Water Baptism

Water Baptism 

Communion and baptism are two things that were meant to be spiritual and we made them religious. We tell people what to do, but we don’t tell them why. Then it becomes religious. Baptism is one of the primary ways we connect to the cross. It’s not about getting wet, its about connecting to the cross. We have to get out of Ritual and into Sacrament, out of religious duty and into a spiritual experience. Baptism is not about a religious duty its about a spiritual experience. There is something spiritual that happens at baptism, there is a death burial and resurrection that happens that connects us with what happened at the cross and the tomb of Jesus. There is something about our born again life that is incomplete until baptism.

Romans 6:4 (HCSB) Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

Water baptism it is not an entrance into Christianity. The fact that baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation is best seen in the example of a saved man who was not baptized in water, the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). This self-confessed sinner came to acknowledge Jesus as his Lord while dying on a cross next to Him, and he asked for salvation and was forgiven of his sins. Although he never experienced water baptism, at that moment he was baptized into Christ’s death, and he then was raised to life by the power of Christ’s word.

Instead we are baptized because our Lord commanded it and because we obey Him. Matthew 28:19(ESV)Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

Moses was commissioned by God to be the deliverer of His people. He went before Pharaoh and requested the people to be let go so they may worship the Lord. Pharaoh refused (“he hardened his heart”) and began to oppress the people of Israel even more. Then began the cycle of the ten plagues. Moses requested that Pharaoh release his people, Pharaoh refused, God sent a plague, Pharaoh “repented,” and God removed the plague. After the final plague (the death of the firstborn), Pharaoh finally agreed to let the children of Israel go. But then he had another change of heart and chased after them with his army. That’s when the great scene of deliverance occurred as God parted the Red Sea, allowing the children of Israel to pass through safely, but drowning Pharaoh and his army under the sea.

The exodus from Egypt, though a real, historical event, prefigures the saving work of Christ for His people. What God did through Moses was to provide physical salvation from physical slavery. What God does through Christ is provide spiritual salvation from a spiritual slavery. However, our slavery isn’t like that of the Israelites in Egypt. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but we are all slaves to sin. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36).

Pharaoh let the Israelites go and gave them all the riches of Egypt, then he had a change of heart and sent his choice warriors in their best chariots after them.

The Israelites were being chased by the Egyptians until they came to the red sea. How many of you have your past chasing you?

The Egyptians were drowned in the sea after the Israelites made it to the other side after they came out, Egypt means bondage!

We need to drown some Egyptians here today!!

When you go into the water you leave those bondages in there you come up free from those bondages.

Romans 6:6-7(HCSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 

Romans 6:4 (ESV)“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life”

So the parting of the Red Sea not only finalized God’s redemption of His people from slavery in Egypt, but it also prefigured the greater spiritual reality of God’s redemption of His people from slavery to sin through the work of Christ.

Before we are baptized we must come to believe that we are sinners in need of salvation (Romans 3:23 (HCSB) For all have sinned and fall short of the[s] glory of God. We must also believe that Christ died on the cross to atone for our sins, that He was buried, and that He was resurrected to assure our place in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (HCSB) Now brothers, I want to clarify[a] for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 that He was buried,that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

We then turn to Jesus, asking Him to forgive our sins and to be our Lord and Savior, and the moment we do that we are born again, our eternal salvation is guaranteed, and we begin to die to ourselves and live for Christ (1 Peter 1:3-5 (HCSB)Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  At this time we are qualified to be scripturally baptized.

At the baptismal, we let ourselves be completely immersed in the water. This is the burial with our Lord; we are baptized into His death on the cross and are no longer slaves to self or sin (Romans 6:3-7). When we are raised out of the water, we are resurrected—raised to our new life in Christ and to be with Him forever, born into the family of our loving God.

Romans 6:8-11(HCSB) Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Christians have been commanded to be baptized, and we should do so out of obedience to, and love for, our Lord Christ Jesus John 14:15 (HCSB)15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.

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Selfish Christianity

Selfish Christianity produces many stumbling blocks for those who are new to the faith. 1 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)“But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak”. Our liberty is not worth another’s walk with God. If something God allows would lead another to sin, we need to avoid it. We are given great freedom as Christians, but the greatest is the freedom to consider others’ welfare over our own.

Refraining from being a stumbling block means not leading another into sin. How we accomplish this depends on the situation and the hearts of those around us. The security we have in God’s love and provision, both now and eternally, allows us to show concern to those who are weaker—those who need specific encouragement to understand who God is.

In some situations, that means living in those freedoms to exemplify that God is a God of grace. In others, it means disciplining ourselves to building up weaker believers and not pushing them into a liberty they’re not ready for. But, always, it means not encouraging another to act in a way the Bible specifically identifies as sin.

