Saturday, October 29, 2022

Salvation’s Ongoing Transformations

Photo by Tamilan pugal 2021

As we saw last week, salvation has an instant rewards program beyond compare! We are positionally justified in Christ, a new creation in Him, and sealed and indwelled by the Holy Spirit Who gives us at least one spiritual gift. We have instant and continual access to God the Father through prayer, and we are His adopted children and joint heirs with Christ.

But that is only the beginning! Throughout our Christian life, from the moment we are saved until the moment the Lord takes us home, we are progressively sanctified, meaning that we become more like Christ and progressively conformed or shaped into His image (Romans 8:29-30). He is the Potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 29:16; 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 9:21), continually molded and reshaped into a vessel of honor increasingly useful for His service (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

The process of progressive sanctification occurs through meditating on God’s Word, through prayer, through obedience, and even through trials causing suffering. God may allow trials into our life to increase our faith in and reliance on Him (2 Corinthians 12:9); to give us compassion and experience to be able to help others going through similar trials; and to help us identify with and understand Christ’s suffering on the cross (Philippians 3:10) as He paid our sin debt.

Beginning at the moment we are born again, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us (Romans 8:9;Galatians 5:25), to teach us from God’s Word, to let us know through our conscience when we are sinning, to comfort us in difficult times and to give us wisdom (John 14:16-26).

As our Guide, the Spirit teaches us to understand and know the Word, both the Scripture and Jesus Christ (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians1:18-31;2:9-15;13:9-12), Who is the express image of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3), Through the Spirit, we know that we belong to God evermore (Romans 8:16; 1 John 4:13-16). The Spirit keeps us in communication with Jesus Christ, and with the Father through Christ (John 14:17,20), allowing us to be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

At the moment of salvation, our indwelling by the Holy Spirit gives believers the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5). As we die to our sin nature and yield to the Spirit, we gain more and more access to that perfect Mind, and we are more able to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25). We increasingly subject our body to His will, offering it to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and recognizing that it is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We receive God’s grace upon grace, in a never-ending stream (John 1:16). Not only did His grace save us (Ephesians 2:8) and justify us (Romans 3:24), but it allows us to serve Him and work to bear fruit for His kingdom (Hebrews 12:28; 1 Corinthians 15:10). His grace strengthens us in our weakness and allows us to endure trials (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is a limitless resource, flowing more abundantly as our need increases (James 4:6; 2 Corinthians 8:7) and as we grow closer to Him in our Christian walk (1 Corinthians 1:3-5; 2 Peter 3:18).

We become His ambassadors through the work of the Holy Spirit! (2 Corinthians 5:20). As the saying goes, we are the only Bible many lost people will ever read, and the only Jesus many lost people will ever see. God has placed every believer in a unique sphere of influence and equipped each of us in a unique way to represent Him and to spread His Word in that community as we fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20).

We grow and have opportunities for service to the community of believers. Led by the Spirit, we support one another in love (1 Peter 1: 22) as a church family, bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).  As we become more like Christ, we begin to love self-sacrificingly, as He did, showing that love not only toward God and toward fellow believers, but also toward the unsaved and even toward our enemies (Luke 10:27).

Just because we are saved does not mean that our problems will go away. Our health and financial condition may not improve, but our attitude will change toward our life circumstances. The Spirit helps us to realize that our earthly life is temporary and transient (James 4:14), and that we can look forward to eternity with our Lord and Savior! (1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:23)

Through the fruit of the Spirit, we will have peace that passes all understanding about whatever happens, because we will have faith that God is working it all out for our good and His glory (John 14:27, Romans 8:28). To unsaved people, that peace will be incomprehensible, because they rely on themselves alone to work out problems, and they cannot have peace when there is no apparent solution (Philippians 4: 6-7).

As part of the fruit of the Spirit, we will have joy in the Lord. The apostle Paul told us to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4), and he himself was able to do that despite being imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, and suffering from his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 11:24-30; 12:7-10). 

Happiness is based on circumstances, but true joy comes from knowing that Christ died and rose again to give us the gift of eternal life (John 3:16). Nothing and no one can ever take that away from us (Romans 8:38-39

Whatever sorrow we experience on earth will disappear once we are with Jesus in Heaven (Romans 8:18). Earthly sorrow lasts a very short time, but the joy of being in His presence will last forever.

That is our blessed hope (Titus 2:13), of spending eternity with Christ and with fellow believers (Romans 15:13). We hope, not in the sense of wishing for it to happen, but in the faith-filled anticipation that it will come to pass, for He has said it and it is so! Our hope is in all the eternal rewards of salvation, which we shall discuss in a future post!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives
children's ministry blogs

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Salvation’s Instant Rewards Program


At the moment we call out to Jesus in prayer, realizing that we are a wretched sinner in desperate need of Him as our personal Savior, and we place our faith in His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6), we are automatically enrolled in an instant rewards program beyond compare!

We are positionally justified in Christ.(Romans 3:24,25,28; 5:1,9; 8:30; Galatians 3:11,24) All our sins, past, present and future, are forgiven and paid for by Christ’s death on the cross (Psalm 103:12). When God looks at us, He no longer sees our sins, but only the perfect righteousness of His Son (Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 3:14). In His eyes, it is “just as if” we had never sinned (1 John 2:2;4:10).

