Category Archives: Salvation

The Amazing Love Of The Savior

So often, we take it for granted, don’t we? Yes, yes, we agree with confident nods of our heads, Jesus died to save us from sin. So, clutching our little Get Out Of Hell cards, we file away our blessed assurance and carry on with our lives.

But every now and again, the Holy Spirit reminds us of how desperately lost we were until He revealed Christ to us. He reminds us of the amazing love that caused the Second Person of the Trinity to leave His glory so that He could shed His blood in payment for our sin. He reminds us of our enslavement to sin before He shattered our chains and allowed us to follow Him.

When we remember, how can we take His amazing love for granted?

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Who Is The Whoever?

Whoever BelievesAnybody raised in even a nominal Christian environment can recite John 3:16 effortlessly.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

What a wonderfully concise presentation of the Gospel!

Sometimes, however, Christians use this verse in isolation from its context to substantiate the doctrine of free will. So, while my article today can’t possibly offer a complete argument against free will, Continue reading

What Makes You So Great?

When you attend high school reunions, weddings, funerals or other social events, people invariably ask about your accomplishments. Who did  you marry?  What career did you choose?  Where are you sending your kids for college? Where do you spend vacations?

And don’t you love answering that your husband is a prestigious man? Or that your employer absolutely depends on you? Or that your kids each chose well-known universities and consistently make the dean’s list? Or that you’ve been abroad just recently and happen to have pictures on your iPhone.

We love boasting about ourselves!

But as Christians, we should boast only in Jesus Christ and what He has done to save wretches like us. His love should both puzzle us and fill us with overwhelming joy! If we must boast, let us boast in what He has done for us.

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Shaking Off Those Guilty Fears

Guilt is a wonderful thing!

You read that correctly. God created us with the ability to feel guilt so that we would know the discomfort of violating His perfect standards. He then uses that guilt to show us how desperately we need a Savior.

Even  after we become Christians, we often feel guilt when we sin. Again, these feelings can lead us to confession and repentance, thus restoring our fellowship with the Father. So in that sense, we can also praise Him for the capacity to feel guilty. Yes, dear sisters in Christ, guilt can be a wonderful thing!

But guilt can also be a dastardly thing. It can blind us to God’s grace, convincing us that we’ve abused His mercy once too often. It turns our focus away from the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, pulling us back to the same old lie that our salvation ultimately depends on us.

It’s reassuring,therefore, to look back to Jesus, remembering that His blood completely atoned for our sins if we are believers. We can shake off guilty fears that try to condemn us. Hallelujah!

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I Think I’m Pretty Spiffy

How often I pat myself on the back for my obvious wisdom in deciding to follow Jesus! Yup, I’ve surrendered all, made my life an offering and crowned Him as my Lord and Savior. When He knocked, I opened my heart and accepted His offer of eternal life.

Well, that’s how I used to tell my salvation testimony. Of course, I’d phrase it a but more carefully in order to project an aura of humility. After all, it wouldn’t look good if anyone saw how proud I was that I had chosen Christ. But in truth, I gave myself a tremendous amount of credit for becoming a Christian.

In reality, however, Jesus did everything in bringing me to salvation. As much as my flesh would love to claim that I cooperated with the Lord in determining my eternal destiny, I finally understand that Jesus paid it all.

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According To Scripture: Study #7 On The Resurrection

According to Scripture

Last Monday, as you’ll recall, this study of 1 Corinthians 15 took us through a rather dismal passage as the apostle Paul listed implications of a Christianity without belief in the doctrine of resurrection. Happily, today we turn a corner with the joyful proclamation that resurrection is guaranteed because Christ indeed has risen!  Let’s look at the passage we’ll study for the next two or three weeks, and then we can dig into verses 20-22 in detail.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. ~~1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (ESV)

Verse 20 vanquishes all the hopelessness of verses 12-19. Praise the Lord, Christ is really risen from the dead! As we saw in verses 5-8, Paul had appealed to multiple instances of eyewitness testimony, which would easily establish Christ’s resurrection as legal fact. With this legal fact, Paul now assures the Corinthians that they haven’t believed in vain after all.