Selfishness is that attitude of being concerned with one’s own interests above the interests of others. However, the Bible commands us to Philippians 2:3-4“do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others”

A sure cure for selfishness is to know where our treasure is. The Christian holds the things of this world loosely because he is laying up “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21). He knows it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and he lives according to the truth that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Peter’s mother-in-law is sick and Jesus comes into the house and heals her.

Matthew 8:14 (HCSB)When Jesus went into Peter’s house, He saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve Him.

Somethings wont be fixed until you invite Jesus into your home.

Being a Christian is not about “cleaning up” on Wednesdays and Sundays and speaking the right words but when things get rough we put off Christ and put back on our flesh.
Like when finances get tough first thing most people do is stop tithing, but don’t stop eating out. Stop coming to church, but don’t stop going to football games,and meaningless stuff that is not eternal.

Why is it that Jesus is the first thing to be shelved? Why is it that Kingdom thinking is the first thing to be put aside?

We are to come to Gods house and take back to our home what we receive here. We need to not be compartment hypocrites we have to serve God and represent God wherever we are. We can’t put Jesus on a shelf and expect the world to say yes I want some of that.

The reason most people stay out of church is because of hypocrites.

Greek hypokritḗs a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what he is not.

We act just like the world when we are around them to try and impress them but they look at us as fools .

Have you ever heard the excuse I can’t go to Church there are too many hypocrites there?

Unfortunately the words “sinner” and “hypocrite” are being confused. The confusion is one found between what one is and what one does. Sinner is the generic term of what “one is.” Scripture says all people are found in this category, both in and outside the Church. Everyone falls short of the perfection of God which makes them a sinner. Being a Hypocrite is specifically what one does. Since hypocrisy is a sin, we can say, All hypocrites are sinners. But not all sinners are hypocrites. Those who dislike the church and its explanation of mans predicament bring this confusion by the statement “The church is full of sinners so all sinners are hypocrites. Therefore the church is full of hypocrites.

The church is full of sinners, murderers are sinners therefore the church is full of murderers. This would be very unfair and inaccurate to say. In the same way jail has murderers therefore all who are in jail are murderers. Another example is certain cars go very fast, so and so was caught speeding in his car. Therefore everyone who buys this certain car will speed and break the law.

James 1:22(HCSB) But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

What we learn in God’s house is supposed to be brought out into our own house, in our own temple(We are the temple of the Holy Spirit).

How can a person sit here every Sunday and Wednesday and listen to solid teachings then go out an still live like they are not saved? Still live like the World? I do not want my kids to hear Dad preach a sermon and not live it behind close doors. See Dad on the altar worshipping and praying but never see it in the living room.

Our job is to show people the King and teach people about the Kingdom. We cannot reach the world by acting like the world.

God has to be Lord over our life not an ornaments we show off when we in the company of other Christians.

The key is understanding that Jesus is already Lord of your life. We do not make Jesus Lord. Jesus is Lord. What we are supposed to do is submit to His lordship. Another word for our response to Jesus’ Lordship is “submission.” To submit is to yield to the will and control of another, and, with reference to Christians, it is yielding to the will and control of Jesus Christ.

It should be understood that submission, or obedience to the commands of God, is related to Christian growth and maturity, and is not related to becoming a Christian. A person becomes a Christian by faith alone in Christ apart from works

To sum up the idea of the Lordship of Christ, it does not consist of one act of obedience but rather is measured by the sum of our obedience, and it cannot be accomplished in our own strength or power, but by the power available to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are strongest when we are relying on Him.

New Creation in Christ

New Creation in Christ

Jesus said that to become a Christian we must be “born again”.

John 3:3 (NLT) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”. That phrase implies that we cannot simply remodel our current lives; we must start over. 2 Corinthians 5:15 &17(NLT) explain what happens when we put our trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord: 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.. . . .

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Jesus used the illustration of birth because we understand that when a baby is born, a new creation is evident. Live birth is followed by a transformation over time from infancy to maturity. When we are born again in the spirit, we who were “dead in your many sins” (Ephesians 2:1-2(NLT)Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God..

The bible says we were “slaves” to sin Romans 6:16(NLT) Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
But then we were release from slavery to sin and now we are slaves to righteous living.

Romans 6:18 (NLT)18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 

We are brought to life. We are “created anew in Christ Jesus”

Ephesians 2:10(NLT)10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. God changes our desires, outlook, and focus as we turn from self-worship to God-worship.

Many people try to bypass this transfer of ownership and instead try to “clean up their act,” “turn over a new leaf,” or start going to church in an effort to feel like a Christian. However, willpower can only take us so far. I like to call that “Sin-Management” Jesus did not come to reform our sinful flesh; He came to kill it

Luke 9:23(NLT)23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

Romans 6:6–7 (NLT)6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin..

The old and new natures cannot work together, nor can they peacefully coexist

Romans 8:12–13(NLT)12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

The flesh must die before we can experience the new life Jesus offers us.

