“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.
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.
Following is the first installment of a weekly devotional we will be posting on all of our blogs and web media. For some, this first installment will remind you of the simplicity and joy of the Gospel. For others, it will be the door to a new life and perspective…
Who Am I?
“I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Ps. 139:14
I am one of a kind. There is nobody else just like me. In spite of this, there is one problem with me: I was born with a sinful nature. This means that I will do sinful things. The Scriptures teach this truth very clearly:
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” – Romans 5:12
When a person is honest with himself or herself, he or she realizes how truthful this statement is. We do practice sin. No matter how hard we try not to, we inevitably find ourselves involved in sin. What is the end result of sin? The Scriptures also address this question:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this, the judgment.” – Heb. 9:27
Within man is the knowledge that he cannot sin and get by with it. Sin continues to do its work in our lives, until it brings forth death. Man may think that he has sinned and gotten by with it, but then death occurs. After that, there is the judgment that takes place before the bar of God.
Is there no hope for the forgiveness of this burden of sin? Praise God, there is! It is not good works that atone for our sins. Instead, it is a free gift of a gracious God, Who is not willing that any should perish:
“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, but through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary for our sins!” – Eph. 2:8-9
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world, though Him, might be saved.”
– John 3:16-17
Christ paid the price for our sins that we could not pay. He willingly died on the cross to make us righteous before God the Father.
How do I receive Christ as my Savior?
First, one must realize that they are a sinner. He must then confess his sin andask God to pour on him His saving power. Until we are willing to confess the fact that we are sinful and in need of a Savior, then we cannot be saved from our sins. But when we agree with God that we are sinful by willingly confessing our sins, then God is more than willing to forgive us our sins. The only other choice is to do nothing and then stand before God at the day of judgment and try to explain to Him all of our sins.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.”
– Romans 10:9-10
Who am I? I am a creation of God, but I have a sinful nature, and I practice sin. In spite of this, God loved me and sent His Son into this sinful world to save me. If I trust Him for the forgiveness of my sins, He will forgive me of my sins and give to me the gift of eternal life.
If you have read this today and feel the desire to confess your sins and be saved please contact our office at [email protected].