Category Archives: Salvation

Jesus as Propitiation: A Gift for All

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

You have never received a gift comparable to Jesus Christ. He is beyond imagination. The wealth flowing from His presence is immeasurable. The dimensions of his gift cannot be known by mortals, at least not now. The verse above is probably the most succinct description of his endowment to men.


Propitiation is not a common word in the Bible. It occurs only four times (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10). In the broader Greek writings, it is considered a rare term when used as a noun as it is here. So, we must use the Biblical context to appreciate the use of the word by John.

Propitiation is closely associated with sin, more specifically, the removal of sin. Every New Testament verse that includes propitiation also includes the word sin. Paul links the word with Jesus’ blood and the resolution of God’s forbearance (Romans 3:25). The writer of Hebrews also connects it with sin and Jesus’ action of resolving the people’s sins.

Recalling that Hebrews is written to a Jewish community well-versed in the Law of Moses, we must see this propitiation of Jesus as linked to the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. Consider John the Baptist’s exclamation, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Isaiah’s prophecy is on point here, for he says, “with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The prophets use of words like “stricken” (vs. 4, 8), “afflicted” (vs. 4), and “crush” (vs.10), point to the horror awaiting the Savior. We also note Isaiah’s inspired claim that all of this was done by the Lord,  “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; (Isaiah 53:10). This statement parallels Acts 2:23 that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”


We conclude that God planned the suffering of Jesus. But why? When you and I view the cross and all the attendant events, we are peering into the wrath of God against sin. Wrath, unlike propitiation, is not a rare word. It occurs over 200 times in the English Bible. We understand wrath as powerful anger directed against an enemy. Because this wrath comes from God, we may say it is a divine or righteous wrath. This is no temper tantrum, but the outpouring of appropriate and holy retribution for that which spoiled the perfect creation – sin.

Concerning the mistreatment of widows and orphans, God says, “my wrath will burn…” (Exodus 22:24). We may think such a response is harsh, but we understand that His divine wrath is directed at evildoers. But why Jesus?

Nahum offers, “Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him” (Nahum 1:6). The obvious answer is that no one can stand before God’s wrath, for none are innocent (Psalm 14:1 – 3).

Following these verses, we discover that we are all lost and have only a fearful expectation of destruction from before the holiness of God. We need a shield, an absorber, to soak up the wrath of God and protect us. We need a propitiation.  We need Jesus. As a shield, Jesus stands between us and the wrath of God. Our sins are removed, and we no longer fear destruction

In some unimaginable way, the same God that destroys in his wrath finds a way to save the objects of his love by focusing his wrath upon Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for this unspeakable gift!

Jesus is the gift for all. Sadly, most will never accept the gift. We must proclaim the nature of the gift to all the world. It awaits for all men. Let us all be heralds of this wonderful gift!

Are the Disobedient Saved?

We recently wrote of the alleged clash between grace and works. Our conclusion was that a man cannot be saved apart from God’s grace. We also affirmed that there is a response, an obligation on the part of man which is also essential. Today, I want to pursue that idea a bit further.

It is common among some to assert that man has no role in his own salvation. They claim that there is absolutely nothing required of a man in order to be saved. That is a popular view and a view that holds some comfort in that we can live any way we desire without consequence. Our eternal salvation is fatalistic occurrence far beyond self. What does the Bible say?

[bctt tweet=”Is our salvation fatalistic? Is it already determined? Surely not!” username=”Preachers_Study”]

Obedience is commanded

God’s word commands obedience. As the Israelites gathered at Sinai, God commanded them, saying, “if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples…” (Exodus 19:5). Again, “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,  he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil” (Deuteronomy 11:13, 14).

Peter declares that the salvation gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those that “obey him” (Acts 5:32). The writer of Hebrews speaks of the glorious Christ, who, “being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews 5:9). John says obedience is confirmation of our love for the Lord and our place in his family. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2,3).

