Untangled

The last thing any of us like to see is pile of jewelry all tangled up together into one big glob with all the pieces practically indistinguishable from each other. We look at all the knots and twists and turns, and we’re ready to give up before we’ve ever started. What was beautiful has somehow morphed into an absolute disaster, one nerve away from a trip to the garbage can.  HEEEEEELLLP!! Usually, someone with a lot of patience and some time can salvage the jewelry fiasco. But what about our lives?

I remember a time when I looked at my life, and I seriously doubted that it could ever be “untangled.” I had made such a mess of things. Potential and promise had been destroyed. The years of pain and addiction had wound around me, extended into the lives of my family and friends, and insinuated its chains into every facet of my world. One giant knot of hurt. I hated the sound of my own voice and doubted that God could or even would  help. Hopelessness.

I began to cry out to the Lord, desperate pleas to a God I thought I knew:

 God please, just get me right and then kill me before I can screw it up again! I don’t care what it takes; put me in prison, give me cancer, please just somehow get through to me! Jesus, I want to know you, not what they told me you were like, but YOU!!

He heard my cry. And with great love and patience and care and mercy he began the process of untangling all the knots- healing, restoration, and reconciliation. He saved me, and he’s still saving me today. Salvation! God, taking our death and giving us his life, untangling it all in Jesus. HOPE.

You have not gone too far.

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Israel, Egypt & The American Church

For years my heart has become increasingly burdened for the American church. I have sought the Lord, prayed and wept as I have examined my own life and the state of things in “Christian” America. I was reading Isaiah 30 this morning, and though this word was originally spoken to Israel during a time when they were looking to Egypt for deliverance from their oppressors, I truly believe it is an applicable word for the American Church today.

It is my humble and sincere prayer that God’s Spirit will speak to you as you read the following words:

“’What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,’ says the Lord. You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced. For though his power extends to Zoan and his officials have arrived in Hanes, all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you…

Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witnessthat these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions.

They tell the seers, ‘Stop seeing visions!’ They tell the prophets, ‘Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your Holy One of Israel.’

This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: ‘Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies,calamity will come upon you suddenly— like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapseand come crashing down. You will be smashed like a piece of pottery— shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.’

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.’

You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

“O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.

Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images.You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, ‘Good riddance!’”

To Tell The Truth

We’ve reached the final chapter in John’s  first epistle. I’ve been a good boy, keeping my mouth shut and offering no commentary as promised. It has been my prayer through our little excursion that you will see that it is possible to actually KNOW that you have eternal life.

So without further ado, 1 John 5:

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

“This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
disillusioned
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

” If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

” We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus
Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

Testing. Loving. Knowing.

I don’t know about you, but in reading the book of 1 John, I’m seeing some things that really challenge me! (I hope you are as well.) Maybe after reading the book as a whole it would be a good idea to go back and explore it a little more in depth. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve got a few questions! Anyhow, let me go through my check-list before we start…

Presuppositions: Check.
Mouth Shut: Check.
Here we go.

1 John 4- “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to telvistruthhem. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and
his love is perfected in us.

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Welcome To Reality

Welcome to reality. Those entering must agree to check (as honestly as possible) all presuppositions at the door.
Today we are continuing our look into “1 John” to see how we can know, can we really know, and should we even care if we know that we truly posses eternal life? Let’s do it!

1 John 3: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps owelcome to reality picsn sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

Can I Know? How Do I Know? Why Should I Care?

So, we’re going through the book of 1John, chapter by chapter, to see how we can know, can we really know, and should we even care if we know that we truly posses eternal life?  We agreed that we would check our presuppositions at the door ( It’s hard to do, I know.), and that I would keep my mouth shut, offering no commentary. I hope you’re writing down any thoughts you may have. If discussion ensues, we can all lovingly and respectfully go there together. (Remember, you can like us on Face Book and join the discussion there.)  Let’s go to chapter two!

1John 2: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkneesher 2ss, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

“I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

That You May Know

I have stated in the past that I believe we are in that kairos time (Greek word meaning an appointed time, a “season,” a strategic time on the calendar, and not simply chronology) when the deception of wickedness is abounding, and people will not endure sound teaching, but will instead seek for teachers who will “tickle” their ears (II Timothy 4:3,4). There is much talk in the world today about “being spiritual,” being more “God-focused,” and so on. But is being spiritual and “God-focused” tantamount to”being saved”? And what about those of us in the “church”? We are sometimes so invested in our particular denominational doctrines and our “isms” that we try to conform the Bible to our particular denominational experience instead of allowing the Bible to lead us into true intimacy with Jesus. (It would seem that we have forgotten Jesus’ words: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”) Then there are some of us who reject “religion” and “the religious” so vehemently that we have become religious about not being religious. This can be just as dangerous. So with all that in mind, I have to ask how do we know, can we know, should we even care ‘if’ we know that we truly posses eternal life?esher Sometimes, when we talk about these things we may be tempted to get angry or defensive. While that may be a natural thing, I don’t think it helps us that much at all. Can I tell you that I came to a place in my life when I realized that in spite of my experiences, in spite of what I thought, according to the Bible, I did not know  Jesus. And then you know what He did? He didn’t condemn me, he didn’t reject me- he loved me. And he’s still loving, saving, forgiving, and setting me free today.

