Tag Archive: salvation

The God of Love

Yes, God is certainly loving. The most loving Being in the universe, for He is the only One Who would give Himself for avowed enemies. No man was His friend, for no one seeks after Him: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:10-11).

Yet by His sheer grace, He offered salvation. Now that is love. But His love has many facets, and like we know, His is not a condoning “love” — the “love” that accepts everything, right and wrong, the “love” whose god is personal happiness (temporal, at that).

No, God’s love is mature and holy. He hates sin with a passion: “The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face” (Psalm 11:5-7).

Thus, God will not tolerate sin. He cannot stand sin, and it is with great pain that He allows Himself to endure the sin of history, it is with grace He allows this. He could have — should have! — obliterated us first chance He got. We disgrace Him constantly: “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

We would never love Him, except by the grace He gave us to open our eyes to the glory that is His. Yet He cannot just let sin slide. And this was love: That He absorbed all our sin on Himself and paid the penalty required of disgracing the God of the universe.

He paid it Himself. The God of Heaven humbled Himself as a man to pay our debt so that we could find true happiness, the happiness that could only be achieved by filling our souls with His glory.

Praise the Lord.


What Are We Missing in This World?

What’s missing in this world? That’s easy: God. Without God, there’s no absolute of goodness to which we can set as a standard for everything we do. Without God, there is no hope or purpose for living. Without God, there is no justice, because only He can offer up what each man is worth at the end of the day (his life), regardless of the fame or money he has achieved through his wiles in this mortal earth. But most importantly, we lose out by forgetting God because we miss the most important fact that He does indeed exist and that He cares about us. The complexity of life demands an architect; the beauty of life demands an artist. The evil in life is like a shadow, a portion of land where light is absent. This presupposes that light is indeed there. The salvation story, that the prophesied Christ died for the sin of humanity, showed how God used the greatest evil, the murder of God’s very Son on earth, to bring out the greatest good, the salvation of hopeless souls to live with Him in perfect harmony, through no work of our own.

When society decided that it didn’t need God, it missed one of the most important things in life: a foundation for goodness, a foundation for morality, a foundation for selflessness — a reason for putting others before yourself. Because in God, we see how in many ways He put His children before Himself, when He gave His own life for us.

June 6

Today is June 6. The sun is bright above my window. Wispy clouds paint white the sky. Outside, cars are moving effortlessly over the roads; they weave to shops and malls and a big white church up the hill. People mill about the sidewalks, alive in the new summer heat. Conversation around me is easy, flowing, casual. But here and there I see a passerby wearing a shirt or baseball cap marked with a bright red, white, and blue. Smiles and bright hello’s tumble form their lips, and they pass on their way, almost unaware it seems, to the significance of the tricolor allusion. I watch them go and begin to ponder the meaning, the significance, the many facets of freedom – for here on this sunny afternoon, this life, and the bright eternal life that comes tomorrow.

D-Day landings on Omaha Beach

In 1944 we gave France a kind of freedom when we took the shores of Normandy from an oppressing foe. This was a glorious day, a day of victory, a day to be praised and celebrated. But it was also a day of sacrifice and death, a day when men lost their lives, their friends, their future. But all this was in the name of freedom, in the name of honor and peace.

It almost seems like an injustice that so many men had to die for this abstract thing called freedom. Is it worth the pain and loss? Many today have asked the question, and many should rise up to answer that, yes, freedom is worth that much, and indeed it would not be justice to allow our people go undefended. Yes, the freedom to live and worship is worth that much.

But there is another freedom that is also often misunderstood – a greater freedom, one also bought by blood. It is also a freedom of many facets – of love and grace and joy, peace and everlasting pleasure. It is the freedom of God, given to us by the priceless blood of Christ, His Son. It too has been called an injustice, a kind of cosmic abuse – unnecessary, heartless, even cruel. Thoughts like these remind us of the many misunderstandings that the workings of freedom face. They remind us that we have a duty to perform, not only a duty to defend these freedoms, but to defend the reasons that we do.

