It Is Not Easy to Believe, Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #44)

The Bible says in Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from William Temple. He said: “The only thing of our very own which we contribute to our salvation is the sin which makes it necessary.

Our topic today is titled It Is Not Easy to Believe (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Faith has an intellectual facet to it. The essential facts are that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. In addition, faith involves assent or agreement with those facts. One can know the facts of the Gospel and either agree or disagree with them. But faith also involves an act of the will, for we can decide either to obey or to reject God’s command to believe. And making whichever choice we do involves our will.

These three aspects of faith are quite standard in theology. For example, Charles Hodge summarized the meaning of faith that is connected with the Gospel this way: “That faith, therefore, which is connected with salvation includes knowledge, that is a perception of the truth and its qualities; assent, or the persuasion of the truth of the object of faith; and trust, or reliance. The exercise, or state of mind expressed by the word faith, as used in the Scriptures, is not mere assent, or mere trust; it is the intelligent perception, reception, and reliance on the truth, as revealed in the Gospel.”

Please observe the clear focus of Hodge’s definition. He is defining faith “which is connected with salvation.”

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Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes, Part 8 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #43)

The Bible says in Romans 10:9-11: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from John Stott. He said: “We must never think of salvation as a kind of transaction between God and us in which He contributes grace and we contribute faith. For we were dead and had to be quickened before we could believe. No, Christ’s apostles clearly teach elsewhere that saving faith too is God’s gracious gift.”

Our topic today is titled Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes (Part 8) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

There ought to be a law — a law against a merchant accepting a personal check in payment for anything under twenty dollars.

How often I have waited and waited in line while someone writes a check to pay for six dollars’ worth of groceries or eight dollars’ worth of miscellaneous items.

Why the wait? Simply because it is not easy to believe.

Imagine you are the customer trying to cash the check. You know the check is good. And perhaps even the cashier has received your checks from you earlier and knows you’re good for the amount. It doesn’t matter. The scenario is always the same. “Let me see your driver’s license.” Then she has to punch in the number to be sure your record is clear. All clear. “Let me see a major credit card.” She punches in that number. All clear. At last the clerk initials the check. Now the store believes you. But it wasn’t easy.

We’re only talking about money. And most of the time not a very large amount.

BELIEVING IN JESUS IS NOT EASY

Suppose the issue was not six or eight dollars but eternal life? And suppose I was being told that to have eternal life all I had to do was believe. It would not be easy to believe. Too much is at stake, and the more that is at stake, the harder it is to believe.

Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes, Part 7 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #42)

The Bible says in John 10:28: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Chuck Swindoll. He said: “Emmanuel. God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.”

Our topic today is titled Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes (Part 7) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

There are many commands to be obeyed by Christians, but to become a Christian only requires receiving the gift of eternal life from our Lord.

Some years ago in another country, I was literally accosted after an evening service by a group of American missionaries working in that country. They had been infected by the lordship/discipleship/mastery Gospel, and having read the thirteen pages I had written about the subject in 1969, they were anxious to debate the issue. I did not know them; they were uninvited; but I could not avoid meeting with them. So we talked for quite a while that night.

Finally it came down to an illustration. I posed this case to them. We all knew, even at that time, that smoking had been proven a serious risk to one’s health. I asked about a hypothetical person who wanted to be saved, but he smoked. Furthermore, he knew full well that smoking was endangering his health, and he realized that if he became a Christian he ought to give it up. But he was unable to do so, nor was he even willing. So I asked these folks, “Can he not be saved until either he gives up smoking or is willing to give up smoking?” Reluctantly they admitted that their view compelled them to say no, he cannot.

Now, suppose such a person made a profession of faith that, as far as one could tell, was genuine. Could he truly be saved and continue to smoke, knowing that is a clear violation of God’s desire that we take care of our bodies? If he continued to smoke till the day of his death, would I be forced to conclude that his profession was not genuine and that he had not been saved all that time? Or could I be assured that in spite of that area of initial unwillingness when he came to Christ and continued disobedience while he lived the Christian life, he nevertheless would be in heaven? The answer is a resounding yes.

These are important matters for all of us to consider carefully as we seek to clearly present God’s good news.