Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salvation - The Crime, The Criminal, The Penalty, The Payment, The Debt You Owe

Many people have a problem grasping what true salvation is.  This article will help you understand what true salvation is what it means to its fullest.  Throughout this piece of writing, I would like you to imagine a criminal before a judge.  The criminal has done a terrible crime and has broken the law.  Because of that, he must face charges and must pay a death penalty for his awful crime.  The judge won't let this go.  The criminal weeps with bitter tears, but the tears he sheds does not change what he had already done.  The criminal says to the judge with sincerety, "Please don't make me do this - I promise I will do better and not do it again." The judge says, "This doesn't erase the fact you have committed a crime that must be paid.  Someone must pay this penalty that you owe."  As soon as that is said, a man walks into the courtroom and says, "I will pay this man's penalty.  I will die in his place so that he can go free."  Because of the great price the innocent man paid, the criminal has a change life and instead of being a criminal he uses his life as the innocent man would want him to live - a life for him.  This is perhaps the best way to understand salvation in its fullest.  The first thing we must understand from this story is...

The Crime & The Criminal

This crime that was committed by the criminal is also known as "sin".  Sin is transgression of the law of God.  1 John 3:4 says, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." But, this law is not man's law.  This is more than a state law such as don't speed.  This is God's Law. God's Law is holy and we all are guilty of breaking God's Law.  Many people have a poor concept of what sin is in God's eyes.  In their eyes, they see it as things they would never do... what we call big sins such as murder or things like robbing a bank.  But, God is also looking at the small things we have done in life.  Sin is transgression of the Law of God and the Law is the first five books of the Old Testament.  At least, this is what we call the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Levitcus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) is the Law because this is the time period in which the law was given through Moses.  Since we know that sin is transgression of the law and know what and where the law is, we can use the Ten Commandments which is something a lot of people are familiar with.  Nothing can be simpler to use.  If you would like to read it on your own, the passage is Exodus 20:3-17.  But, let's take a look at these Ten Commandments and see if you are guilty of breaking at least one of them.

1st Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  A god back then was considered to be a false idol.  We have false idols today as well and it is not just a pile of gold you bow down to.  Think of the very show that labels itself as such, "American Idol".  Today, women dress like they want to be the center of attention and for guys to comment on how good they look.  This is considered a false idol because it is not the true God.  A god can be anything you can think of - it can be your television, your cell-phone, your computer, etc.  The devil is described as the god of this world.  But, there is only one God.  Men often makes things for his own pleasure and we might as well label them as a god because it detours away from the true God.  Many of us are guilty of this.  I myself am sometimes guilty of this very thing because even the smallest things can be considered gods in our life that we like more than the true God.

2nd Commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not bow down thyself [to any graven image]...  Notice that it uses the word "make" - it does not even say to use for your own glory or your own pleasure.  It goes as far as to simply use the word "make".  I may "make" my own cake, but I may not eat it because I may feel it might be too sweet.  Today many people "make" their own false gods and the Bible says not to.  I believe this is something we are all guilty of. God adds to the commandment for those who are reluctant and disobedient enough to break it and says not to bow down to the false image.  Bowing down to something is similar to making it a part of your daily routine - putting it in a place it ought not to be in.  This law has been broken by a lot more people than we think.

3rd Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain...  This is more than using Jesus as a cuss word or saying things like "Goddamnit" or "Goddamn".  By the way, God's last name is NOT "damn" or "damnit".  If you've done this, that'll make you guilty of that right there.  But, taking the Lord's name in vain means much more than using it as a cuss word... it means to take God and speak of God as if He didn't even exist.  Most people are guilty of doing this.  If that's you, consider yourself guilty.

4th Commandment: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy... This was a law given to people in the Old Testament and since then, Jesus died on the cross for us and is now our Sabbath.  Every day that God gives us is considered the sabbath, or the Lord's day simply because Jesus lives forevermore.  Instead of keeping every day holy as we should, we are doing our own things and take no regard for the Lord in our doings.  This is more than not going to church, it is using a day for your glory.  I believe many of us could say we are guilty of breaking this commandment.