The new creation is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17(ESV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The word “therefore” refers us back to verses 14-15

2 Corinthians 5:14 (NLT) Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

where Paul tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves. Our lives are no longer worldly; they are now spiritual. Our “death” is that of the old sin nature which was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the Father, so are we raised up to “walk in newness of life”

Romans 6:4(ESV)4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

That new person that was raised up is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the “new creation.”

To understand the new creation, first we must grasp that it is in fact a creation, something created by God. John 1:13 tells us that this new birth was brought about by the will of God. We did not inherit the new nature, nor did we decide to re-create ourselves anew, nor did God simply clean up our old nature; He created something entirely fresh and new. The new creation is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God ex nihilo, from nothing. Only the Creator could accomplish such a task.

Second, “old things have gone.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin nature.

Along with the old passing away, “the new has come!” Old, dead things are replaced with new things, full of life and the glory of God. The newborn soul delights in the things of God and hates,detest,loathes the things of the world and the flesh. Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and different. We see the world differently. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw before, and which we wonder at not having perceived. The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a new love for all mankind.

The things we once loved, we now detest. The sin we once held onto, we now desire to leave behind,never to go back to it. We “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9), and put on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

What about the Christian who continues to sin? There is a difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life, but the redeemed Christian is being sanctified (made holy) day by day, sinning less and hating it more each time he fails. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still has a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer a slave to sin, as we formerly were. We are now freed from sin and it no longer has power over us. Now we are empowered by and for righteousness. We now have the choice to “let sin reign” or to count ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11-12). Best of all, now we have the power to choose the latter.

In Romans 1, Paul says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that saves us, the gospel being the good news that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. When we enter into the Christian life by faith in this good news, we see our faith grow as we come to know more and more about the God who saved us. The gospel of Christ actually reveals God to us as we live to grow closer to Him each day. Romans 1:17 (ESV) says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” So part of the Christian life is diligent reading and study of the Word, accompanied by prayer for understanding and wisdom and for a closer, more intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

Every human being is composed of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT) 23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

Before we have a relationship with God through new birth, we live primarily controlled by our soul(mind, will and emotions) and body(flesh). The spirit lies dormant inside us, like a deflated balloon. When we transfer ownership of our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ, He sends His Holy Spirit to regenerate our deflated spirits. The Holy Spirit is compared to a wind (John 3:8; Acts 2:2). At salvation, He pours into our hearts and inflates the spirit inside us so that we can now communicate with God. Whereas, a person was formerly directed by the sin nature, he or she can now be directed by the Holy Spirit who works to transform us into the image of Christ.

The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, Galatians 2:20 (ESV)“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.

Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.

The Christian life is also supposed to persevere to the end. Hebrews 10:38-39 And my righteous ones will live by faith.

    But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”

39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. 

This scripture addresses this issue by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Habukkuk: “Now the justified in Christ shall live by faith; But I will take no pleasure in the one who turns away” God is not pleased with one who “turns back” from Him after making a commitment, but those who live by faith will never draw back, because they are kept by the Holy Spirit who assures us that we will continue with Christ until the end

Ephesians 1:13-14(NLT)3 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him..The true believer is one who believes to the end.

So the Christian life is one lived by faith in the God who saved us, empowers us, seals us for heaven, and by whose power we are kept forever. The day-to-day life of faith is one that grows and strengthens as we seek God in His Word and through prayer and as we unite with other Christians whose goal of Christlikeness is similar to our own.

Sanctification

Justification We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.

Sanctification We are being saved from the Power of Sin

Glorification We will be saved from the presence of Sin

Justification begins our sanctification. We are both Justified (a one time event) and being Sanctified. Sanctification begins with our justification, it is a process that conforms us to Christ’s likeness (moral likeness).

Someone who is a Christian for 10 years is no more justified than when the first became a believer.

Justification is a pronouncement to clear the guilty. When one is justified, he is declared right before the Lord; he is pardoned and cleared of any violation. “Romans 8:1(NLT)So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” To have “no condemnation” declared means to be found innocent of the accusation, to have no sentence inflicted and no guilty verdict found. By the grace of God, believers in Jesus Christ will not face the condemnation of God.

Romans 3:23(NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:9 (ESV) Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

We are SAVED from the WRATH of GOD!!!

Our justification is by faith in the work of the Son of God on the cross, his shed blood and death for forgiveness of our sins. Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is imparted to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous. This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the person saved.  Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life.  It is based completely and solely upon Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and is received by faith alone.  No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification.  Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV)For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Otherwise, it is not a gift.  Therefore, we are justified by faith. NOT by WORKS.

Those who truly are born again are also regenerate, and those who are regenerate have the Holy Spirit in them (Romans 8:9-10(NLT)But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) who convicts of sin John 16:8(NLT)And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. Also, those who are truly born again are new persons (2 Corinthians 5:17(NLT) 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!).

