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Which One is Right

       When you face the question of salvation and how a person is saved there is one way.   During the Dark Ages the church taught that a man was saved by faith plus doing certain things.  The early church (meaning before Constantine) never taught this doctrine but this false doctrine evolved out of tradition over many years.  Then came Martin Luther and the reading once more of the Scriptures, that had been hidden, all these years and the Reformers realized that the Bible taught that a man was saved by faith alone.  The Scripture that changed Martin Luther's heart was, Roman 1:17, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is writen, the Just shall live by faith."  In fact, a similar statement occurs at least two more times in the Scriptures, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith" (Hab 2:4).  And, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Heb. 10:38).  If there is any confusion on this subject, Paul explains further in the following verses.  "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..."(Rom 3:24).  And, "Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law?  Of works?  Nay: but by the law of faith" (Rom. 3:28).  Therfore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.  In Ephesians, Paul again makes this truth of Faith and Grace very plain, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).  According to Scripture, man cannot do anything to make himself acceptable to God except come to the Father in faith believing in Jesus Christ and confessing his sins.  Then God in love forgives his sins and saves him and gives to him the gift of eternal life. 

     Some will say that is too easy.  And that is true, it is easy.  That is why Christ is able to say , "suffer the little children to come to me."  However, mankind has the tendency to complicate salvation by adding works.  This is the difference.  All other faiths or religions involve some level of works to get to heaven.  Whether it is praying in a certain direction, kharma, going to mass, praying to the saints, baptism, all other faiths involving some level of works by man.  While the true path and only path to God is through grace. 

 

What Is Important?

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Mt. 6:33) 

As we face this New Year, one of the most important questions we should ask ourselves is, "What is the most important thing in my life?"  This will require some honest soul searching to arrive at the truth and may require we consult our friends for what they have witnessed in our life.  But above all things be true to yourself in the answers that you arrive at. 

Some will say, after much thought, that my career is the most important thing in my life.  We justify this priority by telling ourselves that you have to make this your number one in life so that you can maintain your way of life.  Or, we justify this position by saying that we want to realize our life's ambition.  On the downward side others might say that their goal is to waste their life in drinking, being merry, and drugs, or may want to waste themselves in other selfish pursuits. 

Where will all this lead?  What is the end result of all our labors under the sun?  One day a boss walks into your office and tells us that we make too much and that they are going to retire us.  Or, they sell the company and you are no longer needed.  Or, just at the time that you feel on top of your career someone younger comes along and is chosen for a promotion over you.  Rational people realize where drinking, partying, and drugs takes them in the end.  However, most of us pay no attention to what is happening around us.  That in the process of striving for our goals we destroy everything around us that is important.  Our family, friends, work mates and just about everyone is cast aside that we might achieve our goals.  We sacrifice so much to get so little.  Many lives around us are destroyed because of the lack of our presence in their lives.  Many families are destroyed because dad is never home.  Many children cry out for help but parents are never there for the wisdom that children need so greatly.  Friends are forgotten because we just don't have time to build relationships. 

 If God is not first place in your life everything else is going to be out of place.  Peace and happiness will never be ours apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Now that Christmas is over I reflect back and realize that I didn't need anything for Christmas because everything that is important to me I already have.  I am thankful for all the things that I receive but what is important was around me or in close touch with me.  Let us ask ourselves, what is important to me and how does that play out in my life?  A focus on Christ will lead you to a right view of priorities. 

 

THAT WHICH WE STUMBLE OVER

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how that He must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, 'Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.' But He turned and said unto Peter, 'Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offense unto Me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God but those that be of men.'" – Matthew 16:21-23

As you look at the religions and cults of the world, you see that they say the same thing as Peter: "Be it far from Thee." But this was the very reason that Christ came into the world. His death on the cross was the plan of God for the redemption of mankind. If Christ had not died on the cross, no one could have been saved.

Christ knew the importance of His death on the cross and showed it to Peter by the rebuke that He gave him: "Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou are an offense to me." Satan has always tried to stop the Lord Jesus Christ from reaching the cross. He tried at various times to kill Him before He could reach that appointed time to go to the cross. Peter was here agreeing with Satan and his plan to keep Christ from the cross, and that is the reason he was rebuked. For the believers, they realize that it was the gift of love that caused God to send His Son to Earth to redeem us by His death on the cross.

But sinful man does all he can to get around the cross. It points out to him that he is a sinner and that, unless he can come to the cross and bow at the feet of Jesus Christ and confess his own sinfulness, then there is no hope for him. He would rather listen to some teaching of mankind that says he is really good, and if he does good deeds, then he will be all right when it comes to salvation. But deep in his heart, he knows that he is not good, and he knows that he faces a holy God when he dies. But he would rather believe the lie than come to the cross, because he has to confess that he is sinful, and that is hard to do.

The cross is there for the salvation of sinners like you and me. Come to the cross and agree with God that you are lost and in need of a Savior. Then God, in His love for you, will reach down and save your soul and give to you eternal life. Salvation is not man holding himself up to God but God reaching down to man.

 

What Happens to Me when I Die?

 

This is the most important question, because all eternity depends on the answer. Numerous churches have an answer for this question. One large group says that you go to Purgatory when you die. This is supposed to be a place where you are purged from your sins before going on to Heaven.  Some say that when you die, you die just like a dog, and you wait in the grave to be resurrected, and what happens after that depends on your behavior, and if you believe.  Another group says that you will go to one of three heavens.  Again, your eternity depends on “works” here on Earth. This is based on the writings of their founder and not the Word of God. The last group has the most people in it, and they just don’t care or even think on this matter. Heaven or hell is here on Earth for them, and when you die, that is the end of it.

According to the Bible, it is clear that there is a Heaven and a Hell and all mankind is going to one of these places.  All other doctrines regarding Heaven and Hell come out of human tradition and not the Word of God.  The measurement according to man’s tradition on who deserves Heaven or Hell is works and not Grace.  The Bible teaches no such doctrine. 

What is the answer to this problem? First of all, all men and women know that there is a God (Rom. 1: 18-23).  He or she has a “God conscience” deep in their soul.  Also, all of mankind knows deep down that he cannot sin and get by with it. He realizes that, one day, he must “face the music” for the way they lived while here on Earth.  His/her sin hangs over their head and reminds them that they are a sinner no matter how hard they try to deny it. All of this is suppressed in the back of their minds, so that they will not have to think of it, but it is there.

The Bible explains:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you: He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” – John 5:24

Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.  If we will humble ourselves and agree with God that we are sinful, then God will save us and give us eternal life. So many want to take another route to God, but the only route is through God’s Son Jesus Christ. God did not provide many avenues of salvation—there is only one—and  when Christ died on the cross and cried out “it is finished,” then it was. Eternity will be here before you realize it. Why not accept the work that Christ did for you on the cross and humble yourself and ask Christ to save you.

 
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