WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SALVATION (Part Two)
by Bobby Bruno
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Only through Jesus Christ can I know God
I have been asked "Why do I need to accept Jesus to get into Heaven? I already believe that God exists. Isn't that enough? And why can't I get to know God without going through Jesus?" Those of us who know the answer to these questions know that Jesus has said that we can only know God if we know the Son first. But how do we explain it to those who don't understand why Jesus is so important to the equation of knowing the Father, Son, and Spirit? Of course we as Christians know that we need to have a relationship with Jesus first before we can even see God our Father. When we explain this to non-believers we have to explain it within the context of a relationship.
Say that you wanted to meet the twelve Apostles. The only way to do this is by finding someone who knows them and ask him to help you see the Apostles. The only way for Paul to get to see the Apostles was through Barnabas. If it hadn't been for Barnabas being as adamant about them letting him bring Paul to them, then Paul would not have met those who could steer him in the right direction in his ministry.
In our walk as Christians, we have had people come up to us and ask how they can know Jesus. This happened to my wife a couple of weeks ago. One of her best friends for years, who knew my wife was saved, suddenly came up to her and asked how she could know Jesus and what does being saved mean. My wife spoke with her and led her in the prayer of salvation right there in front of her other friends. Her friend is now saved and excited about it. Out of her four best friends, this friend saw the joy in my wife and wanted to know how to have it in hers. We're still praying for the other three.
Our relationship with Jesus helps other find a relationship with Him and with others.
It can also be explained like this. Say you wanted to meet me, but you didn't know how to get in touch with me. You've heard your Pastor say that he has met me on quite a few occasions, so you ask him if there is a way to get in touch with me. The Pastor says that he will call me and let me know that you wanted to see me. A week later we meet and begin a friendship that will last throughout the rest of our lives. Without the Pastor's help we may never have met and our friendship would never have been started.
Jesus clearly stated in our next Scripture that the only way to get to God was through him and no one else. John 14:5-6: Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (6)Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (New International Version)
Many people today believe that there are many ways to God, but Jesus refutes that philosophy by using the word "I". When others ask us how "we" could say that Jesus is the only way to God and Heaven, we just need to point them to this verse and tell them that it is not "we" who is making this powerful claim, but Jesus, the Son of God. Most people don't accept this in their minds. But I wonder how many really accept it in their souls but refuse to listen to what their souls are telling them? How many in our midst really know that they need a Savior but refuse to give up what they perceive as the fun they would have to give up to follow Jesus? I know more than a few people who know without a shadow of a doubt that they need to be saved, but for some reason or another they don't want to give up their lifestyles, even though the know that giving up parts of it will better their lives. These are the kinds of people who confuse me: they know they need a Savior but they don't want Him to ruin their lives. Let's keep praying for them to see the veil lifted from their eyes.
My faith allows me to approach God’s throne with freedom and confidence
Once we have Jesus in our lives we can now approach God boldly and know that He will let us in and will listen to us when we pray to him. Ephesians 3:1 says, In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (New International Version) Freedom and confidence!!! How wonderful is that? We can't even approach some of our own family members with freedom and confidence without fear of reprisal or of being ignored. God will never ignore us! He will always listen and always respond, maybe not in the way we might sometimes like, but He will respond. Need I say more…?
God Desires Me To Know Him
God desires us to know Him??? The God of the universe wants little ole me to know who He is? Me: just one human out of billions? God wants to have a relationship with me? Awesome isn't it? Even though we all at one time didn't want to know God, He was busy reconciling us back to Him so that we could get to know His love and mercy. Again, how many of our family members really want to know us for who we really are and not who they pretend to think we are?
The more God desires us, the more we are drawn to him. The more He stretches His arms out to us, the more we long to be cradled in them. All I know is that I am longing to give Jesus the biggest hug possible for saving my life. I once saw a drawing of Jesus hugging a man in Heaven. It brought tears to my eyes because that's what I want to do. I don't think that I could hug Jesus hard enough to take His breath away, but I love Him so much that I'm going to try.
He wanted to know me so that I could know Him. I thank God for His desire for me to know Him because, if He hadn't desired me, I'd no longer be in this world alive.
I become a witness to God’s love and work in my life
Once we have walked with Jesus for some time, we begin to become a witness for Him on this earth. That is why Jesus said that we would do greater things than what He had done in His time on earth. He only had three years to get people to know Him, but He has given us an entire lifetime to do the same thing. More people have been saved since Jesus was here than all who had been saved when He was among us. The Great Commission is still going strong and will continue until the Holy Spirit is taken out of the earth. We must continue to follow Jesus' footsteps and let the world know about His love and mercy.
Isaiah 43:10-13 says, "My people are my witnesses and my chosen servant. I want you to know Me, to trust Me, and understand that I alone am God. I have always been God; there can be no others. (11)I alone am the Lord; only I can rescue you. (12)I promised to save you, and I kept My promise. You are my witnesses that no other God did this. I, the Lord, have spoken. (13)I am God now and forever. No one can snatch you from Me or stand in My way." (Contemporary English Version The Promise)
Our witness is the fact of what Jesus has done to turn our lives around when we gave it to Him to control. Our testimony is the fact of our lives before Jesus: the tragedies, the upsets, the horrors, everything that made us seek for something more even if it meant death. These are the things we tell others to show them what Jesus Christ has done in our lives, and how He has changed us for His glory and purpose.
According to this verse, once saved, we are always saved. God will never let us go. He didn't give up His Son on the cross just to play games with our salvation. He gave up Jesus so that we may live with him forever, and so we may spread the Kingdom of God throughout this earth. God has been and will always be God, the only God. There is no other, no matter what the new agers may say.
May God always get the glory in your life; may He fulfill His purpose in you; and may you allow Him to use you as He will. May you be the witness that He has called you to be, utilizing everything that you were then and that you are now, so that others may see His love and mercy in your eyes and want to know where your joy comes from. May God bless you in everything you do for him.
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