By Pastor Michael Frisbee
While talking about salvation and how wonderful it is, and how comforting to know it, a Christian friend said to me, "One day I was standing and talking with a Christian who made the statement, ‘saving faith is the gift of God.’ Immediately I sat down and rested my weary soul and body. From that day I knew I was saved and have been rejoicing in that knowledge and shall forever!"
This Christian learned this from Ephesians 2:8 where we read that "salvation" comes "by grace" (God's favor) "through faith" (confidence in Christ's saving work for us) and Paul tells us, "This (salvation) is not of you" - you are not the source of salvation, you have nothing to do with it, no human can save himself or help in the saving process. It is "a gift ---It is from God" (literally "from God is the gift")
So salvation is God's gift to the person who has faith and puts his trust only in Jesus' sacrifice, therefore "faith is God's gift."
Paul makes this plain when he continues, "It is NOT OF WORKS," Nothing we can do will save us, absolutely nothing so quit trying, my friend! "Lest anyone should boast", God gives it to us so no one can say he saved himself or helped God do it. We boast in what God and Christ did for us on the cross. Not from us, not from our works, but it is by a gift from God---We are saved!
Paul continues to make this clear as he says in verse 10, "For we are His (God's) workmanship"---The only worker in my salvation is God! He did the work on the cross and did the work in my mind and heart when He gave me faith to believe Jesus settled my sin when He died for me. Every Christian is a display of God's saving work by grace, and this began when we put our faith, trust, completely, solely in Christ's sacrifice and it will go on forever as He brings us to Heaven!
"Having been created in Christ Jesus"---We did not create ourselves in bringing us to Christ. God is the only Creator and salvation is as enormous a work as His creating the worlds.
"For good works"---We are not saved by our works. That is God's work but after we know we are saved by God giving us faith in the death and resurrection of Christ we will do good works for Him the rest of our days on earth and in heaven forever---"which God made ready before (we were saved) that we should walk in them" (salvation and works are God's gift).
"OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN ME" Jesus said when we pray, say, "Our Father which art in heaven" Matt. 6:9
Here Jesus tells His disciples; TO PRAY, WHAT TO SAY when we pray, TO WHOM WE ARE TO SPEAK.
(1) We are to address God by the endearing word "FATHER."
(2) We are to be thinking of our brothers and sisters whom our Father has begotten and brought into His great family.
Jesus tells us the direction in which we are to talk to God Our Father, in prayer. "Our Father WHICH ART IN HEAVEN!"
Our Father---God lives in HEAVEN. So to sum up, Jesus teaches His disciples that when we believe on Him as our Saviour we are born into the Family of God and God is no longer our Judge, because He has already passed judgment on our sins when He laid them on Jesus so, the moment we believe, God is changed from Judge to Father!
What a remarkable truth! Believe it, timid friend, who is trusting Jesus, only as your SAVIOUR!
Pray "Our Father Which art in heaven!" Pray to God, call Him your Father, and address your prayers to Him in heaven, His dwelling place. But where is heaven? It certainly is a place. JESUS said He was leaving the world and going back to heaven and to His Father! So heaven is where Jesus is. Phillip said, "We do not know where you are going, we do not know where heaven is located and how can we know how to get there?" Jesus told him and the other disciples, "You don't have to know where heaven is located so you can find it by your efforts. All you need to know is to believe in me for I am the way to heaven and the only way. Trust me and I will bring you to heaven." So we are to pray to OUR FATHER Who is in heaven!
Now here is a wonderful truth. We are to think of God our Father, not only in heaven living now, in OUR OWN hearts, so we can pray "OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN ME" When we believe in Jesus, He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit actually enter our lives, move into our minds, live in these bodies, souls, and spirits, around the clock every year, every month, every day, every second. These three Divine Beings live in every believing heart and go with us everywhere we go. So we pray not only to OUR FATHER Who is IN HEAVEN but to OUR FATHER Who is WITHIN US now and always. We get this tremendous truth from John 14:23, Jesus answered and said unto him, "If a man love me, he will keep my words and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." So not only is heaven a place we will go to when we die or at the Rapture, but heaven is in the believer's heart, now, for the Father, Son, and Spirit live within us, and where God lives is heaven NOW!
THE PERSON WHO LIVES WITH GOD IS ALWAYS AT HOME
A while back this thought came to me and was such a blessing I would like to share it with you. It came to me in days of great trial and I wrote it down and keep it before me constantly because it is so profound.
"To always be living with God has to be the greatest experience a human being can attain."
Moses knew it in the Old Testament days when speaking of the godly in Israel. He said in Psalm 90:1 "Lord, thou has been our dwelling place in all generations." "Dwelling place" carries with it the thought of home. "Lord, you have been our home in all our generations."
In John 15:4 Jesus says "abide in me, and I in you." The word abide in Greek means "to remain, don't go away." In reading through the Gospel of John, I read in John 1:38, "Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say being interpreted, Master) where dwellest thou?" The word 'dwellest' here means to live. They were asking Jesus where He was living. They wanted to come and live with Him. So when Jesus says, "abide in me and I in you" He is saying, "Live in me and I live in you." Abide here means to live with Him. Christ invites us to live with Him, never leave Him nor He us, to remain in each other’s presence, taking no time apart. What an amazing, astonishing truth!
