Isaiah 52:10 - The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Our salvation is of God. We cannot bring about our own salvation. We cannot expect a heavenly kingdom without first knowing Who created it, created us and eventually saved us. Nothing can be done without a relationship with God. That's what it was supposed to be all about 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve. They walked with God in the garden. They were in relationship with Him. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8) They had this relationship for a time.
Our pastor, Terry Fischer, talked about testimonies yesterday. Jesus had a testimony and He gives each of us one if we have come to Christ for salvation. He Said a testimony is evidence of a changed life, changed minds...all brought about through the power of God, nothing we could have done ourselves. It all has to be about who God is and what He does! We can have the mind of Christ.
But the deceiver, the enemy of our souls, the accuser of the brethren, satan, angered at being cast out of heaven because of his belief that he could be like or greater than God, made certain that God would receive less and less of those creatures He created. Pride. It's the major reason for not receiving Him. Because we think we can do it on our own...
Oh, but God in His infinite wisdom and mercy, saw to it another Way was made for this great salvation. He knew we could not do it. It had to come through Him.
Salvation: The act of saving someone from sin or evil; deliverance from the power and effects of sin. - Merriam Webster. Deliverance, salvation (by God), welfare, prosperity, victory - Strong's Bible Concordance.
What was needed was a great sacrifice. While animals did the job of being sacrifices in the Old Testament, they did not cover sin completely and repeated sacrifices were needed to be made, much like the idea that if we are basically good people, do good things, striving ourselves at being good, God will be pleased and allow us into heaven. But it was not/is not enough. Why did God need to bring Jesus into the picture if we could do it ourselves? Why did He need to suffer rejection, scourging? Why did He need to die? The enemy of our souls is still deceiving us into thinking we do not need Jesus.
I would not have believed any of this 15 years ago. I was deceived. But God...showed me something one day. He had been leading up to this day but I was resisting. He pierced the hard heart within me and softened it enough for me to receive Him. Did I understand what had happened? Not immediately. I just knew I wanted Him. Oh how He can pierce the hardest of hearts. But it's the people with those hard hearts who ultimately make the decision. He pierces but we can still reject. Look at how many rejected Jesus in His day and how few followed.
Some day He will return for those who have called on His name for this so great a salvation. It will be precious few because the way is narrow and few walk on it. If you have your doubts, seek Him for the answers. Ask Him to reveal Himself in such a way you understand it. You have probably been contacted many times but have either rejected the invitation or misunderstood it. Seek Him for eternal life.
Some day He will return. When He does all the world will see it. The world will know to whom or what their allegiance was. We sang a song in church yesterday, Your Great Name.
On the day that He returns, all will praise Him. For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) and ...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
Salvation does belong to our Lord. We must receive it for eternal life. Without it we have eternal death. Both these topics are in the Word of God. It might be called the Testimony of Jesus Christ because it explains from Genesis to Revelation the sovereignty of our God, His great plan for salvation and the plans He has for those who choose to receive and the consequences of not. God's Word is powerful unto salvation for all people.
Romans 1:16 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.