The author of this letter, Victor Matthews Ph.D, is an ancient friend of mine and in many ways we are the same person. The biggest difference in the two of us is that the good doctor writes from the heart and I write from my head. The two are quite different. For a long while I entertained the idea of leaving the distinguished doctor behind, but as he would put it, old habits die hard. So, introducing once again: Dr. Victor Matthews.
In recent years, mainly in The Common Tongue Newsletter, I have explained my ideas on Eternal Salvation and have documented excessively why the weight of man’s salvation can not wholly rest upon man’s ability to save himself. I have said many times that it is Jesus who saved us and it is Jesus who died for our sins and it is Jesus who suffered for our transgressions, so then, how can we say that salvation is not achieved through Jesus? I admit that man’s actions will be rewarded, for Jesus said, “behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according to his works shall be” (Rev 22:12) It is true that humanity will be judged and Jesus “will reward His servants” and He will “destroy them which destroy the earth,” (Rev 11:18) but we must realize that salvation has been accomplished because of Jesus and what He did on the cross. Our actions are going to determine our rewards in heaven, but when Jesus died and gave himself in our place, He once and for all bought our way into God‘s kingdom.
It is hard for someone to understand how a person can say they are saved when they are obviously living in sin. It is questionable when a person says they’re living for Jesus, but don’t follow God’s commandments. I have seen this many times and struggled to understand it, but it became clear to me once I read what Jesus said, “No man putteth a piece of new cloth on an old garment [or] new wine in an old wineskin: else the bottles break and the wine is ruined.” (Matt 9:16-17) The same goes for that new spirit we receive when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We become new when we accept Christ, so, just as with anything else, we put our new spirit in a new body and become new completely: else everything will be ruined, and our lives will be miserable.
God has many treasures and much to give, including the rewards that will be given after death and received in heaven; and our rewards, which man’s imagination and heart has not conceived, will be determined by what we have earned. This however has nothing to do with our Salvation, for we did not earn Salvation. Accepting Jesus Christ is the only way to attain Salvation; for our salvation, in it’s infinite entirety, is the reward for accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.
If you were to look at all of humanity, you will see a common thread. God seeing man do evil and threatening to destroy man, then having compassion and giving man another chance. It happens so much in the history of Israel that one can not deny the compassion of God. One would have to say that God truly went beyond the restraints of man to forgive so much; and, for God to show such unconditional love proves that He is without human traits, for He is Perfect in all ways and man is imperfect in all ways. To see all of man’s faults would be to recognize God’s ability to forgive unconditionally; and, to see all of man’s fault, is to understand why Jesus was needed to suffice the sin debt. But, to understand “sin debt,” one would have to understand the nature of sin. Sin can not be entertained by God. There is not going to be a little sin in heaven. No way. Heaven is the “no sin zone.” So, in order to get to heaven, sin has to be atoned (which means judged) -- all has to be made right in the eyes of God.
This atonement was accomplished with Jesus’ death.
Jesus died and that put an end to all sin. Past, Present, and Future.
But, you ask, what if I sin after I am saved, doesn‘t that return me to the side of sin. I ask, how can you not sin. Show me the person who has not sinned after knowing Christ. It was Christ who showed us that sin comes quickly, even before we realize it. Jesus said, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matt 5:28)
Who hasn’t done that? Who can, in all human capacity, stop their thoughts. I say: If your question has to do with Jesus’ ability to atone for your sin, then your question isn’t about your sin, it is about Jesus’ validation. Don’t you believe in Jesus; then, what, may I ask, did He come to do? Please understand, All of your sins are future compared to Christ’s death. All of your days have come after Jesus’ death. The question about your salvation doesn’t rest on your sin or if it is too great for Jesus to cover; in fact it has do with whether or not you believe Jesus was great enough to cover your sin.
Many will argue that this line of thought will teach people that sin is going to go unpunished and that after knowing Jesus we are free to run wild because “once saved always saved.” But, I ask you, who after knowing Jesus turns back to their wicked ways. Can you remember the day that all your guilt and all your heaviness of heart fell away? Remember the feeling that overcame you when Jesus came into your life and told God, “this one is protected.” Just like in the days of Egypt, the blood has saved you from death. God’s hand of judgment is going to pass over you and you will live. Because Jesus died for you, please, read this part, if nothing else: Because Jesus died for you, He traded places with you. You became God’s child and Jesus became sin.
My last question is this: How can you undo what Jesus has accomplished? Do you recon yourself more powerful than Jesus? Do you think you can undo His death on the cross; for if you can not undo it, then you can not undo Salvation.
1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
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