Friday, October 6, 2017

What It Is To Believe

It is our hope that one thing is clear, that salvation is not simply knowing but rather experiencing. We are not saved simply because we know the gospel or understand the way of salvation. We are saved when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is received by faith. The Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

But what is the meaning of faith? What is it to believe? First of all, God does not mean that we are saved by simply believing that there is a God. Nor does He mean that we should simply believe that His Word is true. These things are deeply rooted in the heart of every man. The person who says there is no God, must also reject the voice of his own conscience. But if we only believe that there is a God, we do not yet believe in the sense that the Bible uses that word. Faith is a word of the heart, and not one of the head. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” Romans 10:10. And God says that we must believe, also defines for us what He means by that word. Listen!

“But as many as receive Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on His name.” John 1:12. Those who receive Jesus as their Savior, are said to believe on His name.

“Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth.” 1 Peter 1:22. This verse says that to believe is to receive the Word of God joyfully and obey it.

“I tell you, No, but except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5. This verse says that we must repent. If not, we will perish. But don’t misunderstand. To truly believe simply means that we turn from sin to Christ. Repent means to turn from. Repentance and faith go hand in hand.

“That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9, 10. Here it is stated that the person who truly believes will open his mouth and confess Jesus before all men.

Now, this is what it means to believe. To believe is to be sure that the Word of God is true, to receive it into our hearts and to obey it. Because we receive it, we turn from sin and come to the Lord Jesus, and receive Him as our Savior. Then we confess Him to our family, friends and acquaintances, and, if God wills, to the ends of the earth.

This is saving faith. And God’s Word says, “Whosoever believes (according to the meaning given in God’s Word) hath everlasting life.” John 3:36.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

HOW TO OBTAIN SALVATION

We have already explained that salvation means deliverance from sin and a useless life. One question remains. How can I obtain this eternal salvation? Below are listed the necessary steps to receive salvation. We trust that they are clear. Read them carefully, dear reader. Then receive God’s Word into your heart.

You need to be saved. You need to be saved because you are a sinner. It is essential that you realize this, because before you realize that you are a sinner, you won’t desire salvation. If a person is sick and goes to a doctor, the first thing the doctor does after examining him, is to point out the trouble. The sick person then realizes his need. Then the doctor prescribes the medicine. This is the way God works too. Before He can give His salvation to you, God must convince you of your sin, that sickness of soul which is your real trouble. It is sin which threatens you with eternal death. Read carefully God’s declaration below. In the word “all”, you too are included.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6.

“There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10.

You cannot save yourself. This is the hardest thing for us to receive. Adam and Eve made loin cloths from fig leaves to cover the results of their sin. It has always been man’s way to try to save himself. But you must realize that there is nothing you can do. You cannot save yourself. God’s Word says:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us.” Titus 3:5.

Jesus has already prepared salvation for you. This is the good news of the gospel. The Bible says:

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

“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.” John 3:16.

“Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.

The way to receive salvation is by faith.

“But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12.

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.’” Acts 16:30 & 31.

Dear reader, will you not just now receive Him?

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Friday, June 30, 2017

SALVATION

As the Bible clearly reveals the Savior, so it clearly reveals what salvation is, and how we can receive it. The Bible says, “Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. Pay careful attention, therefore, to the following five points:

Salvation is an experience. This experience, called the new birth in God’s Word, takes place the moment any person receives Jesus Christ as his Savior. The Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6. Our need is two-fold. Like sheep we have gone astray, led by a sinful nature. We need healing from this sickness of the soul. Also we have deliberately chosen our own way, turning our backs on God’s way. We have rebelled against God, and we need forgiveness for our sin and rebellion. In the experience of salvation, God gives us a new nature through a new birth, thus healing the sickness of the soul. At the same time he also forgives all our sins and trespasses.

Salvation means deliverance from sin. There are many people who desire to be saved in their sins. They are willing to “believe” on the Lord, if they can continue on in their sins. But, salvation means deliverance from sin, from its penalty of eternal death, from its power daily, and, when Jesus returns, from its presence forever.

Salvation means deliverance from a useless life. “You must know that you were redeemed from your useless way of living . . .” 1 Peter 1:18 – literal translation. The purpose of life is to glorify God, but we cannot glorify Him before we believe. Therefore, our lives are useless. When we are saved, we are called to a useful life, useful to God and to our fellowman. As such it will glorify God.

God wants all men to be saved. We read, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3 & 4. God wants you, dear reader, to be saved too. And remember, that the two things mentioned in the verse above cannot be separated. To be saved is only possible if we come to a knowledge of the truth. We must seek salvation on the basis of the Word of God.

Now is the best time to be saved. The Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2. You, dear reader, do not have to reject salvation outright to be lost. If you simply neglect to receive salvation, the result is the same. There are many people in hell today who, while they were alive, understood how to be saved. They simply neglected their salvation. Listen to the advice of the Bible, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” Hebrews 2:3. “Boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1.

Since these five things are true, won’t you accept Jesus as your Savior NOW?

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S SECOND COMING

No story about Jesus would be complete without mentioning His return to this world. We have already mentioned that at the time His birth was announced to Mary, the angel said, “And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32 & 33. The fulfillment of this promise has not yet taken place, but it certainly will take place. The Savior will return to earth as King of kings to reign forever.

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples for forty days. During this time He taught them and prepared them for the work they would do after He went back to heaven. That work was to preach the gospel to the entire world.

At the end of the forty days, Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem. From there He was taken up into heaven. We read, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said: ‘you men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11.

When is He going to return? We do not know. We do know that His coming will end this Age of Grace, when everyone who wants to can turn to Jesus and believe on Him. When He returns, God’s gracious invitation to all men to be saved will be withdrawn. Listen to God’s Word, “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.

If, on the other hand, we receive Jesus as our Savior, we can look forward to His coming with joy. His coming will be our “glorious hope.” Titus 2:13. The Bible says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17.

You, my dear reader, must choose. When He comes, will you meet Him as your judge or your Savior? Will His coming mean “eternal destruction” or “forever with the Lord” to you? The choice is yours!

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Thursday, June 29, 2017

THE MEANING OF JESUS' RESURRECTION

What does Jesus’ resurrection mean to us today? Before we answer, it is well to remember that the heart of the gospel is Jesus Christ. The gospel does not consist of various religious commands and prohibitions, but rather is taken up with a Person – Jesus Himself. To really understand the gospel we must know Him.

After Jesus was born, He was carried by His parents to the temple in Jerusalem to be offered to God. There was an old man named Simeon in the temple. God had told him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, the promised Savior. When Jesus was brought in, Simon took the Child into his arms and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for mine eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people.” Luke 2:29-31. What he had seen was Jesus. He is God’s salvation.

Salvation then, is simply knowing Jesus. If we know Him we are saved. So then it should be clear that the gospel depends completely on Jesus. If Jesus is not risen, there is no gospel or good news. If He is still dead, the gospel is dead too. But if Jesus is alive, then Christianity is not just one of the world’s many religions, but God’s only way of salvation. The Bible declares this wonderful fact in this way, “But now is Christ risen from the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:20. Therefore, “if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Romans 10:9.

The resurrection of Jesus proves the follow things:

Every word He spoke is true. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by Me.” John 14:6. He arose to prove that this is eternally true. When Jesus was being tried by the Jewish leaders, He was asked by the high priest, “I adjure thee by the living God that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” His answer was, “Thou sayest!” Matthew 26:63 & 64. He claimed to be the Son of God, the promised Savior Who should come into the world. He arose to prove to all men everywhere that He is just that.

He can completely save all from sin. The Bible says, “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.

Our resurrection is assured if we believe on Jesus. If you, dear reader, receive Him as your Savior, you too, will be raised by His mighty power that has defeated death.

There is judgment for all who refuse to trust Him as their Savior. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. Because He has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30 & 31.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S RESURRECTION

The Savior died with these words, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.” Luke 23:46. Thus He made eternal redemption for us, and fully paid the penalty of our sins, even death. Darkness covered the earth as the sun hid its face from that awful scene. A centurion cried out, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” Luke 23:47.

The Bible says that at the very moment of His death, “The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:38. God often uses pictures to show His truth to man. During the time of Moses, He told the Israelites to build the tabernacle, which had three parts. Later this tabernacle was replaced by the more permanent temple, which had the same construction. The first of the three parts of these buildings was the outer court, which all Israelites could enter. The second part was for the priests alone. The third part stood for the very presence of God Himself. It was separated from the rest of the tabernacle or temple by a thick curtain or veil. With this veil God showed man that sinners could not enter into His holy presence. The way into His presence was closed because of sin. Then, when Jesus died, God Himself ripped the curtain in two. The meaning is clear. The way for sinners to approach God was opened by the death of Jesus.

After His death, Jesus’ body was carried away by two of His disciples, Nicodemus and Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. They laid the body in Joseph’s tomb, a cave that had been cut out of a rock. It was almost dark, and the setting sun marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath of rest. His body could not be finally prepared for burial, as the time was too short. He was wrapped in a clean sheet and placed in the cave. Then a large stone was rolled in front of the opening, thus closing the tomb.

Had death really won? Could death conquer Him who said, “I am the resurrection and the life”? IMPOSSIBLE!

Very early on the first day of the week, when the Sabbath had passed, several women came to the cave to complete the preparation for His final burial. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and an angel descended from Heaven. He rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb, and then sat on it. In this way he showed to the women, and to all mankind in every age, that the tomb was empty. The Lord Jesus was not there! The angel said, “Why seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:5 & 6. This is the glorious message of Easter.

After He was raised, Jesus appeared to His disciples on many occasions. He appeared to the women who came to anoint His body, and to Mary Magdalene. Later He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and the same night to His disciples in an upper room. Later He appeared to more than five hundred people at one time to assure all men everywhere that he is ALIVE.

Today Jesus is alive for evermore. He has defeated death for Himself, and for everyone who believes on Him. Because of His resurrection, everyone who believes can joyfully sing, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S DEATH

Man is born to live, but Jesus came to die. He was the Lamb of God, who was born to be sacrificed. He was the Seed of woman who was born that His heel might be bruised. By that suffering, He would crush the serpent’s head, even Satan’s.

It was the Jewish leaders who put Jesus to death. Because of envy they had decided to kill Him. Judas, one of His disciples, had agreed to deliver Him to them for thirty pieces of silver. After this He was taken prisoner and tried. It is clear from John 18:1-12 that in reality He surrendered Himself to be taken. His sentence was crucifixion. He was taken to a hill outside the city of Jerusalem and there crucified with two thieves, one of whom later repented and believed on Him. Luke 23:39-43.

Was it a tragedy? Was His a wasted life? Was it all a mistake? A thousand times NO! He came to die. He said, “Therefore doth the Father love me because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself.” John 10:17 & 18. He was the Lamb of God who willingly offered Himself to redeem us from sin.

The Bible says:

“Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

“For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

While Jesus was hanging on the cross He spoke seven times. Two of these sayings, both of which were with a loud voice, are written below.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli lama sabachthani’, that is to say, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Matthew 27:46. Why did God forsake Him? It was because at that time He was bearing our sin. He was separated from God, His Father, in order that we might live together with Him forever. Our sins have separated us from God in this world, and will eternally separate us from Him in Hell forever. But Jesus paid our penalty, which is death or separation from God. By His sacrifice we can receive the gift of eternal life.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished!’” John 19:30. These words were spoken just before He died. Their meaning is simple. Your penalty, dear reader, has been paid. Your salvation has been purchased, the devil’s work destroyed, and the door to God’s presence fully opened. Praise His Name.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger