Becoming One With God: Salvation

saved

 

I have shared God’s simple plan of salvation in many different ways over the years, but today I was led to write it out again, in a little different way. Sometimes I have no idea why God leads me to do particular things, and I’ve learned to just go ahead and do whatever it is He puts on my heart to do. Perhaps this post is meant for a specific person, or it could be for hundreds. Whatever the case, God knows and that’s good enough for me. I’ve taken off my writer’s hat in order to make this message clear and plain, because God’s word is what gives it power and not my skills.

I was asked by a friend on Facebook: “How do we become one with God?” Providing the answer involves more than what I could put into a comment on social media, and it struck me that the following questions are bound up in that question: How are we saved, and how do we walk in the Spirit, and be insured against the loss of eternal life?

When Paul and Silas were arrested and placed in the inner parts of a dungeon-like jail, God sent an earthquake that caused the chains to fall off their ankles and wrists. All the doors in the prison flew wide open. The jailer or C.O. in charge assumed all the prisoners had escaped, which by Roman law would have meant a certain death sentence for him. He was getting set to take his own life when Paul shouted out, “Don’t harm yourself, we are all here!” Acts 16:28

That jailer was filled with relief and wonder. He knew why these two men were in prison and that they were preachers of Christ Jesus. So he ran to Paul and Silas, fell on his knees and cried “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Verse 30)

The answer Paul and Silas gave is the gospel: the good news in condensed form, though we may need some clarification. “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Verse 31)

Salvation is based upon the most simple of concepts: Belief. But we must understand what it means to Believe. The bible calls it FAITH.

Let’s say that you, me and lots of other people are all in one large room, and if we stay in that room we will most certainly be killed. There’s a bomb set to go off, but nobody knows at what time it is set to detonate. That’s a bit like life on earth, because Jesus’ return is coming and nobody knows when. There are many doors that lead out of this room, hundreds of them. But every single door except for ONE will also lead to our death—eternally separated from God.  Only one door will save us.

But then Jesus comes in and says “I am the door! Come through me and you will live!” There are also many other voices all shouting, “No,” and they are all pointing to different doors saying, “Follow me, this is the right way!”

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

 

Now I want to tell you that the devil believes Jesus is the way to eternal life. Satan believes that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, because we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us: For all have sinned…” AND “The wages of (the penalty for) sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23

The demons believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and that He died for our sins and rose from the dead. But they and the devil are not saved. You see that’s a different kind of belief.

The kind of belief that saves us is the kind that includes trust in Jesus. I must trust that Jesus is the right door to go through to be saved. I cannot stay in that room or I will die. I must make a decision, but I must also act upon that decision. In other words, I must actually go through the door!

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7.  I must go into Christ, and when I do, Christ comes into me—to live with me on the inside, in the form of God’s Holy Spirit. He is sometimes called the “Spirit of Christ”. That’s when we become one with Him. This means I follow Him. He is my leader and guide and I do things His way. At least I try my best to do that.

How? How do we become ONE with God through Christ Jesus? First we simply tell God in our own words that we believe in Jesus. We believe that the blood He shed on the cross paid for our sins. I tell Jesus that I believe He died for me personally. And that He rose back to life. And now I am going to give myself to Him. “Lord Jesus, I now belong to you—show me what to do.”

His answer is that we keep on trusting that He is the way. If I really trust Jesus I’m going to do my best to live in the way He tells me I should live. Now we cannot do this perfectly, and we will get to that in a little while. Because God knows we are weak and that sometimes we will still sin. He has done something about that for us! The blood Jesus bled on the cross covers my past sins, my present sins AND even the sins I might commit in the future! But this is not a license to sin!!

I must WANT with all my heart to be pure and holy like He is. When we want to be like Jesus, God begins working inside us, changing us little by little to become more like Jesus. Jesus said, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 And He also said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6.

You see it is my desire to be righteous that begins God’s work of changing me, so that I actually start becoming righteous and holy like He is. The greatest satisfaction and contentment any person can ever have is found by doing God’s will—by being united with Him. I remember thinking how dull and boring the Christian life must be. But it wasn’t until I gave my life to Christ that I learned what real living is all about. He gives life to the fullest and it is intensely satisfying!

