendly churches, that do not address sin or talk about the blood. They want to be politically correct and don’t want to offend anybody. Was Jesus politically correct during His ministry? Jesus went right to the heart of a person, convicting them of their sins which led many to repentance. He did not hold back or softened the message.
The true Gospel is offensive and many churches are refusing to preach that message today. They care more about how many people attend their church, giving their tithe and offerings or making them feel comfortable. Let’s not talk about sin or hell. Let’s rather focus on prosperity and how God will bless you if you do certain things. God loves you and blesses you and as long as you give us your money and stay at our church, He will continue to bless you.
I don’t even want to go into certain churches that are either sects or cults. They shall remain nameless at this time. So many of them are very legalistic in their teachings and some have total control over their congregation. Some teach that the Sabbath and dietary laws need to be kept or that water baptism is needed to be saved etc. Others teach that Sundays is the wrong day and that those who go to church on Sundays are worshiping Satan. Others deny the Trinity i.e the triune Godhead altogether, they teach that there are 3 gods or more. How much more confusing can it get? No wonder many unbelievers and especially atheist think of Christians as delusional and backwards.
Paul was very clear about being of one mind and one spirit:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1Cr 1:10.
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.”Phl 1:28.
“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” Rom 12:16.
This is happening today, people follow a denomination or a leader. They listen and follow the teachings of those denominations and some put their trust in their salvation by being members of a certain church. Many people are very religious, but do not know the first thing about true faith or what the Bible teaches. Membership does not save anyone, a certain denomination does not save, neither does following a cult, sect or religious leader. Jesus Christ is the One that saves and a person that has received Jesus as Lord and Savior belongs to His church, the bride of Christ.
I for one rather follow Jesus rather than man. He is my guiding light, He is the way, the truth and the life. If I would rely on a church, pastor or priest for my salvation, I might be in trouble. Man is finite, corrupted and sometimes deceived. Unfortunately many have been deceived by certain church doctrines.
Jesus is the head of the church, it is He that we need to follow. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is God in the flesh. He humbled Himself to become one of us. Because of Him we can know the Father. Because of Him we are reconciled and justified before the Father. Because of Him we have eternal life. If we know Jesus, we know God. If we know Jesus, we are One with God.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Col 1:15-18.
Just think about it, the Creator of all things, Who was and Who is and Who is to come, the great “I AM” loves you and me with an unconditional love. He lives in our hearts and we are secure in Him, if we abide in Him. He is our teacher and He is the One that sees us through every obstacle or challenge we might face. Don’t follow finite man with their egos or pride and often times wrong motives. Follow Jesus instead!
I believe that the scriptures are very clear that people are saved by grace through faith and not of works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8,9.
Now to me it can’t get any clearer than that. Paul wrote this so that no one can boast about what they did in order for God to save them from wrath.
One person was bringing up repentance, he wrote that repentance is part of salvation, which means that the repenting person is actively involved in the salvation process. Is that really so, do people have to repent before they are considered saved? Repentance means a change of mind/heart. I believe that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, He is in the world to convict people of their sin. Some receive it and some will reject the truth. My pastor once gave a nice analogy about repentance.
When the Babylonians invaded the land of Israel, they took captives and transported them to Babylon which was in what is now modern-day Iraq. The Babylonians not only took the people, they burned down their homes to the ground, so that there was nothing for them to come back to. That is what believers should do, burn down their homes, spiritually speaking.
The question is, does repentance come before salvation and can we consider repentance as work? I believe that repentance must come first. There are several verses that would back up that believe. Jesus spoke of repentance many times in the gospels. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1:15. Jesus confirmed that a person must repent, which means the acknowledgment that they have missed the mark and are sinners in need of forgiveness.
Luke wrote: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38. At first glance that sounds like that a person needs to repent before receiving the Holy Spirit, i.e to be “born again.”
Peter was talking to the Jews that had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. It was the day of Pentecost. Many believed that day, about 3000 souls were saved. The crowd listened to Peter as he preached that Jesus is the promised Messiah and many had a change of mind (repentance). They believed the words of Peter and realized that Jesus was the Messiah that the patriarchs and prophets spoke about. That change of heart was a genuine repentance which resulted of the Holy Spirit indwelling them.
Question, was that change of mind the works of man or was it the Holy Spirit that convicted the crowd? It is interesting, because in the very next verse, Peter said this: “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39. “As many as the Lord will call.”
Sounds like it is God’s work. He is the initiator and He is the One that saves. Did these 3000 people do any kind of works or did they simply believed God through the message preached by Peter? Where did the faith that they all had come from? Did they earn it or do something that triggered faith in them? I believe that is was the work of the Holy Spirit that convicted the people and brought about a change of heart. They heard and believed the truth.
