This is What it Means to be Saved

You and I can talk all day about the conditions that lead to salvation and eternal life. It does need to be discussed. It IS important to know what must happen in your life and mine for us to gain salvation from God through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). We’ve dealt with these conditions before here (click on Salvation Stuff in the menu to the left).

What has got to happen in my life, what are the conditions that make it possible for God to save me?

I believe in Jesus. John 3:16; Romans 10:10&11). I believe that God sent Jesus and that he is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead. This is the beginning of discipleship. Every person that has ever been saved were saved because they believed that Jesus is the Christ. They have faith in God and in Christ and in the things of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. BELIEF, that’s one.

I have to repent of my sin, Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30. If God is going to change me, because I am letting him, belief is opening the door and repentance is letting God in to clean out the mess that sin is. Repentance is as Gareth Reese says [“New Testament History, Acts,” College Press Publishing, Joplin, MO, 1976, page 145-147], “individual, inclusive, and indispensable.” Repentance is done by and found in individuals, and it is for everyone (inclusive) and salvation cannot happen without repentance (indispensable). It involves my intellect, knowledge of sin, a change in my emotions, I must feel the sense of guilt that I possess and be sorrowful for it, and it involves a change of my will, letting God take over my messed up life to make things right in my life. REPENTANCE is another.

I must confess Christ, Romans 10:10-11. If I have let change come into my life, it’s got to show. I have to say it. I have to let it out that I believe in Jesus and that I have made him my Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), that I belong to him, I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. This is a continual thing. It doesn’t happen only once, it is constant. I belong to Christ, I declare that I am his by my lifestyle and my message of faith. CONFESSION, that’s a third one.

I must be baptized, Acts 2:38; Romans 6:16; 1 Peter 3:21. Baptism is immersion. That is what the word actually means and it is the only form that the church practiced with the apostles. I must submit myself in humility to baptism in order that God will forgive me of my sins and give me salvation. It all happens when we come in contact with Jesus’ death and resurrection by our own death and resurrection. We are buried in baptism and raised from the water with new life. Pretty cool concept. A new life, a fresh start that propels me on my way to heaven. BAPTIZED, that a fourth one.

But is that what it means to be saved? Those are the conditions that make it possible for God to save us, but what it means to be saved is to be different. Not different for the sake of being different, but different as in changed and being formed into the likeness of Christ.

You were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Sin distorted that image (it’s in your soul). Sin corrupted the goodness that is in you, it robbed you of innocence as God is good and innocence, you have no righteousness, but Jesus brings the change that will restore you to God’s good graces. He is God come to earth (Matthew 1:23; Colossians 1:15–16). And when we are saved through Christ, we are renewed. He refreshes that original image of God that we possess.

That means how we live, think, and act is totally different from the ways of the world. We possess the goodness and righteousness of God and do right and good and kindness in this world. We live holy as God is holy, without sin, with the power of God. We are saved and eternal life with God the Father is our home. We get to be with God because when we have met the conditions in our lives, where our heart, mind, and soul are prepared to accept Christ, then God saves us.

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Not Disappointed (Romans Pt 7)

Ok, you’ve been forgiven of sin, freed from guilt and feeling guilty. No one can accuse you of sin and wrong and be able to convict you. What’s that mean?

I like it when stress is pretty much nil, when I don’t have anything to hassle with. Since sin is so bad it is much more than just a hassle, it is a major problem. A problem so huge that I can’t get over it. Everything I’ve done, lied, stolen, lusted, hated, been insensitive to others, well, they all weigh on my heart and soul. I may not remember each specific individual incident, but I know that I’ve done those and other things.

I am guilty. I feel it. And the one that I have to answer too will hold me accountable to what I’ve done . . .  unless, I can have all this sin removed from me. If that happens, I have nothing to hassle with because no one has a case against me, they cannot accuse me of the wrong.

By the blood of Jesus applied to my life through my faith in Jesus I have been forgiven by God. Meaning, I am no longer guilty. God doesn’t hold it against me. So I get peace.

Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1.

If God doesn’t hold it against me anymore, than God and I are at peace with each other and I have nothing to feel guilty about anymore. I am free. I have been saved from God’s wrath (5:9). The penalty for sin is death (6:23). That word death is describing what is known as spiritual death which is eternal separation from God.

This opens up a whole new world for me. I have been cleansed from my sin by Christ’s blood. I have been given the gift of grace by God through Jesus’s death. I have been justified and declared not guilty. I am no longer judged by the written law, but by the law of faith. My faith in Jesus saves me and I am not disappointed because I am free.

I work in a juvenile detention facility, a temporary jail for teens who have broken the law. When they are locked up, they have lost their civil rights because they have violated the law that protects society to from wrong-doers. They are confined to a limited area, they are restricted in their interaction with others. They have more rules to follow or they receive more restrictions than before, in fact, they will be removed from the general population and restricted to their individual cell.

