Tag Archive: salvation


Photo by Sias van Schalkwyk http://www.rgbstock.com/user/Seepsteen

Photo by Sias van Schalkwyk
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/Seepsteen

Jesus’ Offer of Salvation

John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, IF ANY MAN THIRST, let him come unto me, and drink. HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME, as the scripture hath said, OUT OF HIS BELLY SHALL FLOW RIVERS OF LIVING WATER. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

Jesus’ offer of salvation was all about receiving the promise of the Spirit to those who would believe on Him. Salvation was offered as an experience that would satisfy spiritual thirst and flow as living waters out from a believer’s belly. The Spirit would indwell and flow out from a believer’s life.

Together We Drink Into One Spirit

In writing to believers, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT.”

Two Gifts in One

Essentially two gifts are given when we come to Christ. Our forgiveness (our justification) and the promise of the Spirit. Yet, sadly, just as many believers don’t fully grasp God’s forgiveness and experience little freedom from their guilt, many don’t fully realize and enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit who resides within to enable them to live a godly life, empower them for service and manifest in their lives with gifts, signs and wonders.

Rom 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Compare this to John 7:37-39 above.

Manifestation of The Spirit

When we first experience something extraordinary like tongues or a word of knowledge, it is not the baptism in the Spirit that we are experiencing, but a manifestation of the Spirit through a gift to someone already baptized in the Spirit. It is simply our first awareness of a supernatural flow or manifestation of the promised Spirit which we already received at salvation.

Receiving The Spirit

No long drawn out prayerful tarrying (waiting) is necessary to receive the Spirit. You will have received Him when you believed on Jesus. Rather, simply ask be filled by Him. To tarry or to wait was simply a command to the first believers who were to receive the promise of the Spirit at the feast of Pentecost, God’s appointed time to first give the Spirit to all who believe (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). In so doing God fulfilled the feast to which Pentecost had pointed throughout the Old Testament.

Also, no turning over a new leaf is required either. Justification is sufficient. Just look at the Corinthians! They were not exactly an example of holiness and yet were experiencing the dynamic of the Spirit moving in and through the Body. That said, ungodliness can hinder, frustrate and quench the Spirit.

Luke 11:13, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

This is what salvation is all about: from a life in the flesh to Life in the Spirit. The context of this passage implores us to simply ask. And, asking is sufficient because faith is all that is required.

The Outpouring Begins

The outpouring of the Spirit on 120 disciples at Pentecost manifested in them praising God in languages unknown to themselves, yet recognizable as the mother tongues of Jews who had come from all over the world to the feast. This manifestation drew 3000 people to pay attention. (Note that according to 1 Cor 15:6 there were at least another 380 believers elsewhere who would receive the Spirit too.)

Peter told the crowd, drawn by this inexplicable event, that what they were witnessing was promised by the prophet Joel concerning the Spirit. Peter said that the outpouring of the promised Spirit was related to Jesus being exalted to God’s right hand (being glorified, see John 7:37-39) and Him having received the promised Holy Spirit to give.

Repentance and Forgiveness

It was the man, Jesus, whom they had rejected and had killed. As a result, they were cut to the heart and were led to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, which, Peter said, would mean that they would receive the Spirit. The Spirit, who was used as the bait for their salvation, was the goal of their salvation.

Salvation By Receiving The Spirit

We have preached salvation from sin and stopped there as though it was the main goal. But, Jesus’ message in John 7:37-39, and elsewhere, and Peter’s message at Pentecost was about the promise. God’s promise was the Spirit. God’s gift was the Spirit. Repentance and even justification, as costly as it was to purchase for us and as meaningful as it will forever be to us, remains the means and not the end. These are the pathway to the promise.

Similarly, when Peter spoke to Cornelius (a gentile) and his household about Jesus and got to saying, “’To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins’ …the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”

What Are We To Do?

So, what should we who have received the Spirit now do? Having received the Spirit at salvation, a continual life lived from Him is available to us. The fruit of His presence in our lives (Gal 5:22) along with His wisdom, power and gifts for service.

If we lack in love we should ask to be filled with the Spirit, and if we lack in power we should ask to be filled, and if we lack in wisdom we should ask for it, and if we desire a gift we should ask for it too.

