039: Three Critical Salvation Issues

Devotional On Romans 11:1-10

Three critical issues at the heart of salvation

Sometimes the Bible has some harsh words to say about some groups of people, particularly when the topic is salvation.  Rather than pick on someone that I really have no beef with, I think it’s a good idea to reflect on what today’s text means to me.  When I’m done, you can figure out if it means the same to you, too.

 

Romans 11:1-10 focuses on Three Critical Issues At The Heart Of Salvation 

 

I think it’s a good idea for you to read the text [click] first.

 

1.     I’m saved by grace, not by what I do

I need to believe in Jesus.  At no point can I become self righteous and tell myself that I deserve salvation.  I need to be humble about my friendship with God, and continue to remember that it is only by grace that I’m saved.

 

2.     Salvation is for everyone who will believe in Jesus 

I need to remember that I’m equal to all other believers.  We have no higher ground to stand on as though we’re raised by our level of spirituality or our amount of good deeds.  We are all saved by grace, not by anything we’ve done.

 

3.     I need to respond quickly to the truth so that I don’t set myself up for spiritual blindness 

I need to have a healthy fear of God.  If I start to coast, or if I stop listening to God’s correction, God will turn me loose to follow my sinful desires.  If that happens, I will simply never know what I never know.  Judgement will come to me if I don’t maintain my pursuit of faith and faithfulness.

 

Regarding the Three Critical Issues At The Heart Of Salvation …

Praying seems to be a good response.  Here’s how I respond to the text:

“Jesus, please help me resist any kind of self-righteousness.  Help me not get blinded by my own good works.  And help me keep short accounts with You.”

 

What about you?

Are you tracking with those thoughts?  If so, how humble are you about your friendship with Jesus?  Do you truly see the Believers around you as equals?  Do you have a healthy enough fear of judgment that you keep short accounts with God and clean up the behaviour that hurts your friendship with Jesus?

Or, did you see something different in the text?

 

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2 thoughts on “039: Three Critical Salvation Issues

  1. Your blog is excellent for creating dialogue among believers and I’m so grateful you create an open forum for dialogue amongst brother’s and sisters…it is rare in NA church culture…God bless you for your courage.
    On that front I am safe to say I no longer have a fear of judgement. On several occasions in my life I believe He has tried to show me that there is absolutely no condemnation or judgement awaiting me now that I am in Christ. I’m not required to clean up behaviours, but rather rest in the fact that those behaviours were completely forgiven and nothing I can do hurts my friendship with Jesus. At first I struggled with that concept. Surely bad behavior required punishment and damaged friendships, and I must try harder to be better so not to hurt my friendship with Jesus. Afterall, He did so such for me it is the least I can do to repay Him. Yet I’ve discovered there is no scripture that supports that kind of condition to my friendship with Jesus. There is nothing I can do that will suprise or disappoint or damage his friendship and love of me. At first this freedom in Christ scared me. Surely this kind of thinking will lead to escalated bad behaviour and sin will run wild if I believe that I am free from the law…but the opposite has happened. This truth of absolute forgiveness and freedom has actually lessoned my desire to sin. I see myself as a perfect spirit empowered by the strength of Jesus within me. I recognize that my flesh only pulls me down when I forget my position and power in Christ…my spirit is perfect in Christ. As such, why would I allow that kind of crap (sin) to take me down? It has no power over me now. I don’t need to work at being good, Christ is in me and I am in Him…I am good. That said, when my mind forgets that power and I allow my flesh to do things that I would have thought before would make Jesus upset with me I lement, but I also recall the awesome message and truth of the gospel… there is no longer any condemnation…none. It is all paid in full, I am completely forgiven and in absolute unbroken fellowship with Jesus. Sure there are human consequences to allowing your flesh to act I a sinful manner, and my brother and lord weaps that I would create such garba in my life, but our friendship is flawlessly strong. He is an awesome friend, brother, leader. Nothing I do damages that, and nothing I do “good” makes it stronger. He is love… fully independent of my actions. My love for Him grows when I realize just how forgiven and free I am. My response to that freedom is to be better from a deep desire in my heart, not out of fear of judgement. My sinful behaviour lessons under that adoration. Where the law existed sin reigned all the more.
    Grace is amazingly powerful and his rest is amazingly simple. It is no longer I that works, but He that works and wills within me to do good works, because my spirit is now perfectly good like Him.
    I must say, there is trepidation in sharing this as I’ve run into many in the church who will missunderstand or be afraid of it, but in faith I trust God to use it for his good and lead me in the way he wants me to go. I am fully convinced He will guide me. Thanks for providing a venue. Let me know if any of this resonates with your spirit, or if you have wisdom to inform. God bless.

    • Don, I say this “first part” to give context to “my reply to you.”

      First part:

      In my devotions I’ve been working through the OT again – I’m almost through Leviticus. As I’m reading I’m stricken… horrified, actually, when I see places where God tells Moses that he wants to wipe out his fledgling people and start anew with Moses’ line. God also tells Moses to tell the people not to come anywhere near Him or He’ll wipe them out. And, I’m just as horrified as I review how God set up the Levitical priesthood for the purpose of keeping the rest of the nation away from Him so that He wouldn’t destroy them.

      While I’m reviewing the Pentateuch it’s easy to see why people sometimes ask me, “It seems like there are two God’s in the Bible. The OT God seems all wrath and judgment, but the NT God seems all love and forgiveness. Are there actually two Gods? What’s really going on?”

      My reply to you:

      A Believer’s inclination to view his/her connection with God as “I must do better or God will get angry at me” is akin to the relationship we had with God in the OT. That relationship has and has not changed.

      First, it has not changed because God is still angered by sin, and is still in the position to judge sin. Nothing has changed about God’s holiness, the requirements for salvation, or God’s seat as fully authoritative judge.

      Second, a lot has changed because Jesus has come. Jesus has satisfied God’s wrath of sin through His sacrifice. It’s not that God has changed, it’s that we have been changed. When we choose to believe in Jesus, His sacrifice is applied to us and God treats us as though we have no sin. Therefore, Christianity isn’t a “do better” kind of religion. It’s a relationship where our Father shapes us via the HS to become more like Jesus. It’s not a rules based religion, it’s a relationship where we have two guiding opportunities – we have the opportunity to choose to love God first, and we have the opportunity to choose to love others second. Rather than being concerned about breaking laws, we now live in the freedom of choice and opportunity which builds a relationship founded on grace and forgiveness.

      God hasn’t changed. We have changed. God has empowered that change by our faith in Jesus and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to live as a friend of God.

      Additionally, I like you comment about the awkward feelings of our position as no-law people. It is possible that one would assume that anything goes where there is no law. However, that assumption denies a real relationship and relational growth.

      Well, that’s my two cents, anyways. Good comments, thanks for sharing!