Accepting The Lord Jesus Christ As Savior Is Overrated

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8 

Hopefully, the title of this post got your attention. This is its purpose, to bring you here to discuss a subject that needs our attention. My prayer is you will not be offended or “turned off” by it and that you will hear out what is communicated and draw your own conclusions. The focus of this post is centered around the following ‘Christian’ belief or concept making its way amongst “Christian circles”. The following two sentences summarize the object of this discussion:

“When an individual accepts Christ as personal Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live within him spiritually”. And …” When you accept Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart“.

The assumption here is that when “one accepts” Jesus Christ as personal Savior, they are at that point, endued or infused with his Spirit, which the Bible defines as the Holy Ghost. Does the Word of God actually support this belief? If it does then it does. But, if the Word of God does not, then I need to find out what it actually says about salvation and having the Holy Spirit actively guide my life.

Our soul is made in God’s image. And God is eternal, and therefore, our soul is destined for eternity …………. somewhere. Do you not think it a worthy undertaking to search out what the Word has to say about salvation and find ourselves before the Judgment Seat on God’s right hand? I hope you believe it is.

Who Is The One That Should Be Accepted Here Anyway?

According to the logic of the opening statement, that I need to accept Jesus to “be saved”, I need to step back a moment here and think about this. Does God need to be acceptable to me as a precondition to believe in him, trust in him and allow him to be my Savior? Okay, if He does then He does. But first, let’s consider who God actually is. Here is one small snippet of how powerful and magnificent this Creator really is.

God’s created the cosmos. There are an estimated 200 billion trillion stars in this space we know as the universe. Do you know how many people have ever lived on planet earth? A simple Google search tells us that a total of 117 billion people have ever lived on this planet. Now compare that to the number of stars (200 billion trillion) in the cosmos. Not even close. And God knows each star by name. He named each one individually (Psa 147:4).

If you pinpoint a speck of light in the massive sea of stars in a spectrograph of the Hubble space telescope and ask God to name the star you just identified amongst the 200 sextillion stars surrounding it, how fast do you think He can answer you? One second, 5 milliseconds, 8 nanoseconds? No, he already knows the name of that star before you asked the question because he knew your question before you spoke it. Instantaneously!

In fact, in his foreknowledge, He knew you would ask that question before you were born and where you would be when you asked it. So he had some time to do His homework, right? The intent is not to be arrogant here. The point being made is we really, really, REALLY underestimate who this God is we are talking about.

Now, that being said, does God need to be accepted by me? It would seem the opposite is the case.

Could it be that I need to be acceptable to God? How? By coming to Him in repentance, humbling myself before him in prayer, laying prostrate before His magnificence with jaw-dropping awe, in godly fear, and desperately seeking Him in my brokenness. That’s how I need to approach God, the God who is a consuming fire and the One who holds the earth in the palm of His hand:

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psa 34:18

What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. Psa 25:12

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,  And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Neh 1:4-5

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:  And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; Dan 9:3-4

Now, this is acceptable with and to God and results in Him ACCEPTING ME!

And does God really have to prove anything? God does not have to prove anything to anyone! He is God. He is everything. He inhabits eternity (Isa 57:15). He is beyond our feeble and frail imaginations! So you might say – “You are wrong. God does ask us to prove Him”. That is not in the Bible. You might be referencing this one verse:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Mal 3:10

The underlined words “prove me now” of this verse are actually two Hebrew words בָּחַן and נָא

בָּחַן means to test, investigate examine, prove, or tempt, and נָא means or is translated as “now”, “I pray thee”, “I pray you”, and “Oh”. The word “me” (as a reference to the name of the Lord or God) is not in the verse. In essence, God is not directly asking to be tested or proven. He is setting forth the conditional promise of His blessings for those who give sacrificially from the heart and encouraging the people to receive those blessings through obedience to His Word.

In fact, the scriptures show us that the time’s God is put on trial and tested (tempted), He considers it an affront to His character:

Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Deu 6:16

And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Mal 3:15

When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Psa 95:9-10

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Mat 4:7

If The Devil Believes, Where Does That Leave Me?

