Tag Archives: salvation

Christian, Just Stop It

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. – I Peter 2:1-3 (NASB)

We come up with all kinds of excuses for our sins, don’t we? I know that I’ve come up with more than I can recall. Yet, here in I Peter, we are instructed, not to excuse our sin, but to rid ourselves of it. How?

How are Christians to get up out of bed and daily face the world, demonstrating, exhibiting and therefore proving that we have new life in Christ Jesus? Turns out the answer to abandoning our sin is far less complicated than we often make it.

The key is the word apotithēmi. It is a Greek word meaning (literally or figuratively) to put off, put aside or away. It comes from two Greek words: apo, meaning off, and tithēmi, meaning place. The verb itself gives the imagery of removing a garment, taking a piece of clothing off. What’s interesting is that first word, translated malice, is kakia, and means badness or wickedness. [These are all plural nouns]. That pretty much covers all sins, doesn’t it?

What Peter is telling his readers is pretty clear. Put all malice, hypocrisy, envy and all slander aside. Cast it away. If he had told them to put aside their sandles, they would take them off their feet and lay them aside. If he had told them to put aside whatever is in their mouth they would spit it out. If he had told them to put aside their shirt or hat, they would have taken them off and laid them aside. Simple, isn’t it?

Basically, he is telling them to stop it. Just stop it.

There is no instruction for contemplating, meditating or vacillating. No need for lengthy counseling sessions. No need for checking ourselves in to some type of spiritual rehab center. His instruction is clear: Stop these things.

In light of Romans 6, we know that the power of sin has been broken. it is no longer our tyrannical master, no longer has the hold on us that it once had. Because of this, we can say ‘No’ to sin. So when peter tells them, and us, to stop it, we can. Likewise, when a Christian does sin, it is because we, as Christians, have chosen to.

For the unbeliever, being told to “stop it” just doesn’t help at all, because the power of sin remains – it’s all they can do. But for we who believe and are being saved, ah! brethren! we need not go through any process of contemplation on anything.

As Christians, the first step to furthering our spiritual growth is that we simply need to trust and obey, which in this case, is to simply take a sin and….stop it.

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Why Did Paul Remind the Corinthians of the Gospel?

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Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. – I Corinthians 15:1-5

The Apostle Paul had once preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Corinthians. Now he is reminding them of it.

Why?

Is it because the same Gospel that saves us also sanctifies us? Is it because the Christians at Corinth needed to preach the Gospel to themselves every day? No, that is not found in this, or any other passage of Scripture. That would be eisogesis, or better, ‘lack-o-gesis’ at its finest. It is the error of New Calvinism, and it leads to antinomian thinking, ignoring the imperatives of Scripture to be obeyed in exchange for the freedom of lawlessness so enjoyed by myriads of young people today.

The reason Paul is making known the Gospel to the Corinthians once again is found in the Scripture itself, and in fact, in the same chapter; specifically, verses 12 and 13.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

The Apostle Paul is reminding them of the Gospel teaching, not because it sanctifies them by ‘going deeper’ and by contemplating more deeply the finished work of Christ, oh no. He is addressing the fact that some in Corinth who had professed Christ and professed to believe the Gospel, are now rejecting  or objecting to the doctrine of the resurrection. They are believing that God raises the soul, but not the body.

That is why Paul is once again reminding them of the Gospel. Not to stress the necessity of the Gospel for the purpose of sanctification, but for doctrinal correction.

If any preacher tells you that the Gospel sanctifies you apart from obedience, that man needs to be marked for division according to Scripture.

Our Sure Foundation for Peace and Security in Christ Jesus

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And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. – Exodus 12:13

Jesus has delivered the believer from the wrath to come when He will execute judgment upon those who have rejected Him (I Th. 1:10).

The Israelites only needed to touch the lintel and two doorposts on their homes with the blood of a lamb – openly and visibly, not hidden – in order to secure their safety and peace from the destroyer who brought death to the Egyptians, who typified the world of unbelievers. On that dreadful night when the Lord came to strike the Egyptians, the Israelites had nothing else to do but remain inside until morning.

I read Exodus 12:13 this morning and was immediately drawn to that simple phrase, “When I see the blood”.

There is our salvation and our peace with, of and from God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, right there.

“When” God sees the blood of Christ we are safe and have peace with Him; not if God sees it. Our God is omniscient, knowing all things; He is above time and space, He is seeing it right now as you read this.

“I see” , that is, when God Himself sees the blood of Christ we are safe and have peace with Him. The Israelites didn’t need to see it in order to be, feel or know they were safe. They didn’t need to experience anything. Their safety and security was made so only by the blood and the sure Word of God.

They rested in the character of God, in His faithfulness to keep His Word to them. That was the sole foundation for their peace and safety – nothing but the blood. The same goes for the believer today. A Christian does not need to experience, feel, say or do anything to be safe from the wrath of God, for peace with God or even for cleansing of all sin, because it is the blood of Jesus that does that, and God Himself sees it. Therein, in that shed blood alone – by faith – and nothing else – is our peace.

