Thursday, January 3, 2018
“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Peter commanded, “Save yourselves” and Paul’s agreement is, “Work out your own salvation.” Based upon those two commands, we are told that, “Jesus has done his part by dying upon the cross. We have been given the final responsibility of saving ourselves.” This responsibility is bound 1) individually and 2) collectively. Our salvation is twofold. Both the Christian and the congregation he is identified with must maintain perfection in doctrine and practice. Without that double perfection we have not fulfilled those passages and are in danger of missing heaven!
We are told that my personal salvation cannot be obtained if I am guilty of just one sin when I close my eyes in death, or that last trumpet sounds. Even if it was possible for us to live without committing a single sin, if the congregation we are identified with is guilty of one infraction, either in doctrine or practice, we are still lost! This standard of double perfection is the so-called Good News that Jesus places upon our shoulders. God made the way, the truth, and the life so impossible to obtain that Satan ends up with the prize. Although Jesus suffered and died to save us, that salvation is out of reach for those who cannot maintain perfection. Heaven is for the sinless only. Its population will be very, very small!
Satan convinces those who were baptized “for the remission of their sins” that their salvation disappears quicker than the baptismal water can dry upon from their body. He convinces members with a whisper that sin comes in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. He influences members by telling them that their sins and the ones committed by the assembly he attends are small when compared to another person or congregation. He lulls them into a satisfaction that since others are greater in their sins than his, God will grant him a special pass and consider him faithful due to that difference. Sinners are suckers for Satan’s devilish sayings. We blind ourselves just as easily as Eve did in the garden!
Satan tickles our ears by suggesting that our failure in being perfect isn’t so bad because God might, maybe, or will perhaps supply enough grace to make up the difference and as the lucky few, we will be allowed into heaven. So, blindly we grope through Satan’s darkness, possessing a false hope that “lady luck” will provide our passage on judgment day. Satan wins when we trade trust in Jesus’ blood for his pseudo sweet talking hope.
Satan is the master of deception. He convinces the saved that Jesus’ blood isn’t enough to buy or release us from sin nor put us into a state of “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). He deceives the saved into believing that our sins are too great for Jesus’ blood to sufficiently cover. His lie is that our obedience must ring with perfection or we will be banished forever from God’s kingdom. He delights in robbing the saint of all assurance, leaving each believer in a state of uncertainty, depression, guilt, joylessness, and questioning our future. He convinces the saved to fortify themselves with a false sense of “truth” which feels comfortable.
If one had to posses a passport and have a page stamped each time as he entered each kingdom, it would soon increase in size and weight. It would require an eighteen-wheeler to transport it back and forth. For some, that is their Good News. For them, being a Christian is a life of travel between two kingdoms hoping to die while visiting the good one! Such a life is based upon luck rather than the blood of Jesus.
That kind of gospel is not the Gospel of Christ. Joy is not limited by our imperfections, it is upheld by Jesus’ blood. His blood removes all our sins and he clothe us in his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Satan wants to keep that a secret by selling us on his false news. He wants you to believe your righteousness is adequate!
“Save yourselves” or “Work out your own salvation.” Do either of these statements mean our obedience pays part of the price to remove our sins? It does if you believe the devil’s lie. One saves himself or works out his own salvation by putting his trust in the saving power of Jesus’ blood.
Which “Good News” are you trusting your eternity to?