5th Commandment: Honour thy father and mother... This is described as the first commandment with promise because it is the first commandment that if we keep it, we will live a long life.  However, it is saddening many people waste their life and cause it to come short by dishonoring their parents.  A good way to tell if you honor your parents is if you obey them.  This doesn't just apply to kids, it also applies to adults who were once kids.  But obeying parents is only the result of truly honoring them - honoring them means putting them above your priorities.  If you have ever dishonored your parents, consider yourself guilty.

6th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.  This is referring to murder, killing someone without a cause.  Many people are guilty of this just by the abortion they commit.  God despises the hands of them that shed innocent blood.  But, you know that murder is just the same thing as hatred?  1 John 3:15 says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer..." We are able to dislike people, but not hate people.  Some people think they are themselves better than everyone else or they despise someone so much they want to see them die and go to hell.  This is the same thing as being a murderer.  Are you guilty of this? Have you ever hated someone and wanted to see them die? If so, you are guilty of being a murderer.

7th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery.  The common definition of the word 'adultery' is fornification, i.e., sex before marriage.  However, adultery is bigger than that.  Matthew 5:28 says, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." This is Jesus' words.  Just by lusting after someone else you and the woman (or the other way around) are both equally guilty.  I believe more men are guilty of this than woman, but woman are also.  Lusting after someone else because of their looks is sin, and it is breaking the commandment of God.

8th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal. This is pretty easy to grasp and doesn't take much explaining.  If you've stolen something, no matter the value of it, you are guilty of this.

9th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.  This is more than gossiping.  Gossiping can be both true and false, but this is the same thing as lying to someone.  Even if you are not guilty of any of the other commandments, you are for sure guilty of this one.  We all are.  We've all told a lie before whether it is a white lie or a black lie... it is still sin.  We are all guilty of breaking this commandment.

10th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet... Coveting something else is envying what a person has.  Let's say a house looks really nice that is owned by someone else.  It's not a sin to think it is nice, but it is a sin to think that you should have it for yourself.  Coveting comes from being unthankful of what you have.  It is a sin, and many of us are guilty of it.

Judging by the above commandments, you might say, "But, I'm a pretty good person - I've only broken one of these." Ah, but what saith the Scripture?  James 2:10 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Even if we keep the majority of what the law says, we are going to break it in another area and be guilty of all.  There is an example of this in the Bible.  It's the story of the rich young ruler.  To simply sumarize, a rich young ruler asked the Lord, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus answers with the law and says for him to keep the commandments.  The rich young ruler asks, "Which ones?" Jesus says, "Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  The rich young ruler says to the Lord, "I have kept all of these from my youth up."  Jesus said that he lacked one thing.  Jesus than put him to the test and said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."  The rich young ruler went off with tears because he had a lot of stuff.  You see, Jesus said, "If thou be perfect..." None of us are perfect.  We say that we are pretty good people like the rich young ruler thought, but pretty good does not mean perfect - it only means pretty good.  But, compared to God, we are not even close to good.  Romans 3:10 says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Paul, the author of the letter to Romans, emphasizes that there is none good by saying, "no, not one.." This includes you and me.  There isn't anybody that is good in the eyes of God.  Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"  All of us are guilty of being sinners.  This is what we are... criminals.  Romans 3:19 says, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."  Galatians 3:24 says, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The law is a mirror of who we truly are - guilty sinners.  We are criminals because we have broken God's law.  Since God's law is such a precious thing, God cannot let us go unpunished and so we must realize that there is...

