Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

I Believe, But Sometimes I Doubt My Salvation

September 24, 2017

The New Testament tells us over and over that we are saved by grace, by believing in the promises of Jesus. You have said you believe Jesus died for your sins, and I trust you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Savior. In the end, it is not about what we do, not even about the prayer we prayed, but about a relationship. Relationships need to grow. It is very hard to trust someone you don’t know.

When you ask Jesus to be your Savior, he comes into your life forever. He is close as your breath. The Holy Spirit lives within you. God is working in you to make you more like Jesus. Your part in the process is to learn more about Jesus, talk with him all the time, and do what you know he is asking you to do.

You can start reading the bible with the New Testament, especially the Gospel of John. As you learn more about Jesus character, his love for you and his promises for you, you will naturally trust him more. Then, talk to Jesus, all the time, about everything. Ask his help, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers when they come. A lot of believers keep a journal. They write down their prayers and date them. As they see answers to their prayers, they can write a thank you by the prayer. These answers they see help them to trust Jesus more and more. Then, do what Jesus is asking you to do. Is there something you are putting off? Is there something you need to get rid of in your life, and you are hanging on? Do that–it will clear your conscience and give you peace in that area.

Ultimately, doubt comes from the devil. He will put ideas into your mind like “Did you really say the right words when you prayed the prayer?” “Did you mean what you said?” “Did Jesus really say…..?” Just tell him to get lost. You have a relationship with Jesus, you are trusting Him (not yourself), and our relationship depends on the faithfulness of Jesus more than ours. Then whenever you realize you’ve sinned, confess it “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9) and move on. Jesus is holding onto you!

 

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How to Get into Heaven

February 17, 2010

“Unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

Once there were two little boys who lived near the best theme part in their part of the country.  More than anything in the world, they would have loved to spend a day there.  Their parents, however, were far too poor to be able to afford the almost $40 ticket.  Well, the boys decided they would earn their way inside.  One thing they knew how to do was to sell candy.  So they pooled their allowances and bought a supersize bag of mints, and at the beginning of the summer they began selling their mints at 2 cents each.

On the last day before school was to start, they were standing outside the gates of the park, counting their profits, to see if they could buy tickets inside.  What a disappointment!  Their total profit for the whole summer was $2.40, not enough for even one of them to be anywhere close to getting in.  Slowly, they started to walk away, when they came face to face with a kindly old gentleman who offered to let them in.  “How can you let us in, when we don’t have tickets?” they asked.  “I own the place” replied the man.  “Can we give you our $2.40? ” they asked.  “Of course not”, said the man, “Use that for something when you get inside.”

Can you imagine the boys refusing to accept the old gentleman’s offer?  Can you imagine their being so proud, they would insist they couldn’t possibly accept charity, even though paying their own way was never going to happen?  Little children don’t have that kind of foolish pride.

None of us can ever earn our way into heaven.  It cost more than any human will ever hope to be able to pay.  Whatever good things we do are gifts of love and gratitude to Jesus, who has already prepaid our way in.  Why do we still find ourselves wondering if we are good enough to get in, counting our deeds, and afraid we will be embarrassed at how little we have to offer at the gates?

Those Who Haven’t Heard

September 2, 2008

Christians have always believed that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  That has always raised the troublesome question “What about those who haven’t heard of Jesus”.   I have no trouble with the doctrine that says “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Rom 6:23.  Yes, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus merited life for all of us.  Only God himself in the form of a sinless man could atone for the sins of men.  But how do we “get in on” this blessing?  The bible says its through faith, but again, what of those who haven’t heard?

One day, while reading the gospel of Luke, I came across the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)  “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get’.  But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home JUSTIFIED (my capitols) before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

This story showed me: its asking forgiveness for our sins that gives us forgiveness.  Its humility before God, realizing our sinfulness and asking for His grace  which gets that grace.  The tax collector in the story had never heard of Jesus, and Jesus had not yet died for the sins of mankind, yet he was justified before God when he confessed his sin and asked for mercy.  The Pharisee, on the other hand, who had every opportunity to know about God, didn’t, in his pride, recognize his own sin, therefore didn’t repent and ask forgiveness.  Jesus himself said the tax collector was justified before God.

As R.C. Sproul has written, its the failure to repent, the failure to acknowledge God the Father and one’s debt to Him, the failure to acknowledge one’s sinfulness and one’s need of God’s mercy which condemns.  The Pharisee in Jesus parable wouldn’t have recognized his need for Jesus because of his prideful frame of mind.

This is both good news and bad news.  The good news is one can respond to God’s grace even in a country where the name of Jesus can’t be spoken.  The bad news is there is a little of the Pharisees pride in all of us, and that is truly the dangerous thing.

The Price He Paid

March 21, 2008

Good Friday reminds me to be so very, very thankful to Jesus for the “inexpressible gift”.  When mankind sinned, mankind lost heaven, and that is truly the real death.  To be forever without God and without good, is unthinkably horrible.  Jesus called it “the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  He also called it “gehenna” which was the city dump, a place full of fire, worms, filth, decay, stench and horror. 

