Archives For salvation

What’s next? As I write this, Easter has just passed. All the lead-up to our celebration of the resurrection of Christ is behind us. Lent, Good Friday, fasting, focused prayer, all the activities usually structured around Easter are now in the rear-view mirror. I had the privilege of seeing three different services and witnessed many proclaiming their need for Jesus after the message at each location.

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This is certainly to be celebrated and applauded as many more seek to give their lives to Jesus and help build His Kingdom here on earth. But now what? What happens after Easter? What becomes of those seeking to place their faith in Jesus? What becomes of we who experienced great renewal during this season? What’s next?

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Reading the incredibly inspirational story of Kyle Maynard, I was blown away. Kyle was born without arms or legs, yet he has lived an incredible life. He has climbed mountains unassisted, won wrestling championships, and competed as a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter. How does one do such amazing things? Where do they find the discipline and resolve to hone the abilities to do so?

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Someone like Kyle silences all our complaining and whining. He makes our biggest frustration look minuscule by comparison. I don’t know if Kyle is a follower of Jesus or not. But if he isn’t, sadly, none of his accomplishments count for anything. Without Jesus, no matter what we do, it doesn’t matter anyway.

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I recently heard David Platt share a quote that requires a lot of contemplation. He asked the question, “Is Jesus living in me or through me?” The difference between the two is huge. We live in a culture of casual Christianity, led to believe all we have to do is say a magical prayer and Jesus will come to live within us.

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Even if such teaching were true (and I believe there are compelling arguments to be made it is not), inviting Jesus into your heart is not the point. Unless and until we allow Jesus to live through us, we will be missing out on all the power and peace He intends for us.

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Surrendering our lives to Jesus is not a trivial decision. It means leaving behind everything we have known and to place our trust in the hands of a God we’ve never seen. While “Surrendering your life to Christ” is a common phrase we hear in churches, I believe we do an insufficient job of explaining what such surrender means. Because surrender is a commonly understood word, I think we neglect to explain the ramifications of such a decision.

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Complete surrender is not conditional. There are no areas of our lives we get to keep for ourselves. There are no aspects of our personality over which we maintain control. Complete surrender is the only acceptable way by which we can be called true disciples of Jesus.

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Over the past couple of posts (see “In the Presence of God” and “Bible Study”), I’ve been looking at some foundational aspects of following Christ. We’ve discussed prayer and Bible study, which are the linchpins in getting to know God. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on what I see as the third, and perhaps most important, tenet in living a life wholly devoted to God: practicing obedience.

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The reason I feel this might be the most important aspect of developing your relationship with Jesus is because the other two concern learning who He is and what He’d have you to do. Practicing obedience is all about taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

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I can’t seem to get away from the constant debate of whether we are saved by grace alone or works alone. As I have often commented here, I don’t believe it’s a matter of grace or works, but rather grace and works. Before you bail on me, I wholeheartedly believe and affirm that we cannot be saved by anything other than the grace of God. Without grace, there is no possible way to “work” our way into salvation. Only our faith in Jesus and the grace He extends to us can secure our future with Him. The works we do are simply proof of our love for Him. If we are sincere in our devotion to Christ, obeying His commands – doing the things He told us to do – will be a natural extension of that love.

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