The Gift of Salvation
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. Ephesians 2:8-9
My friend, what do you think the above verse just said? Did it say we are saved by faith? Did it say not of works? Yes, it did and that is what it means. But in our culture today there are far too many people who just do not seem to be able to read the scriptures, and believe what they say. The scriptures say salvation is a gift. It is not something anyone earns or deserves, yet people struggle to believe what the Bible says.
Jesus himself spoke one of the most familiar verses in the Bible;
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. John 3:16
Did you notice Jesus said that whosoever believes in Him will not perish (go to hell), but would have everlasting life (go to heaven). It is so clear that salvation is a free gift to any person who will repent of their sins and trust Jesus as their savior. Jesus has already paid the sin debt for the entire world.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24
Christians Are Not Perfect
At the time that we are saved, we are not perfected in the flesh. We still have the sin nature, the old man, or fleshly nature that we will have to deal with until we receive our new bodies. But once we accept Jesus Christ as our savior we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us so that we no longer have to serve sin.
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:6
No my friend, just because we are saved does not mean we will not sin. But we do not have to serve sin. Remember, by nature we are sinners, but we are saved by grace. Our soul and spirit have been redeemed, but our bodies (the flesh) will not be redeemed until the rapture takes place. At that time all the Christians from the day of Pentecost, to the rapture will receive their new bodies.
You may ask then; when someone is saved, does that not make them like Jesus? The quick answer simply, is NO! We cannot be like Jesus because we were all born in sin. Jesus was not! Therefore, He had no sin! Never did, and never will. I would suggest reading Romans, the entire sixth chapter which discusses how we must learn how to say no to sin.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:12-13
In order to control our fleshly nature we must give ourselves over to a life of prayer, reading and studying the Bible, and attending a Bible church where we can fellowship with like-minded people. Those who spend their time on things for “self,” and not on things that help them grow in the Lord, or on things that contribute to the Body of Christ, will most likely live a defeated Christian life. This does not mean they have lost their salvation, but that they are living a worldly, carnal life as a believer. These Christians are still God’s children, but they are living out of fellowship with the Lord.
A wonderful example on the secret to living for the Lord is given to us by the Apostle Paul in this scripture;
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
The result of a disobedient Christian is not only will God chasten them in this life because of their disobedience, but they will lose, or not have any rewards when they get to heaven.
It’s unfortunate but it seems that some believers just don’t understand that it’s by how faithful we live for the Lord after we are saved, that we earn rewards. Rewards Jesus will give out on the Day of Judgment, when we are judged by Him.
Christians Earn Rewards
Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
We must remember, we do not know who is saved, or not saved. Just because someone says they are saved does not make them saved. A saved person, is a born again person.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Peter 1:23
The Apostle James wrote;
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:17-18
This scripture plainly shows us, if we have faith, we have works! For someone to know we are true believers we must have works, because if we don’t, than only God will know if one is truly saved.
Here are some biblical examples of those who were, and those who were not saved. It was not obvious to anyone but the Lord because of their inappropriate, or lack of works.
- In the Old Testament Samson was a true believer yet he committed suicide by pulling a pagan temple down upon himself. (A believer committing suicide is never something the Lord would approve of. But keep in mind, if you are saved committing suicide is not an unforgivable sin)
Ananias and Sapphira:
- In the New Testament Ananias and Sapphira were born again believers, but they lied to the Holy Ghost and therefore were struck dead. (Ananias and Sapphira made a selfish, and fatal decision when they planned to lie to the Holy Spirit about the amount of money they had) See: Acts 5
So here we see Samson, Ananias and Sapphire, people who were born again believers, yet, they either had no works, or their works were unacceptable to God.
- Judas Iscariot was an Apostle of the Lord, but he never was saved. He even betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
Remember, Judas went out and performed miracles with the other disciples and still he never became a believer in Jesus as his Messiah and savior.
The Prodigal Son
- The Lord Jesus told of a father who had two sons. His youngest son asked for his inheritance and he took it and went into a far country (far country represents sin). In a few days he was deep in sin. Remember, he was the father’s son, also.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. Luke 15:13
One day the prodigal saw his condition and decided to go back home to his father. His father gladly received him. That same truth is found in Christians who get into sin and later see their need to repent of their sins, and get back in fellowship with their Heavenly Father. Sin causes a believer to lose fellowship with the Father, not son ship, or daughter ship.
In conclusion, we have tried to show our readers that salvation is a free gift to anyone who puts their trust in Jesus as their savior.
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John 5:11
So my friend, are you truly a born again believer in Jesus who has received the gift of salvation? I trust you are, and not just a church member with some “religion.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us that salvation is in a person! It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of a great and living God! Amen.
“Loving the Savior” Preacher