Lesson 6 -- third quarter 2000
July 9, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
Is there a difference between being saved and staying saved?
Are you part of the building?
I do not believe there exists any significant difference between being saved and staying saved. Salvation is always by Jesus Christ. That truth remains unchanged regardless which side of the cross we live on. Only faith in Jesus will save us; only faith in Jesus will keep us. None of my works brought me into salvation, and none of my works will keep me in salvation. Christ, and Christ alone, is all I need.
Does this mean that all I need to do is believe? Yes!
"Then I can do whatever I want to! Yipee!" Ah, my friend, if that is our response to this, we have revealed the shallowness of our understanding, of our faith, and of our commitment. Saving faith is much more than just a disposition of the heart. Belief unto salvation far supersedes the mere acknowledging of something to be true.
Such faith and belief form the foundation of a relationship. And that relationship touches the entire being, not just the heart and the mind. In other words, genuine faith will change your life.
Let's put it another way. Saving faith is a living faith. If mine is a dead faith, it will not save me because it cannot. And what, I ask, is the primary difference between a living faith and a dead faith? Here, hear it from God Himself: "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:17,20,26).
When the Scripture says that our salvation is by faith alone, we need to understand what it teaches about faith! Whether you are a sinner needing that first work of redemptive grace, or whether you are a saint needing that ongoing work of grace, the only faith that will bring about your salvation is a living, working faith. If your faith is living, it is also working. If your faith is working, it is also living. And you are saved. But if your faith is works-free, it is also life-free; you are yet dead in your trespasses and sins.
My friend, how is your faith? Is it working?
The Church is a glorious building. Have you seen the foundation recently? It was laid by none other than the apostles and the prophets. Put another way, the apostles and prophets and all their teachings comprise that foundation. And what about that corner stone, eh? From it alone comes the building's strength and structural integrity. How fitting that it should be Jesus Himself. But that's not all about this glorious building, the Church. We are integral parts of it as well! All these diverse pieces that we are have been framed together just so. And as we grow (and grow together) we become increasingly glorious, made even more so by the incredible fact that God dwells in us through His Spirit.
We are all part of a building. Are you part of this building, the glorious Church? Check the distinguishing criteria put forth by today's passage. Remember that all of them must match in your life before you can say for certain that you are part of the building which is the Church.
Now a closing question: What practical impact will being part of the Church have on the individual and corporate lives of its members?
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