In other words, real Christians are really changed. Real Christians war against their sin. And, real Christians have recognized they have sinned against God and have trusted in Christ to deliver them from their sins. If there is no war against sin, then there is no evidence of regeneration. Therefore, anyone who would say that once he is saved he can go out and sin all he wants is actually implying he is not regenerated.

Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.

1 John 1:6, “If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.

1 John 2:4, “ The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 

This is the message of Grace, it is God saves sinners. It is His plan, it was His Son who died and rose again, it is His Spirit who energizes the preaching and witness of believers to awaken sinners to their need of salvation and lead them to faith in Christ.

So, to be saved by grace means that the judgment due to us because of our sin against God, i.e., lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, coveting, lust, etc., will not be upon us; that is forgiveness, we are found innocent of sin.

How do we receive salvation?
You must believe, you must have faith in Christ for salvation.

Romans 10:9-10(NLT)If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

This exercise is not a work, however, because is involves no ability on our part and no effort on our part. That is the hard thing to understand about faith–it is not an action, it is a surrender, a throwing up of the hands and saying, “I can do nothing in myself.”

To be saved/Justified takes no “WORK” on our part we have to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, repent of our old nature and begin the sanctification process. . Our Spirit is instantly saved, our soul is in the process of being saved.

Justification our spirit(In the Old Testament, “spirit” is ruach, found some 378 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, and literally meaning “breath,” “wind,” etc. The corresponding Greek term is pneuma, occurring 379 times in the New Testament) is instantly saved and through sanctification our soul.(The Hebrew term for “soul” is nephesh and it is found more than 780 times in the Old Testament. Similarly, in the Greek New Testament, the original word for “soul” is psuche, found 103 times. Our modern word “psychology” derives from this Greek term. Soul refers to the mind, will and emotions) Our soul is in the process of being saved.

Sanctification-is a continual process that conforms us into the image of the Son of God. Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. Jesus meets us where we are but His goal is to never leave us where He met us, We are to follow Him and strive for holiness AFTER He meets us where we are.

 

Matthew 16:24 (ESV) Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

We are constantly “Putting to death” our old man

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

 

True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.

Sanctification is the same Greek word as holiness, “hagios,” meaning a separation. To sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thessalonians 4: 7(ESV) For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.)

Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.
God’s pattern for spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says and what it means. The meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture—if you don’t know what it means, you don’t have the truth. So the process of spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says.

True sanctification begins with renewing your mind.

Romans 12:1-2(ESV)  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You must know the truth, plain and simple. There’s no premium on ignorance in sanctification. You’re not going to get there through some emotional or mystical experience. Spiritual growth won’t happen by osmosis—it requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s truth in your mind.

1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

The gospel is a call for the unbeliever to repent of his sin and embrace Christ by faith. The Greek word Metanoia translated “repentance” carries the notion of a change of mind. Our thinking must be changed (transformed) from old, ungodly ways of thinking into new, godly ways of thinking. What we know in our minds to be true forms a conviction in our hearts of that truth, and that conviction in our hearts translates into action. Therefore, we must first renew our minds.

The only way to replace the error of the world’s way of thinking is to replace it with God’s truth, and the only infallible source of God’s truth is found in his revealed word, the Bible. Transformation through renewed minds comes as believers expose themselves to God’s Word through the faithful teaching of it each week in church, prayer, worship, personal Bible study and group Bible study. A solid church that believes in preaching the Word, reading the Word and singing the Word is invaluable in helping us renew our minds.

We have to change our ways of thinking, we cannot “think like the world and think like a “Christian”

Mark 2:22 (ESV) And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

 

Romans 8:5-8(ESV)For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

There are no shortcuts. There is no magical formula for renewing our minds. We must fill our minds with God’s word.


Then it is up to us; Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone, it is us putting off our old ways, being transformed into the likeness of God.

To truly follow Christ means He has become everything to us. Everyone follows something: friends, popular culture, family, selfish desires, or God. We can only follow one thing at a time (Matthew 6:24). God states we are to have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3(ESV)“You shall have no other gods before me.).

To truly follow Christ means we do not follow anything else.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23 (ESV)”Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” There is no such thing as a “halfway disciple.” As the disciples demonstrated, no one can follow Christ by the strength of his own willpower. The Pharisees were good examples of those who were trying to obey God in their own strength. Their self-effort led only to arrogance and distortion of the whole purpose of God’s Law

Luke 11:39(ESV) And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.

Matthew 23:27-28(ESV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Jesus gave His disciples the secret to faithfully following Him, but they did not recognize it at the time. He said, John 6:63(ESV)”The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. And in John 6:65(ESV) “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years, learning, observing, and participating in His miracles. Yet, even they could not follow Him faithfully in their own strength. They needed a Helper.

So who is the helper and HOW can we do this? It is the Holy Spirit and it is through the Holy Spirit!!!! God doesn’t save us then leaves us to ourselves to figure it out!!

He send us the Holy Spirit as a helper.

John 14:15-17(ESV)“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

You receive DUNAMIS power

Acts 1:8(ESV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

You live according to the Spirit

Romans 8:9-11(ESV)You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

 

Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ.  This conforming to Christ involves the work of the person, but it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified.  Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone.  The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God’s will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Galatians 5:22 (ESV)But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.).  Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification.  That is, even if we don’t live a perfect life, we are still justified. Our salvation is not that fragile, we don’t LOSE it when we sin.

 

Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process.  Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible.  In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts.  In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

Colossians 3:12 (ESV)Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Purpose of the Church

A high proportion of people who “go to church” have forgotten what it is all for. Week by week they attend services in a special building and go through their particular, time-honored routine, but give little thought to the purpose of what they are doing. The Bible talks about the “the bride of Christ” but the church today seems like a ragged Cinderella. It needs to reaffirm the nonnegotiable, essential elements that God designed for it to be committed to. [God’s forgetful Pilgrims (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978)]

Many people today understand the church as a building. This is not a biblical understanding of the church. The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people. It is ironic that when you ask people what church they attend, they usually identify a building. Therefore, the church is the gathering of the believers who come together to participate in fellowship with one another as they worship God and hear from His Word, the Bible.  The church as a whole has been equipped with people possessing different spiritual gifts

Romans 12:5-8For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.).

The purpose of the gifts is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,”

Ephesians 4:11-14(ESV)11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) until Christ’s return. The body of Christ is comprised of two aspects:

1) The universal church consists of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV)“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”. This verse says that anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Spirit of Christ as evidence. The universal church of God is all those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

2) The local church is described in Galatians 1:1-2(ESV)“Paul, an apostle … and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia.” Here we see that in the province of Galatia there were many churches—what we call local churches. A Baptist church, Lutheran church, Non-Denominational church, etc., is not the church, as in the universal church—but rather is a local church, a local body of believers. The universal church is comprised of those who belong to Christ and who have trusted Him for salvation. These members of the universal church should seek fellowship and edification in a local church.

The church is not a building or a denomination. According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Local churches are gatherings of members of the universal church. The local church is where the members of the universal church can fully apply the “body” principles of 1 Corinthians chapter 12: encouraging, teaching, and building one another up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Acts 2:42 could be considered a purpose statement for the church: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” According to this verse, the purposes/activities of the church should be 1) teaching biblical doctrine, 2) providing a place of fellowship for believers, 3) observing the Lord’s supper, and 4) praying.

The church is to teach biblical doctrine so we can be grounded in our faith. Ephesians 4:14 (ESV)Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”

The church is to be a place of fellowship, where Christians can be devoted to one another and honor one another (Romans 12:10(ESV) Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor,

instruct one another Romans 15:14 (ESV) I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.,

be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32(ESV) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.,

encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11(ESV) Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

most importantly, love one another 1 John 3:11(ESV)For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

The church is to be a place where believers can observe the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s death and shed blood on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:23-26(ESV) For xI received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that ythe Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.). The concept of “breaking bread” (Acts 2:42) also carries the idea of having meals together. This is another example of the church promoting fellowship.

The final purpose of the church according to Acts 2:42 is prayer. The church is to be a place that promotes prayer, teaches prayer, and practices prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Prayer encourages us!!

Another commission given to the church is proclaiming the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:8 (ESV)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”. The church is called to be faithful in sharing the gospel through word and deed. The church is to be a “lighthouse” in the community, pointing people toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The church is to both promote the gospel and prepare its members to proclaim the gospel (1 Peter 3:14-16 (ESV)But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.).

Some final purposes of the church are given in James 1:27: (ESV)“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The church is to be about the business of ministering to those in need. This includes not only sharing the gospel, but also providing for physical needs (food, clothing, shelter) as necessary and appropriate. The church is also to equip believers in Christ with the tools they need to overcome sin and remain free from the pollution of the world. This is done by biblical teaching and Christian fellowship.

If the church says to anyone you cannot come here, you cannot engage in the life of the church, if the church says that to anyone, then where are they supposed to find Jesus.

This would be the equivalent of kicking people out of a hospital because they are sick.

Church = Ekklesia

  1. the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
  2. an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
  3. Called out ones

So, what is the purpose of the church? Paul gave an excellent illustration to the believers in Corinth. The church is God’s hands, mouth, and feet in this world—the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). We are to be doing the things that Jesus Christ would do if He were here physically on the earth. The church is to be “Christian,” “Christ-like,” and Christ-following.

Church vs Country Clubs

WE are called to be the church, not just attend a building and make it into a country club. “God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks, “Thom Rainer writes. “He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel.

