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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

Is it our job as Christians to convert the unsaved? Are we to force our views and beliefs on others so that they might come to God? My answer would be no.

We are to follow Christ and love others. We are to let the Holy Spirit convict and lead people to the Father.

GoodNews

We cannot convert others. We cannot make them come to Christ by forcing our views and beliefs on them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin and lead them to repentance.

So often we are taught we need to use every opportunity to preach salvation to everyone we meet. We end up using sneaky methods to force conversations trying to convert others. We are told their blood with be on our hands if we do not tell them about Christ. I feel loving others with ulterior motives is wrong and does more harm than good.

Jesus said to love God and love others. Apart from that we have nothing more to do than to be available to Him and allow the Spirit to work and love through us. If we are talking with someone or enjoying their company, there is no need to force the topic into trying to convert them. If the Spirit so chooses to use us, we are to be available but we are not to force the issue.

We are called to make disciples, but disciples would be those who already have a relationship with Christ. The dictionary describes a disciple as ‘a professed follower of Christ’. We are to be there to encourage and build one another up to grow into maturity in Christ.

The good news is that God loves us. He has provided freedom from the effects of sin and has restored fellowship between God and his creation. By being judgmental, pointing fingers, threatening and using other means to force others to accept Christ, we end up driving people away rather than draw them by love.

GodIsLove

When we show the love of God to others and accept them as they are, people will be drawn to Christ easier than through condemning and threatening ways. This does not mean we have to agree with everyone or say you can live anyway you want with no consequences. Yet we can show the love of Christ to non-believers and accept them without expecting them to change and start acting like we think they should. God accepted us as we were before we came to Him and we should do the same. If there is any changing that needs to be done, that will be between God and the individual through the guidance of the Spirit.

In love, share the good news to those you meet when led by the Spirit. Encourage and make disciples of those who know Christ. Stop trying to force salvation on non-believers through ‘holier than thou’ attitudes, guilt and condemnation. Love is the answer, and God is love.

 

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I have noticed a very common saying recently in regard to the violence and killings that have made the headlines. It is heard on TV, online and in the newspapers. The saying is ‘our thoughts and prayers are with you’.

It actually sounds really nice and many times it is the only thing people can come up with when they do not know what else to say.

Unfortunately, it only sounds good and does nothing to help make a difference or to cause change.

Thoughts and Prayers WordPress

So often people say this because they do not know what else to do. I certainly believe in prayer to ask God for peace and comfort for the people involved. I also believe in prayer seeking guidance from God for things to do that will help make a change.

Yet many people use this saying because they do not think they are able to do anything to make a change, and often they do not want to make the effort to make changes. So, they make themselves feel better by saying our thoughts and prayers are with you.

In James 2:16 we have a similar situation when people would say “go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet they did not give what was necessary for their body, and what use was that? This falls right in line with James 2:26 which says, for just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Obviously good works do not earn our salvation, but good works will be a result of our salvation. To put it another way we can say that love without works is dead. Saying you love someone but doing nothing to show that love is not real love.

Using good sounding words usually only makes the one saying it feel better. But putting action to our words can make a difference and truly show love and concern to those who are hurting.

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When we hear someone talk about the Kingdom of God, usually our first thought is a place in the distant future. A place we go when we die and leave this earth. It is where God lives somewhere way up in the sky, a place where we will live with Him forever.

Yet, when reading about the Kingdom of God in the bible, it sounds to me it is not some far away, future place. It is right now, and right here. A place where we live daily with our Father. Jesus said in John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”. To me, if God has made his home with us, then we are certainly living in the Kingdom of God.

Kingdom of God 3

Jesus mentioned that the Kingdom of God is within us. He said that we were to ask that God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

The following excerpt from the article ‘Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God’ found on colsoncenter.org website is a brief explanation of the Kingdom of God:

The Hebrew word for kingdom is malkut and its Greek counterpart is basileia. Both terms primarily mean “rule” or “reign.” Only secondarily do they denote a realm, sphere, or territory over which a rule or reign is exercised. Both terms have a dynamic or active meaning, and refer to the exercise of God’s power, dominion, or sovereignty.

So then, we see that the expression “Kingdom of God” does not refer to heaven or the church or the heart or to moral reform or to a future realm. Rather it refers to the active, dynamic exercise of God’s rule, authority, dominion, and power in the world!

So when John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand, he meant that God’s rule was just about to break into the world through the Messiah. When Jesus Christ Himself preached and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, He meant that in and by Himself, God was exercising His power and authority in a redemptive way against all the evil in the world!

In short, the Kingdom of God is the rule of God manifested in Christ to bring redemption to the earth. No wonder the Kingdom is the central theme of the New Testament! …

Another good point is made on the web site thegospelcoalition.org, stating: Jesus is the kingdom. Where the king is, there is the kingdom. This is precisely why Jesus says to the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21)…

 

Kingdom of God 1

I have come to believe more and more that the Kingdom of God is not necessarily talking about the coming heavenly kingdom, but it is our life with God right here and now. Our old, earthly man was crucified with Christ on the cross and a new man was raised up with Christ. Jesus is our king, and we are living with him in his kingdom every day.

 

Another interesting perspective on the Kingdom of God entitled ‘What is the Kingdom of God about?’ and written by Susanne Schuberth, can be found at the following link:

https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/what-is-the-kingdom-of-god-about/

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When we talk about the Word of God, we usually think of the Bible.

If someone says the Bible is just a book, we get all offended and ready to voice our opinion that the Bible is the Word of God.

Not to sound sacrilegious, but sometimes we can actually make too much of the Bible. People will hold it up and say it is the word of God and worship it more than we worship Christ. Christ is the true Word of God as mentioned in John 1:1. He is the living and powerful Word and His Spirit lives within us.

