Last Minute Saves

Consider the following scenario:

A rapist and murderer lives their whole life in sin and rebellion, and there on their deathbed they repent and decide to recieve Jesus at the last minute before they die, then they go on to heaven and eternal life.

I agree that on the surface the possiblity of this can be very frustrating for those who have tried to live thier lives as a “good person” and do the right things. I do not know anyone who hasn’t at one time or another felt similar to the brother of the prodigal son as in Luke 15:11-32

“All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast–barbecued beef!–because he has him home safe and sound.’ “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’ “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours–but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!'” Luk 15:25-32 (MSG)

Of course when we feel this way, we are forgeting that we are not saved by works, we are saved by Grace.

For we ourselves also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, slaving for various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Tit 3:3-7 (MKJV)

This is a very good thing. I would not even want to get in the business of trying to somehow earn salvation. It would be a whole lot of work for nothing, as earning salvation is quite simply impossible. It has already been given as a free gift, all we have to do is repent and recieve it in faith.

Last minute saves are a small “price to pay” for it to be possible for us to recieve God’s mercy (not giving us what we deserve) and God’s grace (giving us what we don’t deserve).

Plus, we too quickly forget that by living for God in this life we have victory, provision, health, and abundance even on this side of eternity. On top of that we are building up treasure in heaven and have an inheritance awaiting us. Those who live in bondage to sin and repent at the last minute, even though the eternal consequences are forgiven, they still have the temporal consequences to deal with in this life in addition to having spent their inheritance.

Salvation

But what does it say? “The Word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart”; that is, the Word of Faith which we proclaim;

Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame.”

For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him.

For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Rom 10:8-13 (MJKV)

Hypocrites

I heard this one today on Jerry Zirkle’s radio show:

“If all that stands between you and God is a hypocrite, then that puts the hypocrite closer to God than you are.”

That puts to words something that has been rolling around in the back of my mind the past couple of days.

Basically it relates to the fact that we should always look to Jesus and seek Him, and not let the antics of those around us be a distraction. If they cause someone to stumble, they will get their “reward” down the line–and it won’t be pleasant!

I have been recently saying:

The best witnesses for God are Christians, and as it turns out, the best witnesses for satan are “christians” too.

There seems to be so many self-righteous, judgemental, gossipy people out there. No matter what church you go to, you will always find some. It never fails that they are the ones that end up in the news and on tv shows as they are far more entertaining. These are the “tares” that grow up among the wheat. (Mat 13:25-30).

Expect to meet them. Pray for them and love them the same as you would anyone. Whatever you do, don’t let them stand between you and God.

Making Decisions

When it comes to making a decision between several options, you can often readily eliminate any options that go contrary to scripture.

When more than one option is left and you are not sure which way to go, that is when you pray a prayer of dedication and surrender of your choices to God. You ask God to reveal which road He wants you to take.

At that point the solution will either:

1. Become really obvious which choice to take. Somehow God will communicate which road to take, usually by opening doors and making the way before you.

-or-

2. If you don’t hear anything specific, then as long as you routinely delight yourself in the Lord, you can follow the desire in your heart.

Bless those who curse you

We are instructed to bless those who curse us.

The devil has a seemingly endless of supply of people to send across our path to cause us pain.

When we do not take control of our reactions to these people, we are in fact allowing them to control us.

As long as we allow this to happen, it remains an effective means for satan to control us, and he will continue to use this method.

However, we are given a Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.

No matter what happens, we always have a choice in how we react. We no longer have the excuse of “I just couldn’t control myself”.

When we excercise our faith and respond with love, we are standing aside and trusting that God will intervene on our behalf.

If every time someone tries to hurt us, we instead pray blessings for that person, eventually satan will get the hint that his efforts are backfiring.

Love is Not Tolerance

The world teaches that love is all about “tolerance” and acceptance of people’s behavior. The world teaches that people “are what they do”, and that in order to accept them, we must accept their behavior.

That is utter baloney.

The Bible teaches us to love one another and not to sit in judgement of one another. We are to love people and we are not supposed to judge people.

The difference between what the Bible teaches and what the world teaches is:

God is in love with us, not our behavior.