“The blood” of Jesus Christ, shed for me. God tells us in His Word that we have “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Through His blood, nothing else.

The blood of Jesus itself, and it alone, saves us, cleanses us from sin and brings us peace. The Holy Spirit does not cleanse us from sins, only the blood of Jesus does that. I John 1:7. Our thoughts or feelings about the blood do not save us, nor make us secure, only the blood itself. The blood of Jesus does not partially save us, partially cleanse us nor partially shelter us from the wrath of God to come, but does so fully, by faith, in all these things.

Our Lord Jesus, after shedding His blood on the cross, ascended to the Father and before the throne of glory presented His sacrifice for acceptance. He sprinkled His own blood, that it might be seen and  accepted as full payment for our purchase….and it was.

Brethren, our sure foundation for peace and security in Christ is in the written Word of God, describing the grace and mercy of God, through the finished work of Christ. Our security rest in Christ work for us, not the Holy Spirit’s work in us in sanctification. The work of the Holy Spirit is not finished yet, the work of Christ for our redemption is, and we must know for a certainty, that God sees the blood of His only Son, and has accepted that finished work on our behalf as our substitute. It is a reality, God make it so in our hearts during times of doubt!

We need nothing else to rely upon; not thoughts, feelings nor charismatic experiences. Our Mighty, righteous, holy God has seen the blood of Christ, and we stand secure in that glorious, wonderful declaration of mercy and grace, a sure pledge for all who truly believe in Jesus by faith alone:

When I see the blood, I will pass over you

Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Yes, Lord, and amen!

The Obedience of the Thief On the Cross

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I’m often asked, What obedience did the thief on the cross display in regards to his salvation?

Clearly, he did everything required. He believed the Gospel. Everything required for salvation.

Obeying the Gospel – believing it – is not only evidence of genuine faith, it is required for full possession of salvation in the end. See Luke 23. For those of you who think ‘good works’ has nothing to do with salvation, ever, in any way, shape or form, ever. Think again. The Gospel commands obedience.

Professing Christ is one thing, possessing salvation in the end is another – it will not be had without good works. This is not saying we are justified in any way by our works, that is a declaration by God alone, apart from works, by means of faith in the finished work of Christ. What it is saying is this: Sanctification, your pursuit of holiness is not by faith alone, because you are involved, co-laborers with God. The saved thief on the cross gives you no excuse for ‘grace without obedience.’

1. He openly rebuked the other thief:

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? – Luke 23:40

2. He repented of his sins. He admitted his own guilt, and that he and his co-thief deserved punishment of death on the cross.

And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; (v. 41)

3. He confessed with his own mouth the innocence and sinlessness of Jesus and did that before a public audience (soldiers, Jewish leaders, eyewitnesses to the crucifixions).

but this man has done nothing wrong. (v. 41)

4. Before everyone within earshot, this thief gave testimony that Jesus Christ is Lord and King:

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (v.42)

Yes, indeed, the thief on the cross who went to be with Jesus that day, obeyed the Gospel – because he had been regenerated, given faith to believe and was justified before God. Salvation, even in the case of the rare exception such as this, is completely of the Lord.

The Honor of Believers in Jesus Christ

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For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – I Peter 2:6-10 (ESV)

I am often asked why I do not “stand with Israel”, meaning, why do I not support that people across the waters which we refer to as “natural” Israel. It is very simple actually.

I will not pretend that unbelievers possess the favor of God.

As long as individuals within natural Israel continue their rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior, they are currently under the wrath of God and continue to store up for themselves the wrath  that will surely engulf them for all eternity should they die without being born again by the sovereign act of God in salvation.

Look at the passage quoted above, I Peter 2:6-10.

Now let me ask you a few questions.

  • 1. To whom is “the honor” bestowed?

Ans: To those who believe in Christ. Is honor also to natural Israel who reject Christ? No.

  • 2. Who does God declare “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession”?

Ans: The believers in Christ only.  Are natural Israel called these things? No.

  • 3. Who was called out of darkness into His marvelous light?

Ans: Natural Israel? No. Only believers in Christ, according to God through Peter.

  • 4. Who, according to the above passage are God’s people?

Ans: Unbelieving Israel? No, not at all. Only the believers in Christ.

Peter, a Jew, addresses believers, using Isaiah 43:20, 21 to show us that believers in Christ, and only those, are the fulfillment of God’s promises. Christ Jesus has but one bride, and it is the Church – regenerated sinners who are continually believing and following Christ and His commands.

Unbelieving ‘natural’ Israel is not the bride of Christ. If they do not repent, individually, and believe, they will perish in their sins along with the rest of the unbelieving world should they die before Christ returns, or, at Christ’s second advent. After all, how many brides does Christ have? Just one, the Church.

That is why I do not ‘stand with Israel’, so to speak. By any and every means possible, take the Gospel to this people, but do not give them false assurance of being a chosen people having the favor of God apart from believing in Christ. Let us speak the truth as it is in Christ Jesus.

I do not “stand with Israel” because I am Israel, just one of many, many believers in the one body of Christ, the Church.