The Word

Many times we Christians focus so much on The Bible that we forget we have the living Word of God inside of us. The Holy Spirit, who is God in spirit form, just as Jesus was God in human form, lives within us.

In John 5:39 and 40, Jesus told the religious leaders “you study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life”. The religious leaders of the day spent so much time studying the scriptures that they missed the Living Word standing right in front of them.

There is certainly nothing wrong with reading the Bible, as it is God inspired. Through it we can learn from the past, we see the story of redemption throughout, we come to know the love God has for us and how he purchased our salvation through Christ. We learn what pleases God and we come to know that it is only by Grace that we are in right standing with God.

The Bible teaches us the Law and how we humans are completely unable to live a life pleasing to God through the law. The law was our tutor to bring us to realize that we need God’s grace through Christ.

The Bible teaches us of the freedom we now have in Christ and that only by His grace can we live a life pleasing to Him. There is nothing that we can do on our own to earn or deserve what He has done for us.

We need to focus on Jesus. He is the true and living Word of God. It is when we focus on Christ and listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit within us that the written words will come alive with power and meaning.

I like this statement by Mick Mooney, “Above all, trust the Spirit of God in you to guide you. It helps to remember that the Bible is a testimony of the life and finished work of Jesus, not the guide for your life; your Guide abides within you. Certainly the Bible has an important place in our faith walk, but it should never replace the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Christ in us is our hope. Christ in us is how we learn, and how we are led by God”.

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As Christians, we all want to live a life pleasing to God. We go about that in many different ways. We try to follow the golden rule, obey the ten commandments, read the bible more, pray more, attend church more and a various number of other things.

Of course we know that we cannot earn our salvation through works, so we need to think about what our motivation is for the things we do.

Many people emphasize good works and doing things for God because they feel they need to be doing something for God. Some feel we owe God for the gift of salvation, while others are trying to earn their salvation by their works.

There is nothing wrong with good works, as long as we are doing them out of love and by God’s strength and guidance.

Good works will be a natural way of life when we focus on Christ and allow him to do the works through us by his Spirit.

The problem is many people do good works out of a feeling of guilt, or necessity, or trying to pay God back for His gift of salvation. They think their good works will earn them salvation.

First, we need to realize that good works will not earn us more of God’s love, and not doing good works will not take away from God’s love. God loves us no matter what we do. Obviously, we want to do things that please God, but His love for us does not change no matter what. He has given us the gift of salvation because of His love for us.

Next, we cannot do good works in our own strength. It is by His love, strength and guidance that good works happen naturally. When motivated by love for God, and allowing Him to love through us, the good works done will be what is needed at the moment for the person receiving the benefit.

So we see in this that the motivation for good works is important. Are we doing these things because we feel obligated and should be doing something for God? Or are we resting in what He has done and allowing Him to love through us.

Stop trying to be so busy for God; rest in His love; wait for his moving and strength. Then allow Him to touch those you come in contact with throughout the day.

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Is it our job as Christians to convert the unsaved?

Are we to force our views and beliefs on others so that they might come to God?

My answer would be no. It is our job to follow Christ and love others, and the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and lead people to the Father.

We cannot convert others; we cannot make them come to Christ by forcing our views and beliefs on them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin and lead them to repentance.

Jesus said in 1 John 3:23 that we are to accept Him and love others. Apart from that, we have nothing more to do than to be available to Him and allow the Spirit to work and love through us.

LoveGodandothers

We are called to make disciples, but disciples would be those who already have a relationship with Christ. The dictionary describes a disciple as ‘a professed follower of Christ’. We are to be there to encourage and help one another into maturity in our fellowship with Him.

We are also told to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The gospel being the good news that God loves us, He has provided freedom from our sinful nature and has restored fellowship with us. Again, this is done by loving God and loving others not by being judgmental, pointing fingers, threatening and other means we sometimes use to force others to accept Christ.

When we show the love of God to others and accept them as they are people will be be drawn to Christ easier than through condemning and threatening ways. This does not mean we have to agree with everyone or say you can live anyway you want with no consequences, but we can show the love of Christ to non-believers and accept them without expecting them to change and start acting like we think they should. God accepted us as we were before we came to Him we should do the same.

In love, tell the good news to those you meet that God loves them, encourage and make disciples out of those who know Christ and stop trying to force salvation on non-believers through ‘holier than thou’ attitudes, guilt and condemnation. Love is the answer. God is love.

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Do you ever have one of those days when you think, nothing changes. Everything is the same, day in, day out. We get up and go through the same routine, only to get up and do the same thing the next day. As it says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, ‘That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun’.

Sometimes I go through this, and it just makes me wonder why I am feeling this way. I guess sometimes I think living for God should be some type of extra special, out of the ordinary life. A way of living that is super spiritual. Of course I know that this isn’t the norm for us. God works in us most of the time in the little things, the regular routine of daily living.

I know God has a plan and purpose for us. Although good works are certainly not a way to earn our salvation, they do bring glory to God. I think we should daily ask for the Spirit to guide us through the day, and lead us into what he has for us to do. Ask God to love others through us as we go about our regular daily routine.

By doing so, we are allowing God to do supernatural things through us when He is ready. We might touch a person in a way we don’t even realize, just by allowing the spirit of Christ to do what he wants, when he wants.

I don’t have the answer to those feelings now and then of each day being the same. I do know that being open to let Christ love through us can make a difference. It may not be us who feels any different, but someone we have contact with during our regular daily routine may receive something special from God. Something they needed, something that makes them say, wow, that was really a different day.

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