When they are released, they are free to interact in our society as long as they keep the rules. Breaking the rules takes away their freedom.

When we sin, our souls are in bondage to sin and removed from God’s presence. We are bound away from interaction with God, until we come to him in repentance through belief in his Son Jesus Christ who died to pay for our sins (5:9-20). When God gives us this gift of grace, we are free to live without sin. We are free to live in relation to Him. What a great gift!

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One of My Favorite Songs

I listen regularly to Degarmo and Key. I bought their first LP, “This Time Thru” in 1977-78 when it was first issued before I knew who D&K were. Here is one of my all time favorite D&K songs, Emmanuel. It’s from their reunion concert at Cornerstone festival in 2008.

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Don’t Stop the Music; Dana Key

I have been a huge Dana Key fan. In fact, I still listen to D&K and Dana’s solo projects regularly. June 6, 2010, Dana died from a ruptured blood clot at the age of 56. He was a sold-out man of God. He possessed incredible musical skills and a true heart for God. I found this blog post on the blog “The Word of Todd.” He was impressed and inspired by Dana Key’s ministry through D&K. Read the following link. I agree 100% with Todd.

http://toddsword.blogspot.com/2010/07/dont-stop-music.html

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Dreaming That I’m Free (Romans Pt 6)

We all have dreams where our imagination takes us beyond reality. There’s a couple I’ve had since high school. One is being able to jump up on stage with the Doobie Brothers and play China Grove, Long Train Running, and Listen to the Music with them. Another is winning gold medals in the Olympics in the distance events. Neither is very likely to happen, especially now at my age and in my condition.

Have you ever imagined you were guilt free, as if you had never done anything wrong? No one can hold anything against you. You are guilt free, you have no record of wrong (anymore).

It’s a hard thing to imagine because we have sinned, we are guilty. We have offended God’s righteousness and holiness. He is pure light, in him is no darkness at all, 1 John 1:5 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John+1:5&version=NIV ). Yahweh, God just has nothing to do with sin except eradicate it. It is so offensive he will not have a relationship with those who have sin. That’s why he kicked Lucifer (his name as an angel) out of heaven and now his name is the devil and Satan. God punishes sin. Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death….”

But, what if we could be free of sin, if we could be pronounced “Not Guilty?” What if we didn’t have to feel our guilt and actually have it removed? What if it  was as if we had never sinned, never done wrong? That’s what we want and it’s what God wants. He wants to have a relationship with you, but your sin prevents it, but he wants to wipe sin out of your life so that you don’t have to suffer the punishment for sin.

In the movie Angels in the Outfield, the kid J.P. who is friends with the main character Roger who sees the angels in the outfield, whenever something that might happen is pretty much impossible, J.P. would respond, “It could happen!” It not only can happen, it does and it will if.

The way it happens is through your faith in Christ. Not simple faith that only says “I believe,” but trust and faith that does what God wants for his forgiveness to happen in your life, to wipe your sin and guilt away. When that faith happens then God justifies you. A common way to think about the word justified is, ” just as if I’d” never sinned, and that’s the essence of it.

Abraham was given credit by God as being righteous. It was through his faith (read Romans 4, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%204&version=NIV ). But look at the last verses of the chapter:

“Therefore it was credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it credited to him but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him (that is God) who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:22-25, NASB).

Look at that, “for our benefit too.” If Abraham was declared righteous, we can be too. Abraham believed God, Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins and since he has raised from the dead, if you and I believe in Jesus then we can be justified to.

It’s not a dream, or a wish, it’s a fact. You can be free from sin. Those who have already been freed are filled with gratefulness. And we continue to live for Jesus.

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Links to the Romans Posts

Here are the links (so far) to “Grace Rests Easily Where Sin Once Sat,” ( a look at the book of Romans) in consecutive order.

1st – https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/grace-rests-easily-where-sin-once-sat/

2nd – https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/the-uncomfortable-truth/

3rd – https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/no-room-for-sin/

4th – https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/a-convenient-truth/

5th – https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/god-gets-amnesia/

There are more to come.

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Salvation for Everyone

There is less than a 10% chance that a person will ever accept Jesus Christ and be saved after they become an adult.  As people get older their outlook becomes more entrenched in the worldly, away from God, without Christ.  It is very important to reach people before they become a teenager, to reach them with the Biblical worldview so that they have the seed planted which can grow into belief and acceptance and salvation.  Churches and ministries have realized this and concentrated on young people and they should.  But what of those who have become adults that have not accepted Christ?  What of the younger generations of adults?  What about my generation, the Baby Boomers?  What about yours?  Have we admitted defeat when there is victory to be won?  Have we concentrated on the obvious to the exclusion of the difficult?  The Gospel message and the salvation of Jesus Christ is for everyone, not just the most likely ones.

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