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.
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