A few weeks ago during our study of, "The Sermon on the Mount", we saw that many people miss the Narrow Way to God in His Plan of Salvation because they are led astray by so many false teachings in these last days. And how our self-focused world is so good at teaching these false doctrines which are quickly swallowed down by many who do not want to hear the Truth. But also by many that are sadly victims through ignorance, not knowing enough to discern what they are hearing.
They adopt the false beliefs they are surrounded by in the comfort of tradition, never questioning popular teachings which have no real Scriptural basis. When comments like this are made, we immediately think of well-known denominations such as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses or the Progressive Movement. But do you realize that many, many main-stream churches in which we have grown up through the years teach a number of things about our very Salvation that are more culture and tradition oriented than God-oriented? Many people today have completely unbiblical views of what Salvation through Christ, and the life which a true disciple should biblically lead after their conversion is truly is all about. Because we have been sold a comfortable, easy-believism salvation which has no true commitment or love involved and appeals to our luke-warm, busy, self-centered lives, but totally lacks any real passion or love of a True Believer. And in the last few years, even more false, and crowd-pleasing beliefs have been added to this already shaky foundation, until many of us today have no clue as to what God had in mind for us in His Original Plan at all. Because the basis for many of our beliefs today center around what God can do for us; believing that God's first and foremost plan is just to see us happy and blessed; believing He has already done it all and we aren't expected to do anything; believing it is so about us that we can be what we want, and live as we want, and He will just be happy we blessed Him with our presence; believing that we can repeat a few special words in an emotional moment, one time, back there in life somewhere, and that makes us a Christian. Well, for this one moment, drop everything you think you have learned about God and His plan of salvation, and listen intently so that Scriptures might reveal plain, open Truth. And many of you may find that you have comfortably believed things for years which Jesus Christ simply never taught, and some of those beliefs are not only wrong—they are dead wrong. Teaching us to be contented and comfortable in lives that were never really given to Christ as we've always believed, taking us down a self-serving path of false confidence, which ends in death. Let's answer some of the top questions and misconceptions about Salvation which are believed by many today—one by one—and it may just give you a completely new outlook on what it means to accept Christ. And it may just save your life.
Let's start by answering a couple of questions and misconceptions about God's Plan of Salvation that we all may have asked at one time or another. Many people ask, even more quietly ponder: "If God is a God of love, why doesn't He just make a way to save everyone?" Make no mistake—there is nothing that God would like more, even more than you or I could ever want or imagine: 2 Peter 3:9: but because God is a God of love, He doesn't just want perfect acting robots in a perfect world. He desires what all of us desire—a real and passionate love. That requires the free will and choice of another. Would our free will even be real if God simply changed or forced our mindset and obedience through His own Power? That would make us simply puppets, and it would make Him sadistic, not loving. And if He simply revealed Himself in a spectacular and undeniable way, which would make all accept and believe He was real, so that all could accept and be saved, He still would have accomplished nothing, because many still would not have accepted Him out of True love and desire; only out of selfishness for things, fear or self-preservation—and that is worse than simply being programmed to love. God proved this fact when He revealed Himself in awesome and supernatural ways to the Israelites, only for them to eventually complain and rebel anyway, because it was not their ability to believe, that was the problem, it was their desire to love and trust Him more than themselves. And just think this through to the end for a moment—if many people were saved and in Heaven for the sole reason of fear for self or because they just wanted things only He could give them, how many would truly even be happy in a world of selfless loving, living and serving one another? Heaven would be Hell to them, and it would only be a matter of time before another rebellion began—with more pain, suffering and death.
Another big misconception by the majority of the outside world is this: when the average person is asked why they think they will make it to Heaven, their response is something along these lines: "I think I am basically a good person, so I believe that God would accept me into Heaven!" Well, first of all, again, God is not just interested in good conduct and righteous action. He didn't sacrifice Himself just to make us legalistically jump through hoops and act better. He died to save our souls and change our hearts. He died to have a committed, personal love relationship. And secondly, look at reality: does doing good works guarantee anything about the heart behind them? Isaiah 64:6. Good works can be done out of a heart of complete evil and selfishness; out of fear of consequences; out of desire to get what is wanted in return; even out of pride and desire to be recognized. Good works can be one of the biggest sources of self-focus and even evil intent, while feeling good about self. What good are nice actions (especially self-serving) if there is no real love? Could a "self-loving" spouse be super good to you in order to manipulate you or even look good to others for their reputation? And have no love, commitment, passion or interest in you—is that a very good relationship? Will it last and grow? (True marriage is both giving!) God is in it for the love. God knows that no amount of good deeds could remove the seed of selfishness and evil that grows in each of us, and no good deeds could remove the guilt of sins already committed in our lives. Someone once told me they felt sorry for a murderer they knew, because they'd never be able to make up the sin they committed with enough good to make it to Heaven now. In the eyes of a perfectly loving, Holy God, that is how all of our evil hearts look. So, we either pay the penalty, which we cannot, or have Someone pay it for us: Ephesians 2:8-9. He doesn't want us to struggle and hope in fear that we are good enough; He wants us to realize He loves us so much we don't even have to worry about what we've done. Just trust Him, and relax in His love and know He will do whatever it takes to be sure we get to go home with Him! And that, "whatever it takes" is a high price to pay.