Paul said in the book of Ephesians, Faith is a gift of God. It is all God’s sovereign work and I believe there is nothing anyone can do to either earn salvation or work for their salvation. People are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. No one can please God by their works. Abraham had no works, yet God declared Abraham as righteous. “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Gen 15:6.
Abraham was justified because of his faith which was given to him by God. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the Faith chapter or hall of faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham are on that list. Did Abraham do any work in order to be declared righteous? Was it works or his faith that made him righteous before God. It was faith in God and His promises that gave Abraham a righteous standing before God. Abraham had nothing to boast about, it was all God’s action and all the glory belongs to Him.
The Bible is very clear about that our works cannot please God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb 11:6.
“Diligently seek Him.” I believe that God works differently in the life of every person. Some may hear the gospel preached at a crusade or at a church or maybe from a person that witnessed to them. They hear the message and believe and at that moment the Holy Spirit comes into them, making His abode. They heard and believed, changed their minds and received the gift of salvation. It was the Holy Spirit that worked in them and brought the conviction of their sins. God drew them and they repented.
I can only speak about my own experience that I had on that day when I received the Lord. I did not go to a church or crusade. Nobody witnessed to me. I hit rock bottom about 6 years ago from alcohol abuse and I sat on my patio all by myself, feeling miserable. I remember it so vividly, I cried out, “God if you exist, please help me. I do not want to be like this any longer. This is not me!”
From that moment on my life changed. Something happened that was so amazing. I believe that a genuine repentance happened that day that came from the heart. I did not say, “I repent. I repent.” I do believe that God saw my heart that morning and that it was a genuine admittance that I was wrong and I was in need of a Savior. God began a good work in me from that day on, I never had a desire of drinking again. I firmly believe that the Lord took that desire from me completely. I ask the Lord to forgive me for all the things I had done. I was forgiven and born again that day and fell in love with Jesus my Lord and Savior.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about repentance, sin or anything else that the Bible teaches. I didn’t know about justification, sanctification, let alone the grace and mercy of God. All I know is that the Lord came into my life that day and I never have looked back. How was I saved? By my works? I certainly had no works to boast about. I can’t say that I was an atheist or agnostic. I believed that there was a God, but I never paid any attention to Him or knew much about Him.
On that day something happened and I know that the Holy Spirit came into my life and changed me. Where did this faith come from? Not from me, I had no faith before, it was a gift of God. I believe that God knew that this day of my surrender would come long before I was even born. I lived a life seeking my own pleasures for 46 years and when I hit rock bottom, He was there. God is always there, all a person needs to do is to make a U-turn and there He is.
On that day I was justified because I believed God, just as Abraham did so many years before me. Justification is instant and cannot be changed or improved on. Sanctification is a life long process in which the Holy Spirit works in the lives of every believer to conform them more and more into the image of Christ. That I agree requires participation of the believer, the willingness to surrender all to Him. That is the sanctification process, the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer.
Sanctification can be painful at times, the Holy Spirit is pointing out what needs to be purged and done away with in our lives. Sometimes we may put up a fight to surrender it all, but one thing is for sure, the Holy Spirit is patient and longsuffering, but He will never let us get away with what is not right in the sight of God for long. He will sanctify us. Sanctification is a process, the Holy Spirit teaches us and shows us what needs to be purged out of our lives. This is the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the sanctification of every believer.
We need to see things from a spiritual level rather than from the human level. God gave us spiritual understanding and the mind of Christ. God wants us the be holy as He is Holy. He will complete that work. “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;…” Phl 1:6. Again, not our work but His work. He began the good work and He will finish it.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phl 2:12, 13.
I know that some may not agree with what I’m writing and I am not being dogmatic about this whole issue. I do believe however that it is not us but God that has done it all for us. We have nothing to boast about, not about our own goodness or how wonderful we might think we are and how we deserved to be saved by God. It is by His grace and because He loved us. He loved us so much that He became flesh to become one of us and to die and shed His blood on the cross. That is unconditional love and what could I compare that with? Before I say I did this and I did that, I look at the cross and say; Jesus did that. The thief on the cross? No works and nothing to boast about, yet he was saved by the Lord. The thief had a change of mind that was genuine and from the heart. That in my opinion is what it is all about, the heart. People in the world have a heart problem with a God shaped hole, a void that only God can fill. The Holy Spirit calls people to repent, some will hear His voice and some will not.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16.
