<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Untitled Document The Salvation Of The Lord
Part One
"What must I do to be saved" is perhaps one of the most important questions that anyone could ask that has any bearing upon their spiritual condition. This statement presupposes the fact that one recognizes that they are lost. But how does someone learn that they are spiritually lost and in need of salvation? One must also recognize that the only document in the world that can answer this question from a spiritual standpoint is the one document that reveals God and reveals that we are indeed lost apart from God. That document is the Bible. Let us go back to the beginning and see the purpose of God for man and go from there.

Genesis 1:27 reads: " And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them". Many people have tried to explain how mankind is created in the image of God. While we cannot fully comprehend the complete concept of God and all His attributes, we know that people are different from the other living beings of this earth. We are the only creatures that have emotions and thoughts that we can control. Not only that, we have the ability to view an action with the resultant consequences.

A dog may be trained that if he has an accident on the carpet he knows a punishment will be forthcoming, but that is a behavioral modification more than it is a thought process of looking ahead to future consequences. Humans are the only creatures that can distinguish right from wrong from a morality viewpoint. Humans understand the diversity in their surrounding culture and are capable to look out for others, unlike the animal that seeks it's own interest.

Created in the image of God, man had the perfect relationship. In the Garden of Eden, we know that God walked and talked with Adam. Knowing that God is a spirit, we must assume that God used a force to declare His presence to Adam, for remember after his sin, Adam heard the Lord coming and hid himself because of his nakedness. This is what happened when Eve ate of the fruit that God had forbidden them to partake.

As a result of this sin, mankind was introduced to death and decay and a life of hardship. We read about this in Genesis, Chapter Three. Because of Adam and Eve's sin, spiritual death entered the world and along with it came physical death. And we know that everyone dies. The Bible tells us about two people that did not see a physical death, but they still left their physical existence. (Enoch, Genesis 5 and Elijah, 2 Kings 2) The Bible also tells of the One who died, and yet arose and was ascended up into the heavens. (Jesus).

The Bible also says in Hebrews 9:27 "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment," So we see that a judgment awaits all souls. The Bible speaks in many different places that we will all stand before our Maker when we die to give an account of our lives and what we did in our lives. (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jeremiah 17:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

We read in the Bible that those who have not lived in a way that God is pleased with will be cast into a horrible place called Hell, but those who live righteous lives and have a relationship with God will be allowed to enter Heaven, the abode of God and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

The key to salvation is having a right relationship with God. How do we get to be in this relationship? Well, we must first answer the question of how we left our good relationship with God in the first place. One passage of scripture says it better than most in my opinion. Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear," Another word for iniquities is sin.

Sin separates us from God, and unless we can find a way to be reconciled to God, we will be lost eternally. So what can I do to be saved? Sadly the answer is NOTHING. Now before you get all upset about what I just said, we must look to see what I mean by that statement, for I will also be teaching that we must do many things in order to be saved. So what do I mean by "nothing"?

Man cannot save himself, and nothing man can do will be able to merit his own salvation. God recognized this fact and God also knew from before the creation that man needed a savior, a redeemer, a means by which they could return to a proper relationship with God. God proved this via His Son Jesus Christ who ventured into the realm of humanity and offered an example of perfect living and obedient dying. This Jesus made and offered a sacrifice that would be sufficient to appease God and allow God to look upon us with favor once again. This is what we call "The GRACE OF GOD". (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Now the question arises: if Jesus did this, is there nothing for us to do? Well, actually God teaches that there is much to do on our part to receive this salvation and even more that we must do to retain this salvation which is given freely to every human that ever lived. Because God is not willing that any should perish in Hell, God made it available to everyone. But not everyone will accept the offer from God and sadly these will go off into everlasting darkness away from the presence of the Lord. (2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23)

The Bible also teaches us "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). So in reality, everyone sins. Not that they have to, but because they choose to sin. Every sin that has ever taken place and that ever will occur has a common ingredient. That component of every sin is "me", "I", or "self". Interesting that the middle letter of sin is "I", for no sin takes place without the "I" being involved.

By Carey Scott (part two next week)

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