Why don’t we try this. Let’s attempt (by the Spirit and grace of God) to lay our presuppositions on the table, read the book of 1 John ( a chapter a day), and see what we can see. I will offer no commentary whatsoever. If discussion ensues, we’ll lovingly and respectfully go there- together. (You can like us on Face Book, and join in the discussion there as well.) Here we go:

1 John 1:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Perichoretic Salvation (Dr. James D. Gifford)

I want to tell you about a book that I really believe can change your life. I had the privilege of having Dr. James D. Gifford as a professor, and he has written a book entitled,  Perichoretic Salvation: The Believer’s Union with Christ as a Third Type of  Perichoresis, which I think is simply awesome.  I took the  pericope below off of the back cover and I hope it will entice you to click on the provided link, and get your own copy. Perichoretic Salvation by James d. GiffordI know the man, and I absolutely encourage you to get his book!

“For two thousand years, Christian theologians have struggled to explain the believer’s union with Christ. What sort of union is this? How can it fully be described? This book is an attempt to join the conversation to explore exactly what it means to be in union with Christ. This book will argue that the believer’s union with Christ can be rightly presented as a third type of perichoresis. Perichoresis is a word that describes the way the persons of the Trinity interrelate, without losing their essential oneness nor without being absorbed into each other. In short, the doctrine of perichoresis preserves the unity and diversity within the Godhead. It is also used to describe the hypostatic union of the divine and human nature in Christ. In Perichoretic Salvation, James Gifford argues that the union of the believer and Christ is a relationship of the same kind, though of a third type. Arguing from a perspective that is rooted biblically, historically, and theologically, the book will allow the union to be explained more fully than in the past while remaining within the bounds of what the church has taught over the centuries. It mat prove to be a basis for understanding the work of Christ afresh for the twenty-first century.”

http://www.amazon.com/Perichoretic-Salvation-Believers-Christ-Perichoresis/dp/1610971140

Examine Yourselves (part 7)

     If you haven’t read parts 1-6 of this series I encourage you to do so. We have explored certain “myths” surrounding the concept of salvation and have come to understand that in order for one to truly “be saved,” there must be repentance and faith. Last time we looked at what repentance means sola scriptura ( by scripture alone), now; let’s take a look at what it means to have true saving faith.

         The Bible tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 12:6). If it is impossible to please God without it, we must make it a priority to know what faith is. The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). So, if faith is the vehicle through which we are saved, we must understand just what faith is; in particular, saving faith. What is saving faith?

        “Saving faith may be defined as a response to God’s call by the acceptance of Christ with the total person- that is, assured conviction of the truth of the gospel, and with trustful reliance on God in Christ for salvation, together with a genuine commitment to Christ and to his service.”[1]  This saving faith can be distinguished into three aspects: knowledge, assent, and trust.[2]

            1) We must be aware of what we are to believe.

            2) We must whole heartedly agree with the gospel.

            3) We must trust with our entire being.

 All of that may sound kind of mechanical and static, so; let’s see if we can bring it to life with the following example:

        Someone has told the story of the man who was walking back and forth across Niagara falls on a tightrope. Well, he walked across the falls a couple of times and the people were all amazed. Returning from  the other side for the final time, he turned an asked the crowd, “Do you believe I can walk across the falls blind folded?” Every one responded with cheers, “We know you can, let’s see it!” He then proceeded to ask that a wheelbarrow be brought up to the platform. He turned to the crowd and said, “Let’s see who truly believes I can do it. Will some one come up and climb into the wheelbarrow and let me push you across as I walk the falls?” There’s a big difference in saying you believe and getting in the wheelbarrow. If you’re going to get in the wheelbarrow, you definitely need to be aware of what/who you’re putting you faith in, you’re gonna have to wholeheartedly agree that the man’s words are true (i.e. his claim that he can get both you and he across blindfolded), and you are most definitely going to trust with your entire being.

            Misunderstanding saving faith can be dangerous. The Bible clearly teaches we’re saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.[3] The argument by many is that since salvation is through faith alone, there is no need for any works. However, the book of James reveals that it is the presence of corresponding works which qualifies saving faith (James 2:14-26). James points out that Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac revealed that he was indeed in possession of saving faith.  “Lip service, with no manifestation of the fruit of faith is not saving faith.’[4]

Conclusion

         We have discussed the fact that salvation is not simply a self-help tool designed to make me the best me I can be. We’ve discovered that salvation isn’t merely keeping a list of do’s & don’ts. We’ve examined the fact that the presence of the miraculous is not proof- positive of communion with Christ. In part four we saw that mere mental assent to the facts concerning Jesus does not mean one is in communion with Christ. And finally, in part five we came to our last “Myth Buster” and found that nowhere in the Bible is someone inquiring as to how one is born again told to just “ask Jesus to come into your heart.”