Disobedience is condemned

Even more prevalent in Scripture is the condemnation of the disobedient. Instead of asking if obedience is required for salvation we should ask if a man can be saved in his disobedience. Again, it is the Bible that gives the answer.

[bctt tweet=”Instead of asking if obedience is required for salvation we should ask if a man can be saved in his disobedience. ” username=”Preachers_Study”]

Israel was warned of its own demise if they did not obey. Moses warned, Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:20). He repeats, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse;  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). There is no question that God’s people were required to obey God and were warned of punishment if they did not.

Perhaps the clearest warning against disobedience is from Paul. He writes that Jesus will return and will inflict “vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Peters wonders of the end result of those who “do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17). The Bible student must see that obedience is required and disobedience is condemned.

It is only because of God’s stunning love for a lost creation that we have a plan of escape from coming doom. It is only because of his extreme love that we have a savior. It is no blow to his glory that we comply with his commands. Instead, our obedience reflects his goodness and his glory throughout creation!


The Paucity of Belief


beliefpaucity – smallness of quantity; scarcity; scantiness:

There is very little real belief left in Christendom and what little there is seems to be decreasing. That is a weighty charge given that much of Christianity teaches that only belief, that is, a mental agreement in some fact, is all that is necessary for salvation. Certainly, the Bible teaches that we must believe to be saved (Mark 16:16; Luke 8:12; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 1:21). However, the common view of “believe” bears little or no resemblance to what the Bible teaches. Biblical belief is replaced by a comfortable, convenient, “agreement” that Jesus is the Son of God. While such an agreement is essential, the one who denies it is antichrist (2 John 7), Biblical belief compels action beyond mental assent.

True belief requires action. If you believe that your child suffers from a debilitating disease, you will do all possible to get them the care and treatment required. Your belief in the diagnosis compels or drives you to action. Your neighbor bangs on your door at 3 AM and tells you that your house is on fire; you smell smoke and see flames. Will you thank him and assure him you believe that your house is ablaze and then return to your bed to complete your slumbers? Of course not. You roust your children and spouse and flee the burning building. Your belief that the house is on fire has driven you to action.

Believers are told to do certain things. For example, believers in Acts 2:38 were told to “repent and be baptized.” Noted preacher Frank Chesser recently observed that it would have been foolish to tell the people on Pentecost that all they needed to do was believe. They already believed! They heard Peter preach, perhaps out of curiosity, and realized they had the blood of Jesus on their hands. Now they believed that the one of whom they demanded death was the Son of God. To tell them to simply believe was redundant. There was more to be done.

In Acts 8, the Ethiopian was already a believer when he commanded his chariot to stop so that he might be baptized. Why the hurry? Why the rush? Were there not better waters in the Ethiopian palace? Would he not desire his family and friends to attend the joyous event? No, he stopped because his belief in all that Phillip taught drove him to the water.

Belief comes first, but it must lead a man to obey all that Jesus has said. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). It is unnecessary to say that “he who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned,” for it should be obvious that a man who does not believe will not be baptized. Once we truly believe in Jesus, we will become obedient followers of all that he teaches. Surely that belief extends far beyond baptism. The true believer is a baptized believer who spends his life for the Lord. We must strongly reject the incomplete notion that a Christian is one who only believes. He believes, obeys and serves!



Luke 17:7-10: The Unworthy Servant

Truth comes in all sizes in Scripture. Some truths are pleasant and enjoyable while others are terrifying. It is true that the righteous will live eternally in heaven; that is a pleasant truth. Likewise, eternal damnation is a truth most horrifying. Consider the truth of Luke 17:7-10:

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

Even on our best day, when we have done as commanded, we are unworthy. Let us unpack this short passage and draw out the lessons.

There is a difference between the master and the servants. The servants do the work given them by the master. Here, they tend fields and flocks, they serve the master and standby while he eats and drinks. Only then do they enjoy their meal.

The Christian has a marvelous relationship with Jesus. He calls us brothers (Hebrews 2:11) and friends (John 15:15). But he also asserts authority over us. Jesus is our instructor (Matthew 23:10). A prudent man will always remember his place before the Lord.

