The Gospel of Grace
How To Be Saved
A DECISION FOR CHRIST
DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN
A SOUL FOR CHRIST!
Millions around the world allegedly have made decisions for Jesus Christ!
The September 1977 issue of Eternity Magazine reported the results of an evangelistic crusade that encompassed 178 churches. The results were astonishing. Out of the 4,106 decisions made for Jesus Christ, only 3% joined a local church.
In 1996, a survey conducted by the Allan Guttmacher Institute in New York found that "eighteen percent of abortion patients describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians" (U.S. News & World Report, August 19, 1996). About 1 in 5 murdered their own child who professed faith in Jesus Christ.
In 1994, the Barna Research Group conducted a survey that revealed that 1 in 4 Americans who said they were born-again believe Jesus "sinned" while He was on the earth. The Bible however says that Jesus "knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21); Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22.
Some years ago, the Barna Research Group revealed that 62% of Americans claim to have "a relationship with Jesus Christ". Yet a Gallup taken around the same time revealed that of the 62% who claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, approximately 10% were what the Gallup called "a breed apart". This means that there are millions in America who claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but whose lives don't match their claim.
Fact: 92% of the American people own a Bible, but only 11% read it daily.
In a survey conducted by Roper Organization, 61% believe that "premarital sex is not morally wrong".
The December 1995 Youth Leader magazine stated:
MORE Christian teens watch MTV each week (forty-two percent) than non- Christians (thirty-three percent), according to a Barna Research Group survey of evangelical teens.
The article went on to quote Barna surveys showing that of these same teens, 65% claim to have prayed daily; 72% believed in the Bible; 55% have had sex over a three-month period; 20% either got drunk or had used illegal drugs.
Many good people who have done great deeds even in Jesus' name, will not enter heaven. Many are even brought up in church; even priests and preachers. Many are church members, but not Christians. They are reformed but not reborn. They have lamps but no oil.
Are most people going to heaven or hell? Jesus answers this question in Matthew 7:13-14:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
More people are lost than are saved. According to Jesus Christ, relatively few people out of the millions on earth will be in Heaven.
I urge you to get saved.
Millions who claim to be saved are lost.
You may be one of them!
The Lord has indeed bestowed His grace and mercy upon undeserving sinners, allowing a way by which one can be saved according to the work of Christ on the cross. What is this Gospel of grace? It's the Way to everlasting life!
Acts 16:30 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
1. Realize you are a Sinner:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...
Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
The first step in realizing that you need a Savior is acknowledging that you are indeed lost to begin with. Many of us try to take inventory of our lives and count up all of the good deeds and kind words we've ever offered our fellow man. But with regard to our eternal destination, as Isaiah states above, our good deeds (righteous acts) amount to nothing more than rags compared to the righteousness of God.
Indeed, you may have done some praiseworthy things in life. But no man can stand alone against the holiness and righteousness of God. The Bible describes Him as a "consuming fire", sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Up against that, and by the standard of perfection that God demands, we realize that the shiny crown of goodness consists of nothing but sand.
Have you ever lied? Ever stolen? Looked lustfully at another person other than your spouse? Then you have done enough to deserve eternal judgment for your sins.
2. Acknowledge that you can't save yourself.
Romans 3:10 As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
As we saw above, compared to the holiness of God our shiny works are sand. Thus, we cannot do anything to redeem ourselves, and do not possess the righteousness to satisfy God's justice.
We are all unrighteous. Our sinful nature separates us from the Lord and makes us objects of His wrath.
3. See what we deserve.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death...
That is right. Death. While we are slaves to our sin natures, we are standing dead in our sin. This does not denote a physical death, but rather a spiritual one. One that is marked by separation from God.
But God does not leave us here without any hope for anyone in this world. Rather, God has made a way for His justice to be satisfied through the death of Christ Jesus on the cross. His holy blood secured a purchase for sinners, and His act was one of complete redemption for those whom the Lord would call to Himself. None of us deserve the mercy of the Lord. None of us deserve forgiveness. But yet God, in His great mercy, came down to earth in the form of a man and made the way for man and God to be reconciled.
Nothing we could do on our own can save us. Neither can anything we do add to our salvation. God's grace alone saves us, through faith alone in Christ alone. But how do we become followers of Christ?
4. Repent of Your Sin
Ezekiel 14:6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.
Luke 13:5 "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
The word "repent" means to "turn away from". So, when we see the Biblical admonishment to "repent" of our sins, it means that we are to turn away from them. Salvation is not fire insurance that gives you the ticket to go on and continue to disobey God. Rather, as Paul states in Romans: "Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" Rather, the desire to be forgiven of our sins by God should be met with a sorrowful heart which desires to obey God and submit to Him.
