SALVATION, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
BY DON BANTUM
John 1:12. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13. children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Some people believe that if we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, we'll be saved. But nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, where He took away the sins of the whole world. Let me repeat that: He took away the sins of the WHOLE WORLD; a past action with continual effect. You don't get forgiveness of sins, you already have it. God is no longer dealing with anybody on the basis of sins. Does everybody sin? You bet we do. The only person who ever lived on this planet, who had NO sin, was Jesus Christ. So all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But you see, getting your sins taken away is not salvation in and of itself. The cross was very important, and without it we could not be saved. Why? Because every time we sinned we'd die again. So sin had to be dealt with once and for ALL. Jesus did that -- at the cross. Nobody will ever go to Hell because of their sins.
Most people don't even realize we are spiritually dead, or how we got that way. Are we missing something? Yes, we are.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27.
God created them in His own image. Mankind was created spiritually alive. Life is the Spirit of God living in us. Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden. God was Adam's best friend, they were inseparable because God lived in Adam. Adam was alive, because he was created that way. Now watch what happened:
Genesis 2:15. The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17. but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Then we read on in;
Genesis 3: 1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'"? 2. The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3. but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " 4. "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10. He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." 11. And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" 12. The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." 13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Think about this: Adam and Eve only had one command to keep. That one command was not to eat the fruit of a particular tree. I mean, there where hundreds of trees as well as a host of other things they could have eaten. If they had not eaten of that tree, we could be in the Garden of Eden yet today, for all we know. But all it takes to get us to do something we shouldn't is to tell us not to, and bang, we're in it right up to our necks! And as if that isn't bad enough, we immediately begin looking to blame somebody else for what we’ve done. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. It's the blame game and nobody wins. They screwed-up, because they stopped believing God and listened to the devil and believed him rather than God. So Adam and Eve both died that very minute. But they didn't die physically that day, they died spiritually.
The life of God departed from Adam and Eve that day and they died. So death is the absence of life, and the life that departed from them that day was the life of God living inside of them. So death is separation from God.
People are always telling us that we were created in the image of God. That's not true. Adam was created in the image of God, spiritually alive, and they chose death. They made a decision to believe Satan over and above what God had told them. They ate the forbidden fruit and died a spiritual death. Now the rest of humanity, including you and me, were born in Adam, spiritually dead to God. What was the lie Satan told them that day? "You will become as God." Man is still falling for that lie today.
Boy, that lie gets us nearly every time. Man wants to be like God, or at the very least, a little god. No, we will not become as God, we will, however, become as fools if that route appeals to us.
Real salvation is receiving back the life we lost in Adam, when all died. We come to Jesus for LIFE, not forgiveness. Jesus died for OUR sins. He died in our place. He was buried and raised to life again on the third day. The very same LIFE that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us all, and can raise us up to eternal LIFE in HIM. The life that raised Jesus that day is eternal life, the ONLY kind of life He has. That very same life is offered to you and me. All we must do to receive it is accept it by faith.
IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT JESUS CHRIST IS GOD, AND WAS CRUCIFIED IN YOUR PLACE, FOR YOUR SINS. AND WAS BURIED AND RAISED TO LIFE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY, AND CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD. YOU WILL BE SAVED, ITS CALLED, SAVING FAITH, IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH.
John 16: 7. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9. in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
Did you catch that? Jesus say's the world’s sin, singular, is that they don't believe in HIM. That is the only sin which remains with mankind. And that sin can not be taken away, it must be repented of. So how do you do that? Well, it's pretty easy; you just stop your unbelief by turning 180 degrees in the other direction, and coming to faith in Jesus Christ. This is the sin people call the unpardonable sin, or the sin which leads to death. If you don't believe Jesus is God, and that He came to take your sins away and give you life, you remain dead. But those who have placed faith in Jesus Christ need never worry about that at all, for WE already have put our faith in Jesus, and thank Him for what He has done on our behalf. We need not ask Him to do it again; we thank Him because he already HAS.
Does that make sense? If you've asked your wife or husband to marry you, and they have, it would be pretty stupid to keep asking them to do it again and again. At some point you’re going to have to BELIEVE you already are married. Now accept that FACT and move on. It's the same way with the forgiveness of sin issue; we don't keep asking for what we already have.
Ephesians 1:7. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
and again in;
Colossians 1:14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
If we've come to Jesus by faith, we have the forgiveness of sins, we don't get it some time in the future. In fact, God tells us in;
2 Peter 1:3. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
And we also know;
Hebrews 11: 6. And without faith it is impossible to please God,
So if we really want to please God, let's stop asking Him to do what in Christ He's already accomplished, which was taking our sins away at the cross. Can I suggest that from now on, when you sin, you thank God for taking that sin away. He knows you feel bad when you screw-up. But He also knows that as long as you are alive in the flesh you are going to sin. You’re living in a body of flesh and blood; but you also have a spiritual life, and in that life YOU NEVER SIN; since sin, in God's economy, is unbelief, and you can never again return to your unbelief. Once you know what Jesus has done for you, and placed your faith in that fact, you can never return to unbelief again. It's impossible. So just keep thanking and praising God for what He has done for you. Like Jesus cried out from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED.” Accept that fact, and just be grateful. Jesus loves gratitude and thanks offered to Him. Praise Him for all He HAS done. Can YOU do that?
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