Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This blog is a more in-depth look at salvation, more so how salvation is possible even when we are failures.  This is a pretty long blog but we believe it will be well worth your time.
We all know and have heard terms like, "I'm saved", "Jesus gives us salvation", or "Through Christ I am saved." Most of us are familiar with this but lets dig deeper and see what the Bible says in-depth so that we can have a clear meaning and a clear concept of just what salvation is. Lets look at how the Bible explains it using the true accounts and situations experienced by those who are mentioned and used by God to create this inspired Word we call the Bible. The Bible is our guide and our handbook so to speak to all that God has for us. 

We are going to compare the lives of two Disciples, Judas and Peter, both of them had failed and both of them had the opportunity to make it right, but only one did. In many ways all of us can relate to both of them but we must choose which path to follow. 

The Bible is more than just words, the Words reflect God's heart and reveals to us His spirit and His Agape Love for us. 

In order for us to understand the depth of Gods love which is best described through history as "agape" love. We must learn just what the word "agape" means. In the Greek language they do not just have one generalized word "love" that covers many areas. They have many different words that specifically describe many different types of love.
Examples are the word "philia"= an affection that could denote friendship, brotherhood or generally non-sexual affection. And the word "eros"= an affection of a sexual nature. And now onto "agape"= Love that is spiritual, not natural but super-natural, self-sacrificing and unconditional. A state of wonder or      amazement, as with the mouth wide open. God's Love, God is Love.

Tabitha and I wrote this blog because we wanted those who read it to be clear and we pray God can use this to help those who are not clear and who "like us" need things explained. Our source for this study is the Bible itself inspired by God. God put this on Tabitha's heart so we made it happen.
Enjoy and we hope God can use this even in the smallest way to bless you.

 Below are two other words we wanted to stress the meaning of to further help you understand things you are about to read. These words are "perdition" and impenitent".
Perdition =a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and impenitent person passes after death. A state of final spiritual ruin; loss of the soul; damnation. The future state of the wicked.

 Impenitent =Not feeling shame or regret about one's actions or attitudes, not feeling regret about one's sin or sins. Not remorseful. unashamed and unrepentant.

Lets start in Matthew 9:13 when Jesus says,
"But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous but sinners."
Salvation is a choice but can one who truly has it, lose it? We will look into this and use Peter and Judas as examples. Judas was picked by Jesus and God used Judas to fulfill prophecy given in the Old Testament.
But first lets lay the background...

John 6:64 tells us and please read these verses attentively.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Turn Away

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 

Now lets look deeper, why did some of His disciples stop following?? The language here indicates the abandonment was decisive and final. Jesus made it clear what discipleship meant and many were not ready to truly receive in the way He taught. What does Jesus want us to know about discipleship?? He wants us to know and have in our hearts that "agape" love we mentioned earlier and to take that agape love and live our lives practicing it. In other words, as humans when we do our best to love in this way it is pleasing and commendable before God. Favor with God is found when someone is treated unjustly and accepts his poor treatment with faith and God's sovereign care rather than responding with anger, hostility, discontent, pride, or rebellion. This can be explained simply with this statement, "Love your enemies no matter what" Jesus expressed the greatest example of this when He was crucified, He suffered physical pain and humiliation and never lifted His hand in anger. He prayed for those who tortured Him and Loved those who hated Him even unto death and eternally. This isn't easy for us but this is what He wants us to strive toward by staying in the Word and prayer and growing our relationship with Him. This comes with dedication and devotion to our Savior. It is a transformation of the mind.
Matthew 5:11 says,
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake."

Now lets look at the Disciple Judas Iscariot..

Jesus called those that abandoned Him "betrayers" Those who truly follow Jesus are never called betrayers as they will never desert Jesus. This is a lot to swallow because we must choose and we must draw a line in the sand.
John 6:70-71 tells us,
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
Jesus was aware of what Judas would do but still reached out to him. Jesus was doing His Father's will and Judas was apart of this plan. Judas was given every chance and opportunity to truly accept Jesus as his Savior but instead Judas choose his own will and flesh and was overcome by his own vices. He choose this over eternal life. 
In doing so, Judas fulfilled prophecy that was given in the Old Testament in Psalms 41:8
"Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me."

Jesus even tells His disciples this before it happened in John 13:18-23
 “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.  Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” 
 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly,  I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”  Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

The Book of Acts 1:15 says,  
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,  “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”
 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.  And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
“For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’;
and, ‘Let another take his office.

Judas was a member of the 12 but was never truly saved which is why he is call the "son of perdition"(refer to definition above) Judas changed his allegiance BUT did he really ever have a true allegiance to Jesus?? No he did not.. He never lost his salvation because he never had it to begin with. Judas went from being a disciple to the son of perdition. 
Jesus says in John 17:12,  
"While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled."

The son of perdition identifies Judas by pointing to his destiny.(eternal damnation) 
Something else that is interesting is that Judas never referred to Jesus as "Lord" but only referred to Him as Teacher or Rabbi. 

Judas was given authority just like the other disciples and experienced God's power in his life. But Judas still chose his own selfish desires. His flesh was stronger than his spirit, this revealed his true heart.  

Jesus used this parable to explain further, picture Judas as the weed in this parable, 
Matthew 13:27-30
 "So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."

It is not our job to do the "weeding" amongst each other. God wants to give every opportunity to those who are considered weeds to get to know Him and center their lives around Him. However there will be a time that will come when their time is up. If they continue in their stubborn ways of remaining weeds, they will be "uprooted" at harvest time...
Jesus chose Judas because He was well aware that through out our lives there will always be "Judas-type" people among us. Also Jesus went through this betrayal to reflect the fact that He can relate to us when we are betrayed by others. 