Does this mean that you never will sin again. No, sadly not. As long as we are still on Earth, we will face temptation. But those who truly love the Lord and are redeemed by Him will seek to obey Him and repent when they stumble. "1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
5. Realize what Jesus did for you
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
The death of Christ 2000 years ago was no accident, and did not catch Him by surprise. Rather, Christ's sole mission on earth was to redeem those the Lord would call to forgiveness. And His resurrection demonstrates His victory over death and sin, and His power and might as God the Son. Realize that only this sacrifice from God saved us and acknowledge that it is only by His death that we become righteous before God. Christ was our substitute when He died on the cross, and His death satisfied the demands of God's justice. The Bible tells us that "Act 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."" So it is only through His death that we can be forgiven.
6. Submit Yourself to Christ
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Matthew 16:25 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Once again, salvation is by no means insurance from hell. Rather, it is a demonstration of God's glory that He can redeem sinners and His mercy, that He chose to forgive these sinners and save them from His wrath through Christ. As a result of this, we die to ourselves and to our sinful nature. Christ's righteousness makes us righteous before God, and as we walk and grow in His truth, we are to continually die to that sin nature and become more like Jesus...until, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. We take up His cross, and follow Him, as He tells us "Matthew 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."" Consider the burden of carrying our own sin apart from God and compare that to the lightness of submitting to Jesus and nailing our sins to the cross of Christ.
7. Consider the Consequences of Rejecting Christ
Matthew 7:26 "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.... 2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how... to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.
We all stand accountable for our sins before God, but we stand with a suitcase full of sin. Every lie, every time you stole, every time you sinned, every transgression sits in our suitcase that we carry to our judgment. The fact of the matter is that, essentially, we are born with a sin nature... born needing forgiveness. "Psalms 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" Thus, we are sinners in need of a Savior! But what if we reject that Savior?
"Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." If Christ died for our transgressions (or sins), and we reject Him, then we still stand with our suitcase full of sin. Only now, we stand without an advocate, and stand on our own righteousness. Because our righteousness can never come close to the righteousness of God, and against His holiness our good deeds are filthy rags, then we fall under the judgment and wrath of God. Our sentence is eternal damnation.
And hell is no picnic in the park. While many people feel as though hell's just the cozy hangout of non-Christians where they can party and have fun, we see hell described as such:
Luke 16:22 "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
Luke 16:23 "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luke 16:24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'
Luke 16:25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
Luke 16:26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
Look at the words use to describe hell: torment and agony. And look at the finality of death..."between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us". Once you are condemned, you are condemned.
8. See That the Offer of the Gospel is Available to Anyone
Rom 10:13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
The wonderful thing about this offer of salvation is that it is not for "the best and the brightest" but for all. While not all will be saved, the gift of God has nothing to do with your status and stature. Rather, the proclamation of the Gospel is for all men.
If God has called you and is drawing you to Himself then the Holy Spirit is probably also convicting you of your sin. In our guilt, we think that we are so vile that God would want nothing to do with us. But He does. It gives God joy to bring us to Himself and to forgive us of sin. None of us deserved to be forgiven, but yet God forgives us, in His mercy and His compassion.
So do not be afraid, and think the Lord will turn you away. Go to Him and confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! :)
These are the three steps by which we are to reach "the prize of our high calling"--glory, honor and immortality. Not one of these steps can be omitted by those who win the great prize, nor can they be taken in any way but their order as directed in the Scriptures.
Justification comes first as a necessity, because, all the human race being sinners, as such God could not either sanctify or glorify them; therefore, by some means, they must be "made free from sin" (brought to a condition of sin-less-ness) in order that they might "have their fruit unto holiness" (sanctification), and eventually receive "the end thereof-- eternal life" (redemption). Rom. 6:22.
As sinners, men "are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can they be." (Rom. 8:7). We are "made free from sin" by faith; that is, we are told of God that a ransom has been given for our sin, and that if we by faith accept the ransom, he no longer regards or treats us as sinners, but as perfect and sinless beings. This cleansing from sin is a complete work. You are justified--reckoned of God just and perfect, but it cannot be seen with the natural eye. You cannot realize that physically you are any more perfect than before you believed yourself justified. It is entirely by the eye of faith that you know yourself now as a being, justified freely from all things. God's word declares it and you believe Him.
We need not fear that our justification is incomplete, for Jehovah Himself is the justifier, as we read, God is "just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26), and again, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth."
