The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

In this article, we’re considering the unchanging nature of our salvation.  As I think about this subject, I believe that our salvation is based upon three important cornerstones.

God’s Will for Mankind

The covenant God made with His children is unwavering, for God (who cannot lie) has made a promise and then confirmed it by an oath.  (see Num 23:19 & Heb 6:13-18)

For I am the Lord, I do not change . . .  (Mal 3:6a)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  (Jam 1:17)

God’s Word

God’s Word is eternal.  The Bible reminds us that we should never add to or delete anything from God’s Word. (Deu 4:2; 12:32; Pro 30:5-6) 

The Bible also warns us not to confuse the teachings of men with the Word of God.  (Mt 15:8-9; Mk 7:6-8)

God’s Word will stand forever; it shall be entirely fulfilled.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  (Isa 40:8)

. . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever . . . (1 Pet 1:23)

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  (Mt 5:18)

Our Savior—Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  (Heb 7:24)

Jesus, who is the Living Word, has an unchangeable priesthood and an unchanging character.  He is steadfast and trustworthy.  He has completed the mission that our heavenly Father gave to Him.  He has redeemed mankind and reconciled to the Father all who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord.   All glory to God!

From Enemy to Ally

From Enemy to Ally

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.  (2 Cor 2:14 NIV)

The author of this passage (the apostle, Paul) speaks of “triumphal procession” because the Romans would routinely hold such events to demonstrate their victory over an enemy and to lead their captive enemies to their deaths.  The enemies who were not executed were sold into slavery.

In the passage above, Paul says that we are led as “captives” in Christ’s triumphal procession but that the Lord uses US to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere!  This is an image of a pleasant fragrance or perfume being released! 

How is that possible?  Because when Christ captures or subdues a person, He reigns in our lives as a benevolent and loving King.  Yes, we are in submission to our divine Captor, but it is a submission and yieldedness born out of love and willingness on our part. 

In the kingdom of King Jesus, His conquered enemies are transformed into His beloved and cherished allies—even so far as to becoming His beloved children.  He shares His blessings, kindnesses, and gifts with all of those whom He lovingly pursues and conquers!  He also shares with each one of us His eternal victory.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NKJV, emphasis added)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4)

Glory to God most High!

What Is Your Calling?

What Is Your Calling?

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  (Rom 11:29, underscoring added)

 . . . so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  (Rom 12:5-9)

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  (1 Cor 1:26, underscoring added)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . (Eph 4:1, underscoring added)

A calling can be defined as a vocation, occupation, mission or passion.  What do you feel that God has called you to accomplish in this life?  If you’re between the ages of 19 and 30, you may not have a fully formed idea of what you’ve been called to do.  If you DO know, then you are most exceptionally blessed!

However, if you’re like most of us, your calling may unfold in layers or even stages of life.  I felt called to be a wife and mother for the largest portion of my life.  In the two years prior to my youngest child’s high school graduation, I felt a type of spiritual and emotional shifting taking place within me.

I didn’t know quite what it was all about, but after a time of prayer, felt the Lord tell me that He was preparing me for a different direction in life.  It was over the many months that followed that I felt called to the ministry.  The Lord gave me training and mentors, and then opened doors of ministry to me.  I was given several ministry positions and discovered that I enjoyed ministering to God’s people immensely.  I was also surprised to realize that I have a zeal and a love for it.

I’m sharing my experience so that you may realize, as I have, that God can and does give us different gifts and talents in different seasons of our lives.  He likes us to be useful and fulfilled over the course of our entire lifetimes.  Praise God!

 I hope that this article will give you encouragement concerning your own life, gifts, and calling.

