Tag Archives: salvation

Glory!

You already are who you will be in Heaven.  Now, I know what you are thinking: “Oh my, I hope not!”  (You were thinking that, right?)

I didn’t say that you are doing what you will be doing in Heaven.  Nor did I say that you feel like you will feel in Heaven.  But there is nothing more that Jesus will do to you other than allow the flesh to finally fall away and remove you from a world of sin.  You are what you will be.

How do I know this?  Well consider this verse

9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10

I realize that there are other passages that speak of us becoming complete.  This is the growth or sanctification process of the Christian life.  I think it is best described as becoming who we are.

All the righteousness of Christ is ours.  We are holy.  The work Christ has done for us is finished, once for all, and we are in Him.

Yes, there will be a day when we lay down everything in our lives that does not belong to the Lord.  No more wrong thinking.  No more wrong actions.  No more suffering.  It will all be gone—and the difference will be almost overwhelming.  Imagine setting down forever the burdens of life!  Under the pain, under the bitterness, under the errors, is the real person.

And the you that is under that burden is the same you that will be in glory forever with Jesus.   Our eternal life began when we entered into Him and He entered into us.  When He became our life, we began to live eternally.  There is no death, only a step from this life to that life.  That’s why Paul told us that death has been “swallowed up in victory.”

Much will be different in that day, but much will be the same.  You will still be you and Jesus will still be Jesus.  And He will still love you and you will be with Him forever.  The great constant, according to Paul, is love—the relationship you have with Jesus.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

 

The washing away of sin and error and pain is what we call glorification—and it is already yours in Jesus!

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Filed under heart, Relationship

But What About…

What happens to those who don’t come to Jesus?

Well, that’s the question for today, isn’t it?  Are they saved, whether they want to be or not?  Are they saved already, as long as they don’t deny Jesus?  Will there be some kind of second chance for them after death?  All of these suggestions center on the desire that more people would go to Heaven.  But they also all have to twist the simple assertion of the Scripture.  Some people will end up in hell.

Be wary of those who can tell you details about things the Scripture says little about.  I don’t intend to be one of them.  I believe that the Scripture teaches about hell.  I believe that hell will not be empty.  But what hell will be like, I don’t know.  Not good, though.

I don’t like the idea of hell.  It grieves me to think that some people will be there.  Annihilation sounds better to me, I suppose.  Universal salvation certainly sounds better.  But none of this is about me and what I want or think.   Hell is real.  Jesus taught about hell.  He wanted people to avoid it.  He believed that some people would be there.  Who am I to contradict Him?

The one clear message we get about hell is that people go there because of unbelief.  The way to Heaven was available to them and they didn’t want it.  I do not believe God sends anyone to hell; I believe that all are already on their way to hell because of sin and unbelief.  In some way, God allows them what they want—separation from Him.  I don’t know what that would be like, but it can’t be good.  The little we are told sounds terrible.

The bottom line is that the Scriptures tell us about something that is very difficult to accept.  God allows people to choose and He allows them to choose against Him.  Those who are learning to see others through the mind and heart of Jesus find hell disturbing to consider.  So disturbing, I suppose, that Jesus was willing to suffer torture and death so that people could avoid it.  The heart of God desires for all to be saved–but not all will be saved.

So we tell people about Jesus and the love of God that is available to them.  We don’t care who they are or where they have been, we just know they need a Savior and we know that He is strong enough, good enough, to overcome anything they have done. 

Comments?

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Filed under grace, Theology and mystery

One Choice Has Already Been Made

“He who is not against us is on our side.”  That’s what Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:50.  Some have taken this to mean that anyone who has not chosen to deny Christ is with Him.  They push this as far as ultimate salvation, suggesting that those who die without ever acknowledging Christ as Lord are still saved as long as they haven’t knowingly denied Him.  This, in their minds, allows those who have never heard the gospel to have a chance at salvation.  In order to make this work, many of those who believe this idea suggest that there will be an opportunity after death for a decision.  (It seems a little unfair to me that those who haven’t heard the gospel would be given the chance to face Jesus personally after death.  In fact, some have suggested that we are actually doing a disservice with evangelism and missions if this doctrine is true.  How much better would it be not to tell them and make them choose here and now?  Let them die without ever hearing and then they can choose, when they have all the facts in front of them.)

But the truth is that the choice has already been made.  Whether you and I like the idea of original sin or not, the bottom line is that Adam’s sin affected our relationship with God.  And even if I were to claim that I am not guilty in Adam, I still have Dave to contend with.  I chose to sin against God.  Even if Adam hadn’t, I would have.  The Scripture (Romans 1) says that the existence of God is plain in nature and that no one has an excuse for choosing their own way. 

So no one really has to choose to deny Christ because all who have sinned have already chosen against God.  That’s the current state of the lost.  All have sinned—that’s one of the most basic concepts of our faith.  The concept that corresponds to that is just as powerful—all need a Savior.

When studying Scripture, context is so important.  One of the disciples came to Jesus to tell him about a man who was casting demons in Jesus’ name.  But the man was not one of the twelve nor among those who regularly hung out with Jesus.  Still, the man acknowledged the power and authority of Jesus.  In fact, he came to the hurting in Jesus’s name and successfully faced evil while secure in Jesus.  The problem was not this man’s personal faith.  The problem, in the minds of the disciples, was that this man didn’t walk with them.  So Jesus said, “He who is not against us is on our side.” 

You don’t have to think like me to be saved.  But you do have to come to the Savior.

Only those who come to the Savior will be saved.  It’s as simple as that.

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Filed under grace, Theology and mystery

If You’re Saved and Don’t Know it, Clap Your Hands

Can someone be saved and not know it?

The simplest answer is “yes.”  I have known people who were never sure that they were saved.  Usually it was because someone had told them that they must act a certain way or live up to certain standards in order to be “really saved.”  Legalism almost always produces a lack of assurance even in the heart of true believers. 

But let me ask another question:  Can a person be saved and not want it?  You see the difference?  Could someone be unwillingly or accidently saved?  You know, could a person travel to a “Christian nation” and be saved simply by getting off the boat?  Could a person be swimming downstream from where a group is baptizing and be accidently saved?  Or maybe this is more realistic: Could a person grow up in a Christian home and attend a Christian church every Sunday and be saved simply by osmosis?  Could someone wake up in Heaven someday and say, “But I didn’t want this!”? 

No, no, no, you say.  A person has to want to be saved.  Why?

We say that Heaven is a free gift.  It has already been paid for, fully provided and readied for anyone.  But only the “free” part is active.  I have had the odd experience of finding a wrapped gift that was never delivered to the person who was supposed to receive it.  The timeliness of the gift was gone and it was no longer needed or appropriate.  I unwrapped the item and did something else with it.  My intention was that it would be a gift, but was it?  Just because I called it a gift, didn’t make it a gift.  My friend would not have said that I gave him a gift.  The term “gift” no longer applied to its reality; it only applied to its intended purpose. 

Many wannabe boyfriends have had similar experiences.  The gift they offered was not received.  Maybe they threw the item away or they used it for themselves, but it was not really a gift because it was never received.  God offers salvation as a free gift.  It really is free.  He has done all the work.  The cost was all His.  But if the gift is not received, not wanted, it has no effect, no reality for the intended receiver.

Like the old motivational speaker said, “Ya gotta have the want to!”

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Filed under Freedom, grace, Grace definition, Relationship, Theology and mystery