Saved by God’s Grace
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Last week I talked about how God has gone to great lengths to know us personally and how He has demonstrated His interest in each and every person He has created. God never intended for us to be separated from Him but because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden we are now born into a condition that labels us as a sinner.
A Sinner is someone who willfully disobeys God. That is who we are.
We have inherited this condition from Adam and Eve. Unfortunately it’s not the kind of inheritance anyone would want to receive.
The Bible tells us that we are born this way.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
I know what some people think how can a new born baby be a sinner?
Well that baby is a descendant of Adam and Eve and as a result sin is part of that baby’s DNA. The baby hasn’t done a thing to be called a sinner but sin has attached itself to that baby through its family tree. It is a condition of human birth.
God in His wisdom and mercy saw this problem for what it was and God set in place a system by which people’s sins could be forgiven.
That system was entrusted to a Chosen People called the Nation of Israel. In order to have sins forgiven it would be necessary for blood to be shed. So God instituted a system of sacrificing animals for the atonement of human sins.
Leviticus 17:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
This forgiveness system established by God worked pretty well except that people would need to kill an animal time and time again for every time they sinned. It was a one for one kind of a system. But people being what they are do not stop sinning after one or two times.
Some of us do it time and time and time again until our sins add up to the hundreds and thousands.
To forgive all those sins for all those people would most likely wipe out all the earth's species of animals used for sacrifices. We would still be left with all kinds of people and all kinds of sin that needed to be forgiven but we would have no way to do it since all the animals would be gone.
So God in His amazing grace decided on a better way.
God would make Himself an offering for our sins. God would offer His blood. Such an offering would be perfect since God is perfect and such an offering would be Holy since God is Holy, Holy, Holy and such an offering would be complete in that it would cover the sins of the past the sins of the present and the sins of the future.
It could do this not for just one Nation of people but for every person who put their faith and trust in God’s grace to forgive them.
That grace was Jesus Christ as Ephesians Chapter 2 tells us. It is for whosoever believes.
16 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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The Bible tells us of a man who had trusted in the old system of animal sacrifice named Nicodemus. He came to Jesus at night and Jesus explained to him that in order to see the Kingdom of God a person would have to be born again. John 3:1-4
That strange phrase by Jesus meant that a person would have to die to their old nature or sinful human nature that they were born with and that they would have to be born again to a new nature a spiritual nature. Jesus went on to say “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5
So you would have to die to your old nature in order to see the Kingdom of God and you would have to be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Again Jesus explained that a person would have to be “born of water and the Spirit”.
Even though Jesus was the Son of God He demonstrated what this death and new birth would look like when He was Baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
Jesus showed us that we had to make a public demonstration that we were walking away from our old life of sin never to return to it by stepping into the waters of Baptism to be held under the water as a kind of burial of our old human nature and that our rising out of the water was a kind of new birth a birth to a new life free from the sins of our past, present and future.
Those sins could only be completely washed away by the blood of a perfect sacrifice. So Jesus became the “Lamb of God” and took on the sins of the world past, present and future sins so that all those who put their faith in Him might be saved to an everlasting life.
Sin had always resulted in death for human beings but through Jesus even death was destroyed as Jesus rose from the dead. "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: John 11:25
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This dear ones is what “Salvation” is and it is held out to any who would receive it.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
If you have questions about “Salvation” or “Baptism” or forgiveness from sin please speak to me and together we can find the answers in Jesus. - Amen