What Must I Do To Be Saved?

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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

James R. Aist

 “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)

Many different answers have been given when someone asks, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus said that it all boils down to having faith in Himself, the Son of God, and, of course, He was exactly right. Paul elaborated a bit when he wrote, “… if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” But, I believe that there is more that can be said truthfully and gainfully about it in order to help a seeker know and understand more fully the answer to this question.

I love to hear detailed accounts of how God has saved different folks. The details vary, but there are some aspects that are apparently universal. Of course, God knows exactly how He is going to save every one of His chosen people, and He does whatever He pleases in order to do it. Nevertheless, He has chosen to reveal to us, in His written word, some of the universal aspects concerning how He goes about saving people.

Firstly, we must recognize that we are all born into a state of enmity and rebellion toward God (Romans 3:10-12).

Secondly, we should understand that God is in control of whom He will and will not save; salvation belongs to God (Psalm 3:8; Revelation 7:10; Revelation 19:1). In fact, God chose whom He would save before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Thirdly, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). No one can believe in Jesus of their own accord, apart from the Father’s influence. And all whom the Father influences in this way will be saved. One universal aspect of the Father’s influence in this regard is that He uses believers to tell unbelievers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:14).

Fourthly, a person can think their way toward Jesus under the influence of the Father, but it requires a direct and singular act of grace by the Father to get them all the way to saving faith in Jesus: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

And, finally, just as we are not in control of our initial salvation experience apart from God’s intervention, so also it is God Himself, not us, Who keeps us saved by His own power (1 Peter 1:4-5) and by the presence (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14) and activity (Philippians 2:13) of His Holy Spirit in us. In fact, the Holy Spirit in us is God’s guarantee that we will spend our eternity with Him in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-15).

Thus, the mechanics of salvation can be summarized in this way: We are all born into a state of enmity and rebellion toward God. God is in control of whom He will and will not save. No one can come to saving faith in Jesus unless the Father draws him. Saving faith in Jesus is a gift from God, not a product of our efforts apart from God’s influence. And, just as it is God who saves us, it is also God who keeps us saved. So, perhaps a better question to ask is , “What must God do to save us?”

If you want God to save you and keep you saved, then purpose in your heart to end your rebellion toward Him, confess your sins to the Father, ask Him to give you the gift of saving faith in Jesus Christ and commit yourself to put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. God is faithful and just to forgive your sins (cf. 1 John 1:9) and to grant you the gift of saving faith (Romans 10:8-10). Rest assured that He will do it (John 5:24; Romans 10:13), because He chose you for salvation before the foundation of the world!

Finally, remember Jesus’ words: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). When God the Father has drawn you to the point that you believe in the One He has sent, Jesus, then you will already be “born from above” into eternal life with God in heaven. We have God’s word on it. Rest assured that God knows exactly how to save each and every one of His elect, so surrender to His influence, and let Him save you today!

If you are interested to know how God saved me, then click HERE.

What Are the “Greater Works”?

 

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What Are the “Greater Works”?

James R. Aist

“Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father.” (John 14:12)

During His ministry, Jesus performed many “miracles” that were evidence that He was a man sent from God. These miracles were works that were outside the realm of naturally occurring events, such as  healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, raising the dead, and casting out demons. These were all works done in the realm of created things, and they were amazing to see. Nevertheless, these were not the greatest works that Jesus was doing.

In Luke 17-20, seventy of Jesus’ disciples had just returned from an evangelistic campaign. They returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name.” He said to them, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Let me unpack this passage in Luke, and I will show you what Jesus was referring to when He said in John 14:12 that His disciples “…will do greater works than these.” The seventy disciples returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name.” They were amazed that this man, Jesus, was able to give them power to do miracles in the realm of created things. Upon hearing this, Jesus proceeded to explain to them that He was no ordinary man, but the very Son of God, and, as such, has innate power over all created things, saying “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.” In other words, why were you surprised that I was able to give you power to perform miracles in the created realm, as I have been doing? There is an even greater miracle that you will have a role in: that is, the miracle of salvation. This miracle occurs in the spiritual realm and is a “greater thing” than the power I gave you over created things.

The take-home message is that miracles that manipulate the natural world, while impressive, are of lesser importance than the spiritual miracle of salvation. Remember, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Those are the “greater works.”