Next, there are commands to be obeyed. It is remarkable that some today affirm salvation apart from any obedience. The Bible has examples of both obedience and disobedience coupled with the requisite curses and blessings. Adam and Eve disobeyed and were cursed. Noah was blessed because he did as instructed. Jesus says “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:14). In our text, the servants are expected to obey commandments. Today, you and I must be obedient. We do not decide what is right or wrong. We obey.

The last sentence is the one that is most sobering: “We are unworthy servants.” Even after completing everything commanded by the master, we remain unworthy. We have earned nothing more. There are no promotions, no accolades. We are not worthy. We only did our job. This passage is a death knell to those who believe in earning salvation. We cannot. It was always the sweet grace of the Lord that brought salvation.

But obedience is required. The passage assumes we have “done all that you were commanded.” Christians are to obey their master (Acts 5:29, 32; Romans 6:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 5:9,  et al). Within the many verses teaching obedience are those passages which specifically note that we “obey the gospel.” How curious! The pendulum wildly swings from those that earn salvation to those that do nothing (except giving mental assent of Jesus) for salvation. The truth lies in the middle. We cannot craft our path to salvation. But we can follow or obey the path set before us. Those who deny the necessity of obedience should carefully consider 1 Thessalonians 1:8 and the warning that Jesus will take vengeance on those who “do not obey the gospel.”

Out of God’s immense love for me, I can be saved. My Lord has handed me the route through the fires of life to the glories of heaven. A million lifetimes could never discover the way of truth. But now, revealed in Holy Writ, I have a path to follow. I will be saved by obeying the gospel!


What Must I Do To Be Saved?

what must i do to be savedTo ask, what must I do to be saved, is to ask the greatest question ever uttered. It shows an interest in something far beyond this world and priorities shaped by eternal needs. You have asked a great question! The answer is not complicated, but it does have many facets so let’s get started.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? Know the Truth

Truth must lie at the heart of your quest for salvation; else you are wasting your time. Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). Everything we can know about how to be saved is found in Scripture and nowhere else. So our search must begin there, in the Bible.

A bit of caution is in order at this point. The commonly taught idea that all you to do is invite Jesus into your heart is not found in the Bible. It is not true. It is incomplete. It is a false teaching crafted by men with agendas known only to them. Ask for one Biblical example of a person saved by uttering those words. Truth is precious. Do not loose sight of it.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? Know that You Are a Sinner

All have sinned; every one of us has erred so terribly that we cannot come before a pure God. The apostle Paul said it plainly: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). John confirmed it: “if we say we have no sin…the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

The result of that sin is an impenetrable wall between you and God. Isaiah says, “Your iniquities (sins) have made a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). Yes, we are all sinners, but we are saved by the powerful hand of God. God’s plan to save was known even before the creation of the Cosmos. The Lord has a plan to bring you out of your sin and through that impenetrable wall of separation. There is a way to escape our sins and the judgment they bring.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? Know Jesus

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Only in and through Jesus can eternal salvation be found. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” said Jesus in John 14:6. It was through an unfair, unjustified death that Jesus paid the price for our sins (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).

After his death and burial in a guarded, borrowed tomb, Jesus rose from the dead. This extraordinary miracle confirms his place as man’s savior and as the head of the church. The resurrection also confirms the words he spoke, for surely God would not raise a false prophet! His plan of salvation is revealed by holy apostles and is in the Bible. There is no salvation apart from Jesus.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? Believe Him and Confess Him

Seeking to be saved we must believe in Jesus and his teachings. Jesus Himself says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Faith in Jesus is essential to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

But the Christian life, that is, the saved life, is not secretive. The Bible further teaches that one must confess that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10; Philippians 2:11). The earliest Christians believed that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 8:37) and were then baptized.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? Repent

The word “repent” or “repentance” is found dozens of times in the New Testament. It denotes a turning or reversal of course; it is a change of life. If a man truly comes into contact with Jesus, he will be changed. It does not matter where you have been or how deeply you have sinned; you can repent. You can change.

