Saved, Safe, and Secure in Jesus


This morning’s email had this encouraging message from my friend Edward Fudge in his gracEmail. This is the 2nd in a series called “Pep Talk”. Here are his words unedited.

Jesus is high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, based on the character of his life. Because he lives forever, he saves forever. And so we are saved by Jesus and we are perfected forever–those whom he sanctified. We’re sanctified and we’re perfected forever because we are given to God on the basis of the perfect obedience of Jesus. If it depended on our human record, if it was up to our faithfulness to determine whether we were saved or not, then it would be a matter of God having to re-examine the record every day, or several times through the day, and saying “Well, you’re okay right now . . . Oops! sorry, you just slipped. Well, now you’re back in . . . Oops, you’re out again. Today was a good day . . . tomorrow could be better . . . but it could be worse.” There’s no certainty, there’s no assurance. There’s not much hope.

The sad thing is that a lot of people who think they’re Christians, who think they’re following Jesus Christ, who think they’ve learned the Gospel, live that kind of life of uncertainty. And at age 85, after a very long Christian life full of sacrifice, service, and good works, they come to their death bed and say, “Well, I hope I have done enough that I might squeeze in and be saved.” Folks, we don’t squeeze in. Jude says God will give you an abundant entrance–because it doesn’t depend on out little lives. If it depended on our ability and our record and our history we wouldn’t even squeeze in. God would just say: “There’s not even a close call. SCRAM! The other place with you!”

We will have an abundant entrance because we come on the basis of the life and the faithfulness and the obedience of Jesus Christ–all of which Jesus offered to the Father as the one sacrifice that can ever take away sins. Jesus did it right and he did it perfectly. Because he did it perfectly, he only needed to do it one time. And when he ha done it one time, God raised Jesus from the dead and made him priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. God is pleased with his life. He’s pleased with his priesthood. He’s pleased with his intercession. Because Jesus represents his people and because his obedience and his suffering were done by him in their name, God is also pleased with Jesus’ people. And Jesus lives forever and he saves forever and he intercedes forever and we can come to him–and to God through him–forever.

Any view of salvation that is less than what Edward says here I believe to be less than the gospel presented in Scripture. He expresses my view of Christ’s accomplishments precisely but he says it much better than I can.

You can sign up for gracEmail and access volumes of Edward Fudge’s teaching by visiting his site, EdwardFudge.com .  Happy Father’s Day!

Royce

Right answer, Wrong question?


If it were not so sad it might be amusing that so many people think they have the right answer when they have never really considered the right question. Unless the right question is posed and answered little is gained.

I read Christian blogs, lots of them. There is considerable chatter across blogdom on the subject of what I’ll call the “technicalities of salvation” for want of a better term. On Church of Christ blogs there is much give and take about the role of water baptism. There are some who believe immersion in water is absolutely essential for salvation and there are others who do not go that far but still have a very high view of the act. There has been tons of bandwidth dedicated to this question, “Is baptism a work?” There are those obligatory standard questions about the role of obedience and how it comes into play when a person becomes a Christian.

Then there are those discussions about what you must do to stay saved. Must your church be a cappella? Can you allow female Christians to serve the Lord’s Supper to others and still be in God’s grace? These are very important and weighty questions for many, many people of the Stone-Campbell heritage. Nobody wants to be out of the Kingdom on a technicality!

Restoration folks are not alone in their probing and seeking the right answers to important questions. Many Southern Baptists are all in a tizzy because of the growing trend of Calvinism among their ranks. There are all sorts of warnings about the dangers of these people and what they believe and teach and frankly much of what they fear has no basis in fact. They range from saying they are not evangelistic to believing a person can be a Christian and live like the devil himself and all in between.

Other Christian groups are not exempt from the irresistible urge to know exactly the split second a sinner is saved. And they want to be sure about some monumental things.

  • Is our church the true church?
  • Am I good enough?
  • Can I know for sure I’m in?
  • What if I forgot to confess some of my sins?
  • Does our church follow the right order of worship?
  • Will my parents or my child be lost because they are in the wrong church?
  • Can other people really be saved who aren’t like us?

All of these and others are questions serious people are grappling with and they really want to find the correct answer. After all, their eternity depends on it!

I think that rather than spending time debating works vs. faith, the efficacy of baptism, the mode of baptism, church differences, good works, Calvinism vs Free will, etc. etc. there is a more pressing question that is not being asked.

Is Jesus Christ sufficient? Is He enough?

In my view when you get this settled, most of the other stuff people debate about and divide over means little. Obviously you will answer Yes! That question might even seem silly to many people. But is it?

If the work and worth of Jesus fully satisfied both God’s holiness and His justice, and if He did it for me, then there is nothing more needed to appease a holy God who hates sin. God has done everything necessary to set men right with Himself. Now he offers life everlasting to those who will take him at His (faith) word and follow. It is a gift undeserved and unearned. This is called grace!