It is a fact that we cannot be with our dearest loved ones unceasingly. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are the only persons we can be with all the time. To live in the presence of God is the greatest joy, blessing, comfort, and wealth of human life. Let's write it down where we can see it constantly.
"The person who lives with God is always at home," and this home is the place where they know all about you and love you anyhow! GLORY!
HOW MANY TIMES DOES A PERSON GET SAVED?
People who do not have faith in Christ are lost! "He that believeth not is condemned already." A brother minister said to me recently, "We are in a great falling away from God," by which we mean most people are worldly, taken up with the things of earth and time, neglecting the Bible and refusing to worship and serve the living God Who gives them their existence. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the Apostle Paul again warns that this Apostasy, this "divorce from God" will come first.
He says that before the "Day of the Lord", the Great Tribulation Period comes on people on the earth as recorded in Revelation, chapters 6 through 19, two terrible things will happen to the human race. First, they will divorce themselves from God; Secondly, they will receive the antichrist, the man of sin, and worship him instead of JESUS CHRIST. I believe we are seeing the beginning of this rejection of God and His Christ now! I heard two men today openly making fun of God's preachers. This is dangerous for God has sent faithful preachers to give the lost sinners His message of salvation from sin, death, judgment and hell, and if they refuse to listen to God's appointed messengers, they are refusing to listen to God. In Deuteronomy 7 God says, "He will repay them to their face.”
So salvation comes to us when God gives us faith, and rewards come to us when we walk each day in the good works God works in us and which He planned for us before He saved us.
Why So Many People Seemingly Get Saved Many Times
Actually we are saved only once and that's the moment we have faith in Christ alone, trust Christ totally, and believe in His perfect atonement. In so many meetings today most of the people who "come forward" are church members, deacons, teachers, and Christian workers. Many of these are distressed because they have never learned that we are to do absolutely nothing to be saved. We are simply to believe what Jesus did for us at the cross when He bore our sins in His own body and destroyed them forever! We are saved by faith. God gives it to us as a gift. God doesn't want us to doubt Him, and His Word is as plain as can be. If I am trusting Christ alone to save me, I don't need the words of any living man to tell me I'm saved. God says we are saved through faith and this is His gift to us. Paul does not seek to get people to doubt their salvation. He does not say, "If you do this or that or many things you will be saved." God's Spirit through Paul says, "if you HAVE FAITH IN CHRIST and nothing else, YOU ARE SAVED." Praise Him!
Why Not Revival?
As we were discussing the Apostasy, a pastor friend raised the question, "Where does the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit come into this falling way from God?" Now we know the Holy Spirit is one of the Three Divine Beings and is God, and is therefore sovereign, meaning He has all power to work in the hearts of people.
However, God gives to men a choice and the Spirit cannot be blamed for refusing to work in the hearts and lives of people who do not love God and do not want to reverence, worship, serve, and obey God. Apostasy is not God's work it is man's. God does not first walk away from man, man walks away from God. Adam and Eve walked away from God in the Garden of Eden. They chose the forbidden fruit and obeyed the voice of Satan and yielded to the tempter rather than to God.
In Romans 1 Paul makes it clear that men started with the knowledge of God, not in ignorance, and deliberately refused to retain God in their knowledge. Read these awful words of the condition of the race in Paul's day and it is just the same today (Romans 1:21-32). When you read this it sounds like a modern TV newscast or newspaper. The race has walked away from God. God has not walked away from humans. He still is speaking through His holy servants. "We beseech you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." However, this day of grace will soon end and the awful "great day of Almighty God" is coming in which He will rise and shake terribly the earth, and only those holy people and holy things that "cannot be shaken" will remain!
No, we cannot blame days of man's apostasy and sin on absence of the Holy Spirit's work. The present day abounding ungodliness and sin is the crime of men, not God. God is grieved and says, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" by sin and unbelief.
A brother minister said to me, "The churches of today have watered down the gospels, even replacing it with worldly beliefs. What should we preach today to have revival?" I suggested two words; preach "conviction" and "grace". Preach so people will be convicted of their sinful and lost condition and then preach the Gospel of the grace of God, which has provided salvation free to everyone who will believe. Decades ago when preachers prepared their messages they searched the Bible to find what messages would convict people that they were lost without Christ and going to Hell. Today it seems that many preachers seek only messages about people's problems and are preaching the love and prosperity of God instead of the lostness of men.
When man sees himself a lost soul he will seek and find Christ and believe in Him. Preaching to lost and unbelieving sinners, the love of God only, gives them, many times a false assurance. "Warn them from me" said God to Ezekiel. Paul says, "knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men." Felix trembled as Paul preached on "righteousness, self control, and judgment to come." We don't find many people trembling today under our preaching.
To sum it up, if you are trusting only JESUS CHRIST having paid for your sins, you are saved. If HE paid it all there is nothing left for you to pay. If you are not trusting Christ alone, but trying to make it on your own or add to His finished work you are dishonoring Christ and dishonoring God's faithful Word and His Holiness will destroy you. You cannot meet this Holy God in your sins. If you will throw away all hope anywhere else and trust CHRIST alone you are saved, NOW!