Once again I had someone argue with me on my Facebook page about salvation after reading my blog “Faith or Works?” This person believes as does his church that works are required in order to be saved. He cited of course the passage in James chapter 2, which some believe contradicts Paul’s writing in Ephesians chapter 2.
Paul and James do not contradict one another. Paul writes about salvation from God’s perspective and James from a human perspective.
Saving faith in a person should be evident in their lives by the fruit they bear. As Jesus said, by their fruit shall you know them. A genuine believer that is saved by faith should bear good fruit for the kingdom.
It amazes me that there are so many people that cannot and will not receive the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. They think that there must be something that they have to do to be saved. I guess some of of it is our human nature, but I have witnessed and seen numerous people spending years to argue that works need to be included. They argue that faith in God alone is not enough and that we have to do something more than just believe.
I don’t see how anyone can come up with a works based salvation message. I cannot find that anywhere in the pages of scripture. It is all God’s work and nothing that we have done. God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He send His only begotten Son. (John 3:16)
We are all declared sinners before God, not one is righteous on their own. “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” Rom 3:10, 11.
God has declared that ALL of mankind has fallen short of His perfect Holiness. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.
It started in garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they ate from the forbidden tree. That one act of disobedience caused sin to enter the world and the result was a spiritual separation from God. Adam and Eve who once were in perfect harmony with God found themselves separated and soon after witnessed what their disobedience had brought forth, the first recorded murder when Cain slew Abel.
I can only imagine what Adam and Eve must have felt on that day when they saw the outcome of their sin. The result of sin is death. They did not die physically, but they died spiritually. There was nothing that Adam and Eve could do to atone for their sin. They tried to cover up their disobedience with fig leafs, thinking that God would be ok with that. But it was not ok, God clothed them in animal skins, signifying that blood was required to atone for their sins. The blood of an innocent animal could only cover their sins but not take them away. Later when we come to the time of Moses, God instituted blood sacrifices as part of the law.
Just as Adam and Eve covered themselves in fig leafs, so are many people today have a fig leaf religion. They think that they can appease God on their own merit. They think that by their “good works” God will look at them as righteous before Him. That is a false hope, there is absolutely nothing that any of us can do to please God with our works. God provided one way and one way alone and we must receive that way.
The only way provided is through the precious blood of Christ. The shed blood of Christ on the cross was sufficient and acceptable for the Father. Jesus is our propitiation, the passover lamb. He that knew no sin became sin for us and died for us, so that we may live eternally with Him.
To all those who think and teach that faith in Jesus alone is not enough and that certain works are required to earn salvation are gravely mistaken. The law could not justify anyone and no one was or is able to keep the law perfectly. If any of us were able to keep the law, than Christ died in vain. People that want to live a life of bondage to the law are destined to fail. The law is perfect and breaking one of them means breaking all of God’s law.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20.
Paul wrote to the Galatians: “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:22-26.
Yet there are those who insist that works are required, the write books about it, they preach from the pulpit and keep their congregation under legalism and bondage. Christ came to set us free from all of that. We are no longer under the law but under grace. The gospel i.e. the good news is so simple, but people have to make it complicated and the put heavy burden on others. This is not what Christ came for and it is not what God wants.
Jesus came to die on the cross for us. He left His place in Heaven to become one of us and to take our sins upon Him. He didn’t have to do that, but God so loves us that He send His Son Who willingly gave His life. That is something to rejoice in and to be thankful for. But what do so many denominations and churches do? They overlook or don’t understand the true meaning of God’s grace and teach others that the have to live by certain rules and regulation in order to be saved.
They have teachings that are not biblical and not be backed up by the scriptures. They twist and turn verses or built their whole theology around a couple of verses, failing to compare scriptures with scriptures. It is no wonder that non-believers sometimes mock Christianity. There are so many denominations and branches of churches out there, teaching different viewpoints and are convinced that the are the only “true church.” There is a lot of confusion out there among the various denominations.
No wonder that Christians look divided, rather than being of one mind. They follow the teachings of men rather than what the word of God teaches.
The only way someone can be saved in by believing in Jesus by faith. It is not Jesus plus, it is Him alone and only through Him and Hid finished work can we be justified before God. It is not our righteousness that God looks at but His righteousness that was imputed onto every true believer. Thank you God for Your mercy and for Your grace. Thank you Father for giving Your only begotten Son.
Thank you Jesus for setting us free from the bondage of law and that you have broken the wall of separation so that we may come boldly before the throne of God.Thank you for giving us Your perfect peace.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom 5:1, 2.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:21-28.
- Faith or works? (media4lifeministries.com)
- Being Good Does Not Save You! (footsoldiers4christ.wordpress.com)