PLEASE CONSIDER FORWARDING TODAY’S DEVOTION TO ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS WHO DO NOT HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!
Ephesians 1:7-14 (NRSV)
We live to the praise of God's glory
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.
I recently received the following comment from a beloved reader, “How can we be sure that if today was the last day we would open our eyes here that we would open them in the presence of God in heaven? I've always felt that you had to be a minister or always in the church in order to go to heaven. What if I don't attend Bible study or Sunday school class or even church…Am I going to heaven? I’m scared.”
Today, I want to provide some GOOD NEWS to this reader—and the many others—who have ever wrestled with the fear that you won’t get into heaven.
I want to say this in plain language. Our scripture reading for today tells us exactly how we get into heaven. It says that we receive redemption, and the forgiveness of our sin, by the grace of God and the shed blood of Jesus Christ!
Redemption is one of those big “churchy words” that I try to avoid. But, I looked it up in the dictionary and it means “deliverance, rescue, or salvation.”
In other words, we are delivered, rescued, and saved from our sins by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus.
Now, I want all of us to notice something here. There is nothing in the above sentence that says anything about humans doing any work to attain our salvation! This is because salvation is a free gift given to us by God--and God alone.
I hope that this knowledge takes a huge burden off of all of us! There is no one who has ever lived on the earth besides Jesus who was good, smart, strong, wise, or holy enough to deserve heaven!
It does not matter if we are pastors, ministers, evangelists, bishops, Sunday School teachers, Deacons, or church mothers, neither does it matter whether you go to church every Sunday and Bible Study every Wednesday; NONE OF US is good enough to get into heaven on the merits of our own works, because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!
So, if being good and working hard doesn’t get us into heaven, what does? The answer is simple my friends! We get into heaven by putting our hope in Christ!
Romans 10:9 puts it this way, “If you say with your mouth that you believe in Jesus and really truly believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead—YOU ARE SAVED!”
There is no hocus-pocus. There are no magic words. There are no special tests or tasks and you don’t pledge and you aren’t hazed. All that you have to do to become an heir to God’s kingdom is to put all of your hope in Jesus!
Now, I can hear some of you saying, “It can’t be that easy!” I can hear others of you saying, “That’s good for other people, but I’m too messed up. I’m too sinful. I’ve messed up too big for God to care about me.”
But, I am here to tell you that all of the above is a lie. God knows all about you. God has seen all of your mistakes and God still loves you. God still cares about you. And God still wants to spend eternity in your presence.
There is nothing—absolutely nothing--that you can ever do to ever make God stop loving you and there is no mistake so big that God cannot forgive it!
SALVATION IS SIMPLE, MY FRIENDS…and I want to apologize on behalf of all of us “church folks” who have made it complicated in your life. I am sorry, please forgive us.
Here’s the bottom line in clear, plain English--God loves. God gave. God saves. It’s all about GOD and GOD has chosen to make it super easy for all of us to inherit eternal life!
Today I invite you to be set free! No longer do you need to live in fear of hell and damnation! No longer do you need to cower concerned about judgment and condemnation. No longer do you need to fret that you aren’t doing enough to earn your salvation!
God says to all of us, “You are my child and I love you. I know that you believe in my Son. I look forward to spending eternity with you in my Home. Do not be afraid. All that was needed has been done for you. Jesus did the work. You are saved!”
Please pray with me:
Dear God, I know you love me and I love you too. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and that you raised him from the dead! Please forgive all of my sins and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I want my whole life to declare your praise and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer for the first time, today, you have become a follower of Christ! Let me encourage you to tell a Christian friend that you just put all of your hope in Jesus. Ask him or her to help you find a Bible that is easy for you to understand and to find a good Bible believing church where you can be baptized and make new friends who will walk with you on your Christian journey!
I would be honored if you would take a moment to click "YES" in answer to the survey question "Did you put all of your hope in Jesus today?" located at the top-right-hand corner of this blog.
Congratulations and Happy Re-birthday! Your salvation is our GOOD NEWS, please go and share the GOOD NEWS with others!
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Good News has now added a Prayer Ministry. http://www.kindlejoy.com/groups/goodnews
COMING SOON: The Good News Living Book Club will be reading Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard during March. Please mark your calendars for our very first book club meeting to be held on Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 9:00am.
You are invited to leave comments or questions regarding today’s devotional. These comments are public.
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Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.
From Pastor Yolanda’s blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com/