September 13th, 2012
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33. Partake – The Christian disciple and Salvation 2
Romans 10v9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
Salvation – Who decides the saved has been a question asked for centuries!! There are two extremist views in regards to salvation – there is “hyper-Calvinism” that says God has decided all things and there is nothing we can do about it. Then there is the opposite end, “universalism”, which says that God will grant salvation to all, regardless of creed, race or religion. But we need to see these two “isms” in the balance of Scripture. Firstly God does choose individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9) and He chooses those who are, or will be, saved (John 15v16). These chosen ones are called the elect. However, it is also His will that all people should be saved (1 Timothy 2v3-4) and that nobody should perish (2 Peter 3v9).
So in reading those two statements, it is imperative that we accept both these Scriptural statements as equally and absolutely true. When we use words about God with a time element such as ‘chose’, ‘elect’, we need to use these taking into God’s infinite time framework (timelessness), and not in our human finite time framework. So God offers salvation to all, and leaves the responsibility to take up the offer with humans.
As a Christian disciple you have taken up God’s offer of salvation! But now what? What happens after the decision to become a Christian has been made?
Philippians 2v12-13: “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
This “working hard to show the results of your salvation” involves four things: Repentance, Faith, Perseverance and Discipline.
1. Repentance is a voluntary change in mind, in which the person turns from a life of sin to living a life of righteousness. This is done in three spheres:
a) Mind (Intellect) – recognition of personal sinfulness and guilt before God (Psalm 51v3; Romans 3v20)
b) Emotional (Heart) – genuine sorrow for sin – Godly sorrow… leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7v8-10)
c) Will – decision to turn from sin, self-pleasing and self-centredness to God.
The importance of repentance was central to the teaching of:
Jesus (Matthew 4v17; Mark 1v15); John the Baptist (Matthew 3v1-2); The Apostles (Acts 2v38; 20v21);
Commanded by God (Acts 17v30); God’s will that all people repent (2 Peter 3v9; 1 Timothy 2v4)
2. Faith is a confidence in the faithfulness of God which leads to reliance and trust in God and obedience to Him (Hebrews 11v6). In salvation, faith is a voluntary change of mind and heart in the sinner in which the person turns to God, relying on and accepting His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. –
FAITH = BELIEF + TRUST + ACTION.
a) Mind – recognition of our need of salvation. Acknowledging Christ’s death on our behalf and our need of forgiveness.
b) Emotional (Heart) – personal assent to the gospel – What must I do to be saved? Agree to make salvation a part of life.
c) Will – Personal trust.
· Surrender of the life to the Lordship of Christ (John 8v12; Romans 10v9)
· Reception and appropriation of Jesus into the life. (John 1v12; Revelation 3v20)
· Accepting His death on our behalf, and the forgiveness He offers.
3. Perseverance is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart is continued and brought to completion.
· They will never perish, no-one can snatch them out of my hand (John 10v27-29)
· They have eternal life and will not be condemned, passed from death to life. (John 5v24)
· He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1v6)
· Shielded by God’s power. (1 Peter 1v15)
· Nothing can separate us from God/Christ’s love. (Romans 8v38-39)
· The Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2v19)
· That you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5v12-13)
· Eternal life never depends on our feeble grip on Christ, but rather on His firm grip on us.
4. Godly Discipline Christian disciples are sometimes entangled by sin (Hebrews 12v1). God disciplines His children and “It is painful.” (Hebrews 12v11) Therefore if we are Christians, and we sin (remaining unrepentant and habitual), God will discipline (Hebrews 12v10). If we sin and are not disciplined, we are not His children (Hebrews 12v8).
The Practice of Sin – Habitual Sin – The Christian disciple cannot continue to sin habitually, willingly maintaining a sinful practice or attitude. That is why we are warned against falling away.
· We share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end. (Hebrews 3v13-14)
· It is possible to experience much of what God offers and not be a Christian e.g. The Pharisees (Hebrews 6v4-6)
· Deliberate sinning after receiving the truth reveals a rejection of truth. However, God is merciful and will forgive if repentance is asked for!
Living as a Christian disciple is to be a life that brings glory to Jesus Christ. Part of that is a life of repentance, faith, perseverance and discipline. In doing these four things, the Christian disciple inevitably carries their own cross daily, so that Jesus the Master is honoured and glorified.
For more to think about please do read Philippians 2v1-16. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. How am I working out my salvation?
Q2. How is God working in me so that He is glorified?
Q3. What am I doing to hold firmly to the word of life?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.