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.
Christmas is right around the corner and every year we hear the same rhetoric. There is much opposition to this particular religious holiday from many people, secularist, atheist and others. Mainly from liberals that call for tolerance as long as it has nothing to do with Christianity, Jesus or the Bible.
Christianity is under attack in this country and this year the same people come forward to speak out against the name of Christmas, the Christmas tree and other Christian symbols. To be honest, personally I do not believe that Christmas as we know it was celebrated by the early church or that the early church used a Christmas tree to commemorate the birth of Christ.
I can’t find anything in the Bible that teaches the believers to celebrate Christmas i.e. the birth of Christ as we traditionally do in many places around the world. I do believe that it is a man-made holiday and that some aspects of it are rooted in ancient paganism, adopted by Constantine, who compromised with the world, mixing Christianity with Paganism.
Many books have been written about this subject and people have discussed this issue for many years. I don’t really care to go into too many details about this. Christmas has been a longstanding tradition and I’m not opposed to it.
Jesus wasn’t born on Dec 25th but since no one knows the exact date, the world settled on that date. The world celebrates Christmas and it has become nothing more than a commercial holiday, especially over the last few decades.
I participate in the celebration of Christmas with the family and the exchange of gifts etc. and I do enjoy a decorated tree in my living room, but I firmly believe that the only Holidays the Lord cares about are His seven divine appointed Feast which are: Passover, Unleavened bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles. Three of the Feast are in the Spring and four in the fall. Some could argue that Jesus may have been born during the feast of Tabernacles.
Those are the Holidays that we should learn and care about. Whenever God has done great things, He has many times done them on His divine appointed times. Jesus was crucified on Passover, He was in the tomb for Unleavened bread and rose on First fruits. The Holy Spirit inaugurated the church age on Pentecost. I believe that the rapture will happen on the feast of trumpets, the world will be judged on Yom Kippur and God will dwell with us on the Feast of Tabernacles.
Once again we will celebrate Christmas this year almost like the world celebrates it, with the one difference that we think of Jesus Who became flesh, dwelled among us and took our sins and nailed them to the cross. We believe in Him by faith. Many Christians have Christmas trees in their homes and many churches display them these days. I used to have a problem with seeing a Christmas tree in the church, but I’m over it now.
Then there are those who believe that the tree is a pagan symbol and that the Bible speaks about it in the book of Jeremiah chapter 10. Louis Farrakhan, who I would not consider to be a biblical Christian in light of various statements he has made over the years and his antisemitic views. Farrakhan has come out again addressing the Christmas tree and points to a passage in Jeremiah. Many people have used these passages over the years to supposedly prove that God is against a decorated Christmas tree.
That of course is absolute nonsense and those passages have nothing to do with a Christmas tree or any other Christmas decorations. Here is another classic example showing how people use certain passages or verse to twist it in order to fit their agenda and ideology.
“For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.” Jeremiah 10:3-5
Those verses clearly talk about people cutting a piece of wood, to make idols that they bowed down to and worshiped. The Israelites turned their backs many times on the Lord and worshiped pagan idols, decorating them with gold and silver. Many idols had a human likeness. Instead of worshiping and praising the true and living God, they bowed down to a dead piece of wood.
That is one thing God does not like, man making idols and bow down to them. Israel was punished many times because the turned to idols and today we as the church i.e the bride of Christ, need to be careful not to make idols or worship something that is not real. Some people worship wealth, material things and themselves. There are three things that we need to guard against, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.
There is nothing wrong with having some nice things, as long as they do not come before God. The Christmas tree is not an idol and I have not seen anyone bowing down to the tree or worship the tree.
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a time to reflect and realize that God send His Son, Who humbled Himself and left Heaven to become one of us, God in the flesh.
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.
“Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all. “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Hab 2:19, 20.
Cast away your Idols, don’t live after the things of the world, seek the Kingdom. God will topple every idol that man has made for himself. God is shaking the nations. It’s time to awake and seek what is real and everlasting.
The handwriting is on the wall for the world. The world is blind and will be struck with perplexity.
Those who have spiritual eyes understand the times and season. God’s message to the world:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mat 6:19-21.
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.
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)