Summary: There are many partnerships in life: business partners, marriage partners, law partners, etc. People who decide to come together under a specific cause and work toward a mutual goal. Today I'll be talking about our partnership with Jesus and each other.
IT'S A PARTNERSHIP
There are many partnerships in life: business partners, marriage partners, law partners, etc. People who decide to come together under a specific cause and work toward a mutual goal. Speaking of marriage, Christians are called the bride of Christ-that makes us partners with him. We are connected and in agreement with Christ. We have chosen to take on the work of the kingdom. Today I'll be talking about the value of our partnership with Jesus and with each other.
1) Salvation is a partnership.
Before we became Christians we were partners with Satan. I know it sounds weird to think of it that way, since we didn't live in a willing partnership with the devil. But our nature was a sinful one; we didn't have the Holy Spirit living in us before salvation. That doesn't mean we sinned 24/7, but our mode of operation was not to serve God.
We weren't interested in finding out what God's will was, we did our will; we served self. So, since we weren't serving God that means we were serving Satan. There's only two choices-God or Satan. In Rom. 5 and Col. 1, Paul describes us as enemies of God before we were saved. An enemy is not a partner; we were not on God's team.
But then we came to the Lord; we got a new partner. Our salvation is not all God's doing. There was a partnership there. God does his part and we do our part. But what about
Eph. 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
See, Derrick, it says salvation is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God. If we have any part in it then we can have a reason to boast. Here's the thing-grace is totally a God thing. And faith is too-in that the ability to have faith comes from God. I will not have faith apart from God giving me the ability to.
However, having the ability to believe doesn't mean that I will choose to believe. Rom. 6:23 says eternal life is a gift of God through Christ. But, when someone offers a gift, what do we need to do to benefit from it? We need to receive it; we need to open it. We have the choice to open the gift or reject the gift. Therefore, my salvation took place because God did his part and I did mine; I responded in faith.
But if I play a part, isn't that a work? No. When Paul said, "not by works" he means man's effort alone. I can't do anything to earn God's favor. My good deeds will not pay for my ticket to heaven. In Acts 2, when Peter's audience asked him what they needed to do, he told them to repent and be baptized.
He wasn't telling them something contrary to Eph. 2:8-9; he wasn't preaching salvation by works. In repenting and being baptized, I'm not trying to earn my salvation, I'm responding to what God said for me to do to receive it.
Therefore, in order for me to be saved, there needed to be a partnership. God provided the grace and the ability to have faith, Jesus supplied the sacrifice to pay for my sins, but I needed to respond to what was done for me in order to receive that precious gift.
There are those who believe that we really had nothing to do with our salvation; that it was inevitable that we were going to be saved because we were predestined to respond to the gospel; we were chosen. While the bible does use words like chosen and predestined, it's not meant to imply that certain people were predetermined to be saved and some weren't.
Like God just picked at random who was going to heaven and who wasn't. God isn't up there going eeny-meeny-minee-mo. God is a just God so he's not going to allow someone to go to hell who never had an opportunity to repent. That would go against his nature of love.
John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that he sent Jesus. And 2 Pet. 3:9 says that God wishes that no one would perish. Plus, it goes against free will. There has to be choice. God doesn't want robots, he wants people who choose to love and serve him.
So, God provides the means for salvation, but we have to decide if we want to be.
2) Sanctification is a partnership.
So now that we've come to the Lord we need to continue in our partnership with him. We need to grow. 1 Pet. 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."