When we come to Christ, when we accept Yeshua – Jesus – as our Savior, the journey is just beginning. Many see this as an end to a means – a “get of Hell free card” – and although it does save you from eternal torment in the Lake of Fire, God expects something from a believer, to whom He spared their very soul.
I’m not a fan of using the term “free gift” of salvation, although I’ve used it in the past – it’s not an accurate term though. Yes, this gift is given freely, but once you accept it – there are things that are now incumbent on you as a new believer,
Our journey begins – and is described in Romans 10:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13 ESV)
We realize that we need Jesus, that we’re sinners, that we believe with all of our hearts, that Jesus died for our sins, and that God raised Him up on the Third Day – and we confess this, and the fact that we’re sinners with our mouths, repent and ask forgiveness for sin – we’re saved.
Then Paul makes a point that there is no difference between Jew or Gentile – that salvation is open to all. This is what’s meant by “free” – salvation is free to anyone – Jew or Gentile, free or slave – anyone – who accepts it.
Now, once you’re saved, now what? What do you do now?
Well, the answer is both simple, but does have complications.
First, you have to live a life befitting that of Christ. This means that when you repented of your sin, you turned from it. Repent is a word that comes from the Hebrew תשובה – pronounced “teh SHOE vah” – it means “to turn”. It means simply that now that you’ve been forgiven, you are “to turn” from those sinful ways.
The Corinthians were a sinful lot – and Paul reminded them of the fact that once saved, they were a “new creation” – 1 Corinthians 5:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (1 Corinthians 5:16-17 ESV)
Verse 17 is specific – the old has passed away, the new has come. You have been born again, and are now a new creation. You now “turn from” those old things – those sinful things.
Does this mean that you’ll never sin anymore? Not at all – we’re a sinful people in a fallen world, but we have the ability now to ask forgiveness when we fall – when we sin.
What this also means that if you were a drinker, and spent your time at bars getting hammered – that changes.
If you were living with someone in an intimate relationship, not your spouse, you end that relationship, or you move out and conduct yourself in a way befitting to Christ and keep yourself pure until you are married.
If you were in a relationship is of a “same sex” variety – it must end.
You see, you can’t expect God to look kindly on your conscious “sin – ask forgiveness – sin – ask forgiveness” over and over. One has to ask, was there really repentance there in the first place?
Yes, it may take some longer than others to kick the habit – but ask yourself, “what kind of testimony am I being to others?” We are to be a witness to others, and if we’re living in sin outwardly, committing adultery or fornication, stealing or living in a homosexual lifestyle – or violating the temple of the Holy Spirit – our bodies – by poisoning it with alcohol or tobacco, you’re not being a good testimony.
Faith is what we use, to get rid of sinful habits in our lives. Charles Spurgeon, the Christian writer, wrote in his book Around the Wicket Gate:
It may be that the reader feels a difficulty in believing. Consider that we cannot believe by an immediate act. We come to faith by degrees. There may be such a thing as faith at first sight, but usually we reach faith by stages: we become interested, we consider, we hear evidence, we are convinced, and so led to believe. Evidence weighed and knowledge obtained lead up to faith.
It is true that faith in Jesus is the gift of God, but he usually bestows it in agreement with the laws of mind. Therefore we are told that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). If you want to believe in Jesus, hear about him, read about him, think about him, know about him, and so you will find faith springing up in your heart.
Hear much concerning Jesus. Souls come by the hundreds to faith in Jesus through a ministry that presents him clearly and constantly. Few remain unbelieving under a preacher whose greatest subject is the crucified Christ. Go to the place of worship to see Jesus, and if you do not even hear the mention of his name, take yourself to another place where he is more thought of and is therefore more likely to be present.
Read much about the Lord Jesus. The Bible is the window through which we can look and see our Lord. Read with devout attention over the story of his sufferings and death, and before long the Lord will make faith secretly enter your soul. The cross of Christ not only rewards faith, but causes faith.
If hearing and reading are not sufficient, then deliberately set your mind to end the matter. Either believe or know the reason why you do not believe. See the matter through to the utmost of your ability. Pray that God will help you to make a thorough investigation and to come to an honest decision one way or the other. Consider who Jesus was, and whether the foundation of his person does not entitle him to confidence. Consider what he did, and whether this also must not be good ground for trust. Consider his death, resurrection, ascension, and eternal life that interceded for sinners, and decide whether this does not entitle him to be trusted. Then cry to him, and see if he does not hear you. If you want to know Jesus, get as near to him as you can by studying his character and appealing to his love.
At one time, I might have needed evidence to make me believe in the Lord Jesus, but now I know him so well, by proving him, that I should need a very great deal of evidence to make me doubt him. It is now more natural for me to trust than to disbelieve. Act after act of trusting turns faith into a habit. Experience then brings to faith strong confirmation.
The churches today aren’t preaching sin and repentance, Heaven and Hell. We have “churches” that are placing more emphasis on political correctness and equality.
New believers aren’t being discipled and grown in their faith. They’re being thrown to the wolves, never taught what it means to truly be a believer.
We have churches calling and ordaining homosexual “pastors” – and preaching out of Bibles such as the “Queen James” Bible – which strips out all references to homosexuality and transgenderism. (For some interesting reading on how the Queen James perverted God’s Word, click here.)
It’s no wonder that people aren’t doing what God expects of them!
How can we be a testimony of God’s love and salvation, when we’re outwardly violating everything that God deems sinful?
We’ve all been there, and Paul says it to the Corinthians again:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Verse 11 is the kicker here – And such were some of you – but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Again, once you are saved – you turn from the sinful ways.
Then comes the Great Commission. I heard another pastor say this once, and I liked it so much, that I repeat it. We’re not all called to be pastors, but we all ARE called to be ministers of the Gospel.
This means that we are to evangelize. God will give us “divine appointments” where we will have the opportunity to share our faith – to give a testimony of what God has done for us. We are to use these appointments – because it may be that you are the only person to give the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:19 is a commandment for every believer:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
It’s called the Great Commission – and it commands that every believer share their faith.
The apostle Paul was Jewish – yet God send him to evangelize Gentiles. This would normally be very distasteful for a Jew – to even be seen – with a Gentile, let alone evangelize him.
I like to use the story of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.
Samaritans were hated by the Jews – and they would go around Samaria, rather than travel through it to save time to get the northern part of Israel. Jesus traveled through it and met up with the woman at the well, He told her everything she ever did, including shacking up with potential husband number 6 – she was amazed and became the town evangelist. They came from all over to hear Jesus teach – because of this one Samaritan woman.
How much more can you be effective – if you just told your story, your testimony? It’s the best and most effective tool in your evangelist’s toolkit.
As many of you know, I suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury and Epilepsy. It affects my speech and movement. We have caregivers come in the mornings to help me get ready for the day – help in the shower, dressing, getting breakfast, and so on. One of these caregivers gave her life to the Lord at our dining room table. We see these caregivers as divine appointments from the Lord – and we use them as opportunities.
When was the last time you were given and divine appointment? Did you take that opportunity?
Don’t leave it to the pastors – many of them are corrupt anyway, including many of the so-called televangelists. There’s only one that I trusted, and that was Jack Van Impe – and he’s with the Lord now, but the ministry lives on – and we support it.
So believer, it’s time to get to work. It’s time to put your salvation on your sleeve for all to see – no matter what the cost. Time is short – the Rapture will be here at any time – all the signs are here, or are being fulfilled as we speak.
Share your faith – because God would not want any to fall to destruction, but God’s also a gentleman, He won’t force Himself on anyone. People have to come willingly – and freely.
Do your part.