Salvation: The Greatest Gift Mankind Will Ever Know (taken from Cambridge Community Television and Charles Stanley from In Touch Devotional)
As we finish up buying gifts, cooking, etc for Christmas, as a Christian it’s vitally important to stop and consider the greatest gift ever known to mankind and that is Salvation. In this discussion we will reflect on the enormity of this gift, and what it cost in order for us to receive it.
In searching for what it is I’m attempting to convey here, I found this sermon offered by Cambridge Community Television. Without salvation in Jesus Christ, you truly have wasted your life on earth, regardless of your material attainment. St. Augustine, early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings greatly influenced the Christian thought and faith said: “God has made us unto Himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.”
Truly, there is nothing that can satisfy the human soul or the mind: not material possessions, money, intellectual acumen, fame and fortune, sex, political power, etc. The human mind or soul remains restless until they find the knowledge of the living God.
Salvation remains the greatest event in human life. There is nothing that supersedes the knowledge of the Lord as Savior. Humans will boast of their glory, fame and fortune, who they are, until at point of death: then they know who is who not them and their fame.
Here is the end of powerful Queen Elizabeth 1, 1558-1605: recorded by author Alison Weir: “The Life of Elizabeth 1,” and also the author of “The Six Wives of Henry the V111: “When Elizabeth 1 was dying:
“Her majesty lay upon her back, with one hand on the bed and the other without. The Arch bishop kneeled down beside her and examined her first of faith, and she so punctually answered all his questions, by lifting up her eyes and holding up her hands as if it was a comfort to all the beholders.
The good man told her plainly what she was, and what she was come to: though she had been long a great Queen, here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of kings. After this, he began to pray, and all that were by did answer him.
Whitgift remained at her bedside, holing her hand and offering her spiritual comfort until his knees ached, but as he made to rise, blessing the Queen, she gestured to him to kneel again and continue praying. He did so for another ‘long half hour’, but still Elizabeth will not let him go. So he prayed for half an hour more, ‘with earnest cry to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen, to all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimonies to all of her Christian and comfortable end.
By the time it grew late, and everyone departed, all but her women who attended her.’ Around ten o’clock that evening, with heavy rain pattering against the windows, Elizabeth turned her face to the wall, and fell into a deep sleep from which she will never wake.”
This is a powerful woman who ruled England, but at the point of death, the glory of man fades. The Scripture says: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away. But the word of the Lord endureth forever.” 1 Peter 1:24&25
Humans can boast and arrogantly declare there is no God OR exalt themselves as if they are God, but a day of accountability faces the arrogant, just like powerful Queen Elizabeth 1 was reminded about facing the King of kings.
What is salvation? It is redemption from sin, and knowing the Lord Jesus as Savior: accepting what He did for humanity on the cross. It is God’s greatest gift to mankind to enjoy all the riches He lavished to mankind, especially peace. In salvation is found genuine peace. You can have all the money in the world, have achieved the greatest events in life, you are so famous, you are politically powerful; without peace, you can’t enjoy your riches or fame very well if at all.
This peace comes from salvation given to humanity by Jesus Christ. God purposely sent His son to die for humanity on the cross so we would have salvation. On that cross, God exchanged his righteousness for our sinful nature. He bore our sins, and gave humanity a new will inclined to righteousness and the life of truth. That was what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary. He paid for our sins with his death on the cross. So when we believe what He did, the following happens to us:
• When we believe what Jesus did for us on the cross: that we are not good people, but wicked and sinful-black or white, red or green, all nationalities of the world: that we are sinful.
• But Jesus bought us back and gave His righteous nature to humanity, in place of His death.
• So if you believe this, you realize salvation is not your good works. It is someone else who died to give you a new life of righteousness of doing and inclining your will to what is just and right, no matter what position you hold in life- you stand for what is just and right.
• You realize you are a sinner by birth, and you can’t justify that.
• You confess your sins, and ask Jesus to forgive your sins.
* You accept all of these through faith in His word.
• You accept what He did for you on the cross. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation..” Romans 10:9&10
• When you genuinely do this, the Holy Spirit will blot your sins, no matter what they are, and you will receive a new heart and the Holy Spirit will come in to help you live a new life, and overcome sin in your life- all your addictions, or whatever sin assails you. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity with equal power with God.
• Living without salvation is the reason why our world is so messed up. When you genuinely know the Lord, and have the Holy Spirit, you will have peace and wisdom. “The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom is to depart from evil.” Job 28:28
• When you don’t have salvation, you don’t have peace. Peace comes from obedience to God’s will: to those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and surrendered their will to Him.
• These kinds of people are humble and seek only the glory of God-what will give Him the glory, honor and praise, not their glory.
• Those who know the Lord Jesus Christ experience peace that is not given to you because you are rich or powerful.
• The Scripture says: “There is no peace for the wicked: they are like the troubled sea which cast out mire and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:20
• Anyone-man or woman who does not abide by God’s will, and does his or her own thing, will never experience that peace which only the Lord gives, even in times of great trial or tribulations of life. That is the peace our world is looking for, and will never be found in lies, political intrigues, human arrogance, fame and fortune, sinful life style, etc.
• Eventually, this failure and rejection of salvation has been the fall of great kingdoms and nations of the world, as humans took the glory of God.
• In your personal life, whether you are a king or pauper, you will never experience genuine peace. At the end of life, without salvation, you lose eternal life:
Some people say, I don’t care about your God, He does not exist for me; some reach the highest pinnacle of fame and live to dishonor God’s laws and principles. Suddenly they crash or they are dying, the reality of eternal life dawns on them, or they are dying very young and they would desire to live their lives in exchange from early death.
Let me tell you God is the greatest reality in life. Look and see the transient and unrealistic nature of fame and fortune. They don’t last. Sooner or later, the rich man or woman fades, and the money passes into other hands. Like Hannah in the Scriptures says: “God alone gives riches and makes poor.” 1 Samuel 2:6.
These things are all in His hands. He gives and He takes it back. One of the wisest men in the Scriptures said: “Naked we came, naked we must go back.” Ecclesiastes 5:15
Have you ever seen a rich man or woman whose money was buried with him or her? While they are dying, their treasures and money are being distributed and fought over for. Some are killed because of their fortune, even by family members. These things don’t last.
The Scripture warns: Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust doth corrupt, or thieves break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Mathew 6:19-21
When you invest in heavenly treasure, the following will happen: Your desire in life will be one purpose: to glorify God in what you do.
• To love your fellow human beings-; to see them as God sees them, and do your best to help them understand the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
• Your desire in life will be to help your world and make it a better place, regardless of where the needs are: your country or else where in the world.
• It is to be conscious of living a life that glorifies God and honor Him.
• It is to be conscious of the fact that you are only a pilgrim passing through this world. You don’t allow the norms of men to mold you, but strongly abides by God’s principles that give peace, favor and wisdom.
• You make others aware of the nothingness of this life and its fading glory.
• You are constantly preparing yourself to see the Lord you deeply love for death can come any moment.
• You know your greatest achievement in life is your salvation, and nothing else. Every other thing will fade and pass away.
• You realize someday, sometime, it will not matter who you are, or what you have, you will stand before God and a day of accountability will come to you.
• You are always ready to meet the Lord.
Salvation remains the greatest event in human life. Sin is forgiven; you are healed, and God restores back what sin has destroyed in your life when you genuinely repent. If those ruling us will seek salvation, our world will be a more peaceful place to live. If we individually will seek salvation, our lives will be more peaceful. Salvation remains the greatest gift God has given to mankind. Humans should not ignore or despise it. It is foolishness to do so.
Charles Stanley discusses salvation in greater detail using Matthew 7:13-29 as a reference:
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t. We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived. They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.
Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith. It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again. Even demons believe that (James 2:19). Salvation involves more than mere knowing. It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him. What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.
Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord. As the Master of your life, He then has a right to govern what you do. His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change—God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).
We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit. If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord. This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.
In closing and on a personal note: I have learned that mankind has only ONE true regret to contend with, and that is to reject this greatest gift that man has ever known. If you are saved then you have ZERO regrets. Yesterday, today, tomorrow or for the rest of your life because nothing will matter once we have crossed over in to eternity except the decision you made regarding this gift.
If you are saved then you have nothing to regret because you have accepted this amazing gift, and there is not any other decision you will ever make that will impact your “forever” like this one. All those regrets that have been nagging at you, let them go for if you have accepted Christ, that truly is the one and only decision that matters.
Everything you have done or will do that does not glorify the Lord (actions, bad choices, wrong motives, etc) can all be forgiven. Seek forgiveness for those sins, but never fall into the trap of wallowing in them because the enemy knows, none of our junk carries over to eternity! Once we have accepted and follow Christ, it’s gone forever! Now, ask yourself, isn't this the greatest gift known to man? Have you thanked the Lord today that you have received this gift?
Morning Bible Studies are held every Wednesday morning @ 11:00 am ET. Those studies will be posted her for those that missed the live study.
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