Archives For Salvation

ephesians-identity

Ephesians 2: A New Life In Christ

To understand our new identity, we’ve got to uncover our old identity. We’ve got to dig deeper into who we were, beyond our ancestry and family of origin, to see the ugly truth. Paul is going to show us an unfiltered picture of who we really are.

– Tony Merida

Before we can understand just how much God has done for us, we must understand where we have come from or better yet, where we were without Christ.

Chapter 2 of the book of Ephesians begins with four very strong words … “And you were dead…”. Every human being that is a son or daughter of Adam (which is pretty much everyone!) entered the world spiritually dead. We have no inclination toward God and no ability to please Him (Romans 8:8). As Merida puts it, “Apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead”.

ephesians-2

We all know the first line of Amazing Grace:  “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”. That is who we are – dead wretches!

Just as verse 1 starts with four strong words, verse 4 starts with two of the sweetest words found in the bible – BUT GOD!

Just when things look the most desolate, Paul utters the greatest short phrase in the history of human speech: “But God!” – ESV Study Notes

Ephesians 2:4-5: But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.

It is said that grace is “God’s unmerited favor to us”! Praise the Lord for His grace! This “grace” has been given to each of us who have transgressed His law and have sinned against Him. Again, this is everyone!

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Tony Merida goes on in his teaching of Ephesians to say:

Works matter to the Christian, but we’re not working for salvation; we’re working from salvation. The words for and from are subtle but incredibly important.

It is vital to understand that what God has to offer us is a gift and not a prize! A gift is something that we are given – no strings attached; no “if you do this, then I’ll do that”. Whereas a prize is something that can be obtained or worked for. A prize is given to those people who have accomplished a set of guidelines or list of things to do. If we could do something to work for our salvation then the gospel would be in vain.

christianity-is-not-a-do-gospel-it-is-a-done-gospelMerida points out that the difference in Christianity and a lot of other so-called religions is that their’s is a “do” religion whereas Christianity is a “done” religion. Jesus has done everything for us and it is only through Him. He went to the cross. He shed His blood for me. He died for the sin of mankind. When Jesus uttered the words “It Is Finished” on the cross of Calvary, there was nothing else that needed to be done.

Remember in Ephesians: Your Identity In Christ – Part 1 where we talked about the phrase “In Him”. This is the only place that salvation can be found. Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ”. John tells us in John 14: 6 that Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

Because Jesus has become our substitute, we now have life in Him. Ephesians should compel us to hope and to understand that no one is beyond the reach of God’s amazing grace. – Tony Merida

Let me leave you with these thoughts on our new identity in Christ. Tony refers to these as the “formerly … but now” expressions:

  • We were dead in sin, but now we “are alive together with Christ” (2:4)
  • We were separated from Christ, but now in Christ Jesus, we ” have been brought near by the blood” (2:13)
  • We were foreigners, “but now we are fellow citizens” (2:19)

Who are you in Christ? You are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works!

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love – Amazing Grace!

Quotes from my readings banner

In the book The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall & Tony Payne write the following about every Christian being a missionary.

They write, “The Christian without a missionary heart is an anomaly.”

Just in case you don’t know, dictionary.com defines “anomaly” as the following: a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form. someone or something that is abnormal or incongruous, or does not fit in.

Both of these gentleman are arguing that there is no difference between a Christian and a missionary and I could not agree with them any more. It is every Christians responsibility to help spread the gospel and HIS glory to the ends of the earth – whether across the street or around the world.

