Chapter 3: Salvation…Jesus’ Final Words
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Hello, this is Mark Diaz, welcome to chapter 3: Salvation…Jesus Final words.
We want to thank William MacDonald for his inspired teaching on the subject of Salvation. Much of this chapter was written because of a piece he wrote titled: ‘The World’s Biggest Lie’.
Brother William MacDonald’s website is: http://goodnewsnow.info
How can you be sure of spending eternity with God when you die? Simple: God sent His Son to earth to die as a substitute for sinners. He instituted a New Covenant with mankind…our final and only chance to live forever in His Will.
On the cross at Calvary He shed His blood to pay for man’s sins. He died for the ungodly so that they may spend eternity with Him. When you repent of your sins and believe on Christ as you Holy Savior, God saves you. Your sins are all forgiven. You receive eternal life. The moment you trust Jesus Christ as your only hope for eternity with God, you are saved.
What do we mean by repent? It means to acknowledge to God that you are a guilty sinner and that you don’t deserve to be saved (Acts 17:30). You cannot be saved until you know first you are lost.
The next word is believe. There is something very clear in the Bible and that is salvation is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to these verses:
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is enough in that one verse for a person to be saved for all eternity.
“He who believes in the son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
This tells us that there are only two possibilities…you either believe, or you don’t. You are either saved, or you are lost. “He who believes in me has everlasting life”, Jesus said. (John 6:47). It is so simple. Has everlasting life…has it now! You don’t have to wait until you die.
“He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12).
Salvation is in a person and His name is Jesus. If you have Him, you are saved.
There is one other passage of Scripture that summarizes all that we have said: It is Ephesians 2:8-10. “But by grace you have been saved through faith. And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.
Now let us examine the passage, step by step: “For by Grace”. This means that we don’t deserve to be saved, salvation is completely unmerited. “For by Grace you have been saved”. Clearly it is possible for you to know that you are saved.
The Ephesians to whom Paul wrote surely knew that they were saved. He says “You have been saved” through faith. Faith is believing. Saving faith is believing Christ. “And not that of yourselves”. We cannot save ourselves or contribute to our own salvation. It is “the Gift of God”.
Salvation is a gift we receive when we believe. Not of works. We cannot do any meritorious works to save ourselves. “Lest any man should boast”. There is no room for boasting in God’s plan of salvation.
For we are “His workmanship”. Every believer is a new creation. In union with Christ Jesus that means in union with God. For good works…and this is important…good works are not the means of salvation, good works are the result of salvation. Good works are symptoms of our Love for God and all His children…even the ones we don’t like or trust…even our enemies… Jesus is our example of that.
We are not saved by good works; we are saved unto good works…we are saved so that we will want to do good works.
“God prepared before that we should walk in them”. God has a blueprint for every life. Our responsibility is to discover that individual plan for us and to do it.
How does a person know when he is saved? He knows it first and foremost by the Word of God. If he repents and believes, the Word of God says He will save that person. God cannot lie.
As time goes by, the believer knows by changes in his life. He has the desire to obey the Lord. He has a desire to do good works. He has a new love of holiness. He has a new hatred of sin. He loves the Word of God. He has a love for prayer. He desires to share the good news with others. He loves his fellow man. He hates the sin but loves the sinner.
There are only two powers, God and satan. By default, we all follow one or the other. To follow God we make a conscious decision to dedicate our lives to Him. If we fail to make that conscious decision…then, by default, we are following and worshipping satan (We remain part of this world, satan’s world right now).
Even Jesus Himself, who came to earth to prove a perfect man can resist following satan…exercised His free will as an example to us…and consciously gave Himself over to Father God…just before He became the Christ…just before He died in human form. His very last words were: “Father into Your hands I commit my spirit. Having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46.
Imagine that! Jesus very last words as a human…imagine how important THAT message is for us today. His entire human life and Ministry culminated in those words, at that moment He gave Himself over to God…He made a final, conscious choice to dedicate Himself to God and He did not falter…ever…even at the last moments when His pain was the greatest.