There’s only two places to go and nowhere in between.  God’s heaven, where God dwells, the place we were made for, or the other place, where God is not.  Most people think God will overlook a lot of sin, He will “grade on the curve” and most people will get into heaven regardless of their imperfections.  But wait, Heaven is a perfect place.  It has to be.  God is perfect and so is His home.  If He let me in as I am, it would no longer be perfect.  Heaven would soon be like this earth with people doing self-serving things and hurting each other.  Humans would have to be cleaned and changed forever if they were to enter Heaven, but there would be a price. 

This is where I get beyond my capabilities of understanding, having only a human mind, but what I can understand is this: God’s creation has been trashed, we have even trashed ourselves and someone has to pay the price.  As it was when the levees burst and New Orleans was flooded, someone has to pay a price for restoration.

I picture it this way:  the councils of Heaven convened.  Jehovah Eloihim was there in all three of His manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The angels of Heaven were there, and the third of the angels who rebelled were there with their leader Satan.  Humans couldn’t pay the price of their restoration, it was too great a price. The angels couldn’t pay it, as justice would not be served in that way.  Satan and his demons were holding the humans in bondage, they had won them fair and square when the humans rebelled and came to their side.  And on the great screens of Heaven played the scenes of the passion of the Christ.  Only God could pay the price, for justice demanded mankind should pay it.  It appeared the solution would be that one of the persons of the Godhead should become  fully a man , while remaining fully God.  In that dual state, He should experience “the wages of sin which is death”, while also enduring the worst Satan could throw at Him.

As the scenes of the passion became more and more cruel and terrible, Satan laughed with glee.  “You’d never do this, you’d never love mankind that much.”  And the second person of the Godhead stepped forward and said “I do love them that much.  My name will be Jesus.  I love them so much I will die to win them back”  That was the price of restoration, the satisfaction of justice, the wage for sin.  Satan never thought Jesus would go through with it, but He did.  What He did was accepted by God, as shown when the veil of the temple was torn–the veil that had always separated the people from God’s Presence.  It was torn from the top down, not by human hands.  And then He was vindicated for all eternity when He rose from the dead on Easter.  Our part is to accept the gift with thanksgiving, and spend our lives returning the love shown to us.

 Nonni

The Gates of Heaven

March 2, 2008

Several recent articles and a television show assert that there are “many roads to Heaven.”  Some say “all roads go to the same place.”  (To that I would ask, does it matter which direction you are traveling on a road?)  Jesus claimed “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6   Some people have claimed that Christians are arrogant and exclusive for making the statement that Jesus is the only way to the Father.  We don’t make the statement…Jesus does.

What is heaven anyway?  Its a perfect place.  There is no sin in heaven, and no imperfection.  How can sinful, imperfect human beings go to such a place without spoiling it.  It will no longer be perfect if our sinful selves enter it.  Clearly, something has to happen to us to allow us to go in.

Jesus teaches that through the mystery of His death and resurrection, our passage has been purchased.  By our relationship to Him, we can be made perfect and able to enter Heaven.  Three questions arise.  Why was a price paid, how can we be prepared to enter, and why does it have to be Jesus who lets us in.

 Lets ask the question, why can’t everyone get into Disneyworld free?  Well, Disneyworld is not a public place.  Somebody paid for it, and now somebody has to pay for our entrance.  What if the price is too high for us?  We can’t go, unless somebody a whole lot wealthier pays the price for us.  Something like that happened when Jesus paid the price for us to enter Heaven.   Although I’m sure its a whole lot more mysterious and complicated than this illustration, my mind isn’t big enough for more than a simple example.

A second question would revolve around who gets to go in.  Even with an admission ticket, people can’t go into Disney World naked, intoxicated or for any other reason deemed to spoil the enjoyment of the park by others.  Jesus has to do something for us to make us acceptable.  He told a story illustrating this in the parable of the wedding feast, where the person wasn’t dressed acceptably without a wedding garment. Matthew 22:11  He also said we have to be “born again”.  John 3:3-7.  We have to go through a change so complete, its not just about new clothing, but a new life.  Jesus is the one who does this, through a gift of His grace.

The third question is why it has to be Jesus who lets us in.  I saw another living parable about entrance into heaven recently.  I attended a military retirement.  Upon ringing at the entrance to the building, I was met by an escort to accompany me to the room where the ceremony was to be held.  I couldn’t just wander in at will and find my own way to the event.  No one else could show me the way, either, only a designated military escort.  Jesus himself must accompany me through Heaven’s gate, and indeed He promises to do that.  John 14:3 

 Now comes the argument “what about all the people who never heard of Jesus?”  I used to wonder about that myself.  I just knew I could trust Jesus with the answer to that question, whether I was allowed to have that information or not.    Recently however, I read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  Luke 18:9-14.  It says the tax collector prayed “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  And Jesus says this man “went home justified before God.”  In other words, although this man did not know Jesus, he recognized God, his need for God and God’s mercy, and he received God’s grace.  Its not whether one knows Jesus by name or not.  Its the failure to acknowledge God, one’s sinfulness and one’s need of God’s forgiveness and mercy, that closes one’s heart to God’s grace.

Nonni