“What does it profiteth a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul… ”
As I sat here staring at a blank blog page with a desire in my heart but absolutely no idea how to express it, the above words came to mind.
I believe those words comprise the lifeblood of the message that is in my spirit which I pray will touch your heart.
A little over 7 years ago, in the midst of a crisis of my faith, I phoned my childhood best friend. At age 11 my family moved 850 miles away from my childhood home, so this friend and I no longer maintained the typical friendship of those who are blessed to grow up together in the same town. But this friend and her family were so near and dear to me, I reserved a place for her in my heart, for life, and periodically kept in touch in an attempt to sustain our friendship.
As she and I were raised under the same religious culture, but knowing she did not live true to the religion, she was, I believed, the one I could safely call. I needed someone whom I believed would understand, to discuss with this crisis I was in, upon coming to recognize this church in which I was raised and had been faithful to for the better part of my life was, actually, in fact, not all it perported to be.
In this phone conversation I learned a few things: while my friend did not live the religion in her daily life, she still held to the culture and believed the church to be true; my friend believed what is important to make it to heaven is simply to be a “good person”; and lastly, my crisis of faith of the church actually seemed to serve distancing this friend from me; something I feared it would those who remain active believers of this particular church; I just never anticipated it of this friend.
However, that phone conversation is the last this particular friend has accepted from me.
I still love that friend and I’ve missed her. But more importantly is what I have come to understand in the years since that phone call with her.
In particular, on my mind today, is not so much her belief that this particular church and culture are true, but more importantly of her belief that you only need to be a “good person” to obtain eternal salvation into Heaven.
This is a false belief and my objective desire today is to share with you, my reader, what is essential to obtain the saving Grace of God, so as to obtain eternal salvation in the glories of eternal heaven, as opposed to finding yourself in the realm outside of heaven thereby being cut off from the presence of God which equates to spending eternity in the realm of Hell.
To begin we need to understand why any of this is relevant, and I believe the following sums it up well:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. (Romans 5:12-15)
In a nutshell: Adam sinned against God and in that moment suffered spiritual death. He was cut off from the presence of God.
In order to restore a way for mankind back into the presence of God, (since we each are born of Adam with a sin nature) a sacrifice had to be made to atone for sin.
This was accomplished by God (the son of God: Jesus Christ) coming to this earthly realm and taking on the form of humanity; this being accomplished by the Holy Spirit implanting in the womb of the virgin Mary so that she would bear the human child in which the spirit of God, (the son of God) dwelt, thereby creating a human being that was both God and man.
And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven. (Matthew 16:16-17)
Thus it was that Jesus was without sin which qualified Him worthy to be a sacrifice to atone for the sins of all of mankind.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13)
For us to be able to partake in the redemption offered us of God by way of this atoning sacrifice, it is requisite that we ACCEPT this gift; acceptance of this gift is done by way of faith and believing.
To deny the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ leaves us lost in our sins:
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (Colossians 2:9)
On the other hand, when we accept and believe on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9-11)
I think because my original foundational understanding of the gospel began with religion based upon law, it was challenging for me to come to understand and accept the principle of grace, a principle taught us by the Apostle Paul.
Perhaps this is why I was given a particularly powerful dream, one I felt was worthy to share, which I did in a previous blog post. You can read it by following this link
I recommend reading it, as I believe it serves well to drive home an understanding of this powerful gift or blessing that can be ours.
Following are a couple scriptures that define what I came to understand in the dream:
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:27)
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34)
While doing research I came across an article wherein I learned the following:
There are two kinds of faith: ascentia and fiducia.
Ascentia is a mental acknowledgment.
Understanding this helped me understand something that once puzzled me:
In reading from the New Testament I realized the demons who took possession of mortal bodies recognized Jesus as the son of God.
In my mind this establishes a couple points:
1) Jesus IS of God, because these demons, followers of Satan, each of whom once dwelt in the Heavens with God clearly would know of the deity of God and thus of the Son of God. Therefore, when He dwelt upon the earth they recognized Him.
2) Despite fully recognizing Jesus, thereby “believing” it was Him, and thus knowing He IS the Son of God, yet still they are NOT saved. So, what’s the difference?
The difference is between ascentia and fiducia.
Fiducia is a faithful, independent trust in the work of Christ upon the cross. It is in believing and trusting that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ: His offering up His life and allowing His blood to be shed for our sins: is the only way through which we can and will be saved.
So it’s more than just knowing of Jesus Christ. Many are those that can know of Jesus. There is secular documentation from the time when Jesus walked upon the earth that allows us to know He was a real life character. Knowing OF Him is not enough.
Salvation requires believing in Him; believing His atonement; trusting in the salvation He offers: understanding that is is ONLY through Jesus Christ that we can come to the Father.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
Being a good person and doing good works is a good thing, but it will NOT bring us to the eternal Father!! It is NOT the key.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, (1Corinthians 15:1-4)
And once we have this; hold fast, because:
…“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor 2:9)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
I pray that if your faith was wavering or, simpering out, or no longer existent, it is revived, so that the fire now burns within your spirit and that your HOPE burns bright, as we wait upon our Lord and Savior, because HE has long promised HE WILL RETURN for those who love Him.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? (Romans 8:24)
May God Bless You.