Was Judas sorry for what he had done?? Lets look..
Judas was sorry that an innocent man was murdered and that he took the money from the religious leaders that lead this man to die. Judas was tortured by the sting of his own guilt. Judas expressed remorse from a worldly view point. Judas after betraying Jesus STILL had the opportunity to repent and accept Him. Judas could have been saved if he would have truly repented. Instead he allowed Satan to infiltrate his mind and soul to the point he committed suicide.

With all that said, know this:
 The power of Jesus Christ is adequate for EVERY need. True Believers are SECURE FOREVER because they are held and protected by GOD. Once you have truly received and accepted Christ, it is impossible for you to lose your salvation.

So you see, even Judas one who was a disciple of Jesus, one of the 12, this man was part of Jesus' inter-circle and he still did not truly know or accept Jesus. How many of us are following in the foot steps of Judas??? How many of us are living under the self-imposed impression that we are saved yet truly do not know Him??? How many of us say, "Lord, I follow you" but would throw that away for the right price??
Jesus says in Matthew 7:22-24
 "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in
Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock"

Lets change directions and look at Simon who was called Peter, the apostle Peter a disciple of Jesus.
When Peter first became a disciple of Jesus or a "Baby Christian" as it is modernly referred to he like most of us could be labeled an "unbelieving believer". An unbelieving believer could be considered someone who knows Jesus but still has doubts about His word. Some would use the term "lukewarm". Most Christians are like this in the beginning because of being immature in the faith. Being new to something can be hard no matter what it is, but God assures us He will never leave us and that He will stand beside us while we struggle. He will put things in our lives to mature us. The trials and tribulations that life brings, God will use them to mature us. It is a process and one that brings fulfillment to our lives. Without struggle and without the trials of life, we would be spoiled brats never knowing the depth of love. These things bring balance and focus to our life. Once we know the negative, we can understand, appreciate, and embrace the positive to a much higher degree. This cycle of life we may not understand why it happens but when its over and we see great things come from it, we begin to understand that with experience comes progress. So you see, the things that Satan brings against us, God will turn them around and make us stronger, the KEY is having the love for Him, knowledge of Him, and the faith/trust in Him to endure the trials. These are the building blocks of our walk with God. 
The stone that could not hold Jesus in the tomb(grave), is the same stone we all have in our own lives. If will allow God to roll the stone back, we can be sure that we will have peace in our trials. But when we allow the world to keep us behind the stone in darkness we live a life of hopelessness and despair.
Now back to Peter..
Peter was known as "the rock" Matthew 16:18
 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Peter was a strong man, one of those "born leader" types, energetic, confident, and brave. He was kind of like the Lord's right-hand man. When the Romans came to capture Jesus, Peter was the one who boldly attacked one of the Roman guards and cut his ear off with a knife. Of course we know after Peter did that, the Lord put His hand on the Roman guard's ear and healed it. But Peter was also very human. Though Peter had all these strong character traits, he is also the disciple that denied Jesus 3 times. During the last supper Peter informed Jesus that he was prepared to go to prison with Him and even die for Him. But the Lord informed Peter that he would deny Him 3 times. Peter denied knowing Jesus 3 times after Jesus was arrested. Peter's denial wasn't because he did not believe in Jesus, it was because he failed to follow the Lord's instructions. It was Peter's human weakness that caused him to stumble. He allowed his flesh to control him. But Satan's success will again be used against him and the Lord will turn it around. When they were at the Mount of Olives, Jesus told Peter to pray, 
Mark 14:32-42
32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

So you see Jesus wanted them to be focused and pray hard so that they would not give in to temptation. He urged them to prepare themselves because He knew what was coming.

 When Peter realized what he had done, and that Jesus had been right all along, he was deeply shamed, and wept bitterly. Peter, unlike Judas repented and truly knew the Lord. Although Peter had betrayed Jesus, Jesus did not lose trust in Peter. Peter was the first person the Lord appeared to after His resurrection. After this Peter went on and emerged as a strong leader for the Gospel. Peter lived the rest of his life spreading the good news to all that would hear it. Peter truly lived up to the name "rock", although Peter had failed, he came back and did great things for the Lord. Peter died by being crucified, so he even kept his word to the Jesus when he told Him he would die for Him. Another interesting thing about Peter is that during his crucifixion, he told them to crucify him upside down because he did not feel worthy to be crucified upright like Jesus. Peter was a true example of how we as imperfect humans sometimes fail but the Lord will still give us a chance to redeem ourselves, He will not give up on us. Peter went down a different road than Judas, Peter realized he had made a mistake but instead of allowing the world to drive him further into a guilt-trip like Judas, Peter repented and dusted himself off and got right back in the fight. 
So you see though Satan tried to destroy Peter like he did Judas, Peter's faith was like a rock and the Lord turned it all around for His Glory. 

IN FAILURE THERE IS REDEMPTION!! This is what we must always remember, that even though we fail, it is not the end. But we must strive to move forward in the right direction and not like Judas and we must not stay stagnate but be bold for the Lord. We must take courage and speak out when others will not. We must continue to learn and pray always....

The mercy of Christ is there for the taking but we must take it. We have to believe, and God will do the rest. From rolling the stone away to release you from darkness, to making you a new creation in Christ alone!!

If you have read this far, Tabitha and I thank you. We are in no way professional writers so forgive all the writing mistakes and grammar errors. Also we are in no way perfect, those of you who know my past know that for sure. We just want to share with others what God has shared with us. We hope that you can get some encouragement from this blog and we Thank you for taking the time to read it. 

May you never forget His love

We are grateful for our Lord Jesus Christ
We are grateful for the Bible
We are also thankful for Pastor Mark Kirk at Calvary Chapel Knoxville, God has used him to help us put on our "spiritual goggles"

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