We are adopted as a child of God the Father, and a joint heir with Christ, through our relationship to Our Father and as the betrothed of God the Son (Romans 8:16-17). When we are born again, we become part of the church, which is the bride of Christ. (Revelation 19:7-9). Just as an earthly bride gains access to the family, legal, and financial heritage of her husband, every believer is elevated to heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6) and entitled to live, rule, and reign in His kingdom (Romans 5:17; Revelation 20:6).

We are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This doesn’t mean that we will never sin again, because we still have our sin nature, but we will no longer want to sin (Romans 7:14-25). We will want to yield to the Holy Spirit, pleasing Him with our life, choices, habits, words, and thoughts (Romans 8:1-5). Others recognize that we are different from what we used to be and different from the world (1 Peter 1:14-16), because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

We are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).  He enters our heart and remains there throughout our earthly life, guiding us, teaching us from God’s Word, convicting us of sin, comforting us in difficult times and giving us wisdom. He is our constant Comforter (John 16:7), Companion, and Guide. How can He leave us, for He inhabits our very body as His temple! (1 Corinthians 3:16).

At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit give us at least one spiritual gift to be used to tell others about Jesus, to encourage and teach other believers, and to glorify all that we do (1 Corinthians 12:13-28).

We have immediate, continuous access to God the Father on His throne 24/7, because Christ is the perfect sacrifice and the Great High Priest Who tore away the veil separating sinners from Holy God (Hebrews 10:5-20). We never have to make an appointment or worry that His line is busy, for we can boldly approach the throne of grace! (Hebrews 4:14-16). The Spirit makes our prayer requests clearly known to the Father when we don’t even know how or what to pray! (Romans 8:26).

We have abundant life (John 10:10) beginning at the moment of salvation. Life is richer and more meaningful because the Holy Spirit leads us, and we are never alone, because He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).He is the Friend Who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

We have the assurance of security that nothing can separate us from God’s love. We did nothing to earn our salvation, and there is nothing we can do to lose it (Romans 8:35-39), for we are held securely in the double grip of Jesus’ hand clasped tightly in the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29).

All this is just the beginning! From the moment of salvation, we begin our Christian journey of progressive sanctification – of becoming more like Christ as we yield increasingly to the Holy Spirit. And one day, we shall be raised to our glorified bodies and be forever complete in Him!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Search and Rescue


I had a dream that I am on a search-and-rescue planning team. Our mission is to determine how best to help people who are adrift in the ocean, like after the Titanic disaster.  We decide that the best shape for life preservers to throw to them while they are awaiting rescue boats is triangle-shaped, rather than circle-shaped.

Our reasoning is that each triangle-shaped float can support three people, one holding on to each point, and that each person holding onto the float with one hand can also hold another person’s hand on another float, thereby interconnecting with many people. This would form a raft or net of people that could support one another emotionally and even physically by improving their stability, so that they would be less likely to be submerged and drown while waiting for rescue.

It would also improve their visibility and audibility, if all yelled for help in unison, when a boat or helicopter appeared.

In contrast, a circle-shaped float would be practical only for supporting a single person, and those holding it would be more likely to drift away from the others, get discouraged, go under, and drown.

When I awoke and considered the meaning of the dream, I realized that “search and rescue” was an appropriate analogy for missions evangelism, which has been the theme of our church’s Missions Conference going on at present. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and so should we.

Each of us who is saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) is a missionary, appointed by Jesus Christ Himself to fulfill the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Sharing the Gospel with every living creature (Mark 16:15) is not solely the responsibility of the pastors, missionaries and evangelists.

Only the Holy Spirit working in a person’s heart can save that soul, or rescue them completely from drowning in a sea of sin, and set their feet on the firm Rock that is Our Savior (Luke 6:48; Matthew 16:18). In the dream, salvation was represented by the rescue boats.

In our work of sharing the Gospel, we may not be the one who ultimately hears a sinner’s profession of faith, but we will be rewarded for any part we play in leading that soul to the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:19).. We are like rescuers tossing life preservers to the drifting, keeping them alive and encouraged until their heart is ready to confess their sin and invite Jesus inside.

The triangle-shaped float in the dream I believe represents the Trinity of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit – three sides of the same eternal Godhead (Luke 3:21-22). Unlike the circle, which is self-contained and has no potential points of attachment to anyone else, resulting in isolation and self-absorption, the triangle has points that allow interconnections with many others.

If our witness to a lost soul does not immediately result in their salvation, we could encourage their conversion by helping to place them in a Christian community – a Bible-believing church, shelter, or fellowship group where the Gospel seeds we have sown are likely to be watered and the tender shoots nurtured so that salvation can be fully rooted in their heart.

Even once a person is saved, being in a network of believers is vitally important to foster their spiritual growth in Christ and to enable them to share the Good News with others. There are many New Testament examples of one person accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, followed by their household receiving salvation (Acts 16:30-33; Luke 19:1-9; John 4:53). Fellowship and service in a local church, uplifting and strengthening one another, is an essential part of our Christian walk (Hebrews 10:25).

The three points of the triangle may also represent Jesus’ saying that where two or three are gathered in His Name, He is in their midst (Matthew 18:20), and that by two or three witnesses, every word is established (Matthew 18:16). Each believer is not an island, but a member of the church, or body of Christ, each with our unique function, mission, and purpose. Each of us is intended to reach out to others using our unique talents and sphere of influence (1 Corinthians 12:17).

In the search-and-rescue mission that Christ has given to each believer, may we faithfully offer lifesaving help to the perishing and bring them into a supportive network of Christians until the Trinity accomplishes their eternal salvation! May we connect with and support fellow believers through the life raft of our church!

© 2022 Laurie Collett