Since Christ has risen, He is the firstfruits of those who have died as believers. Paul’s use of the term firstfruits may refer back to the offering of firstfruits, which occurred the day after the sabbath (Leviticus 23:10-11). As you’ll recall, Jesus rose on the day after the Passover sabbath, indicating Paul’s view of Jesus as our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). At least, that’s how one of the commentators I consulted understood the reference; do you think it applies, or is he stretching it? I can’t decide.

I definitely agree with another commentator that firstfruits indicate that farmers will have a harvest. Paul uses this term as his final refutation of the idea that the dead aren’t raised. As Jesus Christ rose from the dead, so His resurrection guarantees that He will raise us! See John 14:19, where Christ explicitly makes the connection between His resurrection and ours.

The term also reminds us that, although Elisha and Jesus caused others to rise from the dead, those resurrections were temporary, and the people raised did not receive glorified bodies. Jesus, therefore, is the first to experience glorified humanity, and is the first to never die again. His resurrected body assures believers of our future state.

Paul explains, beginning in verse 21, that Christ is a firstfruit because He is a Man, just as we are. Thus Paul can trace how humanity inherited sin through Adam (Genesis 2:17) and redeemed humanity inherits resurrection through Christ (John 11:25). Alluding to Romans 5:12, Paul states that death came by a man. To put it plainly, Adam’s sin of disobedience in the garden condemned all humanity to suffer physical death. One solidarity man altered all of human history, robbing us of the immortality that God created us to experience.

Yet a second Man, Christ Jesus, reversed the consequences of Adam’s sin through His atoning death on the cross and, as Paul emphasizes here, His resurrection. His resurrection assures believers that He will raise us up to live eternally with Him. Paul details this principle in Romans 5:12-19.

Although I have neither time nor space to delve into Romans 5 at this particular moment, I appreciate Paul’s elaboration on this point in verse 22. Here, he reminds the Corinthian Christians that God pronounced Adam’s death sentence in Genesis 3:19. This death sentence extends to all humanity.

Barnes wisely brings up the probability that people could misuse this verse as a proof-text for universal salvation. He therefore clarifies that, although all will experience physical resurrection at the return of Christ, only the elect will be raised to salvation (John 5:28-29). The Believers Bible Commentary, however, offers a slightly different nuance by emphasizing the phrase “in Christ,” indicating that believers will receive eternal life because we are “in Christ.” Either way, this verse certainly doesn’t contradict the overall Biblical teaching that God restricts salvation to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

These three verses give us a beginning grasp on the practical significance of Christ’s resurrection. Gals, this significance gets so ignored in the present evangelical culture, so we desperately need to study this foundational Christian doctrine. Consequently, I really urge you to take advantage of my Comments Section or The Outspoken TULIP Facebook Page to ask questions and/or add insights in regard to this Bible Study. I  look forward to continuing next Monday.

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A Break From Internet Squabbles

The evangelical world, and indeed the world at large, has been engulfed in all sorts of controversies and internet squabbles these past few months, and I see no sign that the arguing will ease up. Some of the matters are, admittedly, silly and trivial. Others, however, call Scripture’s authority into question, and therefore Christians absolutely must take an uncompromising stand.

But all too often even the legitimately necessary controversies can inadvertently distract us from the beautiful Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in attempting to serve God, we often forget to marvel at Who He is and what He’s done for us. Worse, we forget that everything is for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to Him.

Praise God for hymn writers who faithfully draw our attention back that Gospel, and in doing so remind us of our wonderful Savior. The hymn I selected to feature today turns my attention away from all the disputes and back to Him. Perhaps it will give you the same refreshing outlook.

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