With regard to our salvation from sin, we did nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Jesus did it all for us. He died for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. Even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God and not of ourselves, which is why such faith will lead us to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience.
And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus unless God the Father first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn from) our sins to follow him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). And since Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith that faith will align with God’s character and will for us.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]
Joshua 24:14-15 ESV
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Old Testament and New Testament
Do you know that the New Testament Scriptures teach the same biblical principles which are taught here in this Old Testament passage? It was God’s will for us in the Old Testament and in the New Testament that we should fear the Lord, i.e. that we should take his word to heart and to do what it says we ought to do as followers of Jesus Christ. And so much of what is taught in the Old Testament is repeated for us in the New Testament.
We are also taught in the New Testament that we are to serve the Lord with our lives and to follow in his ways and to do the things he says we should do, and to follow our Lord’s example in how we should live. And there we are also taught to be faithful to our Lord in all things and to be sincere in our love for him and in our walks of faith and in our witness for him and for his gospel. We are not to profess faith in him and then not do what he says.
And in the New Testament we are taught to put away our idols and our sins which easily entangle us so that we can run with perseverance the race God has marked out for us to run and so that when our Lord returns that we don’t hear him say, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” For lip service only is not enough to secure us heaven as our eternal destiny. We have to forsake our sins and follow Jesus in obedience to have eternal life with God and heaven as our eternal home (Matthew 7:21-23).
For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if, for the sake of Christ, and by his grace we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life with God (Luke 9:23-26; cf. Romans 6:1-23; 1 John 3:4-10).
Genuine faith in Jesus Christ should result in us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and us being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24).
So we should not let sin reign any longer in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for Jesus delivered us from our slavery (addiction) to sin that we might now walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit in order to please God. For if we walk (in conduct) according to the flesh we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity (Romans 8:1-14).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Counting the Cost
Yes, it is true that not one of us can come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, and it is true that even the faith to believe in Jesus is gifted to us by God, but we must choose to serve the Lord or not. But it is important that we know what that decision means, too, which is why Jesus was very poignant in his teachings on what it means to be one of his followers and what is required for us to have eternal life in him.
Jesus said that if we want to come after him that we must hate (not literally hate but by comparison to our love for him) our family members, i.e. we must love them less than we love him. He must come in first place, not them. And we may have to choose to let our family reject us in order for us to follow Jesus in obedience. And we have to bear our own cross, which again is a reference to us dying with him to sin and us also sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Php 3:10).
And added to that he said that we must count the cost of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Yes, it cost us nothing for Jesus to die for our sins and for him to provide us with the gift of salvation from sin, but that doesn’t mean that there is no cost in following Jesus with our lives. We have to die to sin and to self and we have to follow him in obedience, and we have to forsake our sins and our idols, and he must be Lord of our lives.
[Lu 14:25-33; cf. Lu 9:23-26,57-62; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 10:37-38; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
The Lord’s Anointed
An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.
They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.