The Penalty

Since we have all committed such a great crime, there is a great penalty we all must face.  For every crime that is committed, there is a penalty that is to be paid.  But, God is not going to let us get out easy by giving Him money.  God doesn't want our money nor does He need our money.  So what is this penalty that we owe?  Well, the Bible tells us what this penalty is.  Romans 6:23a says, "For the wages of sin is death..."  Wages means earnings - it is what we deserve for what we do.  In a job, you get paid which is your due wages - what you earn.  Because of our crimes that we have committed, we deserve a penalty which is death.  Death is never thought of as a good thing.  But, death is the result of sin.  Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Adam was the very first man to walk this earth and also the very first man to sin.  In life, we have freedoms we can enjoy but they must be within boundaries.  Every freedom we have is measured by boundaries and if we cross them, we must face the consequences.  The consequence of sin is death.  James 1:15 says, "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

I would like to tell you, everyone is going to die whether we are saved or unsaved.  But, the penalty for those who are not saved is a second death.  Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Everyone must face a physical death, but not everyone has to go through the second death.  It has been said if you are born once, you die twice and if you are born twice, you die once.  So what is the second death? Revelation 20:14-15 says, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." There you have it.  The second death is eternal damnation in the lake of fire.  This is the penalty every sinner must pay in order to pay his own sin debt off.  This is the only way for us to do it.  But you say, "That's not fair.  What kind of loving God would send someone to hell?"  Let me answer the question with another question - what kind of loving police officer would send someone to jail? The answer is - a just one.  Our penalty is very fair and it is just because this is the penalty we deserve to pay.

Nevertheless, as much as God is just, He is also merciful and didn't create us so that we go to hell, the lake of fire.  God wanted us all to have the same equal opportunity at salvation.  This is where we learn about...

The Payment

Yes, we do not have to go to the lake of fire.  But, isn't that our penalty to pay? Isn't that the just thing to do? Surely it is, but God has offered a chance for us to escape the fires of hell. 

Before we understand what the payment is, the important thing to note is that YOU CANNOT PAY FOR THIS BY YOUR GOOD DEEDS OR WORKS.  Many people are religious and it is okay to be religious.  James 1:27 says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Religion is making yourself look good.  However, this will not help your salvation one bit.  This won't allow you to get to Heaven.  The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  If salvation were to be obtained by our works or religious deeds, then we would be able to boast about how good we are.  But, salvation is not obtained by good works or reformation.  Romans 4:2-8 says, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."  Paul here gives an example of Abraham.  Abraham was a great man of God and had done many wonderful things, but these things did not justify him in the eyes of God one bit.  They may have made God look good, but that didn't effect his salvation.  Paul says that if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, i.e., room for boasting.  He would be able to tell people, "Look how good I am doing."  Works allow you to do that - they allow you to show off how good you are.  But, I will say that our self-righteous works may fool others, but they do not fool God.  Isaiah 64:6 says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."  Isaiah says that our own righteousness is as filthy rags.  Let me ask you, would you use a filthy rag to wash a car or to wash your dishes? No. That would only make them more dirty.  Well, this is the idea of most religions today.  They use their filthy works to make themselves clean.  They will tell you things like, "If you reform your life and live better you will be saved."  Since when? I'll tell you what, the thousand times you reform your life, the millions more times you are going to sin.  Reformation never saved anyone and will never save you.  Works never save anyone either.  If you wanted to buy something but knew that it was impossible to pay for, would you still work for it? No! That's absurd! Sadly, this is what many people do with their salvation.  But God says that salvation is free.  Isaiah 55:1-2 says, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."  Salvation is without price.  I'll say once more, salvation is not paid by your works.  Galatians 2:16 says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."  Three times in this verse alone God says we are not justified by works, but three times else it says we are justified by faith.

Faith in what? The question should be rendered, faith in whom?  Well, John 3:16-18 gives us that answer, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  John 3:16 is a common verse that many people know today and that verse alone tells us who to put our faith in - God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Why do we have to put faith in Him? What is so special about Jesus Christ?  Well, there are lots of things special about Him. And I would like to say that He is not just another man, He is God Incarnate.  Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross of Calvary just for us, and resurrected from the dead three days later.  This is the greatness of it all.  This is the good news of Jesus Christ - this is what we call the gospel.  1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"  This is the gospel by which we are saved.  This is the only gospel there is.  Many people preach a different gospel than this but that is man's wisdom of words, that is not the Word of God so it is not even a gospel. 

