Q&A: Salvation Truth – John 6:29

These are suggestions to the Message Based Discussion Questions from the message presented on October 5, 2014 “Salvation Truth.” Please use to stimulate your thinking, but not to replace it.

Galatians 1:1-9

Why is there confusion over the gospel? Continue reading

MSG: Salvation Truth – John 6:29

This was presented on October 5, 2014 as a special message on salvation.

I grew up in the church and was even president of my confirmation class. When I gave the graduating class message, a woman came up to me and said I was going to be a pastor one day. I almost laughed at her, because that was the furthest thing from my mind. Well, it was religiosity that held my life captive. I was confused trying to be a good boy and do what people said. Continue reading

Suffering: What are God’s purposes in why He allows suffering? Part 1

This is Part 1 of 8 parts answering the question, “What are God’s purposes in why He allows suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-8 will be posted in succeeding days.

“Why?” is likely the most often used word when it comes to the anguish people face. From the human perspective suffering doesn’t make sense, but we are often looking at the situation from tree level.  It’s not until you get up to the 30,000 foot level that you can begin to understand the “why” of suffering, and understand God’s purposes in why He allows it!

Continue reading

Question: Is a Faith a Work?

Recently, I was in a conversation with a person who held to a strict Calvinistic position. That is, he believed in the five point TULIP principles. During the conversation, we discussed Ephesians 2:8 and how the word “that” cannot refer to faith because of the Greek grammatical construction, but it must refer to “salvation,” which is elliptical (which means it is implied by the verb “saved”). As the discussion continued, I stated that faith was a non-meritorious decision.  There is no merit before God. Then he commented that a decision or faith is an action and salvation is not obtained by a work or an action. Continue reading

Does Luke’s writing hide the narrow road to salvation?

Question: I heard a message, which was on works.  It was from Luke.  Luke 18:18 / The Rich Ruler and Luke 10:25 / The Good Samaritan.  I’ve been searching the Scriptures for other Words about eternal life and Luke seems to be the only Book I can find where works could be taken to be the way to eternal life.  Continue reading

Question: Will I sin as a new believer?

Will I sin as a new believer?
            John the Baptist declared Jesus Christ as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJ) If Jesus came to take away the sin of the world, then will I sin as a new believer?  Some believe that you will sin, but if you sin too many times, you really weren’t saved in the first place.  Or, if you sin consistently, then you really weren’t saved.  Continue reading

Question: Is believing in what Jesus did for us enough for salvation?

Question: Is believing in what Jesus did for us enough for salvation?

 

This is really a two part question: 1) Is believing in what Jesus did for us and who He is enough for salvation? And 2) What does true conversion look like?   

Salvation is the most basic question and statement of belief for the Christian.  It is essential to clarify and understand what is true regarding salvation.  If your understanding of salvation is wrong, then nothing else matters.  If you believe, for example, that you must know that Jesus was the Son of God and keep certain rules, then you miss the essential truth for salvation.  Let’s begin by noting three things: 1) the bottom line for salvation; 2) the gift of salvation; and 3) how the gift must be received.

First, Paul explains the gospel in his first letter to the Corinthians.  He writes,

            Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you
             received and in which you stand,
             2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you– unless you
            believed in vain.
             3 for I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins
              according to the Scriptures,
 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

Paul is declaring the gospel, which is knowing that Jesus Christ 1) died for your sins; 2) He was buried (that is He showed that the work was done); and 3) He rose again (His work was shown to us that it was accepted by the Father).  That is the gospel, or good news that we must trust.

Secondly, salvation is a gift from God according to Paul, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” (Eph. 2:8) The original language of Greek in this verse requires that the word “it” as in “it is the gift of God” must refer back to a neuter noun, because gift is neuter (like many languages, there is masculine, feminine and neuter nouns and pronouns).  Some people have tried to say that the “it” refers to “faith” and therefore they say God gives a gift of faith. In order for it to refer to faith, there would have been a feminine relative pronoun included, but there is not. The gift cannot refer to “faith” according to the original language, no matter how someone might attempt to construe the rationale.  The “it” can only refer to “salvation” as offered by God as a gift.

Thirdly, that gift must be received by faith.  John writes, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)  The person must “receive” Jesus, that is, what He did on the cross.  By receiving Jesus as your Savior, you are “believing” in His name.  John is using two expressions that imply the same thing.

Let’s expand this definition of faith. First, it is not enough to know that Jesus is the Son of God and died on the cross for salvation.  Knowledge alone is not sufficient for salvation.  Knowledge is awareness. Knowledge is a cognitive fact. Those who do not welcome the truth may know it, but not trust in it (2 Thes. 2:10). Secondly, it’s not enough to mentally agree with the facts.  The demons believe that God is one, that is, has one plan and has one provision, but they shudder (Jam. 2:19).  They “shudder,” literally “frizzle,” because they are fearful of their eternal destiny.  Thirdly, you must accept the gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ. Trust is dependence upon the object.  It is accepting the gift or relying upon the gift.  It is more than cognitive awareness.  It is proving a chair will hold you up by actually sitting on the chair.  It is actually getting on the plane and buckling up, rather than just hoping from a distance that a plane might take you on a trip.

Now the question, “What does true conversion look like?”  When someone is converted, he is a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). He becomes a branch that must abide in the vine in order to bear fruit (John 15:5).  He must long for the milk of the word (2 Pet. 2:1-2) and eventually desire to grow in order to feed himself (Heb. 5:12-14), so that he can discern truth and error.  A truly converted one will pursue knowing Jesus (Phil. 3:9-14).  He will bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), because he will confess his sins to God (1 John 1:9), and because he desires to walk in fellowship with God and others (1 John 1:6-7). 

However, a believer can act like an unbeliever. Paul writes, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the1 Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, (Eph. 4:17) If they didn’t have to be concerned about walking like Gentiles (unbelievers), Paul would not have warned them.  Paul also writes, “…be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18)  If believers were filled with the Spirit all the time, Paul would not have to command that to happen. Furthermore, Paul writes in 1 Cor. 3:1-3,

             And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in
             Christ.
             2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it,
             and even now you are still not able;
 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

First, Paul clearly is writing to “believers” (saints in 1 Cor. 1:2) and he calls them brethrenin the above passage.  Secondly, Paul says they are “carnal,” that is, they are living according to the flesh, rather than the Spirit.  The rest of the book of Corinthians reveals just how fleshly they are living.  Thirdly, he reveals their carnal status by identifying the sins they are committing, “envy, strife, and divisions.” And fourthly, he states they are behaving like mere men, instead of spiritual, godly men.

            When a Christian acts in a carnal way, watch out!  Paul admonishes the Galatians believers to not think they can become sanctified by the flesh (Gal. 3:3). When a Christian continues in sin, he will be disciplined by the Lord (Heb. 12:5-6).  He will lose out on intended blessings and rewards (Col. 2:18; 3:24, 26; 2 John 8; Heb. 6:12; 10:35).