Full Assurance of Salvation

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Christians have the assurance they are part of the family of God. Genuine faith rests in the promises of God’s word. Our human nature wants to question our salvation or doubt our fitness to enter into the heavenly kingdom. God wants us to trust that He has forgiven us and that we are part of His family even while we still battle with our sins, the world around us, and the devil. Ellen White makes this perfectly clear in the following statement about the assurance of salvation:

“No language can describe it, it is beyond knowledge. We are one with Christ, our life is hid with Christ in God. We have the assurance that when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. With strong confidence, we can call God our Father.”

Our attitude towards God should be of love and trust in His desire to adopt us into His family. If we lose salvation, it is because we refuse to trust in the blood that Christ shed on the cross for our sins. The only condition for eternal life is simple faith that God loves us and pardons our transgressions. We must have confidence and assurance that God’s word is truth and His promises never fail.

~Stephen Beagles

What is the “Good News” of Christianity?

 

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“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14, NLT

The BAD NEWS is that every human being is under a death penalty and we cannot save ourselves from this ultimate end. The gospel is the “good news” about Jesus who died in our place and was resurrected to grant us the free gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of God. The only thing we can do is receive the gift and maintain our loving faith in Jesus.

The GOOD NEWS is salvation is a free gift for all who believe in Jesus as their savior and do not attempt to add to the gospel by placing conditions on salvation other than simple faith in Christ.

The inward transformation is a result of the gospel message being internalized and accepted by faith. Obedience done by the power of the Holy Spirit is a blessing of salvation, but does not add or take away from the promise of eternal life.

The final judgment for Christians will determine our rewards in the eternal kingdom and not our punishments. Our salvation is secured as long as we keep our trust in Christ despite the suffering and sacrifice that come with living in this evil world.

~Stephen Beagles

Fallen From Grace

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” ~Matthew 7: 21-22, KJV

Recently, a friend of mine asked me the question: “If all a person has to do is believe in Jesus to be saved then why did Jesus say ‘Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter the Kingdom?'” My answer to this is simple: The fact that Jesus claimed that He never knew them means that they were worshiping a false Christ.

An entire book can be written on this subject, but Jesus warns about “False Christs” and “False Prophets” who would bring deception to the world. This is also where the “Anti-Christ” will make people believe that He is Jesus shortly before the real second coming of Christ. The False Christ will be preaching a false gospel that is contradictory to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

But what is the real problem with their theology? In these verses we can find the main reason why they had no real relationship with Jesus:

1) They believed they were being obedient to Christ: Prophesying, casting out devils, and wonderful works of performing miracles.
2) They believed that these “wonderful works” were the basis of their salvation.

The main problem is that they were false prophets, preaching a false gospel, and were empowered by the devil to create miracles. The false gospel (like any other system of false religion) is based on what man does for God to merit eternal life. It is a system of self-righteous pride that claims that those who serve God are somehow deserving of a place in the eternal kingdom.

One of the most common ways that people fall into this trap is by placing conditions on salvation other than simple faith in Christ. The early Christians struggled with this when false apostles claimed that Christians had to become circumcised in addition to having faith in Jesus. Many today believe that a person has to “speak in tongues” as proof that they are a real Christian. Many Christians believe that they have to abide by a particular set of standards agreed upon by their church to claim salvation.

Making anything other than simple faith in Jesus a requirement for salvation is a false gospel and those who believe in a false gospel have fallen from grace and are under a curse.

“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4, NIV).

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse” (Galatians 1:8, NIV).

Do these verses scare you? Search your soul to determine what it is that you really believe about the plan of salvation. Do you believe that anything that you do is an evidence for your salvation? Do you think that you are saved because you go to church, pay tithe, feed the hungry, give bible studies, go on mission trips, etc? These are wonderful things, but they won’t guarantee you a place in the heavenly kingdom.

The only condition for salvation is to accept the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ. Anything else is a false gospel and can keep you out of the grace of God. This is what Jesus meant when He warned that not everyone who called Him Lord would enter His Kingdom.

Please, give your heart to Jesus and accept the real Christ who shed his blood to offer you the gift of salvation–free of charge.

~Stephen Beagles

A Private Meeting with Global Implications

The Holy Scriptures tell a story in the book of John  about Nicodemus, who was a high-level leader of the Jewish people and a member of a conservative sect of Judaism called the Pharisees.

Nicodemus wanted a private meeting with Jesus to discuss the theological implications of the miracles He was performing, and to find out about Jesus’s intentions for public ministry. He was convinced Jesus was a great teacher with supernatural power, but he wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah who would lead Israel to national greatness as God’s people.

Nicodemus was granted a private meeting with Jesus during the dark hours of the night which reveals  spiritual insight about our savior who is  available night or day to hear our prayers and grant us divine wisdom. As a religious leader, Nicodemus understood the sensitive nature of the political environment and did not want to cause problems by forcing Jesus to answer questions in public. However, he wanted to give Jesus an opportunity to clear up confusion about claims that He was the long awaited Messiah.

Jesus sat down with Nicodemus and allowed him to begin the conversation. Nicodemus began by admitting Jesus was a teacher sent by God, but I can almost hear Jesus cutting him off before he had a chance to ask the REAL question. Jesus interrupted and said, “There is no way for you to understand the Kingdom of God unless the Holy Spirit of God gives you a new way of looking at things. You need to be born again and submit yourself to being recreated.”

Nicodemus had studied the Torah his entire life, and believed he had a solid grasp on the meaning of the scriptures. Now Jesus was telling him he was missing the point. Not only was Jesus a good teacher who performed miracles by divine power, Jesus was that divine power. His primary mission from God was to deliver people from spiritual bondage and to grant them eternal life.

I can imagine the disappointed look on Nicodemus’s face. He was not ready to hear what Jesus was saying. The Messiah was supposed to be a political ruler who would deliver Israel from physical bondage to other nations and make Israel a world power. Jesus did not deny that He was the Messiah, but He had a completely different mission—freeing Israel from spiritual bondage.

Even though Nicodemus did not understand what Christ was saying, the savior used this meeting to reveal His true mission as the one and only God/Man prophesied in the writings of Moses. He was the serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness that brought healing upon the Hebrews who looked upon it to avoid death. This prophetic symbol  was a foreshadowing of the cross of Calvary.

The message that confused Nicodemus is abundantly clear to us in the most popular verse in the Bible (John 3:16):

1. God loves the world
2. God sent His only Son
3. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life
4. Those who reject the son will perish under divine condemnation

Here Jesus revealed to Nicodemus, and the rest of creation, the good news of the Gospel. God loves us and sent His son into the world to deliver all people from eternal death. The only condition for salvation is simple faith in the Son that God has sent to release those who trust Him from bondage to suffering and sin.

If you have not given your life to Jesus then I invite you to believe the one who will grant you the assurance of eternal life.

Only Jesus has the authority to offer eternal life. He is the divine Son of God who paid the penalty for your sins on the cross.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to the truth of God and accept the gift of salvation that will transform your life through the sacrificial blood of Christ shed on the cross of Calvary.

~Stephen Beagles