From The Pastor's Desk
Are You Saved?
Part One, “Are You Saved”? The question of one’s salvation is a blessed phenomenon for some, but for others, there is a lack of understanding and misconceptions. Some may ask, “To what or from whom am I saved?” Yet, others may simply ask, as the jailer did in the book of Acts 16:30 Sirs, what must I do to be saved? This question is a biblical question that requires a biblical answer through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
First, the word SAVE means to rescue or preserve from harm or danger. From the time of man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, he has spiraled out of control, and led a deadly, destructive path, even to this very day. Our current events certify the state of man’s degeneration as it escalates further and further out of his control, destroying entire kingdoms and families, disrupting peaceful civilization and uprooting neighborhoods and cities through hatred, envy, greed and murder; thus severing man’s ties to God and his hope of eternal existence with him.
That brings us to the question of who can save (preserve from harm or danger) man from his course of destruction and reconcile him back to his creator and the assurance of a blessed eternal existence with him?
I thank God for the words spoken in his holy scripture, Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall SAVE his people from their sins. It is mans sin that has caused his troubles and tribulations. From the fall in the Garden, to this present day, sin has desalinated man from God, causing him to live beneath his privilege and head needlessly down a path of sudden destruction. Thanks be to God, man does not have to stay in this state, for hope has come and deliverance is available through the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, as this is the mission in his coming.
For many now the question is, “What must I do to be saved from the wrath and disfavor of God because of sin?” What does the bible say concerning this issue? Do I just say a sinner’s prayer, as instructed by the church altar worker, or televangelist, or do I think I’m in a place of safety by my good deeds or works to humanity, or my signed name on a church role of a local assembly? Maybe I have done some of what has been required according to the gospel, but not all. The only salvation that will be accepted by God is a BIBLE SALVATION, not a man made one.
As noted in the gospel of St. Matthew 7:21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.
Our bible today consists of two wills or testaments, the Old Testament and the New Testament. In this dispensation of time, we are recipients of the New Testament. Jesus is the giver or testator of the New Testament, which was validated and certified by his death on the cross. Salvation, at that point, became legally available, with all the stipulations in place, as with any other will that most of you are familiar with. The will of the New Testament is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior. To receive that eternal life, however, we must submit to that which is required or the stipulations set forth in the New Testament or will, thus raising the question, “What then must I do to be saved or become a recipient of this blessed act of grace?”
First, study the scriptures, beginning, with the New Testament, then the Old. The Old Testament is of much value to us and our walk with God, in that we may embrace the teachings and be encouraged by its good examples, being careful to steer free of the bad. The New Testament however, is the dispensation that we are currently in and the instructions contained therein, are our requirements for eternal life.
In reading the New Testament, begin to note its stipulations as you study. There are several none-negotiable elements of salvation: one must first believe; then act on that belief through faith, following the directions given by Peter in Acts 2:38 on the day of Pentecost, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the Remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost; then strive, with an honest effort, to live according to the stipulations as directed in the word of God for the New Testament Church. Remember, (2 Peter 3:9) ‘The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’.
This concludes Part I of, “Are You Saved?” We will continue to discuss these stipulations in more detail in Part Two. Until then, May God Bless You, from the Pastor’s Desk and Christ Like Ministries.
From The Pastor’s Desk…
“Are You Saved? Part II”
Greetings…In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.. I pray that you are well in body, soul and spirit; and to that end, we pray daily. Our writing today is a continuation of the subject, “Are You Saved?”
Unfortunately, this is a subject of many misconceptions and much controversy, leaving many with a false sense of security by not adhering to all the teachings of the New Testament Church. In fact, many people are led to believe that Salvation has come to them, simply by slipping their hand in the air and saying a sinner’s prayer; which in some, does express the right attitude toward God, however, this act alone falls short of the requirements, as instructed by God, to the New Testament Church.
Then others are led to believe that a single mouth confession, as was spoken in Romans 10:9, is all that is required to be saved; however, to really understand the intent of Romans 10:9, you must read the entire chapter. Apostle Paul was not trying to take the Romans in church, because they were already saved and in church. In fact, the book of Romans was written to the church already established in Rome. He was however, expressing his concerns about the spiritual state of his biological brethren, Israel. His concern was that they did have zeal or a desire for God, but not according to the instructions of God to the New Testament Church. They, like many precious souls today, had established their own righteousness and rejected the righteousness of God.
