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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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salvation

Just a Thought

Our works certainly demonstrate our forgiveness, but they NEVER earn it.


Galatians 2:16 

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Just a Thought

Before we can tell a sinner that his or her debt is paid, we must first inform that sinner of his or her debt. Only when sinners understand the cost of their sin can they also understand the glory of Christ to pay that cost in full. Handing out forgiveness like candy does not glorify the Lord…. As soon as sinners realize the wickedness of what they have done, they should also be assured that their debt is paid in full.

Courtesy of Salvageable


Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prepare To Meet Thy God

Amos 4:12

Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.


First, let’s have a little background on who Amos was and what was going on. Amos was just a regular fellow first of all. He did not come from any royal line or any line of prophets. In fact, among the minor prophets, only Amos give us any real background on who he was or what he did before answering God’s call to preach. Amos was a shepherd from the small town of Tekoa, about 10 miles or so south of Jerusalem. Amos himself made clear his complete non-credentials as a prophet of God in Amos 7:14,15

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

Amos preached during about the midpoint of the 8th Century B.C., during the Divided Kingdom period. At the time Uzziah was King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Jeroboam was King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. What makes this unusual was that, although Amos himself was from the Southern Kingdom of Judah, he delivered his message to the Northern Kingdom.

Materially speaking, Israel at the time was enjoying a period of relative peace and prosperity. Economically things were booming, and a wave of peace existed with both the Southern Kingdom and other neighbors. Despite, or perhaps because of, the relative material success of the time, Israel had slipped into some behaviors which displeased God greatly. If one reads the book of Amos, a theme develops of apparent economic success at the expense of the less fortunate. We see the rich were taking advantage of the less fortunate, oppressing the poor, and using women immorally. Amos 2:6-83:104:15:11-128:4-6.

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? A country, in apparent prosperity, yet descending into a spiral of sin and immoral behavior? Normal men and women called to proclaim the message of God? It sounds like this county and this day to me! Amos went to this country with a message of judgment from God. His message was simple; repent and come to God, or be judged. That is the message God has for us today as well. So, let’s take a look at the substance of the message.

He is Your God. Believer, or nonbeliever, He is still YOUR God. If one is a nonbeliever, the following apply.

No amount of not belief or contrary belief changes this fact

No theory, theology, or philosophy changes this fact

No amount of objection or protest changes this fact.

He is YOUR God

The meeting is coming, ready or not; it is inevitable.

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Hebrews 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

We have to prepare for this meeting. In our natural states, we are NOT prepared for this meeting. Why not? Well, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and there is none righteous, no not oneBecause God is perfect and Holy, nothing less than perfect and Holy can enter His Heaven when they face Him. None of us meet that requirement, as the smallest of transgressions doom us as much as being a mass murderer. for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

When we meet God, we either have to pay, or someone has to have paid before we get there. Someone did. Jesus Christ, the Son of God. All man because mankind sinned and mankind had to pay. All God, so that the infinite price for the sin of every person who has ever lived, is living, or will live could be paid. Let’s take a look at some points:

Romans 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God is everyone’s God, and all are accountable to HIm. We, believers and nonbelievers, will meet Him someday. Now, during this lifetime, is our only chance to prepare for that meeting, Once the meeting takes place, the decision has already been made. There will be no deals cut at that meeting. If you have not, repent and believe today.

Are You Prepared To Meet Thy God?

 

 

 

 

Are You Ready?

 

John 14:4

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Acts 1:11

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


Jesus is coming back; that is a fact. He told us; God’s angels told us. Scripture is replete with the concept and theme that Jesus will be returning.

There are many, many views about the wheres and whens of Jesus’ return. We aren’t covering those here. It’s really not relevant to this post. We will talk about judgment also; there are many opinions about the wheres and whens of those also. Guess what? We aren’t covering that debate either! It’s not relevant to this post. No matter what we believe about the timing of certain things, there are issues that we all need to think about in preparation for the return of Jesus.

Everybody needs to think about these things. Believers and non believers alike have issues to consider.

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

We all will bow, we all will confess. All of us, no exceptions.

To the non believers

We are all sinners. I am, you are; we all are. God is perfect and we are not. We all have fallen short and missed the mark of God’s perfection.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

God not only set the bar for what sin is; He set the penalty for it as well.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death……….

Yes, the penalty for our sin, any sin, is death. The penalty is eternal separation from God in a place called hell. Why separation, you may ask? God cannot abide or look upon our sin; it is outside His nature as perfect and Holy.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

God, however, loves us with a love we cannot even grasp or understand. He loves us enough to literally give Himself to us as a sacrifice to pay our penalty. He loves us despite the fact that we have rejected Him; He knew we would be sinners and loved us enough to provide us a way.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Friends, you can never make yourself good enough to earn your way to God. Our salvation is only by the Grace of God, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  It is a gift from God, to us.

Ephesians 2:8,9 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.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What must we do then, to be saved? The answer is repentance toward God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t DO anything, but we do believe some things. We sometimes teach kids the ABCs of Salvation, and they are pretty good for grown ups to.

