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The Purpose of God Concerning Sin

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Salvation and the Sinner

Now, for someone who has been persuaded concerning sin’s influence over their lives; who may feel guilt and pain as a result of their sin; and who fear the judgment that is to come; how might such an one appropriate what Christ has done, for themselves? In others words, how might such a person, who now believes they are a sinner, find peace with God by trusting in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach that the way of salvation is so simple that even a foolish person “shall not err therein”; and Jesus taught that even little children could easily grasp an understanding of what it means to be saved. Indeed, the problem with most people is that they have made the way of salvation more difficult then it is. Many “religious” leaders have devised elaborate schemes and doctrines that promise their followers forgiveness of sins and eventual heaven, but such teachings lead only to confusion and despair.

Isa 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

Matt 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

2 Cor 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

True salvation involves two things, “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” However, it is even simpler than that, because repentance and faith are like two sides of the same coin, and in salvation you cannot have one without the other. We might think of salvation as someone traveling down a road toward a destination. Now, as concerning the human race, we are all of us born sinners; and we all start out traveling down the broad road of sin that leads to destruction. All of us are quite satisfied on this road—enjoying sin, living in pleasure, with no regard for either God’s glory or His purpose for our lives. Furthermore, because of our spiritual blindness and deadness, we are also ignorant, or uncaring of where this road is leading us to, which is eternal damnation.

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Added to all of this is the inability any of us have to change our own course of direction. We love our sin, we love our self-life, we are enslaved to sin and Satan, and we have not the desire, or wherewithal to do anything about our condition. Even if we somehow knew what God has done for us through Christ, we have not the motivation to place saving faith in His work. The driving force of our fallen nature is to try and work out our own salvation; and the idea that we must let someone else save us, is impossible for us to accept. However, into this hopelessly bleak picture begins to shine the grace, mercy, and love of God toward those sinners He chooses to redeem. For some of those who are traveling down this broad road to destruction, God shines the light of the Gospel upon their lives.

John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Jer 29:19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

In looking at the salvation of the Apostle Paul, we see an atypical example of what we are trying to show forth. It is doubtful any of us will ever experience salvation the same way that he did, but it is a beautiful picture of what happens to all of us. Saul, as was his name before his conversion, was a religious zealot who hated the name of Jesus and those that followed the Christian faith. It was his intent to do all within his power to stamp out this new religion of Christianity. In his spiritual blindness he actually believed he was serving God by persecuting Christians—killing some, having others thrown into prison, and causing others to blaspheme the name of Jesus. After stirring up the Jew’s hatred for Christians at Jerusalem, he was traveling down the road to Damascus in Syria to persecute the disciples of Christ there also. Now, this is a perfect picture of a sinner traveling down the road of life, ignorant of God’s truth, even hating God, and persecuting those who do believe in Jesus. Furthermore, we might say, that nothing this person will ever do, or will ever happen to him, outside of God’s grace and mercy, can change what he believes, or the direction he is going in life. They are blind to the truth of God, and are fully persuaded that their course in life is leading them to heaven. Now, in Saul’s case, God intervened in a special way. He caused to shine upon Saul a blinding light, so that he fell upon the ground, trembling in fear. Then the Lord spoke to him, revealing Saul’s wickedness in the things he was doing towards the name of Jesus. This caused Saul to cry out, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” This also is what happens when God brings repentance upon any lost sinner. Through the light of God’s Word we are brought to see our sinfulness, even our hatred of the true God. We are brought under conviction about our lost condition, and we fall trembling to the ground. We call out for God to have mercy on us, and ask Him what we must do. God turns us from our own purposes and the direction we are traveling—which is away from God—back towards Him. This is the very meaning of repentance—which is a turning, a change of direction in our lives. However, as we have seen in Saul’s case, and indeed in the case of every sinner, God must cause us to repent; He must work in our lives to bring it about. Now, we might say, that if you are concerned about your sin, if you feel heaviness in your heart about your direction in life, or you have feelings of guilt about the things you have done, then it is God who has brought you to this place; and it is God who will show you what you must do to be saved.

Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

1 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Tim 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Matt 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

After God has brought us to repentance, our hearts have been prepared to receive the message of salvation. We have been made to see we are a lost sinner, doomed to hell; and that there is nothing that we can do, of ourselves, to change our estate. At this point God now reveals the other half of salvation, which is “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Saul, in his lost, blind condition, could not see how to be saved—he did not know what to do. Although the Lord had spoken to him and revealed his sin, it is important to note that the Lord did not preach the gospel message to him. This work God has given to the disciples of Christ. In Saul’s case, God spoke to Ananias to go and make known to Saul the message of salvation. We see that Saul has been praying, he is under deep conviction, and is searching for the truth that will unburden his heart. At this point God opens Saul’s eyes and he is filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, after Saul’s conversion he is baptized, becomes Paul the Apostle, and he begins to testify of God’s mercy and grace through Christ. It is important here to also point out—that Paul was baptized after his salvation, as a confession of his faith, and not, as some would teach, as a means to salvation. Baptism is the outward sign of the inward work that God has already done for us; it is the “answer of a good conscience toward God,” not a ritual that we perform in order to be saved.

Acts 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

1 Pet 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

For you who are thusly burdened, as Saul was; who are seeking to be set free from your sins; and who, even now may be praying for God to open your eyes to the truth; we offer you a message from God’s own Word—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”; “Look unto me (Jesus Christ), and be ye saved”; “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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 whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

Isa 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
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.

Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Look therefore, look to Christ hanging upon the cross, dying for your sins; believe that He shed His blood for you; believe that He suffered, bleed, died, and was buried for you; believe that He rose again from the dead for you; call upon Him to save you; and see if God will not answer your need of salvation through Christ.

Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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:

Subsequently, for those of you who seek some evidence that you are truly saved, that is also to be found in God’s Word. The very fact that God drew you to repentance and faith in Christ is, in itself, evidence that He has made you His child. As we have already studied—no one comes to God whom God has not drawn to Himself. No one repents whom God has not given repentance; and no one has saving faith in Christ whom God has not given it to.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Then there is the assurance of God’s own Spirit, who has come into our hearts and “beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” It would be impossible for Almighty God to come into someone’s life and for them not to be aware of it. We will know that we have had an experience with God, and God Himself will testify to our hearts that we are His child. Furthermore, we come to experience an abiding peace in our hearts, telling us that all is now well between us and God. Before conversion, God was our enemy, because of our rebellion and sin; and whereas we felt guilt and condemnation, we now “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”; “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” (keeps our) “hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The next evidence that we are truly saved is, that we now love God and want to do those things that please Him. We now want to obey Him, not out of fear, and not to earn our salvation, but because we want to show our love to Him. The first thing that we are told to do is to publicly confess our faith in Christ through baptism. Even if we have been previously sprinkled as an infant, or had some other form of baptism before salvation, those rituals are not true forms of Believer’s Baptism. After Phillip the evangelist spoke to the Ethiopian eunuch, and the eunuch believed in Christ, he asked Phillip, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Phillip then said to him, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” So we see that faith in Christ must come first, as the prerequisite, and then we are baptized. Now, this might raise a question with some, of just where and how we are to be baptized. The first thing we should do is to align ourselves with a church that preaches the Gospel of the Grace of God. This might take some effort to find in certain areas; but if we pray for God to lead us, and we are diligent about finding such a church, we will eventually come to know just where God wants us to be. Then we can present ourselves to that church, and ask them to publicly baptize us. In addition, we should also become a part of that church, so we can have a place to worship God, have fellowship with God’s people, be under the teaching and discipline of a local church, and learn to serve God.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us

1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous
.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you
: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Thus, we have both the assurance from God’s own Word that we have been justified through Christ, and we have an inner peace that we never knew before, telling us that all is now well between us and God; and the more we study the truths of God’s Word, and the closer we are drawn to God, the more assured we will be of our relationship with Him.

1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

We have, somewhat simply, examined how a lost sinner comes to know God and partake of His salvation. Although there is much more that could be taught on how we can come to further experience God in our lives, that is the not to be our focus here. Indeed, it takes a lifetime of learning and growing in the Christian faith, to even begin to comprehend all that God has done for us, and all that we have as believers in Christ. However, for those who wish to study more concerning their relationship with God and what the Christian life holds for them, we would suggest a reading of The Words of Job’s Wife[1], and The Garden and the Gospel[2].

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

2 Pet 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 

[1] The Words of Job’s Wife, also available from this author or at "http://GodsPurposes.org".

[2] The Garden and the Gospel, also available from this author or at "http://GodsPurposes.org".

 

 

 

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