Saturday, August 17, 2013

Salvation is a gift of God from God for us who have been persuaded by Him.

Galatians 2:16
  • yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ
  • so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law
  • because by works of the law no one will be justified.

There is absolutely nothing we can do to merit salvation from God. We cannot make God in debt to us. 

"Works of the law" in the verse above means "I will do something for God, so that he will have to pay me back."

Therefore, if one endeavours to do a lot of things for God, so that He will bless him for all the things he's done for God, that man is utterly and completely deluded.

First of all, everything comes from the Lord, even our good works are wrought by God's grace. 

Romans 11:34-36
  • “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
  • “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
  • For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

James 1:17
  • Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him. These good gifts come down from the Father of lights. With God, there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Secondly, God cannot be bribed. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
  • For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

Thirdly, God blesses us, not because we've done something good for Him, but rather because He is good in spite of our evil behaviour. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)

  • After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." NO, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.
  • It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 
  • Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

Matthew 7:11
  • If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Fourthly, God loves us, not because we first loved Him, but rather God loved us first and saved us when we were utterly sinful and spiritually dead.

1 John 4:19
  • We love because He first loved us.

Romans 5:6-8
  • You see, at just the right time, when we were still weak and powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (us)
  • Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 
  • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Colossians 2:13
  • And you, who were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins

Ephesians 2:5
  • even when we were dead in our trespasses, 
  • made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Greek is pistis. It means "to be persuaded."

Therefore, "having faith in Jesus" means "having been persuaded by Jesus."

If we believe in Jesus at all, it means we have been persuaded by Jesus.

Remember the woman at the well? She had had five husbands, and there was a man she was living with whom she did not consider to be her husband. She was not the most morally exemplary person for us to follow. Yet, in our hearts, we may be just as sinful and spiritually dead as she was.

Let's listen to Jesus' words to her, and her response to Jesus' words.

John 4:17-19
  • The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband';
  • for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."
  • The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."

The woman at the well recognised that something was special about the man she met at the well. He knew about her shameful past, yet he was not judgemental towards her, but rather he focused on the crucial matter of this whole conversation, i.e. salvation of her soul.

John 4:25, 26

  • The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 
  • Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Have you been persuaded by Jesus' words? The fact that you have been persuaded by Him means you have faith in Him.

You did nothing to earn that salvation. So, yes, it is a gift.

The woman at the well did nothing to earn that gift. She was a sinner. Even when she was speaking to Jesus, she had a sinful and shameful past. Yet Jesus talked to her, and persuaded her that He was the Christ, Messiah, Saviour of the whole world.

The moment she was persuaded by Jesus, she had faith in Him. She received a gift of knowing Jesus, and received Him as a gift.

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