They continue, “The missionary heart will be seen in all kinds of ways:”

  • In prayers for the lost, in making sure our behavior offends no-one, in gospel conversations with friends, and in making every effort to save some. We are slaves without rights, even though we are free ( 2 Corinthians 4:5 | Philemon 2:7 ).
  • Disciples are called to a distinctive, ‘salty’ lifestyle characterized by good deeds and righteousness. By living this way we shine as lights in the world, attracting praise not to ourselves but to God our Father ( Matthew 5:13-16 ).
  • We are called to pray for the bold proclamation of the gospel in the world ( Col 4:2-3 ).
  • Our conversations with outsiders should be gracious yet provocative, giving appropriate answers to the questions that are prompted by our way of life ( Col 4:5-6 ).
  • The sound doctrine of the gospel produces a radical Christian way of life that gives no grounds for slander, and makes the teaching of the gospel attractive to the world ( Titus 2:1-10 ).
  • Like God’s chosen people Israel, Christians both corporately and privately are to make God known to the nations by declaring his mercies in the gospel and by living a holy life ( I Peter 2:9-12 | 3:1-2 ).
  • Even in the midst of persecution, believer are to surrender to the lordship of Christ and gently give a defense of the hope we have in the gospel ( I Peter 3:15 ).

“We have to conclude that a Christian with no passion for the lost is in series need of self-examination and repentance”.

“It is very striking that Paul calls upon ordinary believers in Corinth to be imitators of him, as he is of Christ. And this imitation is not in some general sense, but in actively seeking the salvation of others. They are not to seek their own advantage “but that of many, that they may be saved” ( I Corinthians 10:33 ).

They finish with this awesome statement:

“Their whole aim was to be the glory of God in the salvation of others”.

Points to Ponder:

  • How are you using your life for Christ?
  • Are you a Christian anomaly?
  • How are you shining the light of Jesus to this world?

Points To Ponder

Should We Pray for Revival? – desiringGod.org

Ours is not the first generation to recognize the spiritual declension among us, or to see the need for God to awaken his church and touch our land. From the saints of the Old Testament to leaders in our time, prayer for revival has marked believers who understand the need for the Spirit surpasses our ability and intelligence.

Read full article…

 3 in 4 in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God – Gallup.com

PRINCETON, NJ — Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God and that it should be taken literally. This is somewhat below the 38% to 40% seen in the late 1970s, and near the all-time low of 27% reached in 2001 and 2009. But about half of Americans continue to say the Bible is the inspired word of God, not to be taken literally — meaning a combined 75% believe the Bible is in some way connected to God. About one in five Americans view the Bible in purely secular terms — as ancient fables, legends, history, and precepts written by man — which is up from 13% in 1976.

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7 Biblical Tests for Christians and Music – TheExchange.com

Christians disagree about music style as much as any other issue in the body of Christ. More than likely, you’ve experienced this firsthand. As I’ve already written, conflicts over music have been common through out church history. Christians have listened to and enjoyed all of kinds of music. But should they?

In seeking to determine what is the right music for a church, it’s important that we use biblical principles in our evaluation. That’s not always easy—the Bible doesn’t contain music notes. God never gives us His musical preferences.
While it may be difficult, I do believe it’s possible to evaluate musical preferences using God’s word. The following seven tests each relate to biblical principles that we can apply to our music to determine its suitability.

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Salvation Before the Cross – Answers In Genesis

How were people saved before Jesus Christ died on the Cross? The answer is easy, once you realize that nothing happens by chance—the solution was already in place even before the world began.

The Bible record presents two dominant themes: promise and fulfillment. Over and again we see God promising and then, true to His word, fulfilling. Even at the very beginning, when the fall of man first brought sin and death into the world, God graciously promised that one day Christ would step into history, as a “lamb . . . foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19–20), to shed His blood to save a fallen humanity.

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GREAT RESOURCE – Proverbial Thought (Amazon.com)

Proverbial Thought is a collection of commentary and personal reflection on the wisdom of each and every individual proverb through the entire book of Proverbs. However, the commentary and personal reflection contained in this work are in no way exhaustive. For that matter, even if we were to attempt to plumb the depths of Proverbs, “the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). It is up to you, the reader, how to use this book (and the ones to follow). You could use it as a devotional, reading an entry a day as you seek to start your day in the wisdom of the Lord. You could use it as an additional commentary as you study God’s Word for a lesson or sermon. You could even use it to gain insight into that occasionally difficult passage that has you stumped. But no matter how you use it, always make sure to first ask the Holy Spirit for enlightenment when you study Scripture.