For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.—Colossians 2:5
Christians generally associate faith with when they received the Lord as their Savior and rightly so. By believing in Christ, we enter into a relationship with Him. But that’s not the end—after our initial decision comes a lifetime of walking with Him.
The word walk is used to describe behavior and conduct. We may mistakenly conclude that after salvation, the Christian life is all about doing things for the Lord. Colossians 2:5-7 clearly state that we walk with Christ in the same way we received Him—by faith. This means we place our trust in Him for every circumstance of life.
Remember, God does not grade our daily life and performance on a salvation scale. He looks at one thing, as I’ve said. He’s looking at our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to walk with Him daily. Pull out all the stops and let faith be your guide.
“Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance”—Romans 5:3
The apostle Peter says that when professing believers are beset by trials yet remain steadfast in the Lord Jesus, their faith is proved genuine. The result is confidence in their salvation, and with each new trial, assurance and trust in Christ grows. Their continued perseverance is the fruit of salvation that demonstrates they are abiding in Him.
That’s why we can rejoice even in our sufferings—because through them, God is assuring us of our salvation and conforming us to His image. Knowing this should give us hope and encouragement to continue the process of sanctification, because we have confidence that our salvation will be completed with the resurrection of our bodies.
The next time you face trouble, remember God wants you to know that your salvation is genuine. So hold tightly to Christ and keep trusting Him.
Salvation is simple enough for a child to understand, but it’s also so profound that we can’t plumb its depths. One thing we can know for certain is that it’s a work of God, whereby He regenerates a spiritually dead sinner into a new creation filled with the life of Christ.
How does Jesus receive us? I know how he treated me. I was a sinful twenty-something on a downhill path. Though I’d made a commitment to Christ a decade earlier, you wouldn’t have known it by the way I lived.
Finally I came to Jesus, and he welcomed me back. Please note– he did not accept my behavior but he accepted me, his wayward child. He said, “Come back. I’ll clean you up.” He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Not just grace, but also truth. Not just truth, but also grace.
Grace and truth. Grace told the adulterous woman at the well, “I do not condemn you.” Truth told her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus shared truth but did it graciously. Jesus offered grace but did it truthfully. Grace and truth. Acceptance seeks to offer both.
2You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.—Matt 10:22
Standing firm is not a way to be saved but it is the evidence that a person is really committed and devoted to Jesus. Endurance is not a means to earn salvation either; it is a by-product of a truly devoted life for Christ. Endurance grows out of commitment to Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10:22, Jesus predicted that his followers would be severely persecuted by those who hated what he stood for. In the midst of terrible persecutions, however, they could have hope, knowing that salvation was theirs. Times of trial serve to weed out true Christians from false or fair-weather Christians.
When you are pressured to give up and turn your back on Christ, don’t do it. Remember, the benefits of standing firm and continuing to live for Christ far outweigh anything the enemy has to offer.
Remember to praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.—Psalm 51:12
Have you lost the joy of your salvation? If your Christian life has become stale and musty, it’s time to remember what Christ has done for you and to ask that He restore your excitement.
Think about how Andrew longed to know the Savior and spend time with Him (John 1:38-39). The disciple’s example is a good reminder that sweet fellowship with the Lord isn’t supposed to end with devotional times. It should also stimulate a desire to share with others the joy we find in our relationship with Christ. Andrew was motivated by his conviction that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:40-41). He’d found the answer for a lost and hurting world and wanted others to know.
When Andrew answered the call to discipleship, Jesus told him he’d be catching men instead of fish (Matt. 4:18-19). As followers of Christ, we too have this same assignment. Our styles and opportunities vary, but we’re each responsible to develop a lifelong habit of bringing others to Jesus.
5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.—1 John 1:5-7
One of the main reasons Christians doubt their salvation is the presence of sin in their life. According to 1 John 1:6, people who profess faith while continuing in a sinful lifestyle are deceiving themselves and walking in darkness. Verse 7, however, offers reassurance to those who are truly saved: Though they’ll still sin at times, this doesn’t mean they’ve lost their salvation. Today’s passage explains how believers are to deal with sin when it occurs in their life:
Confess your sins (1 John 1:9). Confession should be our first response when we stumble and fall. It means acknowledging to God that we’ve acted in a manner inconsistent with His character and standards and are in need of His promised forgiveness and cleansing.
Know that Christ is your Advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1-2). It’s never God’s will that we sin, but when we do, Jesus is our Defender in God’s courtroom. His sacrifice fully atoned for our sin and satisfied divine justice. When we repented and believed that Christ died for our sins, we were justified and declared righteous before God.
Know that sin is not a continuing practice in the life of a true believer (1 John 3:9). Since we’re born of God and the Holy Spirit abides in us, we cannot continue in sin. Although there may be brief periods of transgression, God’s Spirit works in us to change our desires and practices.
A believer’s disobedience brings the Lord’s discipline, not loss of salvation. However, as God’s children, we should never excuse our disobedience or abuse God’s grace by living in sin. Instead, we’re to pursue obedience and holiness.
(Presented with permission | © In Touch Ministries)
This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.—1 Timothy 2:3-4
The Scriptures speak clearly of existence after death—people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Yet many individuals consider this truth inconsistent with other facts about the Lord. While their objections are understandable, the Bible provides the answers:
How can the Lord be good if He lets some people spend eternity in hell? God is love (1 John 4:8), and He doesn’t want anyone to live without Him (1 Timothy 2:4). According to His plan, every person can turn from sin and receive the Savior, enjoying His presence both now and throughout eternity. Some, however, reject Jesus Christ and live apart from Him all their days. Unless they change that tragic decision, their separation from divine love will continue eternally.
Why would God create certain individuals, knowing they’d never turn to Him? To some, this seems unloving. Yet God so values our free will that He won’t force anyone to go to heaven against his or her will. Doing so would amount to creating robots who are unable to truly respond, love, and worship.
An endless penalty seems unfair, especially if a non-Christian never heard the gospel. As long as unbelievers are alive, the heavenly Father goes to great lengths to keep them from eternal punishment—except He won’t violate their free will. He gives enough time and evidence so that nobody has a valid excuse for rejecting the one path to salvation (Rom. 1:20).
Jesus wants you to spend eternity with Him. So do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?