In Matthew chapter 16, having announced a Church built on His work, the now resurrected Jesus offers Himself as all sufficient to everyone who will accept His offer. The following is a presentation of the glorious Good News of Christ and salvation by the works of grace.
In all seriousness, heaven certainly is not a reward for personal merit - there is no forgiveness in heaven after death and - there are no scales for determining if the dead are saved. For the following reason it is a wicked lie - it is too late to earn a reward, they are dead. All Christians go to heaven and receive rewards in heaven for "good works" done in the power of Christ, but heaven itself is not a reward, it is a home.
The crystal clear teaching of the NT is that eternal life and salvation from the effects of sin, sin that is inborn, must be acquired by faith before death. You must be born from above while you are still alive, dear reader. A NEW BIRTH AND SALVATION THAT MAY NOT BE REVERSED. Belief places one into a new life with Christ. Unbelief in a "now and forever" salvation, continued to the point of death, leaves one joined to the mass of condemned humanity.
Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel 1:7 not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! 1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! NET
Job 9:2 How can a man be in the right before God? NASB
Gal 3:10-11 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall live [eternally because of God's grace] by faith." NASB
Rom 4:5 To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. NASB
THE TRUTH IS - GOD HAS PLACED THE SCALES IN EQUILIBRIUM FOR THE LIVING
The scales have nothing to register, but this is not salvation, it is an event accomplished in the past on the cross. A sinner minus his sins, or demerit, is still not a Christian as this is the common shared estate of every living person since God the Father reconciled the world to Himself by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross (cf. all of 2 Corinthians chapter 5). God has completed every part of salvation. He has resolved His own problem of what justice demanded from Him for sin. God the Father provided the sacrifice, God the Son chose to die, and God the Holy Spirit applies the value of the death of Christ to each new believer. All remaining judgment has been given to the Son and God Our Father can now be both just and the justifier of all sinners who fulfill the promise He made to His Son. The promise of those who would be given to the Son are those who will come to believe in the Son He sent to reveal His love to the world. One has only to receive Christ. The fact that anyone ever goes to heaven is to glorify God.
As illustrated, man's defilement, his sin, has been removed and the scales are now empty. Each day, in each generation, sin is manifested that has been redeemed in the past. Nike is the Greek noun for victory, and only through Christ is the victory over sin and death complete.
Rom 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed 3:22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 3:24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. NET
IT IS FINISHED AND IT IS FREE
To attempt to be good in order that one may be accepted of God is legal by definition and, as to the results obtained, worthless. Man's sin was never cancelled by his good deeds done according to the Law or Ten Commandments. Salvation from the penalty and power of sin is provided free of charge, gratis, it is "on the house."
Salvation is a gift not a reward. Secured only through the finished work of Jesus, which manifested the righteousness of God apart from the Mosaic Law that had been given to the Jews "temporarily." This righteousness canceled out the sin that stands between an individual and God and released something new into heaven that angels are witness to; the Father's immeasurable GRACE to satisfy His love for us.
The death of Christ on the cross was the light; and the truth; and the way God loved sinful mankind: "He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God" (John 3:16-18 NET).
The resurrected Son of God left this world so that the Holy Spirit would come and prove wrong those who will change their mind (Gk. metanoia, Eng. KJV repent) about the truth of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The work of the Spirit is to witness the truth of the value in the death of Christ Jesus. To prove that all sin is redeemed save one, the sin of unbelief in Christ. The Son of God incarnate was the God-man (the unique Theanthropos) and God's righteousness was manifested in Him through His innocent death in the place of all men. He alone has conquered sin and death; nailed the Law to the cross by perfectly fulfilling what no man could ever do; and ascended to His Father in heaven to grow and shepherd His church. By the cross Christ defeated and judged Satan, who brought the first sin into the universe and then into this world of men (John 16:7-11).
Gal 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 2:21 I do not set aside God's grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing! NET
THE INSTANT BEFORE THE SCALES ARE TIPPED
Dear reader, if the scales are set in balance, and one cannot add or subtract from either side, as all sin is applied to the sufficiency of the blood of Christ, then what can one do to go to heaven? Nothing, but look down - as your past, present, and future sin is dead and buried with Christ. There is nothing you can do without Christ and this is the offense of the gospel, the offense of the cross to pride. Here is where most leave Christ - buried in the dark with their sin, buried in the dark with the Law - to go off and save themselves, determined to get what they deserve.
Nevertheless, in this borderland of life and death, some "do not set aside God's grace" and are drawn to look up from where they are, "the Son of Man must be lifted up," up into "the Sunrise from on high who shall visit us, to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death." With eyes filled by the light of salvation, the true light, they find faith. They see grace Himself and know a living ascended Jesus for the first time. Their Savior who loved them before He died for them. The Lamb of God who demands nothing, who strikes no blows nor condemns. Miracles do happen. A new Christian is born. Faith is the channel, grace is the means, and eternal salvation the effect!
2 Cor 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. NET
Col 3:8ff-9 that I may gain Christ, 3:9 and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ's faithfulnessa righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ's faithfulness. NET
GOD HAS TIPPED THE SCALES
Anyone who places their trust in the past substitutionary death of Jesus Christ as a living personal Savoir receives the Holy Spirit of God and a merit not their own, the merit of the righteousness of Christ is added to the scale. By this means, one becomes a perfect - but unperfected - new creation. A Christian who is a justified child of God endowed with full adult rights as a citizen of heaven through adoption.
A Christian is one who is baptized into the family of God by the Holy Spirit at the moment of their new birth. A Christian is fathered of God and a brother of Christ, who shares in the very same eternal life of God. Christians will live without end in a heavenly household provided by their faithful Father, just as Jesus promised in His parting words to all of His brothers and sisters.
Heb 2:10 For it was fitting for him, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 2:11 For indeed he who makes holy and those being made holy all have the same origin, and so he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 2:12 saying, "I will proclaim your name to my brothers; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you." 2:13 Again he says, "I will be confident in him," and again, "Here I am, with the children God has given me." 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), 2:15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. 2:16 For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham's descendants. 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 2:18 For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. NET
John 14:2 There are many dwelling places in my Father's house. NET
Dear reader, have you accepted God's graceful offer of an everlasting salvation that begins and continues now, at this very moment?
Copyright 2007 David Coulon. All rights reserved. Use with credit.
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