We hear two words quite often in Christianity. One word that we hear is the word ‘Salvation’ the other word is ‘Blessings’…God’s Blessings.
Even though these two words or phrases go hand in hand and are mutually inclusive, they are separate things…just as the arm needs the leg and the ear needs the nose to be fulfilled and complete…salvation and blessings go hand in hand…if we are operating in God’s Will.
The word Salvation refers to Eternal Salvation…Living Forever with God. The word Blessings refers to God’s rewards for us here and now and into eternity…both in this mortal coil, living in this imperfect world which is currently ruled by satan…and the ‘Crowns’ or ‘Rewards’ (Blessings) that God bestows into eternity. The subject of receiving God’s Blessings, here and now and into eternity will be studied in subsequent chapters of this book.
Back to the meaning of Salvation: There has been a debate raging in Christian Literature and Christian Theology since the early days of the Christian Church. This debate has been fostered by confusing and interchanging the two words ‘Salvation’ and ‘Blessings’. We humbly offer the following insights so that the debate will diminish and the time and energy devoted by the debaters will go to Fulfilling The Great Commission…telling the world about Who Jesus The Christ was (and is), Why Christ was here and why He will return. As Christians, that is our prime directive (Mathew 28:18, Mathew 24:14).
Regarding ‘Salvation’: Some teach ‘Once saved, always saved”. They teach that there is NOTHING One can do to loose their salvation”.
Is this accurate and truthful according to the Scriptures? No.
It is almost accurate but ‘almost’ only counts in horse shoes and grenades. It does NOT count as ‘accurate knowledge’ which means ‘Everlasting Life’.
Those who teach that there is absolutely nothing one can do to loose their salvation often point to a beautiful Scripture in John 10:27-28 where Jesus Himself is speaking. It says; “My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”.
This is important folks…it says ‘neither shall anyone…snatch them out of My hand. The word ‘anyone’ is critical here because it refers to a third party…someone other than the one who is saved. It refers to our FREE WILL and the personal responsibility we all bear in regards to choosing to follow either God or satan.
Remember, Adam and Eve had free will, so did Lucifer (satan) who led the rebellion against God in Heaven. He had FREE WILL and so did 1/3 of all the angels who fell away from God to follow him (satan). Satan and his followers will pay their own price for rebellion…and so did Adam and Eve and so will we if we reject Salvation. God gave us all free will. If He didn’t He might as well just have just created a bunch of pre-programmed robots or another species of animal.
Why is it important that we challenge this teaching of “Once saved always saved’?
Because it leaves a dangerous human loop hole in God’s Will.
Some have built this loop hole into thinking: “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and then repent and God will forgive me”. This is true if we are truly repentant. God reads our hearts and knows we are imperfect…and that we will fall short of perfection right now as humans. If we are TRULY contrite, repentant, He will forgive us….But here is the danger that has grown out of this ‘loop hole’ thinking: Some churches carry it a step further. They basically say “Pay us money and we will fix it with God!” They have pridefully added this as Theological Christian Doctrine.
They have turned Salvation into a lucrative money machine. Not unlike the money changers in the Temples in Jesus’ Day. He was so angry at their corruption that He overturned the tables in Righteous Indignation! (John 2:14, Mark 11:15, Mathew 21:12).
No human or human institution can ‘Fix’ anything with God! There is only one way to God and that is through Christ. Without following this directive we become lazy Christians, we depend on others for our salvation…and many Theologians like it that way, it gives them power…Just as the High Priests and Pharisees enjoyed their social, financial and political power in Jesus’ time. God’s Christian Churches exist to teach God’s Word, Salvation through Christ being of upmost importance for them to teach…Churches exist to comfort, to encourage…they do many things for God…but Salvation is His Job Alone….Salvation is between the individual and God.
In 1st Timothy 2:5 it clearly says: “For there is One God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”. Also please study; Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:15-16, Hebrews 12:24.
No Pastor or Priest or any other human can come between a man (or woman) and their Salvation (either for or against)…That is Christ’s job alone…and any human who tries to do that is trying to usurp God’s Authority…(very bad plan). That is EXACTLY what satan did and will continue to do until God stops him.
