As Christians we all want salvation to come to our country, state, city, community, and neighborhood. This is a great desire, but salvation cannot come unless the Gospel is preached. If we truly want salvation to come near to where we live, it is the individual Christian’s responsibility to take the Gospel into the places where they live; the stores where they shop, the schools that teach their kids, and the gyms where they work out.
However, salvation cannot come unless the gospel we preach is believed. Therefore the Christian must live a life that is different from the ways of the world. A life that is so remarkably different that it causes others to ask, “What is different about you?” To which we reply, “A great King rules my life! May I tell you about him?
Before salvation comes there must be repentance. There can be no hypocrisy, or hidden sin in the Christian’s life; it all must be brought to the King’s Cross. Without repentance we will never be believed; we will just be bells without clappers, and parrots repeating words.
Lastly, salvation cannot come unless it is declared that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. There is no other salvation offered to mankind except through Jesus Christ.
If we truly want salvation to break out in our community then it is up to the Christian to make it happen, for salvation is already here if we will just have it.
The salvation of Jesus Christ is holistic, by that I mean it is complete. With that said we should understand there are many dimensions to living in harmony with God. I think most of us understand in one sense salvation is a legal transaction. We as humans are guilty of sin, and as sinners we stand against a God who is holy. Because God is holy he must deal with our sin because it is an assault against who he is. Enter Jesus, who died on the cross in our place. Jesus gets what we deserve; we get what Jesus deserved. Doesn’t sound fair, but that is grace.
If salvation is just a legal transaction in which we are forgiven of our sins so we can go to heaven, then salvation essentially becomes a ticket to somewhere else; salvation kicks in when we die. But Jesus did not teach this. Jesus said that when we believe, we have, “… crossed over from death to life,” (John 5:24). When I enter into a relationship with God through Christ, I am connected with God now, and forever.
Jesus salvation is now, and that is important for us to understand because I need God now, I need healing now, I need help now. Yes, there are greater things that will come someday, but salvation is now.
Give Him Praise!
A verse from last week’s sermon was, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66); makes you tremble doesn’t it? We think if the disciples, with all their advantages, staggered; might we someday follow suit? Might every step we take forward spiritually be followed by a step backward; maybe two steps?
No one wants to be a quitter, so we respond with, “I’m going to knuckle down and do better next time,” but that doesn’t last to long. Sooner or latter that perfection of ours just doesn’t do, or we find out that there was a whole lot about holiness that we didn’t know anything about, or even considered. Simon says, “Take two steps backward.”
With this in mind the words of Paul are remembered, “Continue to work out your salvation, with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Plainly all this means is we are to take this salvation life more seriously then we take anything else in the world.
Is it fair for God to punish people for the wrongs they do? It is if you consider this: If Jesus is God, and he is, and he died on a cross as punishment for our sins, and he did, then the God we proclaim is the kind of God who is willing to take his own punishment so others will not have too.
This thought helps us to understand Grace and mercy. Grace is a favor rendered by one who does not need to do so. Mercy is withholding of a judgement that is deserved. It has been said, “On Calvary’s mountain God’s grace and God’s mercy met and God’s salvation was offered.” Salvation means: The cell doors have been opened, the chains have been loosed, and the prisoners and the slaves have been set free because their price has been paid.
Jesus, What a Savior,