Salvation: Who Is Inviting Whom?

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Salvation: Who Is Inviting Whom?

James R. Aist

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37)

Different Christian “traditions” have developed their own “catch phrases” to represent biblical truths with simplicity, and, as such, they can be useful tools of communication in the Christian “world.” But some catch phrases do not accurately convey sound doctrine or theology, however well-intended. This article addresses an important example of a popular, yet misleading, catch phrase.

The catch phrase I have in mind occurs at the end of a “salvation message”, when the evangelist encourages the congregation to “ask Jesus into your life”, or something equivalent in different words.  As I was meditating briefly on this particular invitation – which I have heard on several occasions – a red flag went up. So, I paused to meditate further to try and identify the reason for the red flag.

Then it dawned on me: Do we really want to ask Jesus to join us in our sinful, worldly lives? Is that what it means to be born again? Of course not! When salvation comes, it is not us inviting Jesus to join our lives; rather, it is Jesus who is inviting us to join Him in His life, that is, eternal life.

And, these two kinds of life are of a fundamentally different nature. The life we are born into is a temporary, physical, biological life in which we are separated from God. The life that Jesus invites us to enter into is a spiritual life in which we are connected to God forever, just as He originally intended when He created mankind. Being “born again” produces a truly “new life” in our experience, and it can be ours only when we stop resisting God and let Him save us.

That said, there are surely very important ways in which Jesus does want to bless and change us during the remainder of our biological life. For example, He insists that we let Him become our Lord by being obedient to His teachings and to all of the other moral laws contained in the written word of God, the Bible. This means that the true born-again experience will result in a life that is characterized by the forsaking of evil works and the practice of good works. If these signs of a true believer are absent, then we have not yet received the gift of “saving faith”, but instead, we have received “dead faith” (James 2:14-17). Such faith is worse than worthless, because it leaves us believing that our sin problem has been taken care of, when it has not!

Revelation 22:7 says, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let him who hears say, “Come.” Let him who is thirsty come. Let him who desires take the water of life freely.” This is an invitation from God for you to become connected to Him, sharing His life forever. The “Spirit” is God’s Holy Spirit, the “bride” and “him who hears” is the company of born-again, true believers in Jesus Christ. All of these are inviting you to enter into God’s eternal life. Those who desire to accept this invitation may take the water of life freely. So, if this is you, I strongly urge you to say “yes” to this invitation now, because everlasting life with God in heaven depends on it! There is no other way (John 14:6).

(To read more of my articles with a biblical theme, click HERE)

With the Peace of God Comes Joy Unspeakable!

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With the Peace of God Comes Joy Unspeakable!

James R. Aist

“…in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory…” (1 Peter1:8)

In an earlier article (click HERE), I wrote about how the peace of God surpasses all understanding. One huge benefit of the peace of God is that we have an anchor for the soul that enables us to be at peace deep inside while storms of tragedy and tribulation rage all around us. The present article will focus on another benefit of the peace of God; namely, “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” It is my conviction that without this peace of God deep within us, we will never be able to fully experience this kind of joy.

The journey to “joy unspeakable” begins with the love of God, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Once God has saved us, we have “peace with God”, because our sins are forgiven. At that point, we are in a position to experience the “peace of God”, but that experience will not be fully realized until we settle with God several key issues of biblical doctrine, as delineated in the earlier article. When we agree with God about these things, without reservation and with the help of the Holy Spirit in us, then we are able to “rejoice with joy unspeakable.” And so, we have a progression of steps in our journey to this kind of joy: the love of God, peace with God, the peace of God and, then, joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of God, to which also you are called in one body, rule in your hearts…” This verse tells me that we are called, not only to be free from the law of sin and death, but also to have the peace of God ruling in our hearts. And, this is why, without this peace of God deep within us, we will never be able to fully experience joy unspeakable. When the peace of God actually rules in our heart, then the joy we have cannot be diminished, or even threatened, by storms of tragedy, tribulation or any other external circumstance; the God whose peace rules in our hearts will not allow it. The result is joy that is so glorious as to defy description!

Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…” So, let’s not forget one added benefit: that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). That’s exactly what we need to weather the storms of life victoriously!

(To read more of my articles with a biblical theme, click HERE)