Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Is It Salvation Through Good Works Or Salvation By Grace
Through Faith In Jesus Christ? (First Installment)
Before we use the word of God as argument to bolster the authenticity of which prescription for salvation is true, let us use first logic or reasoning.
Question # 1 - If man can really save himself through good works, then why did the Father have to send His only begotten Son to die an excruciating and humiliating death on the cross? Why did He not just give prescriptions for good works to be able to attain salvation like all the religions in the world?
Answer # 1 - Because man does not have the capacity to save himself. He is born under the state of depravity as a result of the fall of the first man- Adam. God's curses against Adam and Adam's loss of his divine birthright were handed down to all mankind and to all generations to come. Thus, without the saving grace and mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ, man will never be able to pay his own price for salvation.
Question # 2 - But wait, did not God give the Ten Commandments and other laws and decrees as the very prescription for man's salvation?
Answer # 2 - God gave the Ten Commandments and other laws and decrees to guide the Israelites to norms of righteousness as God's chosen people. This was the First Covenant of God to the chosen people of Israel. Aside from these laws, He also sent prophets to guide them to moral paths of righteousness. But no one was able to fully obey the laws. God gave man these laws to show him the futility of striving for his own salvation without the grace and mercy of God. Jesus Christ is the end of all the laws and commandments and everything that were written in the Old Testament and is the very embodiment of the Second Covenant of Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ.
Question # 3 - If salvation is attained through good works, what good works merited the thief that was crucified together with Jesus and another thief on the cross to attain salvation as promised by Jesus Christ before He died?
Answer # 3 - Remember, all the people at the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ were mocking and taunting Him except for His mother and followers and except for one other man. One thief, crucified with another thief and Jesus, also joined in insulting and mocking Jesus Christ. The other thief saw the grave injustice done to Jesus and turned to Him and asked that he be remembered when Jesus entered His kingdom. This in effect was an acknowledgment of Jesus Lordship over him and his belief in the words of Jesus. And to show that salvation is by grace through faith in Him, Jesus said that he would be with Him that day in Paradise.
That is the essence of divine grace. It is unmerited favor given by a magnanimous giver (Jesus Christ) to an unworthy recipient (the believing thief). The only condition is belief (or faith) in Jesus Christ which the thief did.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Transformation - The Fruit and Evidence of True Salvation
As salvation is the door to heaven where we enter, transformation is the passageway, the very threshold to the majestic throne of God where we behold His glorious presence.
Transformation is not the work of man, although his cooperation is very much required. It is the handy work of the Holy Spirit in the realization of God's intentions for all His children to be transformed from glory to glory until they reach the whole measure of the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Are all men children of God? No, all men are creatures of God, but only those "who received Him (Jesus Christ), to those who believe in His name , He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12).
They become adopted sons of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God. That means they enjoy the same privileges and rights as the natural or only begotten Son of God.
Only Jesus Christ is acceptable to the Father. Remember, "He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him." Man cannot enter the kingdom of God by any other way except through Jesus Christ.
Man cannot develop his own kind of righteousness and expect the Father to recognize his own vainglorious efforts. That is a direct insult to the Father and an affront to the Son. Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed on the true Christian upon his born again experience, and further developed and perfected by the Holy Spirit through pious acts and good works in the name of Jesus Christ by the renewed Christian, is acceptable to the Father.
As a person confesses his sins to God and allows all his sins to be washed clean by the blood of Jesus, not only are his sins forgiven (how many and abominable they may be), but they are totally wiped clean, erased as though they never existed at all. And Jesus Christ's righteousness and holiness are imputed on the regenerated Christian as he becomes justified before the Father.
The proof of this is the unfolding of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in him- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23). The born again Christian does not develop these traits on his own, but they unfold in him through the works of the Holy Spirit, as he abide by the will of God and walk in His ways.
Then, he truly becomes the light of the world and the salt of the earth, a conduit (or purified vessel) of God's amazing grace and unfailing love and mercy to all mankind.
As The Deer