A  Admit you are a sinner before God. Agree with God about the wrongness of your sin.

B  Believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross and was resurrected in three days, paying the penalty you should have paid.

C  Confess Him. We have to ask God for Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. We have to ask Him to become Lord and Savior of our lives.

What does Paul say about this in Romans?

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

It is just that easy. You don’t need to be a theologian; you may not even have a Bible. You don’t have to do anything, so quit trying.

To Believers

Guess what friends? As believers, we face a judgment as well. We do not face a judgement for our sins; we do not face a judgment to determine whether or not we are heaven or hell bound. We make that decision only here on Earth, while we are still living. That is true for us all, by the way. Saved or unsaved, we only have the chance to decide while we are still breathing; the instant we stop that, our eternal destiny is sealed forever.

What then, are believers judged for and what happens? We are judged for the work we have done for Jesus while we were alive and are rewarded accordingly. We are not punished for sins at our judgment but are rewarded for our works. Or, not rewarded for our lack of works. We may very well arrive at the Judgment Seat of Christ and find we don’t get any rewards.

Let’s look at a couple of places where this concept is taught:

Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

2 John 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I wrote a lengthier post on the Judgment Seat of Christ in this article,  “Crowns in Heaven-How’s That Work?

As I stated earlier, we may disagree on certain aspects concerning the Return of Jesus; this post was not for the purpose of debating all of that.  What really matters?

Romans 14:11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:10,11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That is what matters. Someday all of us, lost and saved will bow the knee and confess Jesus.

Are you Ready?

This post was previously published

This Jesus thing is simple but not easy

Tonight’s repost is from James at Running the Race. Salvation is simple; it is so simple a child can often get it. Yet, the living out of the Christian life is more difficult. Salvation will change people. If we claim to be saved, yet not changed in any way, we could be deceiving our selves.


by James at Running the Race

“He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. “

~Mark 8:31-32 (NIV)

One of the toughest things about being in ministry is trying to help people understand that this Jesus thing is simple, but it’s not easy. It’s simple to recognize that Christ came to die for our sins and was resurrected to prove He can give us eternal life. Simple…

But the thing that is not easy is turning your life over to Him. Simple to say, but hard to do because we want to control things and do it our way…………………Read the rest of the post here: This Jesus thing is simple but not easy

Grace Got You

This song, “Grace Got You,” is a rather upbeat Contemporary Christian song by Mercy Me. Okay, look, honestly I am not a huge fan of this song. It is just too, “happening,” for me. It’s actually a great song. It’s Scripturally based, upbeat and quite appealing. My wife loves it; on Sirius SM she listens to The Message(the CCM channel,) and I prefer Enlighten(The Southern Gospel channel with a lot of hymn-based quartet music.) I don’t have any issue with Contemporary Christian music in large part, but it’s just not my style or personal preference. I refer to some of it as, “Jesus is my boyfriend music.”

I digress, though. There is a point here.

Grace Got You

That matters, and it matters a lot.

Ephesians 2:8-10

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.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

Do you see that? Grace gets US; we don’t get grace. Grace is the gift of God, and a gift is never earned. If it is earned, it is no longer a gift, but a payment for wages due. My friends, we DON”T want to get the just and fair payment for wages due.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death……..

That is our just and due wages; that is what we have earned. But, wait, there is more:

Romans 6:23 also says ………but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

A gift my friends. We don’t get grace, and we cannot earn grace. We don’t earn God’s favor, but we certainly enjoy God’s favor based on the work of His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ.

We don’t get grace; grace gets US.

Does having that gift make some things happen? Do we work, sing, smile and glide? We can, and we should. Because we have not earned but been given the gift.

Jesus Paid It All and the Payment Was Permanent (Part Seven)

The Doctrine of conditional salvation, or that one can lose their salvation, is a product of Satan himself. I am not saying that those who believe it are of Satan; I am saying the thought is from him. Why would I say such a thing? Allow me to briefly explain. First, let’s take a look at the following passage:

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

In that passage, Paul was speaking to saved believers. What he was passing along from God was that we are to put on our helmet, and that helmet is the helmet of Salvation. He simply meant that Satan desperately wants us to be in a constant state of doubting our salvation. Paul was teaching us not to be distracted by those doubts, but to live secure in the assurance of our status as reconciled children of God.

Why does Satan care? The basic reason is that if we rest assured that our salvation is secure, then we can move along to the work God really wants us to do.  If we spend our entire lives in a mad scramble to stay saved, then that is all we can do. I hate to sound repetitive, but it’s not about us! It is about our works done to honor and glorify God and not our efforts either to get saved or to stay saved.

