Wednesday, September 2, 2015

If the Lord is God...

A person can't trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation and trust in their own "good" deeds to get into heaven at the same time. You can't have it both ways. It's one or the other. In the denomination I was raised in, I was taught that Jesus died for my sins, but there was always an understanding that you had to be a good person in order to get into heaven. Many people I talk to today, still think that because they haven't murdered anyone, or been any kind of habitual criminal, that they will make it into heaven. Yet this is not what the Bible teaches.
...for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
It's not Jesus and Rose's name together that gets me into heaven, it's His name alone! It's hard to admit that you are not a good person. If I have to say I'm a resentful, stingy, angry, bitter, arrogant or lazy person, it's hard to do. Yet that's exactly what we have to do. Once we admit that we are not "good enough" to get into heaven, we are almost there. I suspect that some people avoid taking a deeper look at the subject because it is uncomfortable. However, we need to shine the light into this dim place now, before its too late. 
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
If we half-way believe in Jesus and half-way believe that being a good person will get us into heaven, then it might seem like we are on a safe path. But this is compromising and "watering down" the power of Jesus' blood. There is not one person "good enough" to get into heaven. (see Romans 3:10). Jesus is the only one who lived a perfectly holy life. Thankfully, He sacrificed Himself for our sins, but we must not only believe that He did that, but trust in Him and Him alone for our salvation. 

Why do we hesitate to trust Him completely? Why do we compromise by trying to add our own good works? I suggest its because to trust in Jesus completely, means that we are crossing a line. On the other side of this line we may have to stand up and defend Him, and our faith in Him. We may become unpopular. There may be socially awkward moments. Some could be arrested or even killed. On this side of the line, we have completely surrendered to Him. This might make us feel vulnerable or out of control. How can faith in Him be enough? Don't I need to add something to it? These are all legitimate feelings we need to address, and ask ourselves to what extent do we believe in Him? Some might ask, "What if He's not real? What if I'm wrong about Him, about heaven, Christianity and all of it?" Rather than avoiding these questions, everyone who calls themself a Christian needs to face these doubts. Face them in prayer. Face them by looking at Scripture. Face them on your knees, sincerely asking God to show you the truth. He will!

Our own good works or good lifestyle will not get us into heaven. As the writer of Hebrews said, "how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14). We know that sin brings death, but even our attempts to justify ourselves through "good" works, are dead works that will not cleanse us from sin. To say that the blood of Jesus is not enough to wash away our sin and create a new spirit within us, is like spitting in His face. He is that pure and that holy. One drop does it all. Who are we to say that it's not enough? It's time to decide who, or what, our faith is in. 
Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him..." 1 Kings 18:21
This other side of the line is not a scary place, it is a safe and joyful place--in Him who loves you more than anyone else does!

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