Repentance may be the hardest thing you ever do. It may require profound sacrifice. But repentance is essential to the new life. When people heard of the depths of their sin (they had crucified Jesus), they asked what they must do to be saved. They were told, “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). While you will struggle and stumble with repentance, you will not be alone. You can rely on the power of God and the strength of your new Christian family.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? Be Baptized

Baptism is commanded. Jesus commanded it of his followers in Matthew 28:19. Peter commanded it of the very first Christians in Acts 2:38. The Ethiopian asked for it in Acts 8:36. Saul/Paul was commanded to be baptized and wash away his sins (Acts 22:16). After his conversion, he commanded that Cornelius’ family be baptized (Acts 10:48). Baptism is a command of the Lord just like repentance and confession.

But why is baptism so important? Baptism mirrors the death burial and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus. Consider Romans 6:3-11. This passage begins by assuming the baptism of the believers in verse 3. Note that it is baptism that places one into Christ, “…all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus…” All of God’s great blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 3:8-9). Therefore, we seek to be in Christ.

See also the link between Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in Romans 6:6-11. Of course, we do not die physically. We die to sin. We no longer live in sin. We repent. Figuratively, we die. We are buried in baptism. Jesus was buried in a tomb but did not stay there. He arose! We do not stay under the water but we arise like Jesus.

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Baptism is not the only thing that saves, but it is essential to your salvation. Literally, baptism means immersion. Note Matthew 3:16 concerning the baptism of Jesus. “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately, he went up from the water…” Likewise, Phillip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:39, “And when they came up out of the water…” There is no need to exit the water unless you are in the water. There is no need to be in the water unless you are immersing the believer. Sprinkling is unknown in the Scriptures and is an innovation of men apart from inspiration.

What Must I Do To Be Saved? – Live Faithfully

The Christian life is not a life of perfection but forgiveness. We all stumble. Peter did, Paul did, I do, you will. The Lord calls us to live for him. 1 John 1:7:

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.”

The beauty of this passage is that Jesus’ blood keeps on cleansing us from our sin! The only provision is that we walk in the light. We strive every day to serve the Lord with all our strength.

This brief article only scratches the surface. You surely have many questions. Please contact me directly, and I will personally answer your questions. You have asked the greatest question of all, what must I do to be saved. It demands an honest answer.

Please follow us on Twitter @Preachers_Study. Contact Bryant at

Justification: The Other Side of Condemnation


Condemnation and justification are two key concepts in our faith. They are opposites; different sides of a coin. One is very good; the other is very bad. Let’s look at both and bring the contrast into a sharp focus. We start with the bad one.


Mankind has been condemned since Eden. When God warned not to touch the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he said that doing so would cause death. Indeed, the moment Adam and Eve took and eat, they were spiritually dead and instantly began to die physically (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:6, 7, 22-27). Spiritual death spread because sin, now in the world, also spread. Like a viral contagion sin has found its way into every life. In the very first generation after the sin of Adam and Eve, their son slew his own brother. Today we see the impact of sin and lawlessness everywhere. Why? Because all have sinned (Romans 3:9, 23; 1 John 1:8).

Paul writes that the payment (wages) of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In your Bible you might want to write Genesis 2:17 in the margin next to Romans 6:23 and vice versa. You must understand that sin brings death. There are always consequences to our actions. In the case of sin, death is always the consequence. So we can say that sin brings condemnation and that condemnation is a sentence of eternal death.

Man is in a sorry condition because of his own choices. Nothing but eternal death awaits him. There is nothing beyond the grave except horror. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

[bctt tweet=”Where there is justification there is no condemnation!”]


It is good news that the story doesn’t end there. It is the gospel message that proclaims the news that the Creator has intervened in our world. He steps in to justify and save us from our own, well-deserved condemnation.

