Sunday, December 2, 2012
Welcome to Day 336 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Romans 9:16, “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 11:22, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.”
Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Even though I did not post any verses pertaining to this idea, I love that in chapter 11 Paul uses an olive tree as an example. Branches grafted in or cut off… and the root supporting the tree. Jesus used similar imagery in John 15. “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Romans 10:9 is one of the most important verses in the whole Bible, along with John 3:16…
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
I have done many, many funerals over the years. When I am talking with the family, getting to know them and their loved one, this topic of salvation almost always comes up. They will often say how this person loved the Lord, or rejected him. That’s usually pretty clear.
It’s when they aren’t too sure that this verse comes into play.
I simply ask, “Did they confess Christ?” Well… yes. (But they didn’t go to church!)
Do you think they believed that Jesus rose from the dead? Well… they said they believed that… (But they didn’t live like they believed it…)
This verse is pretty clear to me. And yes, I believe that salvation is more than just believing. Or even saying that we believe. The fruit of our lives is the evidence supporting what we say we believe.
James states that “faith without works is dead.”
Ephesians states that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. It is a gift of God, not of works so that no man can boast.”
Faith and works go hand in hand. Works without faith are just works. But works backed by faith is extending God’s kingdom. Anyone can give out groceries and do social justice. Caring for those less fortunate. But for believers it is partnering with God to change the world, more than simply putting food on the table.
Don’t get me wrong, God is pleased when anyone gives their food to the hungry. Jesus said in Matthew 25, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” But giving my food to the hungry and not accepting the sacrifice of Christ is just good works.
(Where this discussion gets a little dicey is in Matthew 7… “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly,
‘I never knew you…
Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Therein lies the concern and discussion about our loved ones who have passed on.
Jesus was saying in those verses it is possible to have power and to do great things apart from relationship with God…
I often ask myself if I am doing that… They were doing some powerful things… Prophesying, casting out demons, doing miracles.
How is this possible?
(Please don’t immediately go to the “Well the devil does miracles, too” argument.)
I think God gifts us and we can use those gifts for his glory, or ours.
And, yes, it is possible that some people may be operating under the power of the enemy to do certain things, but I think more often than not it’s a misuse of God’s gifts. This is obviously not hard and fast. Just my opinion…
I could give my son a car and he could use it as a getaway car. Not my intended purpose… He would be misusing the gift.
That may not be the best analogy, but I’m just trying to make the point.
Yet at the same time, Jesus said that those who were not against him were for him!
Remember the seven sons of Sceva in Acts? They were trying to cast out demons from a guy who said, “Jesus we know and Paul we have heard of… But who are you?” Then they got a beating!
But I always come back to this verse. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
It is not up to me to even attempt to try to decide who made it or who is going to make it into heaven.
God is the judge, not I.
That is a very slippery slope to walk on. Best to stay far from it.
My job is to give people hope… So I quote that verse. If they con fessed Jesus as Lord and believed God rose him from the dead…
… they will be saved.
Thank you Lord for the salvation you provide!