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.

The Heaven and The Earth – Christ or Carbon? Part II

majesticThe animal and plant kingdoms immediately come to mind in discussions centering on which kingdoms rule the earth. These are the two most visible and dominant.

Science has not mutually agreed on the exact number of kingdoms that do exist. The numbers vary depending on the scientific model one aspires to.  However, there is a foundational baseline within the scientific community that there are a minimum of six kingdoms that rule the earth – plants, animals, protists, fungi, archaebacteria and eubacteria.

Carbon Rules the Six Kingdoms

The six kingdoms mentioned above share a common bond, they all exist because of one earthly element, the element carbon. Carbon exists in every organic compound. Life as we know it cannot exist without its presence. Carbon atomic bonds stitch together the chemical skeletons of every protein, lipid, DNA/RNA structure and carbohydrate that are essential to life. Carbon is the basis of life in these six earthly kingdoms.

Moreover, these six kingdoms operate according to the finite laws of nature – laws whose purpose is to facilitate growth, sustain survival through reproduction, and ultimately, culminate in physical death.

These laws are “Carbon-based” – Carbon is finite, elemental, earthy and by itself – lifeless.

The food webs (“who eats who”) governing these six earthly kingdoms are regressive in that they are biased towards one finite objective – the survival of self at the expense of lower life forms. For example, a rabbit eats a plant, a snake eats the rabbit and a hawk eats the snake – I think you get the picture!

The Seventh Kingdom

However, there is another kingdom on earth that operates on an entirely more noble and grandeur plane. This kingdom’s purposes have infinite objectives and are orchestrated from the heavenly sphere. Its purposes are to preserve and enrich human life. It does this not at the expense of life forms lower than itself, but through the practice of sacrificing self to empower others like itself. This kingdom is also built upon a power on earth that supersedes all others – the power of the love of God.

And this kingdom built on the power of love could be manifested in its fullness only one way – true love expressed by the offering of a total and complete living sacrifice of one who is perfect and sinless (Jesus Christthe perfect sacrifice) for the sake of others (the “like kind”) who are everything but perfect and sinless to the extent that they may become perfect (Mat. 5:48) and sinless (the empowerment). This is what true love is all about.

For God so loved (God’s love) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (sacrifice), that whosoever (all humanity) believeth in him (God in humanity / flesh) should not perish, but have everlasting life (empowerment).  John3:16

And this is what the seventh kingdom is all about. I think this is going somewhere.

The Seventh Kingdom is ……  The Kingdom of God

This seventh kingdom that rules upon the earth is not commonly talked about or even taught in our educational systems today. This kingdom is predominately shunned and mocked by mainstream media and is increasingly marginalized by our judicial systems.

However, the kingdom of God is the most advanced of all the kingdoms reigning on earth. It is the highest life form on earth because its growth and purposes are orchestrated moment-by-moment, day-by-day by an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient Creator.

A kingdom is defined by the nature of its king. Jesus Christ, not carbon, rules this seventh kingdom. Christ is eternal, carbon is finite. Christ lives, carbon is lifeless. Christ has all power, carbon has miniscule power.

Jesus Christ Rules The Seventh Kingdom

The highest kingdom, God’s kingdom, operates according to the Word and Spirit of God and are based on the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. These spiritual laws operate at the highest level because they transcend the linear laws of finite nature and are eternal in scope. God’s kingdom transcends the curse of death and offers rays of hope, love  and truth to all of humanity.

This kingdom also promotes growth, but with a different objective – the perfection of a body of believers unto the nature of Jesus Christ who is the express image of God himself (Heb 1:3).  God’s kingdom is in place for the maturation of an eternal body – the body of Christ, which is His Church he is coming back for:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1Cor 12:12-13

It is this body of Christ that the God of all creation marvels at and has His full attention. Why? Because this living body on earth is an extension of God Himself. It is both a natural body and a spiritual body, alive through the spirit of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:11).

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Eph 1:10-11

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power Col 2:9-10

The spirit of Jesus Christ is what bonds this body together.  The grace, mercy and love of Jesus is sufficient for members of the body to work together, grow together and to be the true worshipers of God:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:15-16 

The highest eternal laws of God are “Christ-based” – Christ is eternal.

Only that which is rooted and founded on the God-man, Jesus Christ, will endure time and have significance in eternity. Carbon life forms perish and through the passage of time will cease to exist. God’s laws are progressive in that they are biased towards an eternal objective through divine omniscience:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Did you read that? Not an uncertain end, a hopeless end or a “dead end”, but an expected end.

Jesus has come to restore humanity back to God’s original plan. The first man Adam failed. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, has come to make all things new and bridge the gulf between humanity that is sinful and spiritually bankrupt to a new life that has hope, peace and purpose.

Only Christ Infuses Life

In our unregenerated, sinful state we are nothing more than jars of carbon in the sight of God. Why? Because the word of God says so:

Like the plant kingdom …

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Psalm 37:1-2

And the animal kingdom …

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. Psalm 37:20 

It is only through the regeneration of the life of Jesus Christ in us that we escape sin’s dominion over our carnal-based (carbon-based?) nature and live. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

The first Adam offers no hope, the last Adam offers eternal life. Jn 3:16
The first Adam is dead, the last Adam lives for evermore. Jn 4:14
The first Adam is natural, the last Adam is spiritual. I Cor 15:-46
The first Adam is earthy, the last Adam is heavenly. I Cor 15:-47-48
The first Adam is earthbound, the last Adam is heaven bound. I Cor 15:49

The first Adam was carbon-centered, the last Adam is Christ-centered.

Are We Looking Forward or Looking Backward?

Is it not strange that most attention today is directed toward where we have come from (the past) and not where we are going (the future)? Is the human condition so pitifully disoriented that it has lost all sense of destiny and eternal consciousness?

May the God of heaven help us to look up and desire to peer into the things eternal which will never pass away:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Revelation 21:4-5

So, which is the better choice – Christ or Carbon?