Eph 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be (continually) filled with the Spirit”

Gal 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Have Faith in God’s Goodness

A continual revelation of God’s goodness, of His deep desire for relationship with us and His unmerited favor toward us will impart faith to continually ask to be filled.

Gal 3:5, “…he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you … by hearing with faith”.

Rob Morley

Advertisements

Jewish Salvation

Photo: Alex Bruda

Photo: Alex Bruda

Continued Conjecture and Confusion over the Jews

Conjecture over the timing and process of Jewish salvation has brought about much confusion and sadly false teaching in the church. This has happened to the point that, if some of us really knew what Paul was saying, he would probably be considered by them to be “anti-Semitic”.

In chapters 9-11 of his letter to the Romans, Paul addressed certain questions and speculation over the future of the Jewish people and their salvation in the light of what appeared to be a huge disconnect between Jews in general and their Messiah. He addressed questions like, why were Jews not embracing the gospel? And, had God rejected them?

Unfortunately, Paul’s attempts to do this have sadly also been misconstrued by those who wildly speculate over the process of Jewish salvation or who have been taught the theologies of such speculators. Perhaps Peter’s words are true of some of these people too, where he wrote, “Paul … wrote … some things … that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist … as they do the other Scriptures” (2Peter 3:15-16).

Separate Plan for Israel after the Gentiles is False

A twisting of Paul’s writing on this issue of the future of the Jews in God’s plans is the common misinterpretation that AFTER the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” THEN Israel will experience salvation. People read this idea into Romans 11:25-27 when it isn’t there, especially if they have been taught this idea. Yet, a simple reading of the passage will show this to be untrue.

Read it for yourself:-

A PARTIAL HARDENING has come upon Israel, UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”

Note:

A PARTIAL HARDENING” speaks of the NATURE of Israel.

UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” speaks of the duration of this partial hardening.

“And IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved speaks of the MANNER of the salvation of “all Israel” and NOT THE TIMING of it.

“as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins” speaks of salvation through the promised deliverer and the promised new covenant, i.e. through the gospel of Jesus and the new covenant.

Nothing here speaks of Gentiles coming in “BEFORE Israel will be saved”.  This idea gets accidently read into the passage by readers who expect the passage to be saying this, when it doesn’t.

Explaining the Passage

At this point in this passage, Paul, whose heart is to “somehow…save SOME of them (fellow Israelites),” is addressing the Gentiles in order to give them a sober and accurate understanding of what is happening to the Jews.

He is saying, something like, “Gentiles …In case you get the wrong idea of what is happening through your own evaluation of what you see, let me explain a mystery. A PARTIAL (not complete) hardening has come upon Israel as a people. And, this will be the case UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And, in this way, despite their condition of partial hardening, all Israel will be saved, as it is written, through a Savior who will remove their ungodliness with God’s new covenant!”

Drips and Drabs and Spurts

Essentially, as far as the Jews are concerned, while the Gentiles are coming in, and until the end of that time, they too will be coming in, however, because of a partial hardening, it will be in drips and drabs with occasional spurts.

At the time of Paul’s writing it was more like drips and drabs, while the Gentiles were coming into the kingdom in spurts. This was something that drew attention and caused possible speculation and pride among the Gentiles in the church in Rome, which Paul addressed here.

He addresses any idea that the Jews are LARGELY or COMPLETELY hardened as a people and as a result ABANDONED, by explaining that a PARTIAL hardening has come upon them, hence their lack of receiving of the gospel en masse.

So, just as the fullness of the Gentiles come in with drips and drabs and with occasional spurts, so too, will the fullness of the Jews. And, together they comprise Messiah’s “all Israel,” a Holy Nation and a Kingdom of priests.

A Duty to Tell the Jews about Jesus

Like Paul, we have a gospel to preach to a hard world, including to the Jews who have experienced ONLY a PARTIAL hardening.  And, although, at times, it may appear that the Jews are abandoned by God, this is not the case. They, too, must have their ungodliness banished through the Savior with His new covenant. Quite frankly, reaching Jews with the gospel is not harder than reaching atheists in the West or Japanese in Japan.