Four Implications of Biblical Church Membership

1.Membership Means We Are All Necessary Parts of the Whole. The New Testament includes a number of passages where we clearly see the picture of church membership, such as 1 Corinthians 12 to 14, where the apostle makes it clear that we are connected to one another and dependent upon one another. However; in our modern day, “Some church leaders and members view membership as a modern business or organizational concept, so they reject the label as unbiblical. Membership, to the contrary, is very biblical.”

2.Membership Means We Are Different but We Still Work Together. “With a country club membership you pay others to do the work for you. With church membership, everyone has a role or function. That is why some are hands, feet, ears, or eyes. We are all different, but we are necessary parts of the whole. Each part, therefore, has to do its work, or the whole body suffers.”

3.Membership Means Everything We Say and Do Is Based on a Biblical Foundation of Love. Here, Rainer exposes the common misuse of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and places it back into its original context: “its original meaning was to demonstrate how church members relate one to another….We are not to love fellow church members just because they are lovable. We are to love the unlovable as well. We are not to pray for and encourage our pastors just when they are doing things we like. We are to pray for and encourage them when they do things we don’t like. We are not to serve the church only when others are joining in. We are to serve the church even if we are alone in doing so. Church membership is founded on love.”

4.Church Membership Is Functioning Membership. “Do you know how to remain a member of a country club? Pay your dues. Do that and people will be available to serve you. Do you know how to remain a biblical member of a church? Give abundantly and serve without hesitation…. Biblical church membership is functioning membership.

But what if the primary point of church wasn’t “us”? What if the point was to bring the Good News to the poor? What if it was to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien? What if the primary point was outward service to a world in need as we bring the amazing message of hope and forgiveness found in Jesus?

The way to build a big church is to be “Entertainment Based” and preach milk. (feel good messages aimed at tickling the ears of the hearer, to build a “Equipping Church”, Jesus centered Church it takes men and women who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty, spending time building an intimate relationship with one another, willing to go the extra mile, give your time, money,prayers, and effort to something greater than yourself.

Ephesians 4:11-12(NLT) 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. When the church moves out of the entertaining business and into the equipping business then it moves the people into a far greater responsibility.

The Church exists to include more outsiders, not separate insiders from outsiders.

Four perspectives alluding to why people leave a church.

1, They wanted community…and received only judgment.

  1. They wanted to affect the life of the church…and found only bureaucracy.
  2. They wanted a conversation…and got only lectures.
  3. They wanted meaningful engagement with the world…and got only moral prescription.

Matthew 16:15-18(HCSB) Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

verse 18 where the Lord says, “I will build My church.” Men can build buildings and men can build organizations but only Jesus Christ can build the church. There are churches built by men, some of them you have attended, no doubt, as I have. But here our Lord says, “I will build My church,” the only one approved by God and supernaturally constructed.

The church is not built on clever technique. It’s not built on manipulation. It’s not built on a strategic marketing plan. The church will be built on those who affirm divine revelation which is foundational to the church.

“I will build my church.” The church is not a building. It’s a people, with or without a building. But the Bible pictures this people sometimes as tree that grows and sometimes as a building that is built. The point is that this people has a builder, and the builder is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus builds the church.

John 21:15 (HCSB)After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

 

The first time Jesus says it, the Greek means literally “pasture (tend) the lambs” (v. 15). The Greek word for “pasture” is in the present tense, denoting a continual action of tending, feeding and caring for animals. Believers are referred to as sheep throughout Scripture.

The second time, the literal meaning is “tend My sheep” (v. 16). In this exchange, Jesus was emphasizing tending the sheep in a supervisory capacity, not only feeding but ruling over them. This expresses the full scope of pastoral oversight, both in Peter’s future and in all those who would follow him in pastoral ministry.

The third time, the literal translation is “pasture (tend) the sheep” (v. 17). Here Jesus combines the different Greek words to make clear the job of the shepherd of the flock of God. They are to tend, care for, and provide spiritual food for God’s people, from the youngest lambs to the full-grown sheep, in continual action to nourish and care for their souls, bringing them into the fullness of spiritual maturity. The totality of the task set before Peter, and all shepherds, is made clear by Jesus’ three-fold command and the words He chooses.

Jesus builds the Church we tend, care for and feed the people. We do it through discipleship, preaching the word, teaching the Word, rebuking, correcting, exhorting, counseling, etc.

Church is not a country club designed to entertain, but people on a mission with Jesus Galatians 1:10(HCSB) 10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.. Our mission is to reach people far from God and teach them how to follow Jesus step by step.

 

The Doctrine of Grace

We are separated from God. Sin caused man’s separation from God, however God Loves us so much, that He provides the Way back into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. His steadfast loving kindness leads us to repentance, His grace, and mercy, forgives us of all our sins, even though none of us deserves it. No one can earn forgiveness, and reconciliation to God, it is a free gift, to those who believe, and accept it by Faith.