We will never “arrive” at perfect righteousness in this life. If we could do that we would no longer need a Savior. We most definitely cannot be perfect in these bodies we live in. God however, views us as being perfect, because we are in Christ, and He is perfect. We have the righteousness of Christ given to us. He took our sins upon Himself and carried them to the grave and buried them there. All our sin! It’s the best deal anywhere. He takes our sins away and gives us His righteousness, Praise God!

So we must trust in our Savior to cover our sins with His blood. On the day Jesus returns to take us home He will give us new spiritual bodies that do not sin. I’m really looking forward to my new body!

I must decide that I am going to die to my old sinful self. I’m going to put the old me up there on the cross with Jesus. And I am going to live the new life that He is giving me. Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Jesus said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

When our old self tells us to do things we say, “No” and we follow what God’s spirit and the bible tells us to do. God will lead us into the right decisions. We deny that old sinful nature and all the wrongful ways we used to say and do things. Instead, we now follow Jesus. When Jesus said to take up our cross, it means that there is work that He wants us to do. But we don’t work for our salvation—that’s already been given to us for free. We are saved by grace just because we believed and trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godnot by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

But that doesn’t mean we have no work to do. No, He saved us so that we would work. The salvation is free because we had faith. But if we really did have faith to be saved, then we will also have faith to do the good works. The very next verse after our last one is this: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

The first of that work is to begin changing to be like God’s holy Son, Jesus. But it is actually God doing the heavy work, we simply cooperate with what He is doing inside us, and we must WANT IT. This starts in our minds. That’s why our mind needs to be focused on Jesus, on righteousness and holiness and all that is good. That’s what we are aiming for: Holiness, so we keep our eyes on Jesus. This is one reason it is so important for us to read our bibles. It helps us to stay focused on Jesus. And in this dark and sinful world it can be very hard to do. But we have supernatural power from God to use in our lives. It is used for only one thing: to obey God and do what pleases Him. He also gives us supernatural peace and joy and love! He has given us His Spirit to live inside us and He gives us life! We can die to our old selves because the Spirit is constantly giving us new life. We are united with Him and have become ONE with God as a part of His big family in Christ.

 

Here’s a key to pleasing God: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2 The things we like will gradually begin to change, along with the things we love.

Here is another key verse about being saved: “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die…” Romans 8:13a Living according to the flesh means that I still love my sin. But once we come to know how good the stuff God has to give us is, we begin to love righteousness, holiness and goodness—we love Him! We begin to hate sin just as He does. Even though we may sin at times, we hate it and we can’t stand ourselves until we take that sin to God and confess it. He loves you! And God has promised: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1st John 1:9

As Christians, our sins are already forgiven. But we confess them as the Spirit reveals them to us, and this keeps our relationship with the Lord strong and it clears our consciences. Now back to Romans 8:13b “…But if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”  If I am saved, I will be trusting Christ who is in me. I will live my life day by day and minute by minute following Him, obeying Him, trusting Him. But remember, God has made allowance for our mistakes! Those future sins are covered too, if in fact my heart is SET on HIM. The very next verse says: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”Romans 8:14-15.

“Abba” means “Daddy!” When we experience God’s love for us we no longer have to fear His fiery judgment, because we know He has saved us and is working in us, and through us. We are His children and we love Him back by doing our best to please Him, just as we should do with our earthly fathers.

If you understand nothing else, please understand this: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

 

The following is a very simple prayer suggestion. If you agree with it, please pray this from your heart to God.

“Heavenly Father, I know how desperately I am in need of your grace on a continuing basis. I believe in your Son Jesus and the work He did to save me on the cross, and I believe He has risen from the dead. I accept you Jesus, my Christ, to be the master of my life. Thank you for covering my sins by the blood you shed on the cross. Lord Jesus, please help me to deny what my sinful flesh wants to do, and instead to obey you and your Spirit inside me. Please help me to understand the bible as you speak to me in my heart. Help me to be quiet enough to listen, to sit still and just meditate and think about verses of scripture, and let you transform my heart and mind. I want to be holy. I am now one of your sons, oh God, my Father, and I want to be like your Son Jesus. Help me to live the way you want me to live. And please teach me more and more each day.  Also Lord, I ask that you will help me to know the right person here on earth who will encourage me and help me understand the bible, and who will love me and help to disciple me. Thank you my sweet Savior, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.”