The time for Jewish salvation, like for everyone else, is NOW. And, it’s through their Messiah, Jesus, with God’s New Covenant.

Just as a missionary in Japan doesn’t stop sharing the gospel at the rejection of it by countless Japanese, we shouldn’t let the rejection of the gospel by many Jews keep us from sharing it with them.

Rob Morley

Photo by Alex Bruda

Good News – No More a Sinner!

Once a week I have the wonderful opportunity to teach a group of 11-12 year olds about God and the Bible and what Christianity is really about. Recently, I challenged their views on how God sees each of them and I believe God blessed many with a fresh realization of the GOOD NEWS!

Photo: rgbstock

I started the class by asking them why Jesus came. Quickly, and somewhat expectedly, I got the answer, “To die for our sins.” I agreed, but wanted to expand on this truth. The verse that came to my mind was 2 Cor. 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” and I wrote it on the board. I then explained its meaning and, although everyone seemed satisfied, I wanted to see if they really understood what it meant to them individually. So, just as we had agreed upon in previous sessions, I had them again recognize that we have all sinned and still often do sin. And, that in fact, we had all probably fallen into sin a number of times over recent days.

Sinner or Righteous

Then, I wrote two headings on the board, RIGHTEOUS and SINNERS. I asked if Jesus were to return today and separate the RIGHTEOUS from the SINNERS, would they know what group they belong to. It seemed without a blink that each put themselves in the group of SINNERS. Now, I am sure that among them there were some not yet born again and that answer would be true for them. However, the believers among them also classified themselves as SINNERS. It seemed, both groups needed to hear the GOOD NEWS again. The SINNERS for salvation and the RIGHTEOUS (who called themselves SINNERS) for realization of what they had received in Christ.

Good News!

Undoubtedly, the focus that the Christians in the group had was on their behavior rather than on their pardon for sin and new identity in Christ. And, the non-believers probably had a blurred grasp of the GOOD NEWS. Using the above verse I again explained the good news, only in this instance I took the time to show them what the verse really meant to them PERSONALLY. I showed that Jesus who hadn’t sinned actually became SIN, that all of our personal sin and that of the world was put upon Him. And, that He did this, so that we could be called RIGHTEOUS and not SINNERS anymore. That’s GOOD NEWS!!!

Three Men Crucified

Then, to bring it home, I spoke of the three men who had been crucified (Jesus being one of them) and how the whole message of the GOOD NEWS for mankind is seen played out through what happened. In the middle was Jesus, having been charged as a criminal along with the other two criminals. Yet, we know that Jesus hadn’t ever sinned. One of the criminals scoffed at Jesus, not realizing who He was. The other one, realizing who Jesus was, turned to Him and said, “Remember me when YOU come into your kingdom.” We agreed that he had been a bad man, a SINNER, as he even said of himself. And yet, despite this, Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

Identity Changed

What happened at the cross then was that three died. One, a criminal, a SINNER, and he died a SINNER. In the middle was Jesus who was RIGHTEOUS, but who was made to be SIN and He died as a SINNER. Then on Jesus’ other side was another criminal, also a SINNER, who recognized that through Jesus, God was offering pardon for sin and a new life. Through faith in Jesus he was made RIGHTEOUS.

Will Good People Go To Heaven

The general idea that most of the 11-12 year olds seem to have had is that although we all do wrong, “good people” will go to heaven. This is typical of how many people think. Yet, “good people” are also SINNERS and as such don’t qualify. What everyone does qualify for is God’s wrath. Not wanting to pour this out on us, God instead poured it out on Jesus, so that we could be freed. The response of these two criminals (with Jesus in the middle), in a way, represent everyone.

It seems that entrenched into many church members is the idea that as Christians we are SINNERS, but the message of Christianity is that through believing (realizing and receiving) who Jesus is, and what He did for us, we are made RIGHTEOUS.

Rob Morley

Flirting with Evolution – The Christian Alternative Considered

In order to try and satisfy the “science” of evolution and hold onto the Bible at the same time, some people attempt to fit in multiple generations to the Adam that is spoken about in the very beginning of Genesis. They do this, despite the fact that the book does not suggest it. However, suppose it was possible to do so, let’s consider this idea from a logical perspective.