Let’s move on to another topic, the one of believing. If I believe in Jesus, if I believe his word and am truly convinced that Jesus is the only one that can save us, is this all that I need? If it is, then there are some problems with this thinking. Here is the first one:

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Jas 2:19

The devil believes. The devil and his cohorts are true believers in God and in the power of His might:

And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.  (29)  And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Mat 8:28-29

There are many instances in the Bible where people “believed” in Jesus, but that belief did not take them where they really needed to be in God. Let’s look at one example, His name is Simon the sorcerer:

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: Act 8:9
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Act 8:13
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. Act 8:20-24

Simon believed in Jesus and in the power of God’s Spirit. But was it enough for him? The answer is evident it was not.

And the thought is to accept the Lord Jesus Christ and ,,,,,,,,,, you are IN! In what? What needs to be “in” is having Jesus in us, his indwelling Spirit empowering us to see God’s will fulfilled on earth. It is bewildering to think we can deal with our flesh, the world, and with an enemy out to destroy everything concerning our lives by only “believing” in Jesus.

Beyond Believing – The Promise Of The Father

The final area to look at regarding believing is in the lives of the core group of believers Jesus called to be the building blocks of his church after he ascended to Heaven. If believing is all that is necessary to “be saved”, then what was the need for the other twenty-two books of the New Testament (The Book of Acts thru Jude)? If believing in Jesus for salvation is fully established in the writings of Jesus in the Gospels, then why did the other writers extensively teach, admonish, exhort, and reprove in the letters written to the church (epistles) and the Book of Acts? If simply believing in Jesus was all the disciples needed and is all it takes to be saved, then why all the seemingly superfluous writings?

The answer is – Jesus had more for the disciples to receive beyond just believing in him. And if he did for the twelve disciples, then he has more for us also. Which turns our attention to the two Gospel accounts of Luke and John and The Book of Acts – or ‘actions’ of the church. Jesus had the following discussions with his disciples before his ascension.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luk 24:45-49

Whatever Jesus had for his disciples (and also for us), it was waiting for them somewhere in the future in the city of Jerusalem. In another discussion, Jesus tells his disciples that his Spirit, the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost, shall be in them and will come to them after he left them behind on earth:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Joh 14:15-18

Jesus gave this last promise to not only his followers but also to the entire world just before his ascension:

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Act 1:4-5

The promise is the baptism of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. So it is evident that Jesus has more for the believer than just believing. Jesus has the promise or the gift of his indwelling Spirit that is “in” the believer, and not something imparted to that believer upon their mental ascent of his lordship.

The follow-up to this post will be entitled “Got Born Again?” where we will look into the subject of being “born again”, define what that term means, and how one can tangibly know that their salvation is real, sent from God and sealed for eternity. What a great topic to discuss this next week before Easter. Stay tuned.

Pure Life

waterfall 3 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Rom 6:12

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jn 1:8


No artificial ingredients
Contains no additives
Organically grown
Not a genetically modified food product
Made with all fresh ingredients
Made with 100% all natural…
Grown without pesticides, herbicides or fungicides
Water drawn from the bubbling springs of …

Such are some of the adjectives and label descriptions we find on the food products we purchase. They are meant to send us a signal that the food we are about to purchase is pure, healthy and will be good for our bodies.

Eating the right foods and being cognizant of one’s health is good stuff. We should take care of our bodies and be mindful of what we ingest or decide not to ingest. But, oftentimes we do not consider the more important aspect of our being; the eternal spiritual element. Thus, we neglect or fail to navigate what we allow or disallow into our spiritual being. Let me explain.

The Acid Test

Our stomach lining contains gastric juices that have a pH in the range of 1.5 – 3.5. In comparison, battery acid has a pH of less than 1.0. Literally, we harbor in our stomachs what amounts to a pH level almost equal to that of battery acid. Have you ever wondered and find it strange that this acid resident in our bodies does not harm our health and destroy us?

Let’s take the battery acid analogy and parallel it to the sin issue. We all have sin resident on our bodies. It is an inevitable and undeniable fact of life:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

It is inescapable that sin be resident and an occupier in our bodies, but it does not have to be the property manager! The blood of Jesus is our antidote, the blood is the attacking and neutralizing agent we have at our disposal that enables us to be conquerors and victors over the sin issue:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us  from all sin. 1Jn 1:7

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Rev 1:5

True repentance means to sincerely ask God for forgiveness and TO MOVE ON. It is the Lord’s desire that we all mature in faith and not let the weaknesses of our flesh dictate our course in life.

