The Lord Jesus led me to read Colossians 2 (vv. 1-7 NASB).
We have been instructed in scripture to expect to be opposed, if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives. But, it isn’t just us who are being opposed, but it is the gospel of our salvation which is coming under fire, and from enormous opposition, too.
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
As a servant of the Lord, I also struggle in defense of the gospel and on behalf of all those who believe in Jesus Christ or who would yet believe in him. I am concerned, as well, that many are being persuaded to turn away from the truth, and by clever enchanters who are twisting the truth to their advantage, in order to gain followers after themselves, but not after Christ.
I am concerned that so many people are being persuaded to accept a false grace gospel rather than the true gospel, and thus many are buying into a false hope of salvation and eternal life with God, based on half-truths or twisted truths, both of which are still lies. And, if they believe the lies rather than accept the truth, they are in danger of the fires of hell.
What I mean by this is that many preachers and teachers today are telling people that they can be assured of heaven when they die by merely accepting Jesus’ forgiveness of their sins, i.e. by accepting his grace, and through a mere acknowledgment that Jesus exists or of what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, so that we could be delivered from the punishment of sin and have the hope of eternal life in heaven with God.
Many of them are telling the people, too, that all they have to do is repeat some prayer after them, after which they congratulate them for having accepted Christ as their Savior, and for having secured heaven as their final resting place, which, they say, can never be taken away from them.
For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) no longer after the flesh, but according to the Spirit of God.
Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. What this means is that repentance and obedience are part of the gospel message. Jesus said that, if we want to hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin) for his sake, then we will save our lives (for eternity) (Lu. 9:23-25).
Paul reiterated these words of Jesus when he said that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. He said that Christ delivered us out of slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, so that we would now be slaves of his righteousness. He said, too, that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh (sin), we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity). For, when we believe in Jesus, we are given new lives in Christ, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
So, the point of our salvation is not just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. We are also not forgiven our sins just on the basis of Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, but on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ, which involves both repentance and obedience. And, Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of slavery to sin. He didn’t die just to save us, but to transform us.
So, on the basis of what Jesus did for us in becoming sin for us on that cross so that he put our sin to death, and in being resurrected from the dead, so that we can born again and live new lives in him, we should walk (conduct our lives) according to the Holy Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh.
But, this shouldn’t be just because we have to, or because it is expected of us, but we should be so thankful that Jesus set us free that we want to live for him. We should be so thankful that he delivered us out of slavery to sin that we won’t want to walk in sin any longer. And, we should be so in love with God, with Jesus Christ, that we desire him above all else, and we want to obey him.
For, when we are born again of the Spirit of God, he changes our hearts. We are turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, if we pray the prayer to receive Christ, or if we say we believe in Jesus, but nothing changes, i.e. our hearts are not truly turned from darkness to light, but we continue living just like we did before, then, according to scripture, we are not truly saved.
Another thing to know here is that our salvation is not a one-time experience and then we can live however we want and that one day we go to heaven. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved when Jesus Christ returns (future). Our eternal life is also guaranteed only on the basis of present tense belief, not on the basis of past belief. And, our walk in Christ is also critical to our assurance of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Heb. 9:28).
So, when people tell you that you can merely accept God’s grace or repeat some words in a prayer and that heaven is guaranteed you, but that you don’t have to turn from your sins or obey God, don’t believe them. They are trying to persuade you away from genuine faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
That Man / An Original Work / May 23, 2013
Based off John 3:22-36
An argument between some men
Erupted out of resentment.
They came to John and said,
“That man is baptizing everyone.
They’re going to Him.”
So, John replied, “A man can
Only receive what is given him.
You yourselves can testify that
I said, ‘I am not the Christ.
I’m sent before Him.’”
The bride belongs to the bridegroom.
His friends await and watch for Him.
They are full of joy when they hear
His voice speaking words to them.
That now is our joy!
Jesus, the One who comes from heav’n –
He testifies of forgiveness.
Yet, so many do not trust in
His words, and do not repent.
They will face judgment.
The one who trusts in Jesus Christ
Has certified that God is truth.
Jesus Christ speaks the words of God.
Those who put their faith in Him,
Eternal life gain!
Friday, November 24, 2017, 6:19 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words which you have spoken to my heart to day. I love you, and I praise you!