A: Through the everlasting covenant in Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 13:20-21).
What does that look like?
1. God the Father draws the sinner
2. God the Father convicts the heart of the sinner of his sin (gives him a knowledge of what is wrong).
3. God the Father reveals the truth (the knowledge of what is righteous) to the sinner.
4. God the Father reveals His covenant of salvation to the sinner and offers it to him.
a. “The wages of sin is death”;
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die”
i. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
ii. We will die eternally without God’s help.
b. Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God who lived a perfect sinless life and died as our substitute so we don’t have to die eternally to pay the penalty for sinning which is “the wages of sin is death”. Jesus was delivered up to die for our sins. But then Jesus was raised up from the dead for our justification (the forgiveness of sins).
“Who was delivered for our offences,
and was raised again for our justification.”
c. God the Father offers the free gift of eternal life to the sinner upon the conditions of keeping His covenant.
i. The sinner must believe in God the Father and believe what He says about His Son Jesus.
ii. The sinner must humble himself by believing he is worthy of death because of his sins.
iii. The sinner must humble himself by acknowledging his sins (confess his sins).
iv. The sinner must REPENT IN his HEART (have a change of heart to turn away from sinning and be determined to obey God).
v. The sinner must ask God for the forgiveness of his sins.
vi. The forgiven sinner must obey God’s laws from his heart with all sincerity (WHICH IS THE AFFECT, result, fruit of true repentance).
There were two thieves crucified along side Jesus. One of them had a change of heart. The Bible teaches us that it’s by the Spirit of God the Father that we are called to answer the knock at the door of our hearts to accept His offer of Salvation.
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…”
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”
The Scene at Calvary:
In the beginning both thieves were going along with and agreeing with the crowd that was mocking and reviling Jesus. They were hurling insults and putting Christ down. They questioned His divinity and power. They lied and claimed He could not save Himself. They tried to trick Jesus into coming down from the cross by saying if He did they would believe Him. They were trying to get Christ to commit Sin. Some folks in the crowd also attempted to create doubt and fear in Him by saying let God the Father deliver Him “If He will have Him”, falsely implying that our Heavenly Father had completely rejected Christ forever.
At some point before their deaths, one of the thieves had a change of heart and mind. He rebuked his buddy who had continued railing on Christ. Then this thief with a change of heart (a repentant heart) began his proclamation of belief in Jesus, he confessed his sins, he repented by stopping the sins he had been committing on the cross, he asked for forgiveness and salvation. He couldn’t receive salvation without doing these things according to the gospel of Jesus.
God makes it easy to come to Him, but there is a requirement to have a change of heart and mind with actions that follow. This not only includes our initial confession and repentance, but our daily confession and repentance after that initial profession of faith like the example Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:12, Luke 11:4. It is a daily prayer and our request for forgiveness is only for any new sin that we have committed since our last request. We must be resisting and struggling against sinning daily by overcoming our daily trials and temptations.
FOR CLARIFICATION: No amount of keeping His laws will indebt God to us; God owes us nothing at all no matter what we do. And there is no law we could ever keep that could give us life or pay our sin debt of death. It is impossible to earn our salvation.
It is God who chooses whether or not to forgive us; BUT HE HAS PROMISED THROUGH HIS COVENANT with us that IF WE KEEP His covenant, He will forgive us, He will be our God, we will be His people (His children), the Father and the Son will abide within us through their Holy Spirit and God will grant us His promise of eternal life If we overcome sin until the end.
We can only receive grace through faith which is believing AND obeying God’s covenant laws.
There’s no way around it, God made salvation conditional upon these things sanctuary laws and moral laws. Believing, confession of sins and repentance are sanctuary laws. Saving faith is believing and obeying according to James chapter two and the rest of the Bible. No one can give an example of someone receiving eternal life without doing these things. There is something called “the law of faith” and it is a law. (It is a sanctuary law as opposed to a moral law.)
Even the thief on the cross next to Christ confessed he had sinned; admitted that he deserved to die because of those sins; and He testified that Jesus Christ was innocent without sin.
This thief believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
This thief repented from the sins he had committed by mocking and reviling Jesus at the beginning.
This thief obeyed from his heart by ceasing from sinning and did what was lawful.
By doing all these things, this thief was obeying God’s sanctuary laws for the forgiveness of sins and he did what what was commanded in Ezekiel 33:19.
“But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.”
He stopped sinning against Jesus while he was hanging on the cross, but his fellow thief did not otherwise the we would have heard of both being saved. This thief reprimanded his buddy to stop his insult and mockery of Jesus. One thief had a change of heart and turned from sin and to obedience (repentance) which lead to his salvation just like Ezekiel 33:19 promises.
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.”
For Clarification Again: No amount of keeping His laws will indebt God to us; God owes us nothing at all no matter what we do. And there is no law we could ever keep that could give us life or pay our sin debt of death. It is impossible to earn our salvation.
So in this way we are not saved by the law but by the mercy and grace of God alone because while we were dead in sin the Father called us to Himself. We don’t seek God unless He gives that to us and puts that desire in our hearts. But when He does we must act, we must do something to receive our free gift of salvation. We must believe God, we must confess our sins and we must repent from our hearts, every born again believer knows this is true.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Remember that James said faith isn’t just believing but true saving faith is defined as believing and obeying (James chapter two).
“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also.”
We are wicked unrepentant sinners when God the Father calls us. It is God who chooses whether or not to forgive us; BUT HE HAS PROMISED THROUGH HIS COVENANT with us that IF WE KEEP His covenant, He will forgive us, He will be our God, we will be His people (His children), the Father and the Son will abide within us through their promised Holy Spirit and God will grant us His promise of eternal life IF we overcome sin until the end.
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and MERCY with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations”
The Bible says many are called but few are chosen, that is because we have free-will and a choice to make before we are saved and we have to do something when we make that choice.
What we decide and what we do (our works) determine if we are accepted and forgiven (chosen) of God. Cain is our example. If we don’t obey God and do what He has commanded us to do to be forgiven then we will not be accepted or forgiven by God until we keep His covenant from our humble and sincere hearts.
Cain is our example:
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not BE ACCEPTED? …”
In order to be forgiven Cain had to bring an animal sacrifice to be accepted and forgiven of his sins under the Old Covenant. Those laws didn’t save Cain or Abel or earn their salvation. The blood from animals couldn’t take away his sins either. Only the blood of Jesus can save.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, BUT BY THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED.”
To be justified means to be forgiven and not even the saved believers under the Old Covenant were saved by the law but by their faith in their promised coming Messiah. God still required their obedience in keeping His covenant in order to receive their free gift of salvation.
Old Testament scripture stating that the just shall live by his faith.
“… but the just shall live by his faith.”
Here in Romans 1 Paul was referring to this Old Testament scripture in Habakkuk 2:4:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: AS IT IS WRITTEN, The just shall live by faith.
There is no law anyone could keep that could pay the death penalty we owe, only the blood of Jesus could do that. So that means it is an impossibility to earn our own salvation and this is how salvation is not of ourselves because there is nothing we could do to obtain or erase our own sins and death penalty.
But this doesn’t mean that God the Father doesn’t require us to obey His laws and keep His covenant of salvation.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Obeying of Faith
Obeying the Gospel
“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH”
“But they have not all OBEYED THE GOSPEL. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ”
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of God?”
We are instructed to obey the gospel and to obey the faith. We are told to examine ourselves (our hearts and actions) to see if we are in the faith. Because if we are reprobate unrepentant sinners even after we accepted Christ and have received His Holy Spirit, we are not in Christ and Christ is not in us.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, EXCEPT ye be reprobates?”
We can only receive grace through faith which is believing and obeying God’s covenant laws even though it is not the laws themselves or the keeping of those laws that save us. Because if that were possible then people could just keep laws but not believe in God the Father or Jesus and still be saved. The LORD didn’t setup it up that way because of that very problem.