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When we spoke of repentance in the last unit we said that it was turning FROM SIN and TO GOD. Now, the next 2 requirements of salvation (out of the 5 found in scripture) are confession and baptism.
But, before we go into those in greater detail we need to talk about a few more things related to salvation itself. Namely, how and when does a person actually “get saved?” Is it at the point of belief, repentance, confession, baptism, or when they finally make it through those “pearly gates?”
The next 2 requirements (confession & baptism) actually happen simultaneously with true repentance. We will go into greater detail about that later. But right now we need to talk about salvation itself. How and, when does it actually take place?
In unit 2 we talked about the fall of man and the eternal destruction that awaits sinners. We also said that everyone is a sinner, because we all, personally, commit sins. So all hope is lost, … well, it would be if it were not for Jesus!
We use the words “salvaged” and “saved” to describe something that was at one time worthless but now has been restored into something of value. Like an old car on it’s way to the junkyard, to rot away, we are also heading to the “junkyard of souls” called hell. But, we can be saved from that fate and restored to become something wonderful.
But, like the old car, before we can be salvaged we must be purchased. Who would purchase junk? And what would they pay with?
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Only someone who can see the value of an old junk car fully restored would be willing to do this. Only someone with something more to offer than another junk car could actually make the purchase.
And thus enters Jesus into the picture. He looks at you and me, and while He knows our current condition, He knows what we could be restored to. He see’s the value in something worthless. But how could He pay for us?
Remember that He had to have something worth more than junk to be able to redeem us. The price set for us is steep. The reason we are on our way to hell is because of sin. That means we owe a debt of death. Before He can salvage us He must pay off our debt!
The only way He could pay this debt is by offering to die in our place. But if He was “a junk car” too then His death would not be enough. Because He would also have to pay for not only our sins but His own as well.
So if Jesus wants to save us from the junkyard called hell He is going to have to offer His own life. And, that life MUST be without sin.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
This is exactly what Jesus did! He (the almighty God) became a man, just like us. He lived among us and did so without committing a single sin. So when He offered His life on the cross He was offering His debt free life to purchase us. The exchange was His death for our death.
Now, that may not sound like a good deal. After all, why would He give something worth far more for something worth far less? Well, … that’s the thing. Not only did He pay for us through His death, but He also regained the price that He paid through His resurrection!
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
1 Corinthians 15:21
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Now, not only does Jesus have us, He also has everything He always had, as God. What amazing glory!
On a side note, I would also like to mention that some like to argue that Jesus would have had to burn in hell if He was truly going to pay our price. But, look through those verses. It is appointed unto man ONCE to die and then the judgment.
Death is the price. Jesus went to the cross and died. But the torment and suffering of the wicked AFTER death was not a price He had to pay. This is because ONLY the wicked who retain their sin are subject to that wrath.
But those washed clean are not. Since Jesus cleanses us from all sin through His death He does not need to suffer any more for us because we are no longer on our way to hell.
So He doesn’t have to pay that price. He only had to pay the price of the FIRST death. Because after that comes the judgment. If that death cleans us then there is no judgment against us.
That payment was enough to purchase not only you, but for me as well, and anyone else who would be willing to follow Him. But what is He going to do with all of these junk cars? And, how does He take ownership of them?
When a person buys a car or a house they now own the item. But this doesn’t mean they have taken possession of it. You may have just signed a contract, but until the keys are in your hands you don’t have the ability to drive it off of the lot.
Jesus has paid the price, but who has to give Him the keys? Remember in unit 3:2 we said that even a free gift requires you to do something to accept it?
I have been comparing us to an old junk car. But let’s change that up now. Let’s say we are a house that’s ready to be demolished, but Jesus paid the price to buy us.
How does He take possession and begin fixing the old house up? He needs to be let in, right?
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
And here is where we see all 5 of the requirements of salvation taking place. Remember, those requirements are to believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and endure unto the end. We are going to be talking about confession and baptism later, but for now, let’s not worry so much about those items until we get to them in our course.
Let it be enough for now, for me to tell you that baptism isn’t just about water and confession isn’t just about talking. I hope you will be able to hang in there until we can go into more detail about that.
But for now let me illustrate these 5 requirements in action.
1. You hear Jesus outside the door of your house knocking. You believe Him when He asks you to let Him in so He can have dinner with you. (Believe)
2. You turn around and walk to the door. (Repent)
3. You open the door and say come in Lord. (Confess)
4. Jesus walks in and you ask Him to stay. (Baptism)
5. Jesus works on the house doing repairs, modifications, and upgrades. He stays in the house and never lets it become dilapidated to the point of being demolished again. (Endure to unto the end)
And, in enduring unto the end we see what Jesus is going to do with us. He takes the time to repairs us, makes modifications in our lives, and upgrades us from sinners to saints.
Don’t see a lot of that in your life? Well, first you should remember that a living tree takes time to produce fruit. A dead tree never will, though. Want more upgrades? Let Jesus prune away the dead and diseased parts of your soul to maximize your fruit potential.
That old junk car is going to be a showpiece!
The answer to this question depends on how you are looking at it. Are you looking at it from the view of the promise, or the reality? What does it mean to be saved in your view? The promise and the reality are different.
Let me explain the difference between the two. The promise is as if you were on a life raft in the ocean. Ahead you see a giant rescue ship. It’s turning towards you and blasting over its speakers to you saying that they are coming to get you! You’re SAVED!!!!
At least, that’s what you are now jumping up and down saying to yourself and everyone else on the raft. That’s because you have the promise of salvation. The reality doesn’t happen though until you are actually on the rescue ship.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
The Bible tells us that we have the hope of salvation, but if we have been saved already then why do we still hope for it? Hope is something you do before the reality of what you hope for happens. So here Paul tells us that we have not yet been “saved.” But we DO have hope because of the promise.
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
So if you are looking at it from the promise point of view then you are “saved” at the time of repentance. You may as well start celebrating! It’s as good as a done deal! But if you are looking at it from the reality view, you are saved only AFTER enduring unto the end. Both views are valid in their own ways.
The promise of God will not fail. The rescue ship cannot sink! It WILL reach you. But will you climb aboard? So if you are asking how you can know if you are saved or not, the answer depends on your trust in God to fulfill His word. Because you can know you are saved if you trust that He will save you. But if not, then your faith needs a boost.
Obviously, this has some implications to the doctrines of eternal security. If we only have the promise right now then is it conditional? Is it true what they say about “Once saved, always saved?” What happens if I turn away from God and start paddling the other way? Those questions will be answered in the next few units and then we will dive deeper into the meaning of confession and baptism.
But for now, just try to remember that you haven’t stepped into those gates yet, but God has given you a promise. For me, that’s enough to go ahead and start saying “I’m saved!”
May 27, 2016 at 7:12 pm | | 1 comment