Thursday, March 29, 2018
Is one saved through his own righteousness? No (Titus 3:5)! Some believe their works of obedience counts as partial payment, but no one seems to know the exact amount! Without that number in hand, one travels through life void of assurance. Do we supply “Partial payment” for our sins? No! Jesus paid it all (2 Corinthians 5:15)! He is not a percentage Savior.
If Jesus was a percentage Savior, wouldn’t inspiration be more exact on what “be faithful” includes (Revelation 2:10)? Is that “faithfulness” documented as perfect attendance every Sunday, even if I’m sick? If I am, must I have an excuse, signed by a doctor that I am too sick to attend, and this condition gives me a scriptural exemption? Would there be a “rider” on that divine information telling us that after Sunday School was implemented in the 17th century, one’s attendance must be one hundred percent unless he possesses that same medical document? Just because Ephesians 2:10 is quoted, does it detail what the “good works, which God . . . ordained,” is? Once we dry off after baptism, how soon are we responsible in accomplishing a perfect faith? Is there instruction giving us a time limit on reaching and maintaining it? If we must use “common sense” to determine the implied details, whose common sense must be followed? Do the perfect ones’ discipline those who are shy of that goal? If so, what are the credentials of those who are perfect?
Even when the word “faithful” is used to describe the condition of a congregation, it is often misapplied. What does that term mean? How would your definition apply to Corinth (1 Corinthians), Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6), Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-19), or Jerusalem! Was Jerusalem faithful even though it refused to preach the good news to uncircumcised Gentiles for ten years? Ask someone if they know of a “faithful” congregation in an area and you will receive that person’s definition, which may satisfy you, but not be scriptural! Are there any unknowns that exist but you didn’t ask about? How much assurance is there in an imperfect understanding? How perfect must that congregation be, to be biblically faithful?
Who was more faithful? Members in Jerusalem, or those in Sardis? Those in Corinth, or those in Laodicea? Was it possible to be a member of what you consider to be the worse one, yet still be faithful in God’s sight?
If one was a member of the Jerusalem assembly four years prior to the events of Acts 10, would that person lose his soul if he died? Were those who died at Jerusalem, Corinth, Sardis, or Laodicea, lost because they were not in a faithful congregation? The Jewish church continued to be “zealous for the law” (Acts 21:18-26). Gentile churches were exempt from that zeal (Acts 15:1ff). Which division was faithful? Which one was lost?
If my salvation depended upon my perfection and the perfection of the congregation I’m in, what assurance do I have that I’m saved? Who is perfect? Who is in a congregation with perfect elders, deacons, evangelists, and members? If perfection is our standard, we are guilty of falling for a charade implemented by Satan to believe if it looks good, and tastes good, then it will make us wise if we will accept it as God’s pattern!
When one surrenders to Jesus and is buried and raised with him, he dies to sin (Romans 6). All his sins are pardoned. The body of sin has been destroyed! Jesus’ blood keeps us cleansed despite the sins we commit after immersion (1 John 1:7-10). We need to realize that we cannot reach and maintain perfection. Jerusalem didn’t start off perfect, nor did they reach or maintain it. None do. When Jesus took our sins upon himself, he bestowed upon us his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is why “in” Christ Jesus there is “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). That’s why the apostle Paul could say with assurance,
“So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. So now there is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 7:24-8:1 TLB).
Have you experienced that freedom?