Justification is a profound topic and there is no way to do it service here. It is just too deep to fully comprehend in a brief article. Volumes have been written and still do not cover justification fully.

The Father, working through Jesus, has given us a way to escape to punishment; a way to escape condemnation and be justified despite our sins. That too is part of the gospel message. In order to gain justification one must obey that gospel message (Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17). In the case of the first Christians (and us) obedience was the result of the frightening reality that we are sinners (Acts 2:36-41). In Paul’s case, it was described as having his sins washed away (Acts 22:16).

[bctt tweet=”darkness cannot co-exist with light, condemnation cannot co-exist with justification!”]

Now here is where it really becomes wonderful. Where there is justification there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1)! Just as darkness cannot co-exist with light, condemnation cannot persist in the presence of justification!

Are you in Christ? Condemnation does not exist in Christ as we walk in the light (Romans 8:1; 1 John 1:7-10). Again, are you in Christ?




The Thief on the Cross

Many have asked how it is possible that the thief on the cross was saved apart from baptism. Some use the thief as proof that baptism is unnecessary in salvation. Their thinking is in error as the thief proves nothing concerning baptism.

The story of the thief is found in some form in all four gospel accounts (Matthew 27:38, 44; Mark 15:2, 28, 32; Luke 23:39-43; John 19:18), however only Luke provides us the details of his encounter with Jesus. Stated briefly, the thief recognizes his impending doom, knows his guilt and asks Jesus to remember him when he (Jesus) comes into his kingdom. Jesus says, “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).  It seems obvious that Jesus granted salvation to this man while both were impaled on crosses. It would be foolish to argue otherwise. So then, if baptism is essential to salvation, how is it possible that this man could be saved?

Christian baptism, that is, baptism for the remission of sins, would not be given for another 50 days. Jesus was crucified at Passover and the command of baptism was not given until the church began on the following Pentecost (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). Thus the thief lived and died before baptism was commanded.

Jesus was still living and could do anything he wished. His last will and testament was not yet in effect because he was still living. Hebrews asserts the superiority of Christ over all that came before. He is greater than the angels, greater than Moses and his priesthood is greater than that of the Levites. The writer makes clear that while the tabernacle was established and cleansed by the blood of goats and calves, the new tabernacle, the spiritual tabernacle is established by Jesus’ “own blood” (Hebrews 9:12).

The writer of Hebrews argues that a new tabernacle or priesthood requires a new covenant (Hebrews 9:15-28). Now notice carefully, this new covenant could not come into effect until the one giving it (Christ) had died. “For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive” (Hebrews 9:16, 17). Therefore, since baptism that saves (1 Peter 3:21) is part of the new covenant established by Jesus, the thief could not be subject to it while Jesus lived!

If I possess something of great value then I may do with it as I will while I am alive. Only at my death does my will dictate to whom and when that thing of value will go. The great thing of value possessed by Jesus was eternal life. It was his to give freely. Now, by his choice, his will is in force and governs that great gift.

We do not know that the thief was unbaptized. Although Christian baptism had not yet been given, at least three years earlier John the Baptist had begun his ministry in the wilderness where he baptized for repentance. We know that people in Jerusalem knew of his work as many, including the religious leaders, were going out to be baptized by him. He had many followers including some we meet as late as Acts 19:1-7. It is possible the thief had been baptized by John. The text simply does not say and we cannot speculate.

If we wish to have discussions about baptism and its role in salvation, let us do so. But let us accept, in advance, that the thief on the cross is not a valid example of salvation for one in the Christian age.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

The Struggle

Almost everything in life is a process. Our physical growth is a process occurring over decades. Education is a process spanning years and years. In the same way, spiritual development is a process. It takes time to purge the bad habits and develop new, godly habits. Sometimes we become impatient with ourselves and with others when progress doesn’t come fast enough. We want to be perfect now. We expect perfection in others as soon as they become a Christian.

But it doesn’t work that way.

A hurry up approach to Christian growth is often deadly. Rushing the process almost never works.

