Summary: As born-again believers we can "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" when we live in the knowledge that we are "SAVED BY HIS GRACE AND KEPT BY HIS POWER"!
SAVED BY HIS GRACE AND KEPT BY HIS POWER
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." I Peter 1:3-5.
I. WHO ARE THOSE WHO CAN REJOICE IN KNOWING THEY ARE "SAVED BY HIS GRACE AND KEPT BY HIS POWER"?
This promise is given only to the born-again Christian. Church membership, baptism, recitation of a doctrinal creed, liberality in giving of time and money without a new-birth experience will only lead to eternal disappointment. The scripture makes clear the distinction between the redeemed believer and the superficial, or casual, professed believer. Let us consider:
1. The born-again believer ("a new creation in Christ Jesus unto love and good works"):
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever.” I Peter 1:23
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
2. The superficial believer (one who merely professes verbally but "not unto salvation"):
“Not every one who says unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out demons? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
3. How the Bible says we can distinguish between the two:
(a) By their fruits:
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:18-20
Evil Fruits Described:
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.
Good Fruits Described:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good-ness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23