Category Archives: Salvation

Temptations

There is no greater challenge for the disciple than the internal conflicts that they can face, nor is there a greater stumbling block than the ones that we put up for ourselves. For as strong as the Devil may be, for as much as he comes to us “like a roaring lion” seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8), the truth is he needn’t do much considering his are but temptations but ours is the rebellious nature willing to take temptations and beyond to whatever next levels there may be.

But then, as the old saying goes, as our blessed Savior Himself reminds us, “The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” (Matthew 26:41b)

Consider some of the greatest warnings of the Bible. They are not warnings against the Devil. After all, the old Adversary, he did his part in Eden to corrupt the nature of mankind. (Genesis 3) Even there he never quite tells Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit of God. All he does is plant the idea in their head to question. Everything else is up to them as Eve partook and Adam watched to see the results.

If there is one thing the story of man’s fall to sin and temptation proves, it’s that even those who know of the presence of God, who have seen it first hand, have stood in His light and heard His voice calling to them, need nothing more than a gentle push and the worst of their nature comes out. Sometimes that push comes in the form of a want or a desire, sometimes it comes with a snide or hurtful comment, other times it comes from the best of intentions just gone terribly wrong.

The question for the disciple is, if it is such an easy snare about their feet, if it is such a simple trap to fall into, how do they guard themselves from it in their everyday life? How do we make the flesh stronger to match the nature of a spirit given to the love of Christ and the blessings of our Heavenly Father? How do we avoid the temptations that are there?

Quite simply put, we can’t. This side of Heaven, the imperfect side of Heaven given to the more base nature of the flesh, temptations are always going to be there. For as much as we may try to steer clear of them, as soon as we turn from one, another one is always going to be there staring us in the face. The true nature of Christian living, the true nature of faithful devotion to God isn’t the avoiding of temptation, it is not falling into temptation. It is meeting it head on with a heart and a will given over to God with the truest understanding that through Him who makes us more than conquerors (Romans 8:36), we have the power to overcome if we choose to use it.

This does not mean, as they may say, go out and look for trouble so you can exercise a Christian will and strength to demonstrate a power that you may have over temptation. The more we put ourselves in the line of fire, the more prone we are to be hit when we least expect it. What it does mean though is that just because we face temptations and inner conflicts does not mean we are any less the disciples that we should be, or any less on the road that God intended for us.

Faith is about understanding that even through the temptations of the flesh and the weaknesses of our nature God has a divine and holy plan for us, a wondrous design for our lives. Yes, it is true that there will be time when we don’t live up to it and other times when we do better. Yet we cannot live in those weaker times of our lives, and we cannot believe that just because temptations are present we are weaker than we should be, as it is a way of letting self-doubt in, and with it doubt about the nature of our salvation.

Pray and be vigilant. Look to the challenges that are there for what they truly are, a way of proving that you are led not of yourself but through the power of the Spirit to be a better and stronger person. Do not put yourself in a situation where you will be tested but do not shrink from the tests when they are unavoidable. This will tell you not only more about your own character but the character of your faith, showing you where you have been made strong and where you still need to pray for strength, knowing that if you come to God with a pure heart, desiring to do better and to be more, He will give you what you need.

In the end this is how we show ourselves to be the most faithful of His disciples, of Christ’s followers, as we meet the self-conflicts and challenges with the power of His might through the love that He has for us.

Agree With God About Your Condition

The Commands of Jesus Series

Matthew 4:17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. “

Jesus first command to us is to repent, he begins his work the same way as all the prophets, and John the Baptist had done. That’s the place that we all have to start in our relationship with God, every relation has to be repaired in order for it to grow. If I am still blatantly going against God, then there isn’t going to be a foundation to build a relationship on, it will be like the man building his house on sand. (Matthew 7:26)

Through repentance we are agreeing with God about what we have done that caused the breakdown. This repentance should imply sorrow for our offenses, true regret for breaking our relationship with God, the very sins that resulted in Jesus cruel death. (2 Corinthians 7:10, Romans 5:8)

God did for me what I was powerless to do for myself, I need to realize the only sense of fulfillment and joy in this life is through a relationship with my creator, a relationship made possible by Jesus.

Matthew 3:8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.

Help me Lord to be quick to access my sins and to see them the way that you see them. Thank you for loving me enough to desire an intimate relationship with you.

You might like to read:
Be Born Again // God’s Adoption Program // I Am Thankful For God’s Deliverance

Death

Ordo Salutis

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

What comes next? Sanctification is the process by which God prepares us to be in His presence, but there is a moment in time at which that process is completed – death. This seems a morbid topic to speak of, but death is part of the sanctification process for a Christian, not punishment. Though we die because of sin, death is a positive thing for the believer.

Our experience of death completes our union with Christ. He died and to be like Him we must also die. He conquered death and therefore when we experience death we become closer to Him and begin the final aspect of salvation – glorification. We leave this body and join the Lord in our real home (2 Corinthians 5:8), where there will be no more sorrow and no more tears (Revelation 21:4). We’ll become who we were really meant to be, in the bodies we were really meant to have. And we’ll never know death again.

