Salvation is for Today

Luke 4: 18 – 19

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Stop for a moment today and consider this passage. This is from the book of Isaiah and it is what Jesus read in the synagogue.  His speaking of this passage marked the beginning of his public ministry. If God sent Jesus only to die on a cross bearing the sin of the world, then why this scripture? If eternal life was the only thing on God’s mind, why did Yahweh anoint Jesus to do all these other things? My point is that we have narrowed our focus as to Jesus’ purpose and in so doing have missed the greater blessing.

John 3: 16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” I suppose there is no other scripture in the whole of the Bible that is more well known than this one. We make our children memorize it in Bible School, put it on bumper stickers and even billboards. It is a wonderful passage, but it is not the whole story. Jesus didn’t stand up in the synagogue and say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me so that none shall perish but instead have eternal life.” Why? Because that was not his singular purpose nor his anointing. It explains God’s love but not Jesus’ purpose. If you want to know the reason God sent Jesus you must read 1 John 3: 8, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” This scripture discloses Jesus’ purpose. Let us go further, though, to see what Jesus, himself, says about his purpose in the earth. John 10: 10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Abundant life, free from the works of the devil, is the gift Jesus came to give us. Yes, eternal life is part of that package but that is the end game, not the whole thing. God made the earth for us to live in and enjoy. He gave us this planet to be our home, not heaven. He didn’t create earth as a testing ground but rather as a home. The point is, the time we spend here is not simply a waystation. Life here isn’t just passing time until we get to heaven. We are supposed to have abundant life here and now. Look again at today’s passage. Clearly that has nothing to do with heaven. Those conditions do not exist in heaven. Adam’s job was to make earth look like heaven so that we would have a heavenly home right here. Jesus prayed, “Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” (Matthew 6: 10). Earth is to reflect heaven.

Jesus came to restore our original purpose to us and to return the earth to us as our heavenly home, a home made in the image of heaven. Then God will come here and live with us. We’ve got to stop waiting to get to heaven to start fulfilling our purpose. We’ve got to stop waiting until heaven to start living, especially living in the fullness of God’s intent for us.

Redemption? Yes, it’s a big deal, but it is not the end of the story. It is the means by which God put us back on track. We could not have the abundant life Jesus came to give us until we were cleansed of the sin which stained us and our existence. Furthermore, I do not think eternal life is the evangelical message; it is not the salvation message. The word salvation means, rescue or safety, deliver, health, victory, prosperity, help, and welfare, (Strong’s 3444 & 4991). It does not only mean deliverance from sin. The savior came to give deliverance, health, victory, prosperity, help and welfare. In other words, he came to give us an abundant life right here, right now. This is why I think evangelism is important, but it also points out why our evangelistic message is presently off target. We are trying to get people into heaven while Jesus is trying to save them from their current peril and give them a great life now and forever.

Eternity is now. It began a long time ago. God has plans to get us into heaven but the good news that Jesus shared is that our freedom and victory begins now. This is not the good news we have been carrying to the world, however. God wants people to know they can be free now. Jesus came to set the captives free. Amen? The good news of the gospel is that God wants to bless you now, in this life. He wants to free people from torment and hurt. He wants to mend their hurts and restore them to good life. People need God now, not just in heaven. The message of the gospel is that God loves you now. Salvation emphatically is not, buy your ticket to heaven and then suffer until you die. That is not God. If you know God at all, you know that is not His heart.

To be clear, the evangelical message, the message that all the world needs to hear is that God wants to be your savior today. He wants to move into our lives and improve them. He longs to give us perfect peace and joy in this world, right now. Yahweh is a now God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. Abundant life is that life which in intertwined with our beloved, our Father, Yahweh. He who loves us has sent His son to restore us back to health, welfare, liberty, prosperity and joy. This is the good news of the gospel. Tell that to someone. Heaven is here and now for all who live in Christ. Now is the salvation of the gospel. Now is life and love in the Son. Jesus is here now to give you a good life. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29: 11). Tell someone the good news. Jesus has come, and he has life and healing in his hands. This is his salvation, and ours. Amen.


1 Chronicles 29: 28

Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor and his son Solomon reigned in his place.

Well, if you are following the story this week, our friend, David has died passing, on the mantle of leadership to Solomon. What I find interesting in this passage is that he died at a ripe old age, full of days, full of riches and full of honor. My interest is especially piqued by the fullness of days. There is another passage in the twenty-third chapter that goes along with this. Verse 1 of that chapter reads, “Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.” There is a footnote at “reached old age” which tells us that he literally was “sated with days.” He was full of days, satisfied. Of course, that brings to mind Psalm 91: 16, “With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.”