So no one can ‘snatch’ us from our salvation, but we can certainly choose to throw it away just as Adam and Eve did…by following satan…just as the Apostle Judas did when he betrayed Jesus. This message appears redundantly, all through God’s Word, from Genesis the First Chapter all the way through Revelation the Twenty-First Chapter.
So some may ask: “I came from the occult, I actually DID worship satan at one point in my life…can I still receive God’s Salvation through Christ”?
The answer, of course is YES! Remember, when you make that dedication to God ALL your sins are forgiven…and forgotten!
“What if I stumble and go back to my old ways”? The answer is the same IF you are truly contrite…repentant...God will prepare a feast for you!.
One of our favorite examples of this is the Prodigal Son that Jesus spoke of: Here was a man who had squandered his inheritance. He was the lowest of the low. He left home and found himself eating with pigs. He humbled himself and was not just forgiven by his father but was greeted with a huge feast! God wants us to be with Him. He is the ultimate Loving Parent. Luke 15:1-33. Please read this. It will help you get to know God a little better!
There are only two powers, God and satan. We follow one or the other. To follow God we make a conscious decision to dedicate our lives to Him. If we fail to make that conscious decision…then, by default, we are following and worshipping satan.
So yes, we can throw our salvation away by worshipping satan…but no one can snatch it from us…we have to throw it away by following satan either through default (failing to come to Christ) or by our own design (consciously choosing to follow satan’s world).
So how do we gain Salvation…eternity with God?
Simple…we go to Him and admit (confess) that we cannot live life without Him…that we acknowledge our sins before Him…and ask that He take over our life. Is it more complicated than this? No. Some humans, in an attempt to appear to be the smartest men (and women) in the room try to make it seem more complicated, (just as the highly educated Pharisees in Christ’s Time did) but the simple truth of God’s Salvation is to admit your sins and give it all over to Him…Daily…hour by hour…any time and every time we feel convicted by Him in our conscience…and TRULY mean it…contrition. See the Lord’s Prayer…Christ’s model Prayer for us. (Mathew 6:9).
God’s Salvation is available to everyone, not just Biblical Scholars…or any certain class of people.
From that dedication springs wanting to be in His Will. And from wanting and praying to be in God’s Will springs not only Salvation but Blessings as well.
Remember the thief who was on the stake next to Jesus: In Luke Chapter 23 verse 43. One of the criminals who were hanged next to Jesus blasphemed Jesus. He said “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us”. But the other criminal hanging next to Jesus simply recognized Christ for Who He was and asked, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom”.
He was saved at that moment!!! Jesus replied; “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.
If you feel that anointing now…make that dedication or rededication between you and God now…do it constantly. That is exactly what walking in the Spirit means. Romans 8:5 says: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds according to the things of the flesh but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit”. Please read the entire context to get a broader view.
I or no other human need to be involved for your Salvation, for your Salvation to be assured. Salvation is just the beginning of your walk with God. His Blessings and His Miracles, every day Miracles, are close behind.
Your prayer of salvation might go something like this: “Father God, I approach You through my Christ, Savior and Lord Jesus. I know that I have sinned and that I have done the most shameful things. I know that I have fallen short of Your Will. I know that I do not deserve Eternity with You. Thank You Father for Your Grace and Mercy. Thank You for life itself. Please Father, accept me as Your precious child. I give everything over to You. I dedicate my life to You…it is all Yours anyway. Lead me in Your Will Father. Teach me to be more of the person You intended from the beginning. I pray these things, through Christ, with the Holy Spirit inside of my mind, heart and soul. To the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Amen.
Do we say that prayer of contrition once in a lifetime? No! We say it daily, hourly…constantly if necessary! Remember we will not be perfect until Christ returns to claim His Kingdom. In the meantime we live under God’s Time of Grace as imperfect humans striving to do His Will.
There is much more to our walk with God but this is the beginning of your Salvation through Christ. Please look for additional Chapters of the book ‘I’m A Christian…Now What?’
That concludes Chapter 3. Until next time, remember “little prayer, little power, some prayer, some power, much prayer, much power! God’s Power!