We Need One Another

We Need One Another

Human beings need other human beings!  Everyone wants to be loved, welcomed, and valued.  There are times in life when sorrow or disappointments overtake us when we simply need human contact.  We may need a touch on the hand or a smile or hug.  We might need someone to encourage our faith.  Or we may simply need help moving a heavy dresser or bookcase.  The Scriptures give us insight into this topic.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.  And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  (Eccl 4:9-12)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  (Pro 17:17)

Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend . . .  (Pro 27:5-6)

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. 10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
 (Pro 27:9-10)

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.  (Pro 27:17)

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  (Jhn 15:13)

. . . that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:12)

People who have a lot of friends have proven themselves to be friendly. (Pro 18:24)

When the enemy wants to harm us, one of the tricks that he will use is to separate us from dearly loved friends or relatives.  (Pro 16:28; 17:9)  That is one of the enemy’s favorite past times—destruction.

Jesus is truly our best friend and Savior.  He loves us and pours out His blessings upon us as a result of His love.  One of the most beautiful gifts that He gives to people is the gift of friends!  Our faith is not intended to be lived out in the wilderness by ourselves.  We are intended to live within a community of faith, and an extended community of family and friends.

Friends give us wise counsel, warmth, help of all kinds, laughter, and encouragement.  Just knowing that we’ll be seeing a friend in a few days, can brighten our outlook and fill a person with joyful anticipation.  Often, when the Lord wants us to know how very much He loves us, He will send a caring friend (or several) to wrap their arms around us and tell us how very much they love us.  They may even send us an email, text, or greeting card to enumerate all of the things that they like about our friendship. 

Value your friends and remember to show your appreciation to them.  Don’t try to be a solo act; God intends us to have friends! 

Irrevocable Gifts & Calling

Irrevocable Gifts & Calling

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  (Rom 11:29)

“Irrevocable” means that God won’t change His mind about what He has called you to do. If God has called you, that calling is still there, whether or not you’ve obeyed. And if God gave you a gift—if He gifted you along a certain line—that gift is still in you.

Therefore He says:  “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”  (Eph 4:8)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ . . .  (Eph 4:11-12)

There are gifts that God has given to the church, and these are referred to as the five-fold ministry gifts:  apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.  There’s also a gift of helps that we all can get involved in. 

As believers, we’re all called to share the salvation story (gospel) with others and to encourage them to trust in Christ for themselves.  It’s a matter of explaining how Jesus reconciled all of mankind to God, and sharing our own testimonies freely and joyfully.

Each member of the church of Christ has a role to play.  (1 Cor 12:27)  Maybe God has called you to the full-time ministry; or to be a businessman or an artist or a musician.  The list can go on and on, but whatever gifts, talents, and skills that He has given you—use them!  Appreciate them and enjoy them, and use them to bring glory to God. 

If you didn’t obey God, and haven’t responded to His call upon your life in a certain area, it’s never too late with the Lord!  Just turn to Him, talk with Him about your change of heart, and ask Him to open doors for you to walk through.  He will answer your prayers and bless you.

 

The Gifts That You Were Given

The Gifts That You Were Given

Happy beautiful day to you!  We rejoice and are glad in this day!  (Ps 118:24)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Pe 4:10 KJV)

Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.  (1 Cor 14:12)

Every believer has received gifts and talents from the Lord.  God wants us to use the gifts that He has entrusted to us for the strengthening and encouragement of fellow believers.  God wants us to be good stewards or managers of these precious gifts.

Your gifts may be extensive; you may have gifts such as:  faith; musical ability; artistic talent; patience; organizational ability; mercy; mathematical aptitude; peace; perceptiveness; or whatever.  Invite the Lord to show you how He would like you to use the gifts that He has given you in order to bless other people and to further His kingdom. 

If you have a calm and peaceful spirit combined with good note-taking skills, your boss may direct you to attend most meetings with him.  He may not realize why!  He may say that he wants you to take notes, but it may really (spiritually) be that he just feels better and thinks more clearly when you’re there!  In reality, you carry a beneficial atmosphere into the room.  These are God’s divine gifts, and they work supernaturally.

Don’t forget that, as you mature spiritually and chronologically, more gifts will bloom in your life.  Seek the Lord’s guidance, and He will teach you the best use of all of your gifts!