I always seem to be using the letter "P" in illustrations, catch phrases, and things of that nature. Some of my favorites are "If you want a promise you must meet the perquisite" and "We must practice our Bible not just profess it." I posted something similar to the latter phrase yesterday on Facebook and this comment was posted "Possess, Practice, Then profess it" and I loved it and it got me thinking of today's blog.
First, we must understand that we were possessed by sin. It must be understood that mankind is lost and unable to provide salvation for themselves. While possessed by sin we were enemies of God, but through the death of Jesus we are reconciled and saved through his life. Rom 5:10 In verses 4,5 we read of mercy and grace. I often say that mercy is the removal of an earned punishment and grace is an unearned gift. "By grace you have been saved" says that salvation cannot be earned but it is a gift! Ps 3:8 We have the earned punishment of death because we have sinned removed by God's mercy. We have an unearned gift of salvation from that death by God's grace. Remember, producing Christian fruit in our lives is not EARNING salvation or grace. It is PROVING salvation! Now on to the three P's.
We are saved from the PRESENCE of sin. (vv5,6) Because of God's mercy we are made "alive together with Christ" and by the grace of God He has "raised us up with him." Keep in mind that before we can be raised up, we first must go down. By that, I mean down into the waters of baptism. Col 2:13,13 If we want to be resurrected with Christ we must be buried with Christ. Rom 6:4 Through Christ God has "seated us with Him in the heavenly places." A knowledge of that should bring Col 3:1,2 into perspective. Far too many of us are focused on earthly value. I am reminded of the story about the older preacher. It goes something like this. An older preacher had a surprise visit from some of the members of the congregation he preached at one afternoon. One of the visitors said, "Hey preacher, where in the world is your furniture?" The preacher replied, "Well, where is yours?" The visitor chuckled and said, "Why would I have furniture here? I am just a visitor." The preacher boldly replied, "So am I!" How do we look at the time we spend here? Do we see ourselves as visitors. Consider what Peter said in 1Pe 2:11 He says we are "aliens and strangers." GOD SAVES US FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN IN HEAVEN!
We are saved from the POWER of sin. (vv8,9) We are only saved by the grace of God. Acts 15:11 I believe we can get at least these four statements form from what Paul says when he said, "For by grace you have been saved" and they are:
1. Mankind is unworthy of the salvation of the grace God provides.
2. Mankind can not achieve this salvation and grace that God gives on his own merit.
3. The salvation and grace bestowed on mankind originated in the heart of God and it flows from God to mankind. It is from God and God alone.
4. This salvation and grace is for all mankind. Titus 2:11
The word "saved" used in these verses does not mean to be trouble free. It means to deliver from danger; spiritual and eternal salvation granted by God; God's power to deliver from sin. You can be saved and still have problems and struggles. Sometimes we stumble into sin, what I call accidental sin, and many think that disqualifies of us God's grace. We do not go in and out of God's grace several times a day. Although we can fall from grace. This happens with intentional and continuous sin. The bible clearly teaches a person can return to sin and fall from grace. Heb 10:26,27; 38,39; 2Pe 2:20,21
The words "through faith" are important. It is no doubt that the grace is what saves and not the faith! Although, the faith in the grace is what causes the proper actions! Someone once said, " Faith is the channel not the cause." Faith is a full acknowledgement of God's revelation or truth; a personal surrender to Him; a conduct inspired by such surrender, 2Co 5:7 This is referring to an active and living faith, not a mental decision we have made about our savior! The explanation comes in the next part of the verse. “Not of yourselves… not of works” We cannot earn this grace, but many people believe they can live as they want because they are “saved by grace” Jas 2:26 If our faith is dead, inactive, or lacks personal work it is a DEAD FAITH THAT DOESN'T SAVE!! We are to have good works Tit 3:1,2 In Heb 11 faith is always followed by a verb! The only time faith is separated from deeds is when the faith is dead! Does your faith have a verb? Remember, producing Christian fruit PROVES salvation not EARNS salvation! GOD SAVES US FROM THE POWER OF SIN IN OUR FAITHFULNESS
Lastly, we are saved from the PUNISHMENT of sin. (v10) It is God who saves us! We are not saved by works, but are his workmanship! Verse 10 says, “God prepared beforehand” which says it is His ordination that all God’s children should practice good works. Jn 3:16), He wants all mankind to be saved (1Ti 2:3,4), We are made acceptable through His son (Rom 5:8); His blood washes away our sins and we are born again when immersed in the likeness of that death, burial, and resurrection(Jn 3:5; Rom 6:4; 1Pe 3:21), and after that we are to be remaining faithful and maintaining good works (Rev 2:10; Jas 2:26; Eph 2:10). WE ARE SAVED FROM THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN THROUGH CHRIST BU THE GRACE OF GOD!
The Word of God is still changing people today. God's Grace is still saving people today. All that is needed is your desire to become a follower of Jesus Christ. When Jesus called his disciples he often said, "Follow me" and he is still saying that today. I ask you, are you in Christ today and saved from presence, power, and punishment of sin by the grace of God.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22