Upon what grounds does God reckon human sinners as justified or righteous persons? Because the ransom for our sins has been paid by Jesus, who "Himself bare our sins in His own body on the tree." (1 Pet. 2:24). For "Christ suffered, the just for the unjust (sinners), that He might bring us to God" (1 Pet. 3:18) as justified beings. Jesus was treated as a sinner on our behalf, and we are now treated as just persons on His behalf. As we read again, "Ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus." (1 Cor. 6:11). And again, "Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Rom. 5:9). But
ONLY BELIEVERS ARE JUSTIFIED
during this Gospel age. They who do not believe that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that "He rose again the third day," for our justification (1 Cor. 15:14; Rom. 4:25), are not justified: "Ye are yet in your sins." So we read, God "is the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Again, "All that believe are justified from all things" (Acts 13:39), and "A man is justified by faith." (Gal. 2:16and 3:24).
When we believe the "good news" of our justification, it causes us joy and peace to realize that we may now come to God; and we no longer dread but now love God, because we see His goodness and love, for "herein is the love of God manifested." (1 Jno. 4:9).
We are thus brought into fellowship with God as justified human beings --"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." (Rom. 5:1). Few, very few, lay hold upon justification fully; few believe God that they "are justified from all things" and are in God's sight clothed in the spotlessness of Jesus, in whom was no sin; consequently very few have the joy and peace which spring from believing. And it is no uncommon thing to hear, in church meetings of all denominations, men and women tell God that they know themselves to be "miserable sinners." Poor creatures, no wonder they agonize and daily ask the forgiveness of those sins which God's word declares are forgiven. 2 Pet. 1:9. They know not that they partake of the justification by believing. If they would only believe God, they would have the realization of forgiveness, and consequently joy and peace. "For without faith it is impossible to please God." Beyond this point of rejoicing in a consciousness of forgiveness of sins, and acceptableness in God's sight, few Christians go.
Did you ever think why God has made known to us our justification now, but keeps it hidden from the great mass of the race until the millennial age, though the ransom price is eventually to release all mankind from sin and its penalty, and bring them to the same condition of acceptance --sinlessness--perfection which we now enjoy by faith? It is because God has a plan which He is working out according to the counsel of His own will, and a part of that plan is that He will select from among mankind a number who will eventually be transferred from the earthly conditions and human nature to spiritual conditions and the "divine nature"--to be "heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord."
God's object in the development of this "little flock" is two-fold: first, He will make them everlasting monuments of His goodness, to be known and read of angels and men. As Paul expresses it (Eph. 2:7), God's plan in the development of the Gospel church of overcomers, is, "That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." The second part of God's [R200 : page 7] plan, in which we are directly associated, is, that He purposes to use us during the next--millennial--age as kings (rulers) and priests (teachers), when we shall reign with Christ a thousand years. (Rev. 5:10, 20:6). Thus shall the "seed," of which Jesus is the head, bless all the families of the earth. (Gal. 3:29).
No sinners are called to have part in this "high calling, which is of God in Christ Jesus." True, Jesus called "sinners to repentance"--so does the word of God, and all his children seek to bring men to repentance and faith in Christ and consequent justification. But only the justified ones are called to be "kings and priests unto God, and to reign on the earth." It is worse than useless to present the grand prize for which we run to the attention of sinners--the unjustified. For the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned--they are foolishness unto him. Therefore, "cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
This being true, that none are called to the high calling except the justified ones, the fact that you know of your justification may be the proof to you that you are one of those whom God has "called" to spiritual life and joint-heirship with Jesus. What a blessed privilege to be called with such a high calling. Now do you realize that you are called to be a member of the Bride of Christ? Then remember who called you-- God; and that "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." (1 Thess. 5:24). Our Father mocks none with a call which they cannot attain to. His grace is sufficient for us.
All who are called may take the second step--
To sanctify is to set apart or separate to a special thing or use. God's will is that all justified ones should be sanctified or set apart to his service as we read: "This is the will of God even your (believers) sanctification." (1 Thes. 4:3.) There are two parts to sanctification--first ours, secondly God's part. As we have seen, God provides for our justification as men and then calls us to set apart--sanctify --or consecrate to him, that justified humanity. When we do, thus consecrate or give up our will, our time, talent, life and all we have and are to God, and ask him to take our little all and use it as seemeth to him good, and agree to let the will of God dwell in us richly--when we have done this we have done all that we can do; and here God who accepts of every such sacrifice, begins His part of the sanctification work. He begins to use this will resigned to his care and "to work in you both to will and to do" in harmony with his will. From that moment it is no longer you (the human) but "Christ in you." Even the earthly (human) body, under the new controlling will (God's) is used in God's service and is thereby made holy.