As with works based salvation, works maintained salvation becomes about men rather than God. God has laid out the conditions that must be met for salvation: repentance toward God and faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Any other rules are not God’s rules, they are man’s rules. Who makes any such list of rules and conditions necessary to maintain salvation? Some person, of course. When we follow rules set by man, we begin to abandon God’s guidelines as revealed in His Word. When we do that, we begin to follow men rather than God; worse, we begin to follow ourselves. And that is what got us into trouble in the first place way back in Genesis Chapter 3

Are you saved? If you are, rest assured that your salvation is secure for all eternity. Quit worrying about what you have to do to keep it, and get busy doing the works God has actually called you to do.

Are you lost? Understand that this security can belong to you as well. Admit you are a sinner. Agree with God that He is right and you are wrong. Turn from your sin. Believe that Jesus paid your due penalty on the cross, and accept Him as your Savior and Lord today. Then, pick up your cross and follow Him.

Jesus Paid It All and the Payment Was Permanent (Part Three)

jesus saves

Perhaps the biggest argument against the Doctrine of Eternal Security is that it somehow becomes “a license to sin.” In other words, one can become saved and then go out in the world and do whatever one chooses with no consequence. After all, one’s sins past, present, and future are all forgiven.  Technically, that is a true statement. Technically a truly saved person, no matter how far they might backslide, is still forgiven and heaven bound.

Sadly and to the discredit of churches today, we do much to foster this skepticism about the Doctrine of Eternal Security. We have pews full of people who only darken the doors of a church for an hour on Sunday morning, then barrel back to the outside world and conduct themselves just like, or worse than, the rest of the world.  This same group of people justifies their behavior by resting on some claim that they are saved, so..”I’m all good, I’m saved and heaven bound. Jesus has forgiven me so it’s cool.” This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.  Salvation is not about getting a ticket to heaven punched. God truly, deeply loves us and offers us the gift of salvation, but salvation is not about us!

A quick summary is in order here. God was not sitting around in Heaven lonely one day and decided to create humanity to alleviate His loneliness. God is self-existent and self-sufficient and has no need for us whatsoever. God does not save us so that He can fill some empty void in His existence. We were only created for His honor and glory in the first place. In fact, the entire plan of redemption formed before the beginning of time was simply to declare God’s glory to the universe.

The point of this is God does not save us “for” us. He saves us for a purpose and a reason, and the reason is not us.  The most notable Bible passage on salvation based on grace, not works is, of course, Ephesians 2:8,9. Where people go wrong, however, is they stop there.  Because right after God makes it clear through the Apostle Paul that works don’t save us, He goes on to tell they whys of our salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-10 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

That’s just a start. There are numerous passages that teach us the true saving faith will produce fruit(works). These are merely a few.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22.23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

1 John 3:6-9 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The Apostle Paul answered the question about Eternal Security being a permit to sin very directly in Romans 6:15-23. This question is far from a new one.

Romans 6:15-23 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Clearly, salvation is not a permit to sin at will. God said that in His Word. Also clearly, God has expectations of us once we are saved.

Coming up…Part 4 Rewards for the believer

Jesus Paid It All, and the Payment Was Permanent (Part Two)

jesus saves

If we look at the security of the believer in terms of why we needed to be saved in the first place, it simply makes no sense to propose we could lose our salvation once it is ours. Remember, we do not need to just be saved from our big sins, or our really heinous sins; we need salvation for all of them big or small. God is perfect and Holy, we are imperfect and sinful. Because God is perfect, any imperfection separates us from Him. We owe a penalty for our sin, big or small, which we can only pay by our death. Read the post on that subject here.  If we could lose our salvation for some sin, then the question immediately comes up: for exactly WHAT sin or sins could we lose it? The obvious answer is easy to come up with. Any sin separated us from God in the first place. If we could lose our salvation for some sin, then likewise any sin would take it from us.

Remember Romans 6:23“The wages of sin is death . That statement is not graded on a curve. It is all inclusive for all sin. The payment is due from each of us. And it’s not paid on the installment plan. This penalty is either paid, or it’s not. If one has not accepted Jesus’ payment for it, then it is not paid. However, if one has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, then it is paid.

We also understand that our salvation is by Grace and not by works. We know that we do not make even the smallest contribution to the obtaining of our salvation. We discussed that quite fully in this post.

If our salvation is 100 percent obtained by grace, then it is also 100 percent maintained by grace. If no works of any sort help us attain salvation, then conversely and obviously, “bad” works, lack of works or substandard works could not possibly cost us that salvation, right? If we don’t work to get it, then why would we have to work to keep it? There are substantial numbers of people who would agree that initially, salvation is by grace but that we must then maintain it by our works.

If Salvation did have to be maintained by works, then the immediate question is:  Exactly WHAT are the works requirements that must be met in order to keep it? It is the same problem as determining exactly what sin could cost us our salvation. There is simply no list of rules given anywhere in Scripture. Actually, there is a list and it is quite simple. Any sin separates us from God, and no works restore us. Anything else is just what we, humans, have added. We are going to dive into that topic later in this post.

The Apostle Paul addressed that very mindset in Galatians 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”  Paul informed us in that verse, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that it is simply foolishness to think that we were saved by Grace but needed to maintain it by works.

Coming up…Part 3 Is Grace a license to sin?

 

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