It has been purported that the process to humanity over millions of years was so gradual that the first humans may not have even observed their differences to the previous generations. Now, if you will, indulge me with your imagination. During the proposed transition in evolution, the first men and women must have had their pre-human predecessors, presumably multiple in numbers, living around them. If the person, whom the Bible called Adam, and who it states singularly brought sin into the world, was in such a scenario, then he was either among many that became human, or he and Eve were the only two who evolved into humanity.

In the case that there were other humans around, when Adam existed, then he would have had to have influenced them all to sin too, because the Bible says that “all have sinned.” However, this would leave us with another problem. None of them would be included in salvation, because they are not direct descendants of Adam’s family tree. The virgin birth and the genealogy of Jesus show the necessity for the Savior to be both sinless and a blood descendant of Adam.

Now, in the scenario where Adam and Eve were the only two who evolved into humanity, we still have incompatibility with Scripture. The Bible allows us only approximately 6000 years of human history and gives no evidence of any pre-humans existing prior to or simultaneously with the first of mankind. Also, congruent with the stories in Genesis, the Bible shows that humanity had an immediate singular beginning. Jesus’ genealogy reads, “Jesus…the son of Joseph…who was the son of Enos, who was the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God” (Luke 3:38). The Bible also says, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:13). And also, “The first man Adam was made a living soul…” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

The logic of Scripture leaves us no other reasonable option but for a literal view of a singular first person called Adam, from whom all of humanity descends. Also, we have no historical literary evidence of mankind’s beginning that is as historically corroborative as that of the Bible. It has proved itself to be God’s word in countless ways. Why would it not be accurate in this too?

Flirting with a scientific theory that not only is clearly in argument against all of Scripture, but also has no proof, is absurd! Scientifically, macro-evolution, the changing from one species to another, will remain a theory and will ultimately dissipate as the broad opinion of science and culture. Not only is there no proof for this idea, it is also being shown more and more to be a scientific impossibility.

Go here for The Fact of Adam vs. the Fancy of Evolution – Part 1

Rob Morley

Is the Bible for Everyone?

Me too!

It is often suggested that the Bible is not able to be understood by unsaved people as they are spiritually blind to its truths. While this has some truth to it, much of the Bible was written for the unsaved to understand. The 10 commandments are a small example of this. Also, many prophecies that were directed at godless nations, kings and people are found in God’s word. But, perhaps the most significant examples that were clearly written with the unsaved in mind are the 4 accounts of Jesus’ life.

In the Gospel of John, we can see that it was not only written for the church, but also to unsaved people for the purpose of their salvation. In John 20:31 it says, “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” So, you see, parts of God’s word are particularly useful for opening peoples’ spiritual eyes.

A large portion of God’s written revelation cannot be missed by the unsaved, nor does God intend for them to miss it. As I see it, the Bible is designed so that all people can cognitively understand all of it, regardless of their spiritual condition. However, spiritual blindness prevents spiritual understanding, belief and people taking to heart God’s truth. Yet, that very same word can be a tool in God’s hands to give spiritual sight and understanding.

We are all accountable to what has been revealed to us. However, because we have essentially rejected God and are consequently spiritually blind and reprobate, we reject the things that reveal Him. For example, although creation shows that there is a God, we reject this idea. Similarly, God’s Word proves natural man’s blindness, because though we think we can see, we are shown to be blind by rejecting it. People’s response to the word, let alone to creation, shows their spiritual condition. As a result, God, who is already justified in judging us in our rejection of creation, has even more reason to judge us. However, the intention of His word is to bring salvation to man. He is able to use the very word we reject as absurd, and use it to switch our lights on.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” 1Co 1:18 -21

So, whether for judgment, salvation or any other purpose, God says, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it”. Isa 55:11

God’s ultimate intention is for man’s salvation. Sin and spiritual blindness is a condition we are all born into and that God wants to remedy with His grace and mercy found in Jesus! As Christians we may lose our spiritual clarity along the way too, and if so, we too need to go to Jesus, who is ever merciful and our source of Light and Life.

Let’s share God’s Word with everyone!

Rob Morley

%d bloggers like this: