A Letter To a Friend...

I got to thinking about our conversation and wanted to share this excerpt with you.  It comes from a book called Driven by Eternity by John Bevere.  It sums up the Bible’s (and therefore God’s) view on salvation.  I’ve emphasized the portion that pertains to what we were discussing.  Also, NCV = New Century Version  and NLT = New Living Translation.

There are two standards for living, one set by society and one set by God.  Our culture may deem you “good” according to its parameters, but what does God think?  Scripture tells us that every human has fallen short of God’s standard of right.  As the Scriptures say: “There is no one who always does what is right, not even one” (Rom. 3:10, NCV).  And again, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Rom 2:23, NLT).

To sin means to miss the mark of God’s standard.  Man was not created to be a sinner; rather, Adam chose this course of his own free will.  God placed the first man, Adam, in  a beautiful world without sickness, disease, poverty, or natural disasters.  There was no fear, hatred, strife, jealously, and so forth.  God called this place Eden, the very garden of God.

Adam chose to disobey God’s command and experienced an immediate spiritual death, even though he did not die physically until hundreds of years later.  Darkness entered his heart.  This spiritual death differs from physical death because in physical death the body ceases to exist; however, spiritual death is best described as separation from God, the very Giver and Source of all life.

Sin had entered Adam’s makeup and he fathered children after this nature.  “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image” (Gen. 5:3).  As a father, Adam’s offspring were born later his nature.  From this point forward, all humans were born into the image of his sin through their parents.  Adam gave himself and his descendants over to a new lord, Satan, and with this captivity the natural world followed suit.  A cruel lord no had legal claim to God’s beloved creation.  This is made clear in the following verses:

Then the devil, taking Him [Jesus] up on a high mountain, showed Him all
the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to
Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for his has been
delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
                                                                                             Luke 4:5-6
Notice it was delivered to Satan.  When?  The answer is in the Garden, for God originally gave the dominion of earth to man (see Gen 1:26-28).  Adam lost it all: This included himself and his seed for all generations.  Again we read, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

Before God sent Adam from the Garden, He made a promise.  A deliverer would arise and destroy the bondage and captivity to which mankind had been subjected.  This deliverer was born four thousands years later to a virgin named Mary.  She had to be a virgin, as the father of Jesus was the Holy Spirit who impregnated her.  If Jesus had been born to natural parents, He would have been born into the captivity of Adam.

He was fathered by God, and His mother was human.  This made Him completely God and completely man.  It had to be a son of man who could purchase our freedom.  For this reason, Jesus constantly referred to Himself as the Son of Man.  Though He was with the Father from the beginning, He stripped Himself of His divine privileges and became a man in order to give Himself as an offering for sin.

When He went to the Cross, He took the judgment of our sin on Himself to free us from our bondage.  Scripture declares, “He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right” (1 Pet. 2:24, NLT).

It’s amazing!  Man sinned against God, and yet God (manifest in the flesh) paid the price for man’s grave err.  We read again, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:21, NLT).

Notice it says that we could be made right.  We do not receive the freedom that He paid so great a price for until we believe in our hearts that He died for us and was raised from the dead and then receive Him as our Lord – that is when he becomes our personal Savior.  As Scripture states, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn!  This ins not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan – this rebirth comes from God” (John 1:12-13, NLT).

When we received Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we die and are spiritually reborn.  We die as slaves in the kingdom of Satan and are born as brand new children of God in His kingdom.  How does this happen?  When we believe this in our hearts, all we have to do is confess with our mouths Jesus as our Lord and we are born again.  Scripture affirms this:

            For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in
            your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
            For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with
            God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
                                                                               Romans 10:9-10, NLT

It’s that simple!  We are not saved by our good deeds.  Our good deeds could never earn us a place in His kingdom.  For if that were true, Christ died in vain.  We are saved by His grace.  It is a free gift that we cannot earn.  “God saved you by His special favor when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2: 8-9, NLT).  All we have to do to receive it is to renounce living for ourselves and commit our life to Him as Lord, which means Supreme Master.  “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).


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