Perseverence

Ordo Salutis

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it great to know that you are not left on your own after you become a believer in Christ? God does a work in you to bring you to Himself, but He doesn’t just abandon you after that, expecting you to endure all on your own until the day of glory. No, He continues to work in you until that day.

Once you belong to God’s family, you are promised an inheritance and the Holy Spirit is given to you as a guarantee of that inheritance. Upon the completion of this life, you will inherit eternal life and everything that comes with it. This can only be achieved if you remain a child of God and maintain your salvation. But isn’t it wonderful to know that you don’t have to do that on your own?

It was God that began the work in you to enable you to believe and it is He who will continue to work in you until the end of this life on earth. He will never leave you nor forsake you and no one can snatch you out of your Father’s hand. Nothing can separate you from His love. Nothing. He will finish what He started. Your future doesn’t solely rest on you.

Sanctification

Ordo Salutis

Hebrews 2:10-11 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers

He who calls you and causes you to be born again, who justifies you and forgives you, who adopts you as His own, will not stop at merely getting you. He’ll keep working in you to make you more like Christ until the day of glory. The process of spiritual maturing is sanctification, becoming holy.

To sanctify really means “to set apart”, so when you consider what God does for you in His act of salvation you can see that He sets you apart for something. Justification, the declaration of the sinner as righteous, is not done as an end unto itself. This verdict of “not guilty” is for the purpose of empowering us to do God’s work. We are saved for His purposes, for His own good pleasure.

While were were still sinners, He made us alive in Christ to do good works (Ephesians 2:5) and He will continue working in us to bring us into maturity. This means we grow in character, in faith, in works, and in love. God does this in us both by the work of the Holy Spirit within and by our own actions and choices that lead us to holiness. It’s only through Christ’s shed blood that we are capable of this growth, however. None of this is ours to claim credit.

Adoption

Ordo Salutis

Romans 8:14-15 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

The work of the Holy Spirit in us does not end at conversion, nor does our relationship with God end at being justified in Christ through His sacrifice for our sins. We gain treasures far beyond what we can even imagine, and none of it is earned or deserved. One of the greatest gifts of all is adoption into God’s family.

Whereas once we were enemies of God because of our sin, in Christ we not only receive reconciliation with the Father, but adoption as one of His own. It’s often said that everyone is a child of God, but biblically speaking only those who are in Christ are truly children of God because we have entered into the family through adoption. We get to become coheirs with Jesus and one day we will share in His glory (Romans 8:17).

God’s use of family terms in His Word to picture His work of redemption is beautiful and meaningful. We may not always grasp the most theological of word pictures, but we can understand what it means to be children with a daddy who loves us. Not just intellectually, but emotionally, as we grow in love for our Father in Christ and fellowship with Him (1 Corinthians 1:9).

Conversion

Ordo Salutis

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Conversion is both an event and a process. It occurs, but it continues occurring throughout the life of a Christian. It had divine action as well as human response. Conversion is a sign of, but not the condition of, our justification. We have to be given grace in order to repent and be converted. We can’t obtain our own salvation just through choosing to believe. The power to believe is given through the grace of God and regeneration takes place before we can have faith.

Of all the aspects to the salvation process, this is the first that requires any action of the person; all work up to this point has been done (mostly in secret) by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the regenerate person. Now comes the time to respond to the call. Just to be clear, we must respond but we are not responsible for our own salvation or conversion. Only after we have had a work done in us by God can we even conceive of making the move to respond.

This is the part you may know as “accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior”. The important part here is the acceptance of Him as Lord. An acknowledgement of the need for a Savior is not the same as turning your life over to Christ. Responding to the call of God with repentance and surrender is the beginning of the life-long process of sanctification.

Regeneration

Ordo Salutis

Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Have you been born again? What happened the first time you were born? Did you have anything to do with it? When your mother and father conceived you, were you in control of the decision to be born? What about in your spiritual rebirth? Did you have any control of the decision to be reborn?

It’s worth viewing the words chosen by the Holy Spirit as He inspired the writers of the Bible as intentional and meaningful. Even the more metaphorical phrases have deep meaning. It’s no coincidence that the Bible speaks of someone who is saved as being “born again”. Just as we couldn’t choose to be born, we can’t choose to be reborn. God made us alive spiritually by giving us a new life (Ephesians 2:5). He gives us a new heart. He gives us the right to be adopted as His children by being born again (John 1:12-13). It’s a gift, and we had nothing to do with it. We didn’t earn it and we sure didn’t deserve it.

Regeneration is a secret act of God in which He gives us new spiritual life. Whereas once the Gospel was foolishness to us (1 Corinthians 1:18), through His work in us it begins to make sense and we are drawn to it (Romans 1:16). This is because we have been given a new understanding and a new heart that longs for God. Regeneration brings us from spiritual death to life. Now we have the ability to possess the saving faith required to respond to the Gospel by accepting Christ. This is all a gift of God as He pours out His grace on us.