WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SALVATION? (Part Three)
by Bobby Bruno
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Who are the Wicked?
At one time we were all wicked people. We didn't know God through His Son, Jesus Christ. We did things to ourselves and other people that were wrong and cruel. Things that we thought we were justified in doing. Things that we now know were very wrong to do. We were unloving because we didn't know how to yet love because the truth wasn't yet in us.
But what made us wicked people? We all know that we became wicked at the Fall, when humanity decided that we were better off without God. When we look around the world today we see wickedness of many kinds. But ask those who don't know Jesus just what makes a person wicked and you may get many different answers. At first they won't acknowledge that they are wicked, but are, in fact, "good" people. Telling them that God said that there are no good people doesn't change their minds.
But what does it mean to be wicked (a biblical term)? Being wicked is having a mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honor, virtue; evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality; pride and vanity; lust (International Standard Bible Dictionary), to name just a few. I'm not going to take the time to go into each one because I know that you can see these attitudes everywhere you look. And, may I dare say, we still see some of these attitudes in those who are following Jesus, because we know that we have not achieved perfection yet, and that our walk with Jesus is a step-by-step process of two steps forward, one step back.
God Promises Me That He Will Protect Me From Evil
How does God save us from the wicked? In Psalm 97:10, David exclaimed: You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked (New Living Translation). First: by giving us His Son, Jesus. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we come under the protection of our Holy God whose strength and power are unmatched anywhere in the universe. When Jesus conquered death He showed all evil that He alone is the King, and that all evil must bow down to Him in all regards. To this day evil is putting up one heck of a fight for control that it can never have and it knows it, but will not stop until it is thrown in the Lake of Fire at the end of time. How many people do you know who are on a relentless pursuit of destruction, and no matter how many times you tell them that they are headed down that road, they will tell you to buzz off and let them live their lives the way they want to?
God protects us from these kinds of people, especially when they place us in situations we would have not gotten into ourselves.
Let's look at an example about wicked people from the Bible, when it comes to God's protection. Proverbs 11:21 says, Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free (New International Version). Being a just God, He will not allow justice to go unpunished in the lives of those who are wicked and evil. Again, the Bible says that the wicked are those who have not accepted God's Son, Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. God's ultimate punishment comes in the form of separation from Him throughout eternity for not accepting Jesus. When God promises something, He delivers. When it seems that evil is about to overtake His children, He steps in and keeps them from ultimately being done in. As it is said in Proverbs 12:7, Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm (New International Version). No matter what wicked people put us through, we as God's children have the protection of the King. In the old days, if you had the protection of the King and someone murdered you, then it would have been as if the King himself had been murdered, and the murderer would be drawn and quartered, not just simply hanged. Please pardon the pun, but the wicked will be eternally separated from God the same way the murderer was eternally separated from his body, never to be rejoined again. It is freeing to know that the Lord has our backs, and no amount of evil will keep His protection from us. We are in the arms of the Lord.
The proud do not seek God
Psalm 10:4 says: The wicked people are too proud. They do not look for God; there is no room for God in their thoughts (New Century Version). Pride is the biggest roadblock, other than death, that stands in the way of people seeking God. Prideful people are filled with themselves so much that others don't even exist for them. They see their own wants and desires and will fill them any way they can, no matter who they have to step on to do so. Another way of saying "pride" is by saying, "me, me, me". "I like getting drunk on the weekends, so what if I miss work because I'm too hung over to go in; I like having sex with lots of women/men, who cares if I get AIDS; I like the affair I'm in, who cares if it wrecks my marriage; I like being Number One, who cares about Number Two; I like living my life the way I want to, who cares who gets hurt in the process".
Ah, pride. Pride can get us into so much trouble without us really even trying. You can't be high on yourself and God at the same time. Either God is in control of your life, or you are. You can't have it both ways. God must have first priority in your live if you want to live a free life under His protection. We all must humble ourselves everyday, and take ourselves out of God's way. When we don't, we open ourselves up for evil to have its way in our lives. When we are in control, we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble that we may have a hard time getting out of. But, if you allow God to have His way in your life, trouble is reduced, and your life will be a whole lot more peaceful.
Humble yourself and let God give you the kind of life you've always wanted.
The wicked are in pain and are afraid
Job 15:20-21a: "Wicked people are in pain throughout their lives. (21)They are surrounded by terrors… (New Living Translation)
Let's face it; we are all in pain. Since the Fall, man has been suffering the effects of his sins, whether we believe we've sinned or not. We suffer in every aspect of our lives, from working to pleasure. No matter how much we say we love our jobs, we still grumble and complain about things we have to do in them. Sometimes doing something pleasurable can bring with it the pain of guilt and condemnation from our pasts even if the pleasure is moral and right.
Look around our world today. There is suffering everywhere. Hunger, wars, disease, aches, pains, injustice etc, etc, etc… Alcohol and drug use are constantly on the rise as people look for ways to numb themselves from the pain this world can inflict on us. Immoral sexual relations are causing widespread STD's and AIDS. People are dying from the excessive use of anything that can (in our minds) relieve some of the pain we feel on a day to day basis. We are constantly being terrorized by the demons that run rampant over our world.
We are a confused people. We have no idea how to help ourselves. We don't know how to conduct our lives in such a way that even we can be happy with what we've accomplished. Ever since the Fall, Satan has been whispering in our ears that everything is going to be okay. He knows how to push our buttons, and he does it very easily. We have become a race of pushovers. One whisper from Satan that the course of action we are on is the right thing to do, and off we go in sin without even thinking of the consequences to others and ourselves.
We must humble ourselves and give it all to Jesus, only then can the voices in our heads be quieted to the point where we can hear the Savior's Voice. In my post "My Life In Christ' you will read of Jesus' miraculous intervention in my life. Satan kept telling me to kill myself, but every time the effort was stopped by a force greater than he was. Confusion was a way of life for me before Jesus came into it. Now, today, I have a clear mind and a clean conscience and I am at peace with myself. Please let the Savior give you His peace and His mind. What do you have to lose other than a mind and heart full of cobwebs?
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