God loves us unconditionally. He sees us separate us from our behavior because of Christ.

At the same time, God hates sin.

We are to love people. But loving someone does not imply a blanket approval or acceptance of their every decision. You can love a person and at the same time hate the sin, curse, addiction, ignorance, and disease that plagues their life.

Judgement means that you judge a person as “good” or “evil”.

Judgement is reserved for God’s use only. For us, judgement is a “no no”. We’ll be judged by the same measures we use to judge others with.

We don’t have to judge behavior. Wrong behavior, sin, the curse, sickness, and disease are evil because God has said they are evil. God hates sin. It stands to reason that we should hate the same things God hates because we have been reborn in the spirit with His nature.

Saying that sin is wrong is NOT passing judgement on a person, it is merely agreeing with God’s Word.

Withholding your love from a person, gossiping about them, condemning them, ostracizing, and so forth IS passing judgement on a person.

One way that we show our love for God and worship Him is by loving other people.

The bottom line: Love God, love people, hate sin.

Known by Love

I’ve been following a conversation where they have been debating on the best way to witness. In particular debating about coming on too strong with “christian-ese” or trying to play up to people trying to share common interests with them until you get an opening to share your faith.

These, and other points have all been very worthy considerations, though I think the point gets a little muddied when a person spends too much time worrying about how other people will take them, or if they will somehow make a mistake and turn people off of Christ.

I’m just as guilty of forgetting a very simple point: the fact that we are commissioned to go out into the world and “be a witness”, NOT that we are to “go and witness”. It not as much about what you “do” as it is about what you “are”.

Jesus said that the witness of Him would be based on love.

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Look also for what motivated Jesus. He was moved by compassion.

Mat 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Mar 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

Mat 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Mar 1:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

Do you think that the burdeon of winning converts lies soley on the effectiveness of your effort? I say to you, you are not the one that saves people. Don’t quote verses or beat people over the head with the bible.

You cannot save anyone. Jesus is the one who paid the price, and it is the Holy Spirit that leads a heart to salvation.

Your part is to go out and live your life as a witness to others. Speak the Word out of the abundance of your heart in due season. Speak the truth in love.

If you are moved by compassion, acting in love, and what you do draws attention to Jesus and the Father (instead of yourself) then you can not go wrong.

One thing to note though, even though you go out and sincerly act in love to others, there will still be some people who will not accept or like you. Keep in mind, that it is not you they are rejecting, they are rejecting Jesus.

Joh 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

So don’t measure your sprituality based on people’s acceptance or rejection of you. Any measuring should be done only against God’s Word.

Desensitization

Being continually surrounded and bombarded with every sort and form of evil and filth, it is no wonder that we become desensitized to it.

What we don’t realize is that desensitization just means that we are not necessarily taking active and conscious consideration of everything that we see and hear.

Being desensitized does not prevent the foul seeds from being planted in your mind.

Matter of fact, it is a point where your guard is completely down and there is nothing to prevent the filth from coming in, taking root, and making itself at home.

Do not be surprised that this desensitization decreases as you learn more of the word, grow in Christ, and become more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

This is because as you gain deliverance from and dominance over the flesh, your heart becomes sensitive to the right things.

After the initial rush of freedom that deliverance brings, you will come to a place where you start vacillating between the old fascination for things that the flesh tries to hang on to, and a growing revulsion for those same things.

This is where you have a choice to make. Before your deliverance, you didn’t have a choice. After Jesus became the focus of your life, you do have a choice.

If you ignore the revulsion and/or cater to the flesh’s fascinations, you will again be allowing those fouls seeds to get replanted.

Realize that it is up to you to master your flesh. Whereas before you were spiritually dead and a slave to the flesh, you are now spiritually reborn and given a Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. You no longer have the excuse “I couldn’t help it” or “I couldn’t control myself”.

2Cor 10:3-6

For though walking about in flesh, we do not war according to flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; and having readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Notice that God did not leave us unarmed! We have mighty weapons in God’s Word. When the flesh rises up and tries to convince us that we are still enslaved to it, we have God’s Word that says otherwise. All we have to do is decide which we believe more: our flesh or God’s Word.