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

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