My friend, Jesus did this for you.  He died for you.  He died so that you could walk away free from the penalty of sin.  Jesus became a sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).  Jesus set us from the curse of sin - the penatly of sin (Gal. 3:13).  If we just put our faith simply in the payment he paid on the cross of Calvary we can be saved.  Faith is believing without seeing.  The way we know that Jesus did this is through the Word of God.  You say, "This is a book written by man."  Sure it is, but it was inspired by God and is inspired today.  Faith is defined by this acronym:


Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  People know the gospel, but don't believe it is real.  But, we can rest on the promise that it is real.  You have to have faith in it though - I can't have faith for you, that is up to you my friend. Romans 10:9-10,13 say, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." That word "shall" is a strong word and it means you will.  John 3:18 says that if we believe on Him we are not condemned and will never be again.  We won't have to worry about going to Hell again.  Salvation is not found in works, a prayer, a commitment, a ritual, etc. it is found in a Person - that Person is Jesus Christ.  In the story, we find that an innocent man who did not commit the crime took it upon himelf to die for the guilty man.  In reality, this man is Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind.  Jesus was born just for this purpose.  Matthew 1:21 says, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  Jesus came to save sinners who have broken God's law - that's us, that's me, an that's you.  If you trust Christ, then you have the promise that you are going to Heaven when you die. 

Many people that are reading this article have already been saved for quite a while, but fail to remember about...

The Debt You Owe

Many believers have the notion that salvation is just a mere ticket it out of hell and all it is is mere fire insurance.  It's more than just fire insurance.  It is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many turn the grace of God into filthiness by using and abusing that grace to live like the devil.  They use eternal security as a license to do whatever they want to do.  Some people accused the Apostle Paul of giving people a license to sin simply because he taught grace salvation, but he refuted that idea.  Romans 3:8 says, "And not rather, as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just." What Paul was accused of is what we would call easy-believism.  But, if we read throughout his letters he did not teach this.  1 Corithians 6:9-11 says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."  Paul taught that there was a change that was going to come out of a saved person's life - it isn't what we do, it is something God does.  Notice the words Paul used, "And such were some of you..."  My question for you, believer, is why did God save you?  Did God save you so you wouldn't go to Hell or did He save you so you can have a relationship with Him? It's sad that Paul had to beg believers to give their lives to Christ in Romans 12.  Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Beseech means to beg or to plead with.  Why is it that God has to plead with us believers to live a devoted life to Him?  He is the One who gave us this life!! Why not return the favor and LIVE IT FOR HIM?  Notice in Romans 12:1 that Paul says that this is our "reasonable service".  There isn't anything unreasonable about serving the Lord.  He saved us so that we would live for Him!

Would to God that we believers understand God saved us to live right and be obedient to Him!  That is the only way to have a proper relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!  Jesus said time and time again that IF we love God, we WILL keep His commandments.  John 14:15 says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

The truth of the matter is that many times we neglect God's command as believers to keep His commandments.  If you truly love what the Lord did for you on Calvary, you wouldn't take a second thought whether you should live for Him.  Jesus paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.  In return, we ought to live for Him.  That is the only thing we can do.  This isn't about getting more rewards in Heaven, it is about an attitude of a grattitude for the Lord of what He did for you! The debt we owe is a sacrificed life and Romans 12:1 says this is our reasonable service.  Nothing can be more reasonable!  Live your life for Him because He gave His life for you!! 


This article was intended for you to understand the simplicity of salvation and what happens at salvation.  If you have been helped by this article in any way, you can email me at earnestlycontending1611@gmail.com ... If you need anymore help, please email me. 

In Christ,

Daniel Gladu

Galatians 2:20-21

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