And lastly, a huge misconception many falsely believe is this: "True love doesn't judge! And my God is a God of love, so I don't have to change who I am for Him to accept me." "He will accept me just as i am, or He doesn't truly love me, and neither do you." So many may quickly apply this only to current "alternate lifestyles" (And what we will study does apply to lifestyles out of God's Plan- so please listen if that is where you are.) But, so many who would never say this is what they believe are living their lives in total confidence this lie is true. Every "Casual Christian" who thinks God is so slack and desperate they can continue a life devoted to everything but Him—some living in constant sexual sin, some in substance abuse, some in unforgiveness, selfishness and bitterness, some simply chasing their own dreams, desires and goals, living as they want with little thought of Him in their plans—feeling completely safe, because God has to still be there for them, because He is a God of love that can be abused and taken for granted like a desperate parent willing to do anything to keep their child—is living a lie, and according to Scriptures has never truly loved or trusted Christ. [Did you get that?] This kind of talk is such a "sound-good", but misleading smokescreen. The very first and most serious problem with the entire thought process is simply this—it is usually spoken by people who have a passion for their lifestyles or habitual sins which far exceeds any love they may claim for God. Because real and true love always involves sacrifice, selflessness and servitude to the One loved. As Christ gave absolutely everything and changed absolutely everything in His life to have a chance to love us—just as we were when He found us, rebellious and sinful: Romans 5:8-10. So, don't you dare ever say that Jesus doesn't love you just as you are again. We’ve said before—the question isn't whether He loves you, but, do you love Him? Because anyone knowing He is truly God, that really wanted to love Him back with all their heart, and not just use Him for their own security and blessings, would, without hesitation, be willing to give anything, change anything, in return for all He has changed and done for them, even when they were at their worst, in order to please Him. If they do not have the trust, obedience and desire to do so after He has done so much for their love, they will never have the desire to love anyone but self, in real sacrifice and servitude as God is teaching us. Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation, but Salvation starts with us—with the one and only thing He requires of us in His Plan of Salvation (a Covenant takes two)—repentance. If you and I are so good and acceptable the way our lives, hearts and minds are right now, please tell me why He gave up everything and died horribly to give us a chance to be saved from it? Salvation at It's core is to recognize that I am not okay, that I am fallen, and dirty, and wrong in my thoughts and wants; that my way is selfish and unloving, and then to repent of those ways and asking Him to erase those sins through His Sacrifice, and asking Him to help me to live the way He meant for me to live all along in love and selflessness; knowing I cannot do it perfectly in my sinful nature, but knowing that I recognize the sins and strive to love more perfectly. If repentance is not where we begin in our acceptance of Jesus' Salvation, we do not even really believe we need, nor do we want, His Salvation! we just want a religion to suit us—a ticket to blessings. What do you think the term, "Saved" even means? What are we supposed to be saved from? Our sins. The way that we show Jesus Christ we trust Him, believe Him, and love Him, is by coming to Him with a broken, repentant heart, desiring to do away with anything in our lives that He says will separate us from Him and from loving others in truth and wisdom. The very act of repentance is literally to die to our old selfish, terrible ways, and give total commitment to a new life which is Holy, different from anything we've lived before. Ephesians 4:17-24. If there is one single thing in your life you would say, "no" to giving up in order to have Him... you don't want him like he wants you! you don't trust him as your creator, god and savior...and you need to see the truth, that it is not a matter of Him accepting you, but you accepting Him. How could God be a God of true Holiness? Or a God that loved everyone else, if He allowed every selfish and ignorant sinful way to enter into the Kingdom He has made for our joy and protection? It would be like allowing thieves, murderers and rapists into our own homes with our families because we just wanted to love them as they were. Real trust, true love will bring unhesitant, passionate change to every area our lives are displeasing to the One Who loves us.
So, if you trust His wisdom and ways more than your own; if you love Him more than your own life, prove it by dying with Him and rising a new person. But if you are believing that He just has to accept you as you are, or you are feeling secure in living any way you want because you had that moment when you made a profession of faith and asked Jesus to come into your heart, then let the very words of Scripture help you decide if you are truly saved and secure in Him or not: 1 John 3:4-10. He loves us so much; H has given up so much in His deep love for you, and He wants and deserves absolutely no less. If you want H, it has to be no holds barred, all in love; not divided, half-hearted love. salvation is all Jesus! You can do nothing for it. But have you ever truly wanted His Love, or just protection and blessings? (Ever given Him all of you?)
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