Every person who insists your must do this and do that, keep this ritual and say these words and attend this particular church are without knowing it answering the right question. And the answer is, Christ is not really enough. I need Him and what He has done but I also need this and …… Well maybe, just maybe, the good news (gospel) is much better news than you thought.

Christ is quite enough! You need no more than Him

“19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
(2 Corinthians 1:19-22 ESV)

I believe God only forgives our sins on the basis of Jesus and His death for our sins on the cross. And, I believe we are made righteous based on the flawless life of Jesus which was given for us.

God does not make ungodly sinners His own dear children based on what Christ has done and….anything. The exact reason Paul thrashed the Jewish believers for insisting on circumcision for Gentiles is that they were adding to Christ’s work and worth. Christ and…. is never the right answer.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV)

Let us then not boast in what we have done, what we know, our denomination or lack of it. May we cling only to the Christ of God who alone is eternal life. He is the answer!

Royce


 

 


 

 



 

The Salvation of a Sinner is the Work of God


New Life

If we believe what we profess because it is what the Bible teaches we must conclude that the salvation of sinners is by God alone.

The Bible describes the state of a man without God in several ways. One of those is that a man without God is Dead.

Spiritually Dead

(Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1,5) Just as surely as a man’s body is dead without his spirit (James 2:26), a man’s spirit is dead without the infusion of the life of Jesus by the means of the Holy Spirit of God.

Although this death is spiritual, it is no less true than physical death. A dead man’s greatest need is not religion, not reform, not new dedication, not church membership, no, his greatest need is life!

A dead man is powerless to do anything, and furthest from the realm of possibility is that a dead man can give himself life. Only God can give life! Here is the great overlooked and under appreciated fact of the gospel, God makes dead sinners live!

“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” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Spiritual life is beyond the scope of probability for a dead man, only a merciful and loving God can make us alive together with Christ! There is no spiritual life outside of Christ and every person who is not alive in Him is spiritually dead. He is dead to everything about God and unless God acts in mercy and love this dead sinner will only know God’s anger and fury against sin.

Just as certain as God called Lazarus to life from death he too calls spiritually dead sinners to a resurrected life in Jesus! Only God can do that.

…to be continued…

Royce


Jeb’s Story part 3


For a few nights after the execution of Jesus I had trouble sleeping, I had nightmares reliving what I had witnessed. And, during the day I tried to press my guilt down with more work and heavier drinking. It was those words about forgiveness that dogged me night and day. Was he truly a mad man? He seemed rational enough but who would even think of forgiveness moments before he died from loss of blood? None of it made sense.

One morning I went out of my house and as I talked to a neighbor about the weather I heard a screaming voice. A man was running down the lane yelling as he went “He is alive, Jesus of Nazareth has risen from the grave! Jesus is alive!” What? was the whole world going insane?

In the next few days I kept hearing more and more talk that people had seen Jesus alive. Of course I didn’t believe it, at first that is. But I began to wonder “What if Jesus really is who he claimed to be?” I soon began to worry about my own well being. My mother complained about my late hours, too much wine, a distant look, and silence.

One day I met a friend on the road who excitedly told me that he was going to see Jesus and hear him teach. I accepted an invitation to join him and the next day I saw him. We came to a place with much grass on a sloping hillside and the crowd was perhaps 500 or more when everyone was there.

Jesus stood below facing the people and he began to speak. His words were riveting and the listeners were very quiet. He spoke of the kingdom of God and of our Father’s love for us and that we should never be fearful or doubting. He said he would be going away but that he would come back for his followers and take them to be with him.

From my vantage point I could see many faces in the crowd, listening intently to every word. And while Jesus was speaking I realized for the first time that many of those faces were familiar. The men I saw at the execution, those who were actively participating, were there listening to Jesus and nodding in agreement! How could this be? How could he let them be there, how could they be there? Then it was fresh in my memory once more, “Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing”.

I’m not sure that ever person who participated in the execution and the events that preceded it were there but I know at least five or six were. Their faces were radiant, tears came down smiling faces. They had become followers of Jesus! They were changed, forgiven, they were in the Way!

When Jesus stopped speaking some other men spoke and explained that because of the risen Lord and his death for sinners that anyone who would could be a Christian. “Change your mind about your manner of life and take up your cross and follow Messiah. Trust Jesus the Christ and he will give you immortality.”

When it became real to me what had happened, what Jesus had done for me and the others, oh how I loved him and knew I would until I die. When the men finished speaking I joined maybe two dozen others in the water below and I was baptized. I knew at once I was a changed man, that I was Christ’s man.

To be continued….     Part 1, Part 2

Royce