You should live on planet earth healthy and prosperous until you are fully satisfied. You aren’t supposed to die because you are sick. You are supposed to lay down your body and move to heaven because you are well satisfied. David was ready to turn over the running of Israel to his son and did. Everything was in place, his work done, his life full and satisfied. He left having fulfilled his mission in life.

Christians need a brain washing and this scripture is good for it. We have been coaxed by the world into sickness and death but Jesus is the life so we must adjust our thinking. Right now, each of us already has eternal life. The only difference will be that we will move to heaven at some point. However, for all we know, we may be back on earth someday. The point is, though, that we have begun to think like the world instead of like God and that is a problem. When people ask what you are going to die of you ought to say of satisfaction. When I am full of what this world holds, I will move on and it won’t be because I am sick or diseased. We’ll just lay down these bodies.

Get this mindset working in you that God has promised to satisfy you and don’t quit, don’t lay down until you are full and satisfied.

Judgment Day

John 5: 24

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

I have already had my judgment day. How about you? Do you hear Jesus’ word? Do you believe He who sent him, i.e. God, do you believe God? Jesus said if you hear his word and believe God then you have passed out of death. You have passed into life. You have eternal life. You have it now. There is another part of this verse, though, and something we need to hear. All you hear Jesus’ word and believe God have already passed into eternal life and do not come into judgment. That is a big statement and a momentous idea. You will not face judgment. Jesus has already paid your way with his blood. Hallelujah!

Many Christians have their eyes focused on judgment day. That is not where our focus ought to be. Our focus is to be on Jesus’ word. Will there be a judgment day? Truthfully, judgment is already in the world which is why Jesus came, to save us from the judgment that was upon the world, but you have passed into life.

The thing which is most troubling about Christians who worry about their result on judgment day, is that they work to earn a good judgment. They believe that on judgment day their deeds will render them either a good judgment or a bad one. Here is the unabashed truth of that. They are hardly Christians because they are not wearing the mantle of Christ. They are actually humanists because they are trying to win God’s favor by their good works rather than the sacrifice of Jesus. They believe there is something they can do to woo God and it is, in reality, a stench in God’s nose.

The only thing that makes any of us worthy of gaining heaven is the blood sacrifice of our beloved. There is nothing you can do to make yourself one bit more saved than you are now. You will not face the judgment seat because you have already been judged and passed onto eternal life. You made a choice. You chose Jesus and that choice is the dividing line. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil,” (John 3: 19). A negative judgment is on those who love and choose the darkness. For those who choose the light, they are saved and passed on into eternal life. So, you have reason to celebrate and praise the Lord for you have been spared judgment.

There is one other thing of note in this verse. It is interesting that Jesus did not say this good news is for those who have “heard” his word. He said it is for those who hear his word. Think about that for a moment. What is the difference. Also, Jesus did not say that eternal life is for those who believe “in” God. That is what we read but not what Jesus said. Jesus said heaven is for those who “believe Him who sent me.”

I believe Jesus is communicating a dynamic relationship to us. He wants us to hear, and continue hearing, his word, the word that he is speaking today. Then we are supposed to believe it. We are supposed to believe what God is saying and believe what He has said. Satan believes “in” God. That is no big thing. We are called believers because we are supposed to believe God. We are to believe His Word and even act on it. We believe He is faithful, kind and that He is present right now in our own environment. We believe He is alive and active. We are believers in all Jesus’ words. That separates us, especially when our actions show our belief. We act on our beliefs. Everyone does, so when we act on Jesus’ words, our belief system shows.

If you believe Jesus and hear his words. If you believe God and all He has said throughout the centuries, then you have already passed out of death and into life. You are already living in eternity. Eternal life is yours. That is some good news and perhaps encouragement too.

No Death in Truth

John 8: 31

Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.

We say, don’t we, that we believe in life after death. That’s unfortunate and this verse explains why.  Jesus does not believe in life after death. He believes in life. We get these little ideas in our heads that we think are Biblical but upon closer examination we discover that they are actually misstatements. Reorienting our thinking so that it aligns with the Word of God is how we release freedom in our lives.

The truth is, you will never die. From this side of heaven it appears like death. In truth, your spirit will just take up new residence. People in heaven and other heavenly beings see this truth. They don’t believe in death either because they see a person step out of their body and step into the mansion Jesus prepared for them. They see that person’s life continue.

