Friends: Due to the Coronavirus I am not allowed to meet face-to-face with my Kirkland cohort (many are lifers) for the next few weeks. I’m providing a couple of videos for them to watch. And you might like what I’ve done! This one is about 15 minutes long. Let me know what you think! Dr. D.
Tag Archives: salvation
Our hearts go out to all those who have been infected with the coronavirus. And we should each take steps to stop the spread of this pandemic. Now we hesitate before shaking another person’s hand, give another believer a holy hug, or think about running whenever someone is about to sneeze. We all can’t wait until this virus has run its course and is no longer a threat!
However, there is a virus that all of us have already. The infection of SIN. We didn’t get it through human contact, but by being born as humans into this broken, fallen, rebellious world. We are SINNERS by nature — and by practice. And the answer to this worldwide pandemic is not self-quarantine (as much as we introverts think we might like such). Nor is there any human cure. No amount of money or scientists thrown at the problem will solve it. This virus is lodged in our DNA until the day we die.
This malady, this sickness, has infected our very persons. Like a newly-discovered tumor, it is far from benign. It is cancerous, invasive, progressive, and lethal. Outside treatment, even of a radical nature, will not help. Without an inner healing, we are helpless and doomed to debilitation, decay, and death.
Sin has infected each of us, down to our very bone marrow. The tests have come back; the doctor says, “I’ve done a thorough DNA scan on you. I’ve checked the results twice. Unfortunately, I’ve got very bad news. You’re infected, the disease is progressive, and it will kill you. It is only a matter of time. We do not know of any cure. There is no hope. I’m sorry. You should complete your will if you haven’t already done so. I can recommend a good attorney if you need one.”
Overtly moral and good people can’t see their sin. Their true nature is covered up by their goodness. But, one thing they lack is true forgiveness, a spiritual washing.
The only vaccine that can bring us spiritual health is . . . the death of Another in our place. The Great Healer, the Lord Jesus, took our sin upon Himself and “became sin for us.” He does not, at this point in time, eradicate the infection which is in us, but He has paid for the penalty of our SIN.
Give thanks today for our Great Physician, the Lord Jesus! Recognize that you will never meet another human who is not infected. Be prepared to share the CURE which is CHRIST.
Paul Little was an evangelist with the Billy Graham Association. He fell asleep at the wheel while driving to a Bible conference in Canada. The night before he died, he spoke with a friend of mine who asked him, “Paul, how are you doing? I know you are extremely busy.” Paul responded, “Jim, I feel like I’m in a revolving door and I can’t get out.” The next day he was with the Lord.
I tell that story to remind myself that life is brief and that we have to be careful not to over-extend ourselves. There is much work to be done in the Kingdom — but you and I don’t have to do it all!
As a theologian, I’m deeply invested in helping believers know WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it. But the question I can’t escape is IF I believe. What I mean is — I can say I believe many things, but does my life show that I truly believe?
What about the issue of salvation? Jesus-followers say they believe that their sins have been forgiven because of Christ’s work on the cross, that they are now at peace with God, and that Jesus is the only way a person can know they are going to heaven when they die. Do we REALLY believe those truths? If so, how should our lives reflect those beliefs in our behavior.
One of my favorite texts is Titus 2 where we read —
God’s grace does much more than save us. It teaches us how to live (both negatively and positively, v. 12); it teaches us how to wait (v. 13); and it teaches us how to do what is good (v. 14). IF I believe what the Bible says about SALVATION, my life ought to show God’s grace as I live a self-controlled, godly, patient, pure life.
The Challenge: Thank God today for your salvation. And ask Him to direct you today to reflect one of those qualities of living a SAVED life!
Why in the world would someone believe in hell? And what exactly does it mean to “believe” in hell? These are a couple of the questions we want to answer in this ten-part series of posts. We’ve looked at REASON #1 — I got saved out of a fear of hell. We’ve also thought about REASON #2 – Hell makes sense. We’ve also considered REASON #3 — How does the doctrine of hell relate to the doctrine of God? We also touched on REASON #4 – How does the doctrine of eternal lostness relate to the doctrine of Man? We’ve also thought about REASON #5 – How does hell relate to the doctrine of Sin?
Let’s look at REASON #6 this morning — How does the doctrine of eternal hell relate to the doctrine of SALVATION (Soteriology)? There is so much that can be said here. From what has Christ saved us? Why did He have to die? How bad a condition were we in that only the death of the Lord Jesus could rescue us?
The following Scriptures come to mind when thinking about the nature of our salvation and escape from eternal hell:
I Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God
We read in 2 Corinthians 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
In Romans 9:22 Paul writes, “What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?”
The writer to the Hebrews asks, “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” (2:3)
And we have the dividing of all humanity into the “sheep” and the “goats” in Matthew 25. There Jesus says, “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.… 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (vv. 41 & 46)
The overall view of the atonement (the work of Christ on the cross) that is most supported by the Scriptures is called the vicarious/penal view. “Vicarious” means He took our place. “Penal” means He bore our judgment.
I’ve written a short booklet entitled Saved! Rescued from God, by God, and for God. I will send the pdf of my Saved! Rescued by God, from God, and for God to all who ask. Just provide your email in the comment section below — or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m talking about having a staring contest with my eight-year-old grandson Isaac. He is a child of great humor, contagious laughter, and — that’s the problem. I never win in a staring contest with him. Within a few seconds of gazing into his blue eyes, seeing his determined-not-to-laugh expression on his face, I collapse in laughter. And he is, once again, victorious.
