Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

Saved and You Know It

February 6th, 2018

God made salvation simple and certain; confess and believe.

 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

My thoughts and comments today are about, “saved and you know it.”

As a child I learned a simple truth from a few words in a children’s song, “If you’re saved and you know it, then your life will surely show it. If you’re saved and you know it, say Amen.” Matters of eternal salvation must not be left to speculation.

On this matter, you cannot afford to be wrong. The Bible is clear, “He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the son does not have life. These things have I written unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:12-13 NIV.

There are many people, good people, who have wrongly assumed that being good is all that is required to go to Heaven. They have trusted in their good works, such as: being moral, honest, good neighbors, charitable, or religious, but according to the Bible those are just not good enough. I recall someone observing that, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage can make you a car.” The Bible is clear. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV.

How good is good enough? How many good works make you good enough for Heaven? Would God be fair and just if He left anything as important as your eternal soul to personal assumption or speculation? If I asked you, “What are you trusting right now to allow you into Heaven?” How would you answer? People offer diverse but wrong answers to such a simple question. But it is not what you think that matters, or sincerely believe, or prefer the answer would be, nor anyone else’s opinion that will make Heaven certain as your eternal home.

There is one standard alone for every person in every generation and nation, and that single standard is God’s Word. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV. Who else could you trust to make this eternally consequential matter clear and specific for you? Exclusive? Unfair?

Some people may think so, but a single standard is inclusive, both equally fair and just to one and all. If it will not be adjusted to include someone who fails to meet that righteous standard, then neither could it be adjusted to exclude someone who does. Anyone who accepts God’s Son as their Savior can and will be included – whatever their nationality, language, origin of birth, personal history, or circumstance of life.

The Apostle Paul’s words were unequivocal, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” Romans 10:13 NKJV. No wonder it is called the Good News. No one – absolutely no one – can or will be refused. Here is the simple answer from God’s Word. “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” Romans 10:9-11 NLT. It is important that you know how to make Heaven your eternal home. God made salvation simple and certain. Confess and believe.

In the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word for confess – homologeo – literally means, “to say the same thing as.” The Bible is clear, certain, and unalterable, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV. When from your heart, you say the same things about your sins that God says, about Jesus dying on the cross as redemption for your sins, and inviting Jesus to be your Savior, you receive complete forgiveness and confidence to embrace His promise of eternal salvation. God’s promise is specific and sure.

Here is how you are saved. Ask Jesus to forgive every disobedience and sin, place your faith and trust in Him as your Savior, and listen for the Holy Spirit’s confirming whisper in your heart that you are His and He is yours. Then believe and rejoice that God has done exactly what He promised He would do. You experience no greater joy than knowing your sins are forgiven forever. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NKJV. God will forget your sins. He will never forget you.

The Gospel is simple, clear, certain, true, and powerful to save. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-18 NIV.

Reading that phrase, “to save the world though Him,” are you amazed by the expansive scale and global scope of God’s heart and eternal agenda for the whole world? His love, grace, and passion was and remains as broad as to transform every nation, as far reaching as to redeem every generation, and yet as specific and personal as to redeem each single individual – “to save the world though Him.”

I love the sentiment of the aging apostle John when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 2 NIV. That is my sentiment, my joy, and my prayer for you.

Today, I pray for you to be certain about your salvation, never leaving eternity to chance.

Christian Communications 2018-307

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Second Chances

April 21st, 2011

“Go, tell His disciples – and Peter.” Mark 16:7 NKJV

“The Gospel is written in the lives of people who didn’t get it right the first time.”

My thoughts today are about “second chances.”

Everybody needs a second chance at one time or another, because nobody gets it right the first time, every time. Do you remember when you got one? Remember giving one to someone else? A second chance is really what grace is about; it’s not owed to you. You don’t deserve it; there’s nothing you can do to earn it. It’s simple. You need a second chance; a friend gives it.

Peter thought he was expansive in giving second chances when he asked Jesus how many times he should do so. Seven times? That sounds generous, and is. Peter thought he was being extravagant with forgiveness. Remember Jesus’ response? Who’s counting? “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Read Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV. The number was not the point; a limit was not the issue. Give second chances until you are no longer counting! That’s what God does for you. When Paul described the attributes of God’s love, he wrote, “Love keeps no score of wrongs . . love never gives up.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 JBPhilips.

I am fortunate to have been given second chances along the way – all of them needed, few deserved, most unexpected, all appreciated. Isn’t that your story as well? God has been gracious; people have been generous. I hope I have given more than I have gotten, but who’s counting?

When you consider many whose stories are in the Bible, you see what second chances are and what a difference they can make. Abraham had several; Jacob needed plenty; Joseph’s brothers could not believe theirs; David marveled at the grace given to him; Saul, Peter, John Mark, and even Judas have a similar testimony. The story of the Gospel is written in the lives of people who didn’t get it right the first time, or even the times that followed.

The prophet Jeremiah was sent by God to the potter’s house where he saw a vivid picture of grace that redeems, “I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as it seemed best to him.” Jeremiah 18:1-10 NIV. The potter’s first design was marred, but God is the God of a second chance.

You know the story so pertinent to this season of the church year. Jesus is arrested and Peter denies ever knowing Jesus. Peter slips into the dark of night and weeps bitter tears of regret for lost chances. It’s over; nothing could fix this. He had his chance and messed up. Jesus is crucified and buried. Then the buzz was all about an empty tomb and angels announcing “Jesus is risen!” The angels had a message from the risen Jesus, “Go tell His disciples – and Peter – that Jesus is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.” Mark 16:6-8 NKJV. When Peter heard the women’s story, he could not believe his ears. Did they say, “And Peter?”

The message of a second chance – even seventy times seven – was a personal invitation to a man who needed just another chance. If you are struggling with bitter memories of lost chances, repeated mistakes, and missed opportunities, listen! I think you may hear your name being called. A second chance has your name on it today!

My prayer for you today is that you don’t give up on yourself ever; God will not!

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