We have come to understand that true salvation involves repentance and faith. An exploration of the meaning of faith and repentance should serve to further the already present witness of the Holy Spirit that we are indeed the children of God, or else, convince us that our conversion experience is altogether lacking or perhaps disingenuous. And finally,we have learned that salvation is not a one time event, something we did a long time ago; it is an ongoing, right now, present tense relationship with Jesus.

We have entitled this series Examine Yourselves, so; let’s examine ourselves. While this is by no means a definitive list,based on what we’ve learned; I’ve created a list of questions that will at least help us begin to examine ourselves:

1) Has my life truly changed direction?

2) Have I turned away from sin and towards God; and, am I continuing to do so?

3) Has my outlook on life as well as my behavior truly changed?

4) Do I have sincere remorse over my sin?

5) Am I presently looking to God and relying on Christ to keep me free from the dominion of sin?

6) Do I truly believe that Christ came, incarnate God (God in the flesh), and died for my sins and rose again from the dead?

7) Am I “in the wheel barrow” so to speak? (Remember the story above.)

8) Is my life marked by a continued commitment to service, and works which bear evidence of the reality of my faith?

Well, that’s it for the Examine Yourselves series. “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” (I John 5:13)


                1. Anthony A. Hoekema, Saved By Grace, (Grand Rapids, Michigan- William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 140.

            2. Ibid., 140-143.

            3. Tim Riter, Twelve Lies You Hear In church, (USA- David C. Cook Publishing, 2004), 18.

4. R. C. Sproul, Essential truths of The Christian Faith, (USA- Tyndale House Publishers, 1998), 187.

Examine Yourselves (part 5)

Can we know that we have eternal life? If so, how do we know? We have begun a series in order to explore what the Bible has to say about these very questions. (I encourage you to check out parts 1-4 of Examine Yourselves  if  you’ve not done so.)

We are continuing our study into how we can know that we have eternal life. We stated in part one of  Examine Yourselves that sometimes the way to help discover the reality of what something is, is to first consider what it is not. Previously, we have discussed the fact that salvation is not simply a self-help tool designed to make me the best me I can be. We’ve discovered that salvation isn’t merely keeping a list of do’s & don’ts. We’ve examined the fact that the presence of the miraculous is not proof- positive of communion with Christ. In part four we saw that mere mental assent to the facts concerning Jesus does not mean one is in communion with Christ. And finally we come to our last “Myth Buster,” and like I said; this one may be the biggest of them all. Drum roll please…….. Here it is:  Nowhere in the Bible do you find someone inquiring as to how one is born again being told to just “ask Jesus to come into your heart.” Take a moment and Google  it- it’s not in there.

Nowhere in the Bible will you find Paul, Peter, or any of the other Biblical preachers in the New Testament telling folks that salvation is merely asking Jesus to come into your heart. After Peter preached his powerful sermon in Acts 2 and the people asked, “What must we do?” Peter didn’t tell them to ask Jesus into their hearts as their personal savior; no, he said, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus…” Some are perhaps truly saved after responding to an invitation given in a church , and some are without a doubt truly born again, but; according to the Bible, genuine salvation is a result of repentance and faith. Yes, we must understand that “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves” (Ephesians 2:8), but; true saving faith is always evidenced by a lifestyle of repentance. Over and over we find the prophets of the Old Testament extending God’s offer of salvation, calling for the people to repent and return to God with honest sincerity. And in the New Testament the apostles, evangelists, and even Jesus himself preached: “Repent and believe!”

So many today have been led to believe that just because at one point in their lives they walked an isle, shook some preachers hand, and prayed “the sinner’s prayer,” and asked Jesus to come into their hearts that they are in Christ. This is not necessarily so. We must understand that true salvation is a response (an ongoing, continual response) to God’s grace in faith and repentance.

We have reached the conclusion of our “Myth Buster” look into what salvation is not. We have seen that while salvation will indeed address the way you feel about yourself, while you will understand why you were created and who you are, while you will keep the commandments, while you will prophesy, cast out devils and do mighty exploits in his name, while all these things are surely benefits/aspects of salvation; they must not  be confused with salvation itself. Salvation is not necessarily the result of a prayer prayed at some point in the past when we asked Jesus into our hearts. No, we are beginning to understand that salvation is an ongoing, right now, living relationship with Jesus, and that this  is evidenced by repentance and saving faith. As we get into our next segments, we will seek to understand what is meant by the terms repentance and saving faith.

To be continued…