Jesus said that he came to give us abundant life. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10: 10). We hear about eternal life. We even talk about eternal life but somewhere the wires have gotten crossed and we have begun to think that the path to eternal life is through death. In other words, that in order to have eternal life, we must die. In a metaphorical sense this is true. We have to die to ourselves in order to live to Christ. That is not what I am discussing though. We think that people die but I say that they don’t. Jesus said that if we keep his word we shall never see death. It just doesn’t make sense to me that in order to accept and receive this eternal life Christ has won for us that we have to die. He came to earth to give us life. If we have to die in order to receive this life, why not just wait until we die to give it to us?

The real point, though, is that this thought process, this seeking, pondering and discovery comes through believing what he has said. He is the one who said if we keep his words we shall not see death. I choose to believe what he said so that launches me into an examination of my own beliefs and assumptions. You will be amazed at what God will reveal to you if you take Him at His word. When you read His Word, if you take Him at face value, illumination will fill your mind, heart and experience. Isn’t that cool? Perhaps you also feels a renewed sense of confidence. There is so much the Lord would like to show you. First, we have to accept what he has already said.

Eternal Life Secret

John 3: 36

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

I’ve said it before – Christianity is more than the one time utterance of a salvation prayer. When Jesus went to the cross he had in mind the building of a family. He delivered himself up so that every person could be restored to the family of the Father. What Jesus did for us was very personal and as such, it was meant to bring us individually and collectively into a that very personal experience.

Yahweh is very proud of his son and all that he accomplished. He has raised him to the highest of all pinnacles. He is the first of all children and our lord and high priest. It is important, therefore, that we obey his word, not only to honor him but also because he is leading us into the light and to victory.

We call Jesus Lord and that should imply that we do what he says. First, though, we must know what his words, teachings and commands are. We can know this through our Bible and Bible teaching ministries. To say that we are under his lordship and yet we do not do what he says is to lie to ourselves. He who does not obey the Son will not inherit eternal life because Jesus is the way and he is showing us the way.

Second, we’ve got to learn to listen to his voice speaking in our spirits. How do we do that? How, if you’ve never heard God speak before, do you begin to hear and recognize his voice. Fortunately, there is an easy way and my friends at will show you. 

Eternal life is in the Son. We must hearken to him and to his words. It is not enough to say that we are Christians. That isn’t the secret password to get through the gates. The secret is no secret at all – it is adherence, yes, obedience, to the Lord Jesus. Hear what he has to say, read his word and follow.

John 17: 3

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Do you want eternal life? Well, here Jesus gives us the recipe for life eternal. It is knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ. Eternal life is not in knowing about God, it is knowing Him personally. Think about that for a moment. There are many people who know a lot about God who will not get to enjoy eternity with Him. There are people who have studied the Bible thoroughly just so they can argue against Him and Christianity. Those people know a lot about God but they will not attain to eternal life. Eternal life comes through a relationship with God and with His son, Jesus Christ. 

Those who do not know God will endure eternal death. What do suppose eternal death to be? It is separation from God. God is love and all life is in Jesus so those who are separated from them will endure eternity without love or life. And did you know that Jesus endured this death for us so that we would never have to taste it? This is the real price that Jesus paid for us. For some period of time he was actually separated from God and that was hell. Do you remember when Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15: 34)  God separated Himself from Jesus when the sin of the world came to rest on Jesus. Look at the Amplified Version’s rendition of this verse, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?—which means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me [deserting Me and leaving Me helpless and abandoned]?” How horrific that must have been for Jesus. Never in his entire life had he spent a single moment outside of God’s presence. I am sure it was the most horrible kind of suffering and death that one could ever be put to.

We think of Jesus’ beatings and crucifixion as the high price that he paid but those were trivial in comparison to the real price of being separated from his father. Jesus was not afraid of anything anyone could do to his body. He gave us that insight in Matthew 10: 28 when he said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” This was a foretelling of the death he would die. He knew he would go to hell in our place and he knew that to be the true death. He was taken out of his relationship with his father and made to stand in our place where sin separated us from the love of God. But Jesus suffered that hell for us and came out with victory over death and the keys to hell in his hand.

To know God is to know love but it is also the source of eternal life. We are to seek a personal relationship with our father and through that intimate association we gain abundant life and eternity with God. Get to know God and reap great rewards.