In obedience to Christ, we need to be baptized into Him, and into His church. We confess our faith in Jesus in front of witnesses. “With your mouth you confess and are saved.” This is an outward act of obedience which proves our belief. We are commanded by God to be baptized into Christ. Even though Jesus was perfect and had no sin, He was baptized by John the Baptist. I believe this was an example for us to follow.

God Bless You!

 

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Categories: Christian Living, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Becoming One With God: Salvation

  1. While i like and am in large agreement with all you have written and especially the scriptural quotes i have to point out one logical contradiction in your post.

    We both agree we are to do all we humanly can to live a life on earth as Jesus did and that to come to God we must become again as little children, empty and ready to be filled with love for and knowledge from The Father above, as Jesus Himself would have had to do.

    In your Prayer you suggest we ask for someone here on Earth to help us understand the Bible and to encourage us.

    Is this doing as Jesus Himself did as i can find no such reference/instruction from Him in the New Testament? In fact He could not have done so since the most important part of the Bible to all us gentiles was not written at the time. Christ only had the Jewish Torah and their holy scriptures to reference.

    If we say that Christ, being God, had some kind of unfair advantage to the rest of us humans then we are unable to be as him and to follow him in the fashion you indicate would to not do as He did.

    A contradiction as i see it?

    love.

    • Thank you for your comment. I hope I am understanding your words correctly, as I am no genius ☺. Perhaps my wording suggested something in your mind which certainly was not intended, because you yourself have stated it seemed contradictory. You will notice in the prayer addressing God: “Please help me to understand the bible as you speak to me in my heart.” The Holy Spirit or Spirit of Truth is our ultimate and best teacher and interpreter of God’s word. I’m not certain what your objection is on having teachers of the word of God, or on discipling other believers. As God has revealed His word to me, I see Him constantly using a human element to expound His word to others. He even used human agents to write down His word. The part of the prayer you mentioned addresses the need for human mentors and people to disciple us. God has ALWAYS used people to preach and teach, From Moses and Joshua, to the nation of Israel, to the 12 disciples Jesus chose to carry on His work, to His instruction in the New Testament where He gifts others to be pastors and teachers (I am leaving out prophets to refrain from opening a different discussion). So I’m having difficulty understanding your objection to having humans who teach and expound upon God’s word and in doing so help others to understand and apply the principles of truth therein. Romans 10 14 “…And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” In Jesus’ great commission at His ascension He included the words “…And teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.” He was speaking to humans beings.
      Jesus was and is 100% God and 100% man. And no He had no advantage over us, as I understand His being. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4:15 I don’t dare equate myself with God, and make no mistake, I believe Jesus to be God. But yes, Jesus is our perfect paradigm and model. That however doesn’t mean that I can raise the dead or do the mighty miracles that he did. It is Jesus’ character of holiness and righteousness I am to emulate, and not everything that He is. Besides, God is the one who ordained that there be teachers and preachers of His word.

      P.S. If we think we do not need one another, then we are not united in love and in the body of Christ. He has made us dependent upon one another as one complete body with many members and with Christ as the head. But when one of those members tries to become a one man band, saying “It’s just me and God and we’ve got this,” then there is a problem, because Christ has set members in His church with varying gifts to edify the body. My gift happens to be teaching God’s word and helping others to understand how to apply it. But I still need men to disciple and encourage me too! And I need to continue studying and learning under those who are elder to me in the faith, even though I myself am a minister and an elder. Blessings to you and thank you again for the comment.

      • Thank you for your reply Sheldon and i apologise for any misunderstanding ( that all humans are all too frequently capable of giving to our fellow man, even those of us with only the kindest intent).

        I was simply trying to point out that from all evidence Jesus relied upon God for his teaching, not on God THROUGH MAN’s word or mans’ version of God’s word – God speaks to all of us directly, it is just sad that through our over-familiarity with the human kind of spoken word which we communicate most commonly with that we qas a christian society are now almost deaf to the word that comes direct from Him. I feel becoming overly reliant upon the “corrupted” ( through all mankind’s innate corruption) version of The Word we get through our fellow man that errors are introduced into our thinking that we need God to help us overcome and better understand.