From this moment when we give consecrate--ourselves--we are reckoned dead, as human beings for the human will, should be buried from that moment forward; and when the will of God--the mind of Christ--the Holy Spirit takes possession of us so that it becomes our will and our mind, we are called "new creatures"--we are thus begotten to newness of life. This new creature is only an embryo being: It is not complete; but it grows and develops and "we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. 3:18.) Thus as new spiritual creatures we grow in his likeness during the time we abide in this earthly condition. As the spiritual nature grows stronger the human nature grows weaker and is the easier to keep dead, for I must not only give up my will to God, but keep it in a surrendered condition, "keep my body under"--under God's will.
As the new spiritual nature grows it longs for its perfection when it will no longer be trammeled and fettered by human conditions, but be "like unto Christ's glorious body." This is promised us--we have been begotten, and by and by shall be born of the Spirit--spiritual bodies, for "that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit," just as truly as "that which was born of the flesh was flesh." Our begetting we have and our spiritual life is begun. It is to be completed, perfected, when this corruptible, and mortal condition shall give place to the incorruptible, immortal conditions of the Spiritual body. This will be at the moment of resurrection to those who sleep in Jesus--raised spiritual bodies; and it will be the moment of change to the living (from the fleshly body to their own spiritual bodies-- theirs as new creatures.) Thus, "we which are alive and remain shall be changed in a moment." 1 Cor. 15:52.
"If I in Thy likeness, O Lord, may awake,
And shine a pure image of Thee,
Then I shall be satisfied when I can break
The fetters of flesh and be free.
When on Thine own image in me Thou hast
Within Thy blest mansion, and when
The arms of my Father encircle His child,
O! I shall be satisfied then.
And O! the blest morning already is here;
The shadows of nature do fade;
And soon in Thy likeness I'll with Thee appear,
In glory and beauty arrayed."
This change of residence or condition, from the earthly body to the spiritual body is the third step of our development, viz:
This redemption from the present earthly conditions, finishes and completes our salvation and the glory of power will follow.
Toward this the end of the race we are looking with longing eyes, "Ourselves, that have the first fruits (begetting) of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves waiting for sonship, --the redemption of our body" (the body of which Jesus is the head and all overcomers are members.) Rom. 8:23.
THE POWER WHICH SANCTIFIES.
It is not a power of physical force that is used by the Spirit of God in our development, but a mental power which appeals to our minds and wills.
The Spirit appeals to our reason, and uses the word of God as its agent. In the Word, the Spirit has in former ages stored up, both by prophetic utterances and Law shadows and types, those truths which God designed should during this Gospel age be the food to sanctify the body of Christ and build it up in the most holy faith. And we act wisely if we make use of this spiritual food. ("Thy words were found and I did eat them." Jer. 15:16). It is furnished us for the purpose of sanctifying us. If we go to our Father and say, Father, I give myself all to thee; I pray thee, set me apart as holy to thy service, both now and hereafter. Give me needed strength to do thy will. He answers, yes, my child, I have already provided a rich store-house of truth, from which, if you eat, you shall have the strength you ask. "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you"--seek, and you shall find."
The seeker returns, saying, Father, I found the store-house, but saw little but plain food exposed to view; most of the choice viands must have been locked up in the great closets which the keys did not seem to fit. Father, give me strength in some other way. Not so, my child. Part of your lesson is to learn that my way is best; that my way of giving is your best way of receiving strength. Go; your strength, joy, zeal and love for me will increase as one after another these closets open before you, revealing their rich treasures.
Yes, the word of God is the treasure-house of our Father, in which He has stored truth to sanctify the church in every age, wherein is "given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:2,4). In it is revealed "the love of Christ (which) constraineth us." (2 Cor. 5:14), and by means of it our Master prayed that we should be sanctified: "Father sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth." (John 17:17.) What Christian, then, who desires sanctification can afford to ignore the Scriptures? Which one will say he has no time to examine and seek in it for truth? As well say he has no time for sanctification. "It is the power of God unto salvation." (Rom. 1:16.) Let us, then, who seek this great salvation-- high calling--say to ourselves as Paul said to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:15-17), "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation." "All Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Now call to mind the steps: First, justification of the human nature; second, a consecration or sacrifice of that human nature to God, its consequent death and the beginning of your existence as a spiritual new creature in the human body during the present life; third, the completion of your new, divine nature, by the power of God, when you will be like unto Christ's glorious body--who is the express image of the Father's person. Glorious, high calling! You are called: "Many are called, few are chosen," "Make your calling and election sure."
Do you ask how you can make it sure? I answer, by doing according to your covenant; give up your all to Father and let Him use you as he sees best--
"All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All your being's ransomed power:
All your thoughts and words and doings,
All your days and all your hours."
"If you do these things (which you covenanted) ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:10-11.") God will surely keep His part of the agreement [Faithful is He that called you.] "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." (2 Tim. 2:12.)
=Email me if you need help understanding these Truths... Brother Keith