Sermon Synopsis For August 6
When it comes to Christian salvation, confusion often reigns supreme. Some are totally given over to deception, buying into what Paul called a “gospel contrary” to the one which the apostles preached (Galatians 1:8). Others are less misguided, but they are confused nonetheless. They never embrace the full ramifications of salvation. Failing to understand the change which conversion should bring, they settle for a lackluster Christian life which is devoid of the joy, purpose, and abundance which Christ offers. Consider five characteristics of the life that we have after meeting Christ.
I AM CLOSE TO GOD.
At salvation, believers are made intimately close with their Creator. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 2:6, saying, “Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens…” (Ephesians 2:6). Overall, Paul’s language in verse 6 is a semi-metaphorical way of describing the new life Christians have in Christ. Earlier in his letter, Paul used identical vocabulary to talk about the way that Christ “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ” (1:3). Our resurrected Savior is seated in heaven, and we have a relationship with Him. It is as if we are seated with Him. Undoubtedly, Paul’s picture provides imagery of closeness and intimacy. Believers have closeness with their Creator because of what Christ accomplished at Calvary (John 15:5 and Revelation 3:20). Jesus has secured real life and a rich interaction with God (1 Timothy 2:5).
I HAVE GOD’S HELP.
In Ephesians 2:7, Paul said that God has displayed “the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” The Lord didn’t just save us by His grace; He sustains us by His grace as well. Throughout our Christian journey, we have His ever-abiding help. His presence is within us, and it will never leave us. We have sufficiency in all things (2 Corinthians 9:8). No matter what temptation, testing or trial comes our way, we have the promise of God’s aid. God has proven Himself in this matter through His Son “Christ Jesus”. We simply need to learn the secret of abiding in Him so that we might appropriate what He has applied.
I AM RESCUED FROM SIN.
Ephesians 2:8 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.” Why does the Bible use the word “saved” to speak of the new-birth? Well, the word simply means “to rescue” or “to deliver.” In regard to conversion, it depicts the way in which believers have been delivered from the consequence and power of sin. Prior to Christ, believers were shackled to sin. They were slaves