"Calvary" by past1978.deviantart.com

And humility is why we defend freedom. The act itself does not make a thing worthy, but the motive. Men did not merely meet in war and fall in gunfire. The motive is important, and in these men we find a noble, self-sacrificing love for family at home and fellow lives beside them. They fought for this reason and did not die in vain. Without their service, our enemies would have marched victorious into the free world, and we would have been living and dying in the tyrannical result of an attitude that was not completely selfless. Freedom for another is why they gave their lives.

Likewise is it with our great and noble Victor. Some say His sacrifice was worthless, that it is hard to understand why God would do such a thing as send His Son to die. But the truth is far from these, far, far and away more wonderful and glorious, because both the Father and the Son knew and understood the cause for the greatest sacrifice that was to come, and knew that its end would be honor to God and freedom for His beloved children.

In Christ’s death was fulfilled these both. In His sacrifice He reconciled the just wrath of God and His embracing love. In this act He preserved God’s righteousness, so that a holy God could love unholy man, so that the wrath of God against evil would be swallowed up in His sacrifice and we would be free from sin. And He did this to glorify His Father and to make us His children.

Humility precedes the greatest acts that gives the greatest gifts. Christ humbled Himself to give the greatest gift, salvation; He became a man to set us free. We were since birth under an oppressing foe, one over which we could not conquer – a tyranny in which we ourselves participated and wrongly loved. But when God touched our lives, we realized the horror we had shrouded upon ourselves, and discovered the lowly Lamb Who had crushed the serpent’s head.

June 6, 1944

And then we were free. From the bondage of sin we had been taken, and we were taken to a land where our souls were free to praise God and love Him, where our consciences no more haunted us with visions of our wickedness. We were free to experience God’s love as only someone righteous in His sight could experience, and we are free to live Heaven through no acts of our own.

And this is true freedom. But as this day, this sixth of June, now fades into the calm, cool dark of night, we can remember also this freedom’s dimmer mirror, the freedom from mortal tyranny and manmade oppression. And we can use this day of victory as a cause to recall our own spiritual deliverance and our own precious Deliverer. For it is because of days like these that we have the freedom to read God’s Word, to proclaim His Name, to love Him in our hearts and in our homes; for it is days like these gave us the freedom to be free.

Christ died to set us free.

Salvation: Grace or Works?

by inhonoredglory

All men desire salvation, but all men also interpret it differently. Essentially, the difference is this: Is salvation a free gift of grace, unattached to any human action? Or is it a reward for good works, deeds done upon earth by individuals? Historically, only Christianity lays claim of the former, while most other religions rely upon the latter. But is this the only difference? Do they differ in eternity? How can we tell? And can one actually lead to spiritual death?

"A Surrendered Heart" by Chip Coates

Ironically, both grace and works are rooted in works – whose is the question. Grace relies on God’s works, while works depends on man’s. As a result, salvation by grace focuses on God, in what He does, and for whom He does it, while salvation by works inevitably begins to magnify man, in what he performs and how perfectly he does it. While approving someone for performing good works for God’s glory is not wrong, the tendency of the works-based salvation is the undue emphasis on human deed over divine. The imbalance leans the works salvation toward a trust in the self over a trust in God. The tendency toward the boastful proclamation “I can save myself” replaces the gratifying prayer of “Only He can save.” A haughty attitude thus drifts in, robbing God of His glory.

But can the emphasis on man be justified? Can man, who is imperfect, truly save himself? Is his action complete, faultless? Can he stand up to God and say that he performed all good and perfect things in the way He would have – in every year of living? Can he really be secure in the knowledge of his salvation? No! Only a perfect, infallible God can enable complete, secure salvation. And this is the difference. Salvation by means of good works on earth is an imperfect, incomplete, insecure salvation; in fact, it is not a salvation at all, but a means to damnation, for what man can by his own works obtain heaven?

True religion centers on God, and true salvation is perfect. The self-focus and inability of a works salvation condemns it as a means to life in God’s heaven. Only in His grace can man hope for a blessed eternity. Because only He has the power to overcome that which reins us in sin.

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.1

God . . . Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling,

not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace,

which was given us in Christ Jesus

before the world began . . .2

1Ephesians 2:8-9

2II Timothy 1:8-9