   

The original sin of Adam and Eve brought devastation to all mankind and separation from God. All men and women are born with the same sin nature in their spirit. We all have impure spirits and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


Isaiah 59:2
But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
According to Romans 5:8 (NLT)But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Why did Christ have to die for us? Because Scripture declares all men to be sinful. To “sin” means to miss the mark. The Bible declares Romans 3:23(NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. In other words, our sin separates us from God who is perfect holiness (righteousness and justice) and God must therefore judge sinful man. Sin entered in through the fall of Adam,(Romans 5: 12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.)
The doctrine of total depravity is an acknowledgement that the Bible teaches that as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3:6) every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. In other words, sin affects all areas of our being including who we are and what we do. It penetrates to the very core of our being so that everything is tainted by sin and “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). It acknowledges that the Bible teaches that we sin because we are sinners by nature.
Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or protect.

What are we saved from? In the doctrine of salvation, we are saved from God’s wrath, that is, from God’s judgment of sin Romans 5:9(NLT)And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation
1 Thessalonians 5:9(NLT) For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us..

Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death

Romans 6:23(NLT) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

In all the vastness of our world, in all of the diversity of religious beliefs, there are only two essential types of belief for salvation, works and Grace. There seem to be many differences between the world’s religions, but they are all essentially the same–they all center around human works. All involve human beings accomplishing a task or set of tasks to achieve a goal and receive a reward. The tasks may be different, the goal may have differing names, and the reward may be called many things (Heaven Paradise, Nirvana), but the principle underlying all of them is the same “this for that.” In the world’s religions, salvation (righteousness, oneness with the Infinite, perfect nothingness, or whatever is the term in a particular religion) is earned by what one does.

True Bible Christianity, however, is totally distinct from the world’s religions in this area as in so many others. The thing that makes Christianity far different from all other religions is the concept of Grace. To help us understand the difference, we need to look at the at the two basic paradigms for all religions. (A Paradigm is a model, an outline, a form that something takes, that we can diagram to help us understand it.)

PARADIGM #1: WORKS

(Followed by most religions, including much of “Christianity.”)

World Religions “Christian” Version
We work our way to God, salvation, Nirvana, Paradise. In salvation, we are returned to where Adam was before the Fall.
God (or whatever represents deity) judges our progress as we go along. Even after “salvation,” we still have God as our Judge
Attainment of Godhood, salvation, Paradise, Nirvana depends upon what we do. Our will and our efforts determine whether or not we go to heaven.

PARADIGM #2: SALVATION BY GRACE
1. Salvation is 100 percent a work of God–we are unable, because of our bondage to sin and rebellion, to do anything meriting God’s favor.
2. God reaches down to save people–He conceived the plan, He sent His Son to accomplish the plan–He does 100% of the work.
3. When we experience what the Bible calls the New Birth John 3:3-8 (NLT) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”, we are then SAVED, we pass from death to life (Ephesians 2:1-6(ESV) 1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
John 6:40(ESV) 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:47(ESV)Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

  1. As a part of the gift of Salvation, we become adopted children of God

Galatians 3:26(NLT) 26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:6-7(NLT)And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.


  1. When we sin, God deals with us as a Father to a child
    Hebrews 12:4-8(NLT)
    After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,

 and don’t give up when he corrects you.For the Lord disciplines those he loves,

 and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.)

  1. God’s Grace and actions are the determining factors in our salvation, even to include His working in our lives to develop a lifestyle consistent with salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)God saved you by his grace 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. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The Grace of God is so simple, and so profound that most of the greatest minds don’t fully understand it. It stands in opposition to the ideas that most of us have about earning our way in the world, about people getting what they deserve, about “fairness,” and about the independence of human beings.

The meaning of Grace behind that simple explanation is one of the most hated teachings in the world because it so totally undermines and removes all traces of human pride.

The Doctrine of Grace teaches that we are totally unable to save ourselves, to help in our salvation, to do anything to merit all or any part of our salvation, or to keep our salvation. We are saved totally as an act of God’s will, and we do not deserve it in any way. This is the most important first principle in understanding Grace–no one in the entire human race deserves any consideration from God, we are all rebels and sinners, and we all deserve Hell. Except for His own redemption plan, God could rightfully have sent the entire human race to eternal punishment long ago! The description Paul gives of believers before salvation fits the entire human race if they are without Christ:

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT) Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

In spite of us deserving wrath, however, God has exercised His Grace toward us in Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-10 (NLT)But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace 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. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

What is the meaning of Grace? We were dead spiritually; we were fit for nothing but wrath; we were rebels and in bondage to sin and Satan. In the midst of that condition, God saved us. We exercised faith, which is itself a gift of God

(John 6:44-47(NLT) 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life, and God blessed us with the greatest possible gift–eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! (John 5:24(NLT) 24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

John 6:37-40(NLT) 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

What is more, we can add nothing to Grace. Before we were saved, we had nothing to contribute to the process (Romans 3:10-11(NLT) 10 As the Scriptures say,“No one is righteous—not even one.11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.

And we add nothing to it. The Bible makes plain that the mysterious supernatural experience called the New Birth is an act of God.

John 3:3-8 (NLT)Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

You might ask, “If this is all a work of God, where do I fit in the process?” The answer is you must believe, you must exercise faith in Christ for salvation.

Romans 10:9-10(NLT)If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

This exercise is not a work, however, because is involves no ability on our part and no effort on our part. That is the hard thing to understand about faith–it is not an action, it is a surrender, a throwing up of the hands and saying, “I can do nothing in myself.”

Justification by Faith

What does the term “Justified” mean? The Bible meaning of the word is to be totally blameless and totally guiltless–to be able to stand before God clean and pure in every way. Justification, in Christian theology is God’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.A play on the word helps us to understand its meaning. If I am Justified, it is Just-as-if-I’d never sinned, and Just-as-if-I’d always been holy and done the right things. Remember our helpless position before God–as “children of Wrath,” we are unable to satisfy God–all His lovely and perfect Law can do is condemn us: Our Father, however, has devised a plan and made a way for us to stand righteous before Him. He has sent His own Son as a Sacrifice on our behalf, (Chapter 5) and those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life, and shall be seen as righteous in God’s sight.

This is Justification, to stand before God with all accounts paid, and clothed in the righteousness of His only Son, Jesus Christ. To be able know that you have Romans 5:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.–there is no more war between you and the Almighty.
Someone who is a Christian for 10 years is no more justified than when the first became a believer. After Justification begins Sanctification which is basically

the process of our dying to self, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in. Galatians 5:24 (ESV)“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”. Where we once pursued selfish pleasures, we now pursue, with equal passion, that which pleases God.

And being obedient to the word and the Spirit that we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are considered righteous and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.

Justification – We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin. (Instant)

Sanctification – We are being saved from the Power of Sin (Process)

Glorification – We will be saved from the presence of Sin (upon Ressurection)

Eternal Security

When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24-25 (HCSB) Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(HSCB) My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life.

Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand.

There are opponents to this position that would state elsewhere in Scripture such declarations exist that teach we can lose our salvation.

Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? There is none that I know of. Every sin that man can commit against God and man, even the most heinous was dealt with at the cross of Calvary. If this is so, then what sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?

The most powerful argument for eternal security is Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Please understand that eternal security is not a license to sin.  The Christian is regenerated.  He is changed from within–being made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.)  Those who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit will war with their sin and not seek to abide in it.  Those who declare that they are eternally secure and then go out and sin on purpose in any manner they so choose are probably not saved to begin with since this is contradictory to what Scripture teaches.  1 John 2:4-5 (HCSB) The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him:

 

Again eternal security (the position that a Christian cannot lose his salvation) is not a license to sin. Such accusations are made by those who believe they can lose their salvation and thus have to maintain it either through obeying the commandments of God or by their deliberate act of remaining faithful to him. I have never heard any believer in eternal security ever make the statement that since he is secure in Christ, it’s okay for him to sin. In fact, I have always heard the opposite, and those I have encountered who believe in their security in Christ have universally sought holiness before the Lord Jesus.

Romans 6:1-2(HCSB) What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:6-8(HCSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him,

 

Those who truly are born again are also regenerate, and those who are regenerate have the Holy Spirit in them (Romans 8:9-10(NLT)But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) who convicts of sin John 16:8(NLT)And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. Also, those who are truly born again are new persons (2 Corinthians 5:17(NLT) 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!). In other words, real Christians are really changed. Real Christians war against their sin as is exemplified by the apostle Paul in Romans 7:18-25. And, real Christians have recognized they have sinned against God and have trusted in Christ to deliver them from their sins. If there is no war against sin, then there is no evidence of regeneration. Therefore, anyone who would say that once he is saved he can go out and sin all he wants is actually implying he is not regenerated.

Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.

1 John 1:6, “If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.

1 John 2:4, “ The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 

The message of Grace is God Saves Sinners. It is His Plan, it was His Son who died and rose again, it is His Spirit who enlivens the preaching and witness of believers to awaken sinners to their need of salvation and lead them to faith in Christ.

So, to be saved by grace means that the judgment due to us because of our sin against God, i.e., lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, coveting, lust, etc., will not be upon us; that is forgiveness. But in addition, we get what we do not deserve–being in the presence of God.

Finally, the only way to be saved by grace is by putting your trust in what Jesus did on the cross. He never sinned, and He bore our sin in His body. He paid the price. He satisfied the penalty of the law by dying on the cross, Because our righteous deeds are filthy rags before God, then we have nothing that is pure to offer God. Therefore, the only thing left for us to do is to trust what Christ has done on the cross by faith. That is why the Bible tells us that we are made right before God by faith. Therefore, to be saved by grace means to be safe from the righteous judgment of God by the unmerited favor found only in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.