Sins Are Forgiven but Habits Remain

The Bible teaches that our sins are paid for at baptism (Acts 2:38). All our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11). It is the blood of Jesus that removes the sin (1 John 1:7). The beautiful gospel message is that every sin can be forgiven. No matter how terrible or embarrassing, all sin can be washed away.

But just because the sin vanishes it doesn’t mean that our bad habits disappear as quickly. Indeed we all struggle. Consider the man who has lived most of his life without Jesus. His language is filthy and his words harsh. Would you imagine that it will take time to change his language?

The Lord envisions the struggle and provides for our needs. Notice 1 John 1:7:

“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.”

This wonderful passage envisions someone who is in fellowship with Jesus but who still sins! But that sin is constantly being forgiven by the blood of Jesus! As the bad habits are fading, the Lord is still providing cleansing if we are walking in the light or in fellowship with Jesus.

Evil is Always Near

I have been intrigued lately with Romans 7:15- Romans 8:11. Paul declares himself a wretched man because he cannot escape his own sinfulness. He tries, but fails to live perfectly. He realizes that sin is never far from him and even lies close by when he is striving to do good (Romans 7:21).

Do we not suffer in the same way? Have you ever noticed that no matter how hard you try, sin still seems near? Sin arises from within us and from within our own desires (James 1:13-15) so it is never far away.

The very struggle that Paul faced we face. It is the same struggle that new Christians face and it takes time to overcome.

There is Hope

Go back to the Romans passage. After wrestling with his own sin a defects he suddenly declares “There is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1). How can that be? How can it be that in spite of bad habits, sin and lurking evil there is no condemnation? It is because we are no longer of the flesh but of the spirit. We walk in Christ and live in him. Our desire is for Christ and our goal is to walk daily worthy of our calling in him (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

Rejoice in your salvation and seek each day be transformed more and more into the image of Christ (Romans 12:2).

There is Also Danger

This salvation found in Christ must never be used as an excuse for sin. We must never deliberately sin while counting on the blood of Jesus to save us anyway (1 Peter 2:16).

Remember, the blood of Jesus washes us while we walk in the light. When we step out of the light and live in a worldly, fleshly way, we have no sacrifice on which to depend (1 John 1:6; Hebrews 6:4-6).

As the Christian grows and develops the blood of Jesus will keep right on cleansing him. It may be that the type of sin changes but sin is never far away. Yet, for the one striving to love his Lord and to be obedient to him, there is no condemnation.

Walk in inexpressible joy and never venture from the light!


What Is Sin and Why Should I Care?

Moses Breaking TabletsPreachers are fond of saying that sin is the universal scourge of mankind. We talk a lot about sin and its impact on our world. We remind listeners that sin condemns. But it may be that some people, especially those fresh to thinking about spiritual matters, may not understand the entire idea of sin and may be a little confused by what we mean. Let me help.

Sin Offends God

At the most basic level, sin is any violation of God’s law. Put another way, sin is anything that offends the glory of God and his righteousness. In the Old Testament, Joseph is tempted to commit adultery with his boss’s wife. Most of us agree that adultery is a bad thing. Adultery is specifically mentioned in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:14). But when Joseph is confronted with the temptation, he asks, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God (Genesis 39:9)? In his thinking, sin is always against God. Others may be affected, but the sin is against God.

Bible study will reveal that God is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45). This is a trait of God which means he is set apart from anything evil. He is even set apart from you and me because of our sin. God is so holy that he cannot bear to look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Sin then, is what God cannot tolerate. Therefore, he has taught us to avoid sin so that we might enjoy a relationship, even an eternal relationship, with him.

Sin Is Always Bad

Some sin doesn’t seem so bad. Some people will justify sinful relationships on the grounds that it “feels so right.” R&B singer Luther Ingram had a hit in 1972 titled, “(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to be Right.” It extolled his desire for an adulterous relationship over his desire for righteousness. Many think the same way today. Others commit sin in the pursuit of happiness. Many say, “God wants me to be happy!” They then live in violation of God’s laws under the assumption that their happiness is more important than God’s will.

Little white lies and occasional dishonesty on tax forms and expense reports don’t seem so bad. After all, everyone cheats a little don’t they? This kind of thought illustrates a common mistake. Sin is not determined by what others think or do. It is quite possible that I can sin and never offend another person. The opposite is also true. I can offend people but never offend God. Consider Moses and his confrontations with Pharaoh. The king was constantly offended by Moses although Moses was doing precisely what God told him to do (Hebrews 3:5). Jesus offended many and angered some to the point that he was killed. Yet he was doing the will of God (John 4:34; 17:4). The only way to truly know sin is to learn from God’s word. Even preachers cannot be entrusted apart from the Word of God (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Sin Has A Price

So sin offends God. But why is that such a big deal? Good question. God is our Creator. He formed us from the nothingness of chaos. He instills within us an everlasting soul. That soul lives beyond death. It does not die but is eternal. After death our soul will either exist with God or without God. There are only two possible destinations after death. Unforgiven sin will cost us the ability to live with God eternally and consign us to the only remaining eternal place – hell (Revelation 20:10, 15).

With such a massive price, we see why it is so important to study God’s word so that we will know and avoid sin.

Sin Has A Solution

Jesus saves! You have heard that many times and probably seen billboards and placards at ballgames proclaiming salvation in Jesus. It is true. All sin is eliminated for those in Christ. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).

Whatever sin you have committed, Jesus will take it away. When men realized they were guilty of killing Jesus they pleaded to know what they could do. The answer was simple, “repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). A person today with the same kind of submissive heart, can be saved by Jesus. There is a solution! Jesus saves!

Your Check Bounced!

USCurrency_Federal_ReserveThere are not too many people who enjoy paying bills. I spent a few hours this weekend balancing the checkbook and writing more checks to pay my bills. It’s good when you’re done but not really something I look forward to. But I am thankful that we have steady income and have enough money to pay what is due. I also remember the days when opening bills was a fearful task. Our hearts had written checks that our pocketbook couldn’t pay. Those were dark days.

The truth is that none of us can fully pay our debts. Even the wealthiest among us has an unpayable debt. We wrote a check that will bounce.

We sinned.

The merchant of sin likely told you that it was no big deal. He may have whispered that it wouldn’t come due for a long time. He lied.

The moment you sinned, the moment you signed your name to that blank check, Satan demanded payment. Payment for our sins comes in many forms. Surely there is the eternal condemnation (2 Thessalonians 1:9) but there are also payments in the form of sickness, grieving and physical death. None of these were present in God’s original creation. But when Satan brought sin into the world through Adam and Eve these terrible conditions came too. Every speck of suffering today is linked to the evil one.

But what happens when a debt is paid? What happens when there are no more payments? Once the bill is paid, the lender no longer has a claim. You are no longer enslaved (Proverbs 22:7)! But that’s the problem. We can make payments forever and never dig our way out of sin. Never. We are in a binding contract that we can neither pay off nor break. Plus, there is the balloon payment at the end. Hell. We will spend the rest of our lives paying the devil here and there. Then, when life is over, we face the penalty of sin.

Good News! The debt is paid!

For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:22-25)

“Propitiation” is a big theological word but is simply means the process by which we are favored by God. God’s favor is actually already shown even to sinners in that he gives a plan whereby all can be saved. Jesus is the method by which we are saved. He owed nothing but paid it all for you and me.

As I was paying those bills this weekend I noticed that a few of them will be paid off soon. But the mortgage is still so far away from payment that I don’t even think about it. What if someone paid it off? What if tomorrow I received a notice from the bank that no more payments were needed? That would be life changing, no?

In Jesus, our debt is paid. Let us be as happy about that as we would be if our mortgage was paid off. And like a retired mortgage, it should change our lives. If you are a Christians, stop moping around. Be happy! Rejoice! You are debt free!