Thursday, January 19, 2017

Salvation 101, 3of6



~ You Owe the Penalty of Your Sin! ~

Point number one is that everyone is a sinner.  The second reality is that no one is capable of saving themselves.  This brings us to third important fact. 

The Basic Reality  ~  It’s a fact that each of us has a reckoning day coming.  As the saying goes, “if you do the crime you must serve the time.”  The Old Testament states this clearly, “It is for a man’s own sins that he will die” (Ezekiel 18:4, TLB), or “You die for your own sin, not anothers” (Ezekiel 18:4, The Message).  The New Testament confirms this reality, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). 

“But I Believe in A God of Love!”  ~  The Bible clearly tells us that God is a God of love but it also is very clear that God is a God of justice.  He is absolutely pure, righteous, and holy and His justice demands that all sin must be punished by death (as shown in the prior paragraph). 

The Third Point About Salvation  ~  You and I owe the penalty of our sin (past, current, and future sins).  The only way we can appear before a righteous and just God is as sinners who sin debt has been paid.  This can only happen from the inside.  We must be “born again” meaning receive spiritual life along with our physical life.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Additional Scripture  ~  There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews.  Late one night he visited Jesus and said, ‘Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God.  No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren't in on it.’  Jesus said, ‘You're absolutely right.  Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what Im pointing to — to God’s kingdom.’  How can anyone,’ said Nicodemus, ‘be born who has already been born and grown up?  You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again.  What are you saying with this “born-from-above” talk?’
Jesus said, ‘You’re not listening.  Let me say it again.  Unless a person submits to this original creation — the “wind hovering over the water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life — it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.  When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch.  But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch — the Spirit — and becomes a living spirit.  So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be “born from above” — out of this world, so to speak.  You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that.  You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.  That’s the way it is with everyone “born from above” by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.’  Nicodemus asked, ‘What do you mean by this?  How does this happen?’
Jesus said, ‘You're a respected teacher of Israel and you don't know these basics?  Listen carefully.  I’m speaking sober truth to you.  I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes.  There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay.  Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions.  If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?
No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man.  In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up — and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.  This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His One and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.  Anyone who trusts in Him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust Him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it.  And why?  Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to Him.  This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness.  They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.  Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure.  But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is” (John 3:1-21, The Message).

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

NOTES:
(1)     The current TOP 10 ALN posts are listed at the very bottom of this home page.
(2)     There is an INDEX of all ALN posts accessed by scrolling down the left column.
(3)     You may LINK to any ALN posts on your own blog or website. 
(4)     You may COPY any ALN post, but please credit ALN as the source by prominently displaying the following statement:  Reprinted from “Abundant Life Now,” a free blog which offers inspiring moments, thought-provoking comments, and solid Biblical insight at http://RobertLloydRussell.blogspot.com/ .

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Salvation 101, 2of6



~ You Cannot Save Yourself! ~

Point number one is that everyone is a sinner.  This brings us to second important fact. 

The Basic Reality  ~  It is a fact that even though we try to fix things ourselves we are incapable of doing so.  The Old Testament states this clearly, Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23a).  The New Testament also states this reality, “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen.  He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready.  He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready.  And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway” (Romans 5:6, The Message).

“But I Can Make It On My Own!”  ~  Some say that we just need to “pull ourselves up by own bootstraps!”  Have you had long-term success with that?  Even the statement is silly!  Try standing up, bending over, and pulling upwards on your shoelaces.  Are you satisfied with the results of your efforts?

The Second Point About Salvation  ~  This doesn’t mean we can’t do good things or make short-term progress.  Many individuals are involved in good and humane activities.  But the important realization is that we are spiritually dead—incapable of spiritual understanding, seeking, loving, or in any way pleasing God through our own effort. 

Additional Scripture  ~  And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?  Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God.  What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.  But in our time something new has been added.  What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened.  The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us.  And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him.  For there is no difference between us and them in this.  Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.  Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with Himself.  A pure gift.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.  And he did it by means of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:19-24, The Message).

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

NOTES:
(1)     The current TOP 10 ALN posts are listed at the very bottom of this home page.
(2)     There is an INDEX of all ALN posts accessed by scrolling down the left column.
(3)     You may LINK to any ALN posts on your own blog or website. 
(4)     You may COPY any ALN post, but please credit ALN as the source by prominently displaying the following statement:  Reprinted from “Abundant Life Now,” a free blog which offers inspiring moments, thought-provoking comments, and solid Biblical insight at http://RobertLloydRussell.blogspot.com/ .

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Salvation 101, 1of6



~ You Are A Sinner! ~

The Basic Reality  ~  It is a fact that we all live in a fallen and broken world that is full of faulty and broken people, The Old Testament states this clearly,  There is no one who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46).  The New Testament confirms this reality, All have sinned” (Romans 3:23). 

“But I’m Not So Bad!”  ~  Really?  Did you hear about the fellow appearing before a judge facing charges of bank robbery.  He decided to defend himself before the judge.  After the initial evidence was presented he was given the chance to defend himself.  He told the judge he wasn’t as bad as many others.  After all there are literally thousands of banks which he hadn’t robbed—and there was only one bank which he actually robbed!  He’s still complaining that he wasn’t all that bad as he sits in his jail cell. 

The First Point About Salvation  ~  You must acknowledge that you have sinned.  It’s not a matter of being graded on a curve.  “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one … there is none who seeks after God’” (Romans 3:10-11).

Additional Scripture  ~  So where does that put us?  Do we Jews get a better break than the others?  Not really.  Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners.  Scripture leaves no doubt about it:  there’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.  They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.  No one’s living right; I can't find a single one.  Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mud slides.  Every word they speak is tinged with poison.  They open their mouths and pollute the air.  They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, don’t know the first thing about living with others.  They never give God the time of day.  This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place!  And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?  Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God.  What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin” (Romans 3:9-20, The Message).

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

NOTES:
(1)     The current TOP 10 ALN posts are listed at the very bottom of this home page.
(2)     There is an INDEX of all ALN posts accessed by scrolling down the left column.
(3)     You may LINK to any ALN posts on your own blog or website. 
(4)     You may COPY any ALN post, but please credit ALN as the source by prominently displaying the following statement:  Reprinted from “Abundant Life Now,” a free blog which offers inspiring moments, thought-provoking comments, and solid Biblical insight at http://RobertLloydRussell.blogspot.com/ .