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Hebrews 6:1

The Bible lets us know that sin is serious business and not to be taken with a cavalier attitude:

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. Isa 35:8

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Rom 8:13

The Cross and The Conscience

The way of holiness and the cross are intertwined. They are both needed to orient us down the only path that leads to the Pure Life, a path whose landscape is strewn with crosses; Jesus’ cross, my cross, your cross and your brother and sister’s cross. Life is meaningless outside the cross. It just cannot be circumvented.

When we can get to the place when our own personal cross becomes the only thing we cling to, the fixture and focal point in our spirit that we know we must embrace in order to make it through this life; it is then that we can begin to take in “healthy” spiritual food and head towards the Pure Life; a life that is whole and “Just” before the God of Creation.

A pastor recently elaborated on a powerful Bible passage dealing with the human conscience:

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16

As he explained, the word “conscience” is derived from a Greek word meaning “co-perception”. In essence, our conscience is comprised of two parts; our perception and the perception of another. When our perception is coupled and in synch with God and His Word, nothing will offend us:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psa 119:165

When something other than God is in partnership with our conscience (do the words carnality or satan ring a bell?), our perception is flawed, our conscience becomes tainted, and inevitably offense results. In this scenario, offense blocks God from bringing true peace, and thereby, prevents repentance and forgiveness to mend a conscience gone awry. This is always not good.

Living a whole and Pure Life before God will lead one to live offense-free and have a pure conscience before both God and men (i.e. humanity). This is what a “Pure Life” is all about.

It all comes down to perception and perspective, perception of the cross of Jesus Christ. What does that cross really mean to me? What influence does Jesus’ cross wield in my life? It is a question we have to keep asking ourselves over and over again. Will what I am about to do glorify the Lord? Will this action lead me down the road of regret and condemnation?

And a cross-less Christ is a powerless Christ. Some desire the admonition and to bear the label of being a “Christian”, but deflect the discomfort of the cross-bearing that is included in the job description:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Php 3:10

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luk 9:23

Outside the safeguards and protective perimeters one’s cross provides, making money will become more attractive, jobs and career ascension will grip our heart and sap our spiritual drive, worldly ambition will be our demigod, we will bow down to the goddesses of lust and pride, and be found worshiping in the groves of carnality.

Oxen Ain’t Pretty

Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. Pro 14:4

Oxen are dirty and not so attractive creatures. But, they are the workhorses on the farm, nothing gets done without their sheer strength and determination. But, there is a price the farmer must pay for their labor; dirt, waste, stench and inconvenience.

Let’s face it, life is messy, we are sometimes messy and people business is almost always messy (this includes church’s !).

Such it is with us. Nothing can be done without people; ministries cannot mature, church’s cannot be built and people cannot be shown the way to eternal life. We have all fallen and come up short at times. But, is this the expected norm for a child of God? Do we just except our fallen nature and continually make excuses for our failings and shortcomings? Is this what the Lord desires for our lives?

There are four things the Lord takes particular pleasure in: His people (Psalm 149:4), in the prosperity of His people (Psalm 35:27), those who fear and honor Him (Psalm 147:11), and those who live a “Pure Life” above reproach (I Chr 29:17, Psa 5:4, Eze 18:23, 32).

This tells us that the Lord wants His people to be successes. He wants to be glorified by the life and testimony of His people. But, this is an impossibility while the sin factor maintains a commanding presence in the chemistry of our spiritual composition.

We should find it repulsive and fall below our expectations to allow sin to rule and manage our lives, and ultimately, defeat God’s will and what He purposes us to accomplish for the Kingdom of God.

The power of God’s holy spirit and the forgiveness that is available through the blood of Jesus is more than enough for us to live overcoming lives and be the Victor and not the Victim. God’s grace is sufficient for all of us!

Pure Life – may the Lord grant us the grace and strength to be overcomers and live victoriously in this present challenging world.

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Rom 6:14

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb 9:26