Tuesday, July 24, 2012

walking through the gospel: the free gift of salvation: part 1


This week we are talking about salvation- and honestly, it's the biggest and most exciting thing ever. :D

We've been hinting at it over and over for the last six weeks, but the sacrifice we talked about last week becomes very personal this week. The sacrifice that we talked about last week- Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of mankind and for you- it was a gift from God, and it's called salvation. And your choice is to accept or reject it.

What is salvation?
Salvation is being rescued from our sins and their eternal consequences by One who paid the price for us. A sacrifice had to be made for you to become pure in God's sight- and it's a sacrifice you could never do on your own, or earn. This is what we call being justified. You are made pure- just- because Jesus, the Holy Son of God, paid your debt.

What are we "saved" from?
When you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died and rose again, defeating death for your sake, you become saved from a life here on earth without God and eternity apart from God in a place called Hell. This is why we call it being saved, or salvation.

We have life on this earth, and the Bible says we will live eternally- all of us. We will either spend eternity with God, or eternity away from God in Hell because we rejected His offer to cover our sins.


Every single person on the earth will be judged for their deeds:

Hebrews 9:27-28
 27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Matthew 25:31-33
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Everyone will rise from the dead in the end- for those who believed, they receive eternal life with Jesus, for those who did not, they receive eternal condemnation apart from God:
John 5:28-29
 28Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.



Daniel 12:2:
2And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Matthew 25:
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 
What does eternal condemnation really look like?
Hell is a very real place, sweet friends. There are quite a few mentions of it in the Bible. It's a literal place of punishment prepared for those who sinned against God to go after they die. {remember Romans 6:23? "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."}.

1. It's a place of judgment for those who have sinned:

Revelation 20:11-15
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 
13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

2. It's full of great sorrow:
Matthew 13:41-43
41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.


3. It's full of pain and fire:
God's wrath or anger against evil is explained to be poured out like fire:

Nahum 1:6-8

6 Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
7 The LORD is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,a
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.


The fire referred to being in the verses about Hell could simply be God's wrath, or it could literally be fire, or both. Whether it's literal or metaphorical, it doesn't really matter. It's horrible either way. You can bet you don't want to be on the receiving end of it!

Matthew 5:30
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mark 9:43-48
 43And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,h to the unquenchable fire.i 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 

But here's the thing- Not only does believing in Jesus save you from eternity in Hell, it saves you from a life lived in sin apart from God right now:

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
{and it goes on to say...}
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

So when you reject God after seeing His creation and hearing His truth, God gives you up to the consequences of your sin- and sin overtakes your life even more.

Believing that Jesus paid your debt- believing in this sacrifice saves you from the consequences of your sins- a life lived in sin, and after death, eternity in Hell, away from God.  Salvation comes from believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord:

Romans 10:9-13
Because, 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. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And believing that Jesus bore your sins on the cross is not just a one-time decision, or a single prayer you say. It's a belief that changes the very course of your life- both now and in eternity. 

And everyone who believes will not be put to shame- if you call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved. Inside your heart you believe, and with your words you outwardly confess that Jesus is Lord- you tell God and others that you believe. You don't have to do anything but believe.

If it sounds heavy, it is. It really is the biggest decision you can ever make- because it changes your life forever. Those who follow Jesus cannot look the same as the rest of the world. Your heart cannot search for the things the world desires anymore. Your hope is in Jesus!! Your joy comes from Jesus!

Salvation is a free gift that you can accept or reject. It's a wonderful, unbelievably awesome gift, and it's for your good. Believing in the sacrifice of Jesus through the love of God brings repentance to your heart, and your life can't help but be changed, and it's a very, very beautiful thing. :D

Since we've talked in-depth about the first part of salvation- what it is- and it's so, so very important to understand, the next time we are going to talk about part two of salvation- what happens when you accept the free gift of salvation: repentance from sins and the beginning of heart change.

Updated: {read part two- how to believe and be saved}

I would also like to try to answer a few questions you might have in next week's post. This is the turning point of the Gospel- the very center of it, and I don't want to leave it behind too quickly. So let me know if you have questions about salvation!

We will continue covering the verses we had in the last worksheet, and be thinking of questions! Even if you don't believe, and you have some serious questions about all of this, I will try my best to answer them with the Scriptures. :D

I'll be praying for you this week- let me know if there is anything or anyone I can pray specifically for! I would love to!


the gift of salvation and repentance
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previous posts in the walking through the gospel series:







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