Nathele Graham – [email protected]
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:8-10.
This world is in trouble. It’s actually been in trouble for many thousands of years, but we can look around and see that sin is growing by leaps and bounds. Sadly, it’s growing within Christian congregations as well as in the secular world. Instead of having a clear understanding of right and wrong as established by God, people today see shades of gray. What is unacceptable by God’s perfect standards is now the “new norm” and some people say that the Bible needs to be updated. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20.
God’s word never changes and people need to study Scripture and understand what God says is evil, dark, and bitter and turn away from it. Stop and think for a moment about things that are clearly sins according to Biblical truth but are considered acceptable by humans. Murder is a sin, but abortion is acceptable to many people. One man/one woman marriage was established by God in the Garden of Eden, but this holy union is not honored in the world. We try so hard not to judge that we forget that God gives us the criteria to judge, not to condemn but to discern. “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24.
God is very clear in His word about sin. He is also very clear that there is only one remedy for sin. That remedy is faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians we are to turn from sin and turn to Jesus. Salvation can only be found in the true and honest acceptance of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. He shed His blood to take our sin away. No sin is too big for Him to forgive, but His sacrifice must be accepted. Religious rites and works won’t bring salvation. Only honest faith.
Most of us are nice people. We try to keep the 10 Commandments but interpret them to our own advantage. When we slip and break one of those rules of life, we usually think that God will understand and we laugh it off. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:14-15.
Do you swipe money from the company’s petty cash box? That’s a sin just like robbing a bank. In fact, even thinking about a sin is as bad as actually committing it. We need to control our lust through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin is ugly and as Christians we need to honor God in all we do. When we stumble in our walk with Christ we need to ask to be forgiven. Only Christ can forgive our sin because it’s only through Him that salvation can be found. Maybe we excuse our choice of wrongdoing by comparing ourselves with other people around us. What a mistake that is. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.
The people around us are sinners just like we are so they can’t be our example. Study Scripture to determine right and wrong. Look to Jesus for your example instead of looking to a sinner like you. When we look at things from God’s perspective we can see that our own efforts, and the efforts of others, at being a good person fall far short of the standards of the perfect God. Is there any hope for us? Our only hope and our only remedy for the sin we live in is the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
Mankind has always known God exists but has found many erroneous ways to attempt to reach Him. These ways only lead to destruction. Religion can never bring salvation. From the Jewish attempts to keep the Law to Catholic rituals, works don’t equal faith and only faith in Christ will save. Some people try to be good enough through works while others put their hope in rituals. Salvation is not found in rituals or works of any kind, but only through Jesus Christ “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” 2 Timothy 1:9.
Salvation has always been by faith. Read Hebrews chapter 11 to see that it was by faith that the Old Testament heroes were saved. The Law which God gave to Moses was a schoolmaster to teach His ideals. Salvation could never come through the rituals or religiously following the Law. The blood sacrifice of animals could only cover sin temporarily, but only the shed blood of Jesus can take sin away. Many of the Jewish laws were given for health reasons, but they also served to separate God’s chosen people from the pagan lifestyle around them. Christians are also called to be separate from the worldly ways of the people around us, and we are to live our lives to honor our Lord. Not in a ritualistic way, but so that our faith is evident in our way of life.
Following pagan practices is in direct opposition to serving Christ. Many congregations embrace yoga, contemplative prayer, meditation, and other satanic practices. By attempting to empty our minds of thought we open ourselves to demonic entry into our minds. We are to meditate upon God’s word but not through mindless emptying of our conscience self. Instead of emptying our minds we are to be sure our thoughts are on Jesus. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
When we accept Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and we need to listen to His guidance. Scripture will become alive when read with the understanding given by the Holy Spirit. Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, and other satanic cultists have all died without accepting Christ’s gift of salvation. They are dead. Only Jesus Christ left an empty tomb and sacrificed Himself to give us the way…the only way…for salvation. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. Only Jesus Christ is God Almighty. Only Jesus Christ will bring salvation.
Today it seems as if many who claim to be Christians believe that the finished work of Christ on the cross is insufficient for salvation. Many try to add individual works to Christ’s shed blood, as if baptism will save you or saying a Rosary has any power. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
If you have been baptized but haven’t accepted Christ for salvation then the baptism means nothing. Some try to incorporate keeping the Jewish Law into the freedom we have in Christ. Learning about Jewish feasts can be very meaningful and give a deeper meaning to God’s plan, but the ritualistic keeping of those feasts in the false hope of being more spiritual is an affront to Christ’s finished work on the Cross. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:24-25.
By all means study the Law, read the Torah and begin to appreciate the grace of God through Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets and salvation is found only through Jesus Christ. Anything you try to add to His sacrifice dishonors Him.
Good works should be a result of the love we have for Jesus and thankfulness for what He did for us. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:20. We serve a living Saviour, so dead faith does not honor Him. When you do a kindness towards another person, be sure that you’re doing it for Christ. If you do a good work to bring glory and compliments to yourself then it’s meaningless in an eternal sense. Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
The works you do should all glorify God the Father and result from the love you have for Jesus. When you give Him the glory for your good works, He is glorified rather than your own ego. People around you need to hear that you serve Jesus and that it’s in His name you do good. Will they mock you? Some will, but if even one person can come to salvation through Jesus because they see what He has done in you then your works will have paid off. The lost world needs to find Jesus and if you don’t introduce your friends and family to Him, who will? Everyone is lost without Jesus.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
Don’t place your faith in works or false gods or in religion. Salvation is only through faith in Jesus.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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