        I fully realise that virtually all of my current understanding of God has come mostly through the written or spoken word of man ( mostly from our Bible and it’s many human translations) and that must cause some misunderstandings that i presently possess but i regularly share my thoughts and confusion with God and He helps me in His Time and by His means (which i agree does sometimes come in the form of assistance and interaction with other human beings) to gradually overcome my inaccuracies – i, like every other human, am currently far from having perfect understandings of course, and communication with people such as you may help, or could send me in a direction i may, through incomplete understanding, find leads me other than the way He wills for me.

        My assessment on this position comes from the evidence of over 2000 years of mankind spreading God’s word and the level of success and ‘perfection’ in it attained by mankind throughout that time. Even today i see and hear of religious groups of all denominations doing unbelievably bad things while espousing the love of God. Mainly through people relying more upon other humans for their thought and belief in God and not on God first and foremost Himself.

        Simply put – we should all do as Jesus did and i don’t see Mark, Matthew, Luke or John saying he sought man’s version of God’s word – Seek first His Will and then share his Word through works – not words. Love God First, then love other men as you love yourself second.

        Regarding your P.S. i alone am unable to survive on this planet (in the fashion to which i have become very accustomed ) in that sense i ‘need’ other humans to live here. But if i thought i needed any man’s help to learn the truths of the Spirit i would be denying God and Jesus’ example. The Bible gives good clues and although i, like every other man, interpret it in the ways i tend to think of first and best it is up to me and God alone to work out what He is telling me, not other men with their individual imperfections. If i am wrong God Corrects me and i accept His Will over me. God did not ( as i understand) make me DEPENDENT upon other men but solely dependent upon Him for all my needs.

        True – we all have our individual god-given gifts and are part of one body – but the arm does not ask the stomach how to be an arm and the brain does not ask the feet how to walk. ( all of which are HUMAN similies whereas we should all be learning of and from God Himself.

        Please feel free to offer any advice if you see an error in my views and i will consider it – but I will only change if He sees fit, not because a fallible human tells me to.

        love.

      • Hi my newest Brother.

        Most of what i read sticks in my mind – whether i agree with and can understand it – or not. This applies to the Bible as well as to the writings or spoken word of those who truly believe and also those who claim not to believe. Many times i later find something that relates to what i read previously and gives me His answer that i can then believe what i read in a better way.

        A case in point is what i read in your comment some days ago: “But yes, Jesus is our perfect paradigm and model. That however doesn’t mean that I can raise the dead or do the mighty miracles that he did. It is Jesus’ character of holiness and righteousness I am to emulate, and not everything that He is.”

        May i humbly refer you to what i just re-read in The Gospel of John, ch 14, vs 12-15. as part of my weekly revision of Holy Scripture.

        12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
        15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments”.

        Why is it, do you think, that to the best of my knowledge, not one single human (especially myself) has done as He said and gone to do greater works than His? (St Paul maybe?) Do we not believe Him enough? Or is our strong faith still less than that of a mustard seed perhaps?

        Are we all getting something not quite right still?

        (By asking you i am also asking of Him and know He will provide the right answer in time through some way of His choosing. Please don’t in any way feel pressured that you have to provide the perfect answer on your own 🙂 )

        love.

  2. Ah, yes, brother. We are in complete agreement.

    • Amen to that.

      Thank you for your comments on my blog and i can see that brother to brother communication can be valuable in our growing in the spirit – one of the reasons i went looking for others online in the first place.

      While i am reticent to think of being dependent upon my fellow man i of course believe that man can and should offer help and support through the love of God, to his fellow man – and be willing to receive the same. It is important that though that God gets the credit for our actions and not our fallible human selves.

  3. Amen. As to your final comment, I express very similar words toward the end of this post:

    https://growingupinjesus.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/a-fathers-wisdom/

    Blessings!

    • 😉 – God has a way of helping us see things the same way in the end huh? 🙂

      (if we are prepared to let Him do so)

      love.

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