Staring — sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s creepy. But it’s a use of our eyes that can show us that our FOCUS is very important.
What are you staring at? If we “fix” our eyes on Jesus, we discover that He too was a man of laughter. But He was — and is — so much more . . .
Let us think one more day about this amazing text in Hebrews 12. There we read —
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We have learned from this passage that we are in a race. A race which has been “marked out for us.” And we are to run that race, stripped down from everything that hinders us and turning down every sin that so easily entangles us. We are to run with perseverance, for we are running towards our Savior who is also the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
How did He run His race? We read that “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (v. 2). JOY?! Yes, this One “born to die” did so willingly, with joy. The cross was not His joy. He “endured” the cross. He “scorned its shame.” His dying for sinners was not His joy. Although the text does not specifically say so, I would argue that the joy that was “set before Him” was His pleasing His Father by providing a righteous forgiveness for all who would put their faith in Him.
Then the writer to the Hebrews challenges us to “consider him who endured such opposition from sinners . . .” This One who “endured the cross” also “endured” human opposition in His mission to save sinners.
If you and I “consider” Him as we should, what ought to be the result? The result will be that we “will not grow weary and lose heart” (v. 3). Weariness and discouragement wait to invade the life and heart of the Jesus-follower who gets his or her eyes off Jesus. And that’s why we need FOCUS. (to be continued)
The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from TITUS about the Holy Spirit?
There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of Titus say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.
What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of Titus? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —
Ch. 3 – 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Okay. This has got to be one of my favorite New Testament texts. Let’s make several observations:
1. The Spirit of God is intimately involved in moving us from the category of being lost to the category of being found, from darkness to light, from being filthy in our sins to being washed through the rebirth and renewal that the Spirit provides!
2. HOW did He save us? The text says, “through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (v. 5). Jesus makes it quite clear in John 3 that being “born again” is a sovereign work of the Spirit. Here His work is described as a washing and a renewal. Do you feel washed and renewed?
3. And the Spirit of God is described almost as water from God. We read of “the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (v. 6). This “pouring out” was done generously! Aren’t you thankful for the generosity of the Father and the Son in pouring out the Spirit upon us?
4. This pouring out of the Spirit upon us seems to be equated with “having been justified by his grace” in verse 7. That’s salvation, my friends. And we are not to simply enjoy the Spirit’s action in our lives — we are devote ourselves to doing what is good (v. 8). Are you planning on being devoted today? (to be continued)
“The gospel of submission, commitment, decision, and victorious living is not good news about what God has achieved but a demand to save ourselves with God’s help. Besides the fact that Scripture never refers to the gospel as having a personal relationship with Jesus nor defines faith as a decision to ask Jesus to come into our heart, this concept of salvation fails to realize that everyone has a personal relationship with God already: either as a condemned criminal standing before a righteous judge or as a justified coheir with Christ and adopted child of the Father.”
― Michael S. Horton (the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California)
Do you agree or disagree with Dr. Horton?
As we continue looking at prominent themes in the epistle to the Colossians, we move on to Chapter 2. There we read —
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Do we think too much about our personal salvation? Or too little? This paragraph focuses on what it means to be right with God through the Lord Jesus. Notice the several images Paul uses:
1. Circumcision/Uncircumcision: This is a painful image for guys, but a powerful sign for the Jewish nation. Paul uses this picture to speak of spiritual circumcision and how we needed Christ to do that internal work in us (note in verse 11 that we were circumcised by Christ!). Before conversion we were DEAD in our sins and in the uncircumcision of our flesh.
2. Life/Death: We were spiritually dead before God made us alive with Christ. Do most people recognize that they are spiritual corpses before salvation? No life in them. No ability to do anything good to save themselves. Just waiting for the funeral service. And notice that we have been “made alive with Christ.” We have been raised up with Him!
3. Forgiven/the Debt Cancelled: We read that “He forgave us all our sins.” Not just the big ones. All our sins! And He cancelled the bill! He not only took the bill away, He nailed it to the cross! What an amazing statement! Jesus did some nailing of His own when He was on the cross.
4.Disarming the Powers and Authorities: The area of “spiritual warfare” (how we relate to the demonic world) seems to be a prominent focus in Colossians. We know that the devil and his minions are the enemies of the believer. What has Christ done about that? He has disarmed them. He has also “made a public spectacle of them” and has triumphed “over them by the cross.” This dimension of reality — of angels and demons — may not be overt to us, but it is real and Christ has won!
If we could only look behind the scenes, if we could only have a bit of God’s perspective on how lost we were before Christ saved us, we would appreciate our salvation so much more. We were not in a spiritually-neutral position before God. But Christ’s redemptive work changed all that!
Savor those truths today — and perhaps share with someone else what an incredible gift salvation is!
We are thinking about major themes which the Apostle Paul emphasizes in this incredible letter. We’ve seen his great emphasis on the labor of prayer and the truth that one can never over-worship the Lord Jesus. But we can’t leave Colossians 1 without noticing Paul’s great description of our salvation:
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Ch. 1)
I’ve been an alien. Not an Area 51-UFO-kind of alien, but a “resident alien” in Canada before we became dual citizens. How does one move from being an alien of God to being a friend of God? The answer, of course, is God’s reconciling work through the Lord Jesus! Please note that it was through “Christ’s physical body through death” that our reconciliation was accomplished. And His goal? Not just to save us, but to present us holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation!