Our Salvation

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it.

By Tom Chase

So Sunday is Easter! The day we celebrate and remember—and hopefully even party because of — what Christ has done for us! What is it that Christ has done for us? He has given us salvation! That salvation is so much deeper and richer than I have previously been able to articulate and realize. I don’t think I even yet fully comprehend it all.

What I am about to share with you is largely from what Stuart McAllister shared as part of a panel discussion with Ravi Zacharias. He answered a question about our struggle with being spiritually transformed when our hearts fails to match the will of God. His answer takes us back to the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. It’s found in what Jesus has done for us — salvation!

Here is what I mean:

1) I am saved from the penalty of sin.

In reality, I am a struggler in this Christian walk. Maybe you, too, would agree not only about my walk but also about your own walk. My heart does not always match the will of God. I am a sinner. But the gospel message is that when I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, He saves me. So because of gospel, I can confidently say that I am saved. Jesus has taken away my sins. I am secure in my eternal destination. So I am saved from the penalty of sin.

2) I am being saved from the power of sin.

Sometimes the gospel message can be oversold, and we say God’s salvation will do things that it does not. As a result, we can become extremely discouraged about our present walk.

I can say, “I am saved,” and that is true. But at times the message becomes, “Jesus makes our lives better,” which is just as true, but not always in the ways anticipated by that general statement. So the message can then become, “Accepting Jesus will automatically fix everything in our lives. Suddenly, everyone will like me, there will be no more conflict, my work will be easy, my athletic abilities will become legendary, my spouse will become better looking, my kids will become smarter and perfectly behaved.” This simply is not what salvation does for us. Everything is not perfect in life or in us. Paul reminds us about our struggles in Romans 7:

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do … For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it … Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Our old nature rises up. We end up doing the very things we don’t want to do. For whatever reason, God has left us here with the sinful nature, and an internal struggle ensues.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

So it should not surprise us that we are in a battle. Again, at the end of Romans 7, Paul says Who will rescue us—and it is Jesus Christ our Lord!  It is His salvation again. I am being saved. We are being sanctified, that is, becoming more and more like Jesus over time. I am being saved from the power of sin!

3) I will be saved from the presence of sin.

This last one is no less true than the others. When we are called into the presence of God and our final days here are done, we will be in the presence of the almighty God where there is no sin. There will be no more sickness, pain, and tears. The culmination of all that God through Jesus Christ has intended for us will be complete. We will have eternity to revel in it all and I will be saved from the presence of sin!

So as we celebrate Easter this year I am reminded of all God has done for us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Because of Him, I am, am being, and will be saved, from the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin. What God through Christ has done for us is simply amazing. Doesn’t that make you just want to lean into Him?

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it.

Updating My OS

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it.

By Dan Amos

This week my primary computer’s operating system (OS) will no longer be supported and updated. This makes it vulnerable to malicious attacks. Using it out in public, on the Internet, is dangerous and liable to cause failure. Fortunately, my personal OS is eternally guaranteed.

Like my computer, my personal OS is under constant threat of malicious attacks, but it has unbeatable defenses.

  • I have 24/7 support directly from the Manufacturer with zero wait time. Any time I want, I can access my Maker with any question, comment, request, and even complaint. And with real-time monitoring, He already knows my issues and unfailingly promises to be by my side—and He has a 100% perfect track record.
  • I have a user’s manual written specifically to teach me about relationship and interaction with my Maker. This manual, the Bible, is available on my computer, tablet, smart phone, and even in handy hard copies in multiple languages and translations. There’s really no excuse for not reading it every day.
  • All of this is complimentary, by grace. Support, documentation, and an eternal upgrade were all paid for at no cost to me.

In a week we will celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. That payment covered all my faults and flaws, something I could never do on my own. It’s an all-inclusive, no-restrictions guarantee backed with the victorious words, HE IS RISEN!”

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it.

Secular Bananas

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it.

Secular Bananas

By Nate Champneys

This is an amazing world. Everywhere you look you see amazing things crying out that there is a God and He is an amazing artist. Take a walk through the woods and observe a spider crafting a web; it skillfully engineers its web with a substance it naturally excretes from its web spinners, a substance that has a tensile strength many times stronger than steel. Walk under a tree one hundred feet tall; its root structure spreads out for a mile and somehow, miraculously, opposing gravity, carries water to the very tops of the tree. Amazing.

It’s also amazing how we as Christians can look at the natural world and say all of these things declare the glory of God, but we look at many things about humanity and we make a huge distinction between “secular” and “Christian,” between holy and pagan. I remember having a moment as I walked through the streets of Chicago and took in the city skyline. It occurred to me that, just as I give glory to God for the amazing spider, God really deserves the glory for even things like city skyscrapers. It didn’t make me ask the question, “I wonder if the designer of these buildings was a Christian.” It didn’t matter. All of creation, including skyscrapers made by pagans, cry out that our God is amazing. What an amazing creation God made when he created mankind in His image with the ability to create.

As a worship leader who has been making music since I was in elementary school, people love to tell me how gifted I am. Now I could take this as a compliment and an ego boost, but I really take it as words of praise to God. We call the things that I can do musically “gifts.” But who really gets credit for a gift, the receiver or the giver? When you step back and realize that this really is His world and thus it is He that receives glory for all the wonder in it, it opens up so many things for which to give Him praise.

Take music for example. As Christians we tend to have a strong awareness of whether or not a song is “Christian.” If music was written by a Christian artist, then it is crowned as “Christian.” If it is written by a non-Christian artist, then it is dubbed “secular.” Now I am not saying that all music is the same and should be treated equally, but problems arise when we toe the line of distinction too fiercely.

Take the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman, a “Christian” artist. A song about a father and his growing daughter, it doesn’t use the word “God,” “Jesus,” “Bible,” or any other religious words. Yet this song is played on every Christian radio station in the country. Even though the song is missing all of these things, as a father, I can’t help but listen to it in worship and praise to God for giving me my beautiful daughters. The sad reality is that if the same song were written by Mumford and Sons, you can bet that it would not be played even once on a Christian station. There is a song written by Lonestar called “My Front Porch Looking In” that is all about a father who has traveled all around the country for his job and has seen amazing things; however, he feels that the best view in the world is standing on his front porch looking in the window at his beautiful family. I listen to that song and dance with my children, and I have a moment of worship that brings me to tears as I think about how much God has blessed me and how much I don’t deserve His rich blessings.

So I’m NOT saying there is no difference in music. I AM saying that we should be careful not to write things off as “non-Christian” or “secular” and miss out on many special opportunities to worship our Creator. Rather, I think things should be evaluated on the basis of whether it’s pointing you toward a closer relationship with Jesus or whether it’s pointing you away.

I was eating a banana the other day, and as I was opening the peel, it dawned on me just how amazing the banana was. I thought about the amazing peel that is perfectly designed to easily come open but at the same time to protect the fruit from bugs and bacteria. I thought about how bananas aren’t juicy like other fruits, but rather are almost creamy. In that moment I said, “Jesus, bananas really are amazing. They really are like no other fruit you have made.” I wasn’t eating a “Christian” banana; rather, I am sure that many people with broken lives like my own were involved in the farming of it. And yet, it was still something for which Jesus deserves glory. This is His world that He created. And although it has been tainted by our sin, Jesus still deserves glory for His amazing creation, secular or not.

“For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; [or spider webs, skyscrapers, or bananas J ] all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

–Colossians 1:16

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it.