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When I was younger I was NEVER totally secure in my salvation. I always ended up giving up because I, of course, believed I didn't really get saved because I still wanted to wear shorts, makeup & swim on the beach (no mix swimming)! I prayed & prayed that God would reveal the truth to me of the true gospel of Jesus Christ & asked how I could know that I KNOW I am secure for all eternity because believe me, I knew if any of it depended on me, I was just not going to " make it there" Though God answered me in many ways there is one thing that I vividly recall just popping into my head. Question: what did I ever do to become a sinner? Absolutely nothing! I was born that way having inherited it from Adam & Eve. When I confessed I am a sinner & can only be saved through the blood of Jesus Christ I was reborn of the Spirit with an incorruptible seed. If by Adams sin only, I was born a sinner, then how much more, being reborn of the Spirit am I now righteous in Christ Jesus? My salvation is SOLEY based on Jesus' finished work at the cross! All my righteousness is as filthy rags, so it is only by Jesus' righteousness that I can come before God as sinless. The Father sees the blood of His precious Son covering me & I am declared righteous because I inherited Jesus' righteousness when I accepted Him as my Savior! I stand in awe of this kind of love from a perfect Holy, Righteous, Almighty, & Loving God. I no longer have to wonder when grace is no longer sufficient, it's always MORE THAN efficient. I believe I'm correct in saying that this is found in Romans Chapter 5:12-21, where Adam is contrasted with Christ. God's Word cannot contradict itself, so where it appears to there must be another context or meaning to that Scripture. God Bless you all & look up because we are very soon going up, there's no doubt in my mind about that!
Salvation is, in essence, deliverance. We are delivered from sin and death, we are delivered unto righteousness and eternal life. It was God who planned this salvation, and God who accomplished this salvation through Christ. It is God who revealed this salvation to man through Christ, offered salvation through faith in Christ, and God who fulfills all the promises this salvation brings. What then, of man? We can do no work to earn salvation, nor would we have recognized our need without God revealing it to us! We contribute nothing to our deliverance, however, to receive it we must have an abiding faith. Faith is no action or dead work of man, but our belief in response to the gospel. It is our acknowledgment of our sin, our belief that Jesus has come as Messiah to save us, our dying with Christ to self and rising with Christ to put on His righteousness. God set the plan of salvation up in such a way that we do need to do 'the work that God requires' and believe in Jesus Christ. (John 6:28-29) Only those who believe in Jesus will receive eternal life (John 1:25, John 3:16) All of fallen humanity needs saved, but we can't achieve this or even help with it ourselves. We can only have faith, recognizing the need for rescue by acknowledging our sin and crying out to Jesus, accepting His rescue rather than rejecting it. Again, it is Christ who 'accomplishes' salvation, without the aid of man, according to the plan of salvation which God put in place before time began. (I Pet 1:20, Eph 1:4) This is why Christ is the lamb slain 'from the foundation of the world'. (Rev 13:8) God offers mercy and pardon; forgiveness of our sins through Christ. God gives grace; drawing all men to Christ through His death that they could hear the word, have faith, be reconciled, and become a new Creation through faith in Christ. (John 12:32, II Cor 5:17-19, Rom 10:7, etc.) Salvation, by grace and through faith, is a gift of God. [https://ebible.com/questions/15669-what-does-it-mean-that-it-is-by-grace-we-have-been-saved-through-faith-and-that-this-is-not-of-ourselves-but-is-the-gift-of-god] Faith, itself, is the persuasion that something is true, based off secondary evidences and assurances; in this case, the persuasion that Jesus really is the Messiah, that He died for us, and that He will return and we will be resurrected. It is important to note that faith is not a dead work of man, nor does faith itself change the truth of something. For example, were one to have faith he could jump off a cliff and fly, gravity would show him wrong. Or, if one were to disbelieve the ocean existed, that would not make the ocean disappear. Faith contributes nothing to the truth of a matter. Faith, then, does not create salvation or contribute to our salvation. [https://ebible.com/questions/7882-is-salvation-created-by-faith-or-is-faith-created-by-salvation Jesus delivering us.] However, we must have faith to receive salvation. https://ebible.com/answers/22568 [Is human will capable of choosing or rejecting Jesus] We also must have abiding faith to continue in the deliverance which Jesus gives us. [https://ebible.com/questions/678-what-does-it-mean-that-jesus-is-the-author-and-perfecter-of-our-faith#answer-20250] For an analogy of how this works, imagine a stranger offers you an unexpected present or a check for $10,000. You did nothing to earn this gift or money, no work or act of character. They simply offered. While you must accept the gift or endorse the check to cash it, you in no way contribute to the gift either by earning it or paying for part of it. Now, imagine this analogy one step further. You actually have an unpayable debt that the stranger offers to cover. You didn't just not contribute anything to the gift, but had a huge penalty on your account! In the same way, we must have faith in Christ, putting off our sinful nature and rising with Christ into new life as adopted children of God. (Col 2:11-13, etc.)
The poorly translated verse--Philippians 2:12-- has prevented many a Christian from the soul comfort that Jesus would have us possess. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." This is not work in the sense of works that gain "salvation points" coming from an erroneous view of man's contribution to redemption; this is the work that it will take to endure the obstacles that will be thrown up in the path of believers. The entire context of Paul's letter to the Phillipians warns of the persecution that they will suffer. Testifying for Christ has not always been the relatively safe thing it is today in America. Often, lives were on the line. Believers would have to work through this. Phillipians 1:28-29 is quite clear: "And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. "For by Grace are ye Saved through Faith; and that not of Yourselves: It is the Gift of God." Eph. 2:8
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