TRUSTING IN CHRIST
KNOWING GOD PERSONALLY?
What does it take to know God? Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO KNOW GOD PERSONALLY?
Justified, saved, received forgiveness, trusted Christ, converted, born again, received salvation: it all means the same thing. It does not matter what you call it, just so it has happened to you! The word “saved” is a Bible word used much in scripture. Acts 4:12 says: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” In Romans 10:10, it is called Salvation: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
You need to get the entire picture of what salvation is if you are to adequately deal with others about their souls. You will never do much for God until you realize how much He has done for YOU. Salvation is the theme of the entire Bible. It is so huge a doctrine that it will take God all eternity just to explain it to us. Let us begin our study by giving some definitions of commonly misunderstood Bible words:
Salvaged, forgiven, spared, or saved from sin and hell. “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? “ (Acts 16:30.) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9.)
To convince of sin. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” (Acts 7:54.) The crowd was “cut to the heart” and felt guilty of their sin. John 8:9, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
The religious leaders felt guilty too. Acts 24:25, “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Felix was convicted under Paul’s preaching. A person must feel guilty for their sin before they can be saved.
To change one’s mind or purpose; to turn from sin to God. Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, 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.” A soldier once described being saved as this: Halt! Attention! About Face! Forward March!
Many false teachers twist repentance into a “works” type of religion. They tell people that their life must be clean of all bad habits before Jesus will save them. That is wrong! You can come to Jesus as you are and He will make the changes. An example, but if you hired a maid to clean your house while you were gone and did not leave the door unlocked, the house would not be clean upon your arrival. You have to let Jesus inside your house first THEN He cleans it and rearranges it the way He likes it.
To trust “...Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Believe does not mean just to acknowledge or believe in, but to put full trust in Him as Savior to do what He has promised: to save your soul.
Unearned favor “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Why does God choose to save sinners like us who deserve Hell? You can’t explain it apart from:
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Trusting God’s promise enough to claim it and put it to the test. 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 diligently seek him.”
There are three parts to FAITH:
When poisonous snakes began biting the people in the desert, God told Moses to make a brass serpent and wrap it around a pole. It was to be a picture of Jesus who became sin for us on the cross. The command was LOOK & LIVE! All the Jews had to do was know that Moses made the pole, believe God would heal them and then trust His promise enough to look. The story is given of a famous tightrope walker who walked across a canyon blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow. The crowd cheered! The tightrope walker asked a man in the crowd if he believed he could walk the canyon again with the wheelbarrow. The man enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” Upon that, the tightrope walker told the man,“ OK, get in.” Now that’s faith.
The United States Secret Service, when training workers who fight counterfeiting, always spend a majority of their time studying genuine bills so they can easily spot a counterfeit. That’s why we are studying salvation in detail; so we can readily spot false teachings.
There are two beliefs on Salvation in the world:
Works is spelled Do. These false teachers major on doing to be saved. Christianity is spelled Done. Jesus did it all. That’s why on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” Jesus alone saves. It’s not Jesus plus baptism, Jesus plus church, Jesus plus good works, or Jesus plus anything else. It is Jesus alone!
TWO PREREQUISITES TO SALVATION
Before a person can be saved, they must hear the word of God (whether printed, preached, explained, quoted, etc.) and the Holy Spirit must draw or give them a desire to be saved. Anyone can pray a prayer, but salvation does not take place without the work of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
Something happened to you the moment you got saved that you may or may not know about: You got Justified! Justified or Justification means God now looks at your record Just As If You Never Sinned. You have a clean slate! Jesus’ Perfect Record traded for Your Sinful Record!
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” On the cross, Jesus took your record of sin upon Him. The moment you receive Him into your heart as Savior, you receive His record. God no longer sees your sin, it is gone forever. He only sees His sinless Son’s record.
But you say, what happens when a Christian sins? We do still sin after we’re saved, don’t we? The answer to these questions are best illustrated in the family relationship. The moment you got saved you were born spiritually into God’s family. God became your Heavenly Father and you experienced a closeness to Him like never before. Sin separates that closeness, or breaks the fellowship and makes you lose the “joy” of salvation (Psalms 51:2.)
Remember how you disobeyed your parents in the past? You didn’t feel close to them until you asked forgiveness and made things right. Then you were close again. You didn’t have to ask them to be your parents again. The relationship wasn’t lost, just the closeness. It’s the same way with our Heavenly Father. When we sin after we’re saved, we need not ask to be saved again, but only ask for forgiveness to stay close to the Lord. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
WHAT CHANGES WHEN YOU GET SAVED?
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” You are made in the image of God (A three-fold being.) He is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You have a body, soul and a spirit.
Body—This houses your Soul and Spirit. It is your transportation.
Soul—Contains the heart, mind, and will. The mind understands the Gospel (knowledge), the heart gets convicted of sin (belief,) and the will decides to get saved (trust.)
Spirit—The Spirit is dead or dormant until quickened or made alive. It comes alive at salvation. Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” That is why a saved man has a desire to serve God and an unsaved man doesn’t. The saved man’s spirit is alive; the unsaved man’s spirit is dead.
So what changes at the moment of salvation? The Spirit comes alive and the Lord moves into your heart. There are three stages in salvation: one has already happened to you, the second should be happening and the third will happen in the future. The three stages are: Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. You will be reading these terms as you read the Bible and need to understand how they apply to you.
JUSTIFICATION (the day you got saved)
You were justified the day you got saved. This is when your spirit became alive. Luke 18:14, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” 2 Corinthians 6:2, “ (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” This is an ACT. It’s not gradual, but immediate. This deals with your record in heaven - a clean slate. This stops the penalty of sin - hell.
SANCTIFICATION (Growing in your Christian Life)
Sanctification is when your soul (heart, mind, and will) changes as it hears God’s Word. It is a process whereby God is continually making us more and more like Jesus and less and less like the world.
1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
2 Thessalonians 2:13, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”
1 Timothy 4:5, “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
Romans 15:16, “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”
Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Sanctification involves your daily living. It always follows Justification. The word sanctify means “set apart for service.” We don’t gradually get better and better and then become a Christian. We get justified first, then God gradually makes us more and more like Him (sanctification.)
GLORIFICATION (New Body when Jesus Comes Back)
This is the stage of salvation that affects your body. This is a definite act where you’ll get a perfect body that will not ever be capable of sinning.
John 7:39, “(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Romans 8:30, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
1 Corinthians 15:43, “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:”
A wise pastor has compared salvation to an old tin can on the side of the road. A man found it and put it in a bag (justification.) He brought it to a recycling plant where it was crushed and reformed (sanctification.) It then emerges a brand new can ready for use (glorification.) I’m so glad Jesus looked for us one day and picked us up and said, I Want You.
In Romans 12:1-2, the beautiful word “transformed” is used regarding salvation. It’s where we get our word “metamorphosis.” The moment the caterpillar attaches itself to a living branch, it’s a picture of justification. When it weaves its cocoon and begins changing inside, it pictures sanctification. When it emerges one day as a beautiful butterfly, it pictures our new bodies, or glorification. It’s a package deal all three in salvation.
Being saved (Salvation) is more than meets the eye...
Next the Salvation Prayer here.