John and Ashley had a great first date. Dinner under candle light. A walk by the ocean under the moon light. They talked for hours about life, love, and everything in between. John was walking Ashley back to her house when he started hinting he might want a kiss to end the night. Ashley wasn't so sure and smiled the subject away. When they finally arrived at her house all the lights were out and it appeared that everyone was asleep for the night. John leaned against the door-jamb and looked longingly into Ashley's eyes. Using his smoothest, most charming voice he asked, "Didn't you have a good time?" Ashley answered back quickly, "Oh, yes! I... I just want my first kiss to be special. To be about love, not just feelings." Thinking quickly John responded, "That's just it. I think I love you more than anyone I've ever known. I just want to show you." Ashley didn't say anything. She was looking at the ground not wanting to hurt John's feelings and risk not getting to see him again. John tried on more time, "It's just a kiss. It would mean a lot to me." At that moment the porch light came on and the door opened. Ashley's little sister was standing there looking half asleep but said firmly, "Dad says just kiss him. And if you won't that I should. And if I don't want to do it he will come down and kiss him himself. But will ask him to please quit leaning against the intercom button?"
am having a hard time figuring out why people who claim the name of
Jesus don't seem to understand or know that Jesus was very clear in what
he was here to do for us and what he wanted to us to do for him. I've
heard the Salvation by Grace side. And the Forgiveness by works side.
And then there is the Jesus Will Save Everyone No Matter What They Do.
That one just makes me laugh. And a whole slew of ideas in between. You
would think that what God wants for us and from us would be the easy
answer and the how would be the hard one. But for some reason everyone
has got this backwards. Everyone is so sure on prayer, worship, church,
giving, missions, and personal study. But hell would freeze over if you
ever got the same answer from two people about what the Gospel is and
what the Gospel requires. It's like knowing what to do while in school,
but not knowing how to apply.
I have some shocking
news. Salvation isn't by grace or works...technically. Jesus said the
first and greatest commandment is love him with all your heart, soul,
mind, and strength. He also said if you love me you will obey me. So
loving Jesus means obedience to the commandments. Whoa! That sounds an
awful lot like the Old Covenant! You can hold that order and the chips
too, right? But then Jesus also went on to say that once you have done
everything he told you to do to call yourselves unworthy servants for
you have only done your duty. Ugh... this is getting confusing. Are we
under the law or aren't we? Is it grace or obedience? Earned or free?
The thing about Jesus and the Bible as a whole is that you have to read
it as a whole not in parts. Sounds exhausting, but there is no other way
to go about it. And don't trust anyone else to do it for you. Just
because they say they have been to Bible college and read it cover to
cover does not mean they are not lying, do not believe them. Read it for
yourself and get to know the Shepherds voice. That way no matter who
you are listening to you will not be led astray because you will know if
it comes from Him or not.
Thankfully, Jesus didn't
leave us hanging on this most fundamental, elementary step. The answer
is simple, it's just not easy. And He did that on purpose. Those who
seek will find. But those who do not seek will not find. No one stumbles
upon the truth of God without effort. He doesn't allow it. I'll give
you the simple run down, but it is up to you to search out the truth of
this. You must know it for yourself in your heart. Knowledge of the head
seems the same as knowledge of the heart, but it is not and it is a
pseudo foundation to stand upon and you will fall when the storm comes.
The truth is it is grace and works. Jesus requires that we give Him
everything and He gives us everything in return. Jesus is offering us a
trillion dollars in gold and we are staring at him blankly and saying,
"I don't have anywhere close to a trillion dollars!" and He replies,
"Okay, give me everything in your pockets." and then we pull out a
crumpled dirty five dollar bill and he gives us the full reward. People
get all fussy about those who say we must do things to qualify for
salvation and say, "You can't earn the gift of salvation!" That's true.
What you bring to the table is basically worthless. These say that you don't have to do anything to be saved except to
believe in Jesus. Don't you know that even the demons believe, and
shudder? The other side of
the fence gets all fussy when you say that it isn't our actions that give us entrance to the throne room. They say that our actions garner us rewards in heaven. That is also true. But God doesn't owe you anything. It is His generous nature that awards you your rewards. Believe me, you do not want Jesus bringing out the balance sheets of your life and paying out accordingly. The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. Even if you lived a perfectly correct life it would not equal the value of the trade that Jesus is making. Only the priceless God being offered in payment for the gift is sufficient. You owed the bank. He stepped in and payed your bill. Now He expects you to give-pay Him everything you have got even though it will fall far short of the balance originally due.
If you correlate yourself with the name
of Jesus at all it behooves you to find out the truth and sweep of what
this means. Don't forget the words of Jesus in Revelations, "I know your
deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or
the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You
say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But
you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and
naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in
the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can
cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you
can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So
be earnest, and repent." You will know a tree by it's fruit; and salt
water and fresh water can not come the same stream. The secret and
mystery of salvation is passion. Passionate pursuit of Jesus and all
that He is. Jesus judges the motivations of the heart. You can do right
with the wrong motives and be condemned. Or you can do wrong with the
right motives and be forgiven. But the key is to quit lying to yourself
about why you do what you do and your actions will start to change
dramatically. Seek the truth, repent, and never look back. We are the
Bride and He is the Bridegroom. Jesus is looking for a hot date. I will
leave you with this simple, but profound mathematical truth:
1 x 1 = 1, valuable.
(-1) x (-1) = 1, workable.
1 x (-1) = -1, worthless.
Feel free to comment or ask questions!