Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rewarding Experience: Part 1

Nagging Questions

· If salvation is free, then why should I be good?

· If anyone, no matter who you are, can be saved, it doesn’t seem fair.

· You mean, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done to go to heaven, as long as God loves you?

· If you can’t lose your salvation after you’re saved then what motivation and incentive is there to be good?

The Certainty of Salvation

We need certainty. We need to feel secure. We need to know we are safe in a relationship with someone. An infant needs to feel secure. Studies have shown that at infant gets that sense of safety and security by the touch. The feel a sense of love and security from touch. In fact, a baby is much more susceptible to sickness, infection, disease and even death if deprived of touch—physical contact. Children, as they grow need to fees a sense of love and security. They get it from instruction and discipline. Instruction gives them boundaries; discipline enforces the boundaries and makes them feel safe. Adults need to feel a sense of love and security. They get it from communication and trust developed through being true to our word

We need to feel secure. Security requires trust—if we can’t trust our husbands or our wives, then our marriages are not secure. If we can’t trust our friends ten our friendships are not secure. If we don’t feel safe and secure then we develop phobias and become unbalanced. We can become paranoid, and never trust anyone or be certain about anything. We loose our sense of personal security. Security comes from trust.

The same is true in our relationship with God. Can we trust God? Do we feel safe and secure? Some religions teach that you can never know for sure that you are good enough to be secure with God. You can never know—you hope, feel pretty good about it, but can you be safe and secure with God, and know, beyond any doubt that you will be in heaven after you die. No purgatory, no hell. No nothing accept heaven and the joy of eternal life. It comes down to trust.

Salvation means to be saved. The word means to be rescued. To be made safe. To be spared. A mother’s womb can become a place of danger for an unborn child. A woman, Lois Weber formed a blood clot in the uterine wall, her water brook, and what was once a place to grow and develop became a potential place of danger for her little boy, Luke. He was head down, ready to leave. The Doctors slowed him down as much as they could to make sure all was safe, but his mother’s system brought about the contractions, and praise God, out he came four days later. He moved from what became a place of danger to a place of safety. And he lived and is doing well. He was saved.

The Bible also speaks of being safe. Of being moved from a place of danger to a place of safety.

Romans 1:16 gets to this: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentiles.” Paul is not ashamed of the good news, which is what the work “gospel” means, for it is the power of God for us to be saved.

Now we might think we have the power to rescue ourselves, rather than rely on the power of God, as it says here. Do we? We may think, “I can do enough good things to make things right between me and God, and be saved.” Sadly, that’s impossible, yet more sadly, many of us think this.

Revelation 20:11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Every deed is recorded in these books of works. All of our works, every deed there recorded—and not one was saved as a result of looking at those books. We are in a place of grave danger.

Salvation: To be transferred from a place of terrible danger to a place of total safety.

In the Bible, the danger is being under the penalty of sin. The place of safety is being in Christ. That transfer takes place by putting our personal faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin. Notice: It is total safety! We are safe with God. The person who believes in Christ is safe. The person who does not is lost.

So, if safe, why not just say, “hey, thanks a lot God,” and just live and do what you want? Some argue, that’s exactly what we do. But others point out that there are right ways, God’s ways of living, and evil wrong destructive ways of living which perpetuate our sin. Why live by God’s standards?

Notice: We do not do so because of salvation.

We could do so out of a response of thankfulness. God saved us. So from a response of thankfulness we live according to His directives.

We could do so out of a loving response. As God reveals himself to us we realize he saved us because He loved us—we should and do fall in love with him, and so live for Him because we love Him. After all, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

But there is another reason. It is the reality of rewards. We tend to minimized the importance of rewards, and have not understood and minimized their place in the Christian life.

The believer being safe in salvation, is nevertheless at risk in his glorification. How grandly we shine depends on how greatly we serve.