Simply put, Paul was concerned about their continuation of adherence to the Mosaic Law and their disbelief in Jesus Christ as being the Messiah (Savior), to the extent that they continued to worship under the Mosaic Law, not realizing that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords had already come. That concerned Apostle Paul, as it should we that know the truth today, as it is impossible for the Jews of the writings of Paul, as well as anyone today to be saved or proceed any further in Christ, except there be first a heart felt acknowledgement or acceptance, which results in belief in the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ.
Belief then, can be seen in Paul’s writings clearly, as the first element of salvation, which is to be followed subsequently by others, as instructed by the word of God. One must forsake religion and tradition and seek, through the word of God, the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in efforts to receive salvation. Let us move forward in discussing the elements of salvation in more detail, for a better understanding, beginning with the element of Belief.
1. Belief: the state of conviction, acceptance, trust and assurance of truth in a person, or thing. With these elements in place, one must then feel convinced to submit and govern themselves to the accepted truth (the Bible). The word of the Lord in the Gospel of St. John 3:16 states that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. This scripture is a call to the acceptance of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with full assurance there of, and govern themselves in accordance to all of the writings and teachings of the New Testament Church; for partial or temporary acceptance of the Gospel’s truths, does not constitute belief, in the mind of God. This brings us to the next element of salvation, which is Faith.
2. Faith: Hebrews 11:1 states, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Faith then, is the mobilization of belief (acceptance, trust, and assurance), which brings about actions, or acts that support that belief, in the form of patience, acts of obedience, submission to directives and governing oneself to that which is required in efforts to receive that which is hoped for. A simple example of faith would be, a worker going to work on his or her job each day, and governing themselves in accordance to all the rules and regulations of the work place in hopes of receiving a reward of pay; thus however, working faithful daily, they receive not a dime at the end of the day, or many days, yet they work in full assurance within themselves, that at the appointed time, they will receive their reward (paycheck). But until that time, they work and govern themselves accordingly. The word of the Lord speaks on this wise in Hebrews 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that delinquently seek him. Many people talk about faith in God, but have little to no action to support their claim, as faith without works or action is dead. This brings us to the next element of salvation, which is Repentance.
3. Repentance: ones expression of Godly sorrow because of sin, to the extent that it brings about a change of mind, causing one to turn from their deeds or sins, and submit themselves to the word of God. Repentance is the prerequisite for Baptism.
4. Baptism: Christian baptism identifies one with Christ’s burial, in accordance with the Episcopal of Romans 6:1-7. The correct procedure for baptism is to submerge the repented believer (baptizee) in water, as the baptizer calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with Acts 2:38, Acts 8:12-16, Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 19:1-5. Baptism is a necessary act of faith that is commanded by God to all that have hope of Eternal life. Then, as one is baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, he rises from his water grave with a new mind, to live a life in obedience and submission to the word of God.
The infilling of the Holy Ghost is the fulfillment of the promise of God dwelling inside of man. Sometime spoken of as the Comforter or the Spirit of Truth, all are one and the same, the Holy Ghost, Jesus, speaking plainly before his crucifixion in the Gospel of St. John 14:15-17, 25 says “If ye love me, keep my commandments 16 And I will pray the father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. Even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye knoweth him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 25 these things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things unto your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The Holy Ghost is a blessed promise to the church, as well as a required element of salvation. Do understand that every person that has hope of going to heaven must have the Holy Ghost. In fact, the word of the Lord speaks on this wise in Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
LIVING A CHRIST LIKE LIFE: We have discussed belief, faith, repentance, baptism, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Now leaving these principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, growing in grace and the knowledge of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Lord speaks to us in the Gospel of St. Matthew 11: 28-30 on this wise, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
It is Christ’s desire for us to learn of him through the study of his word; then apply his teaching to our everyday life. In fact, it should be a Christian’s desire and duty to daily study his word, and with its application, live a Christ Like Life; walking with him in the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, meekness and temperance) and not under the influence of the flesh (our humanistic desire), practicing adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, hatred, envy, drunkenness and murder, just to name a few, as people who practice these types of things are not Christians, and the spirit of Christ does not dwell in them, for the Spirit of God will not dwell in an unclean place. Sadly, a person in this state cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and will not be able to go back with the Lord when he comes (Galatians 5:18-21).
My brothers, sisters, friends, and coworkers, be blessed in the Lord, obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety. Examine it carefully and prayerfully and submit only to his teaching, and forsaken tradition and humanistic reasoning. You can have the assurance of a place with him in the blessed hope of his coming, and an eternal home with Jesus IF you only obey him through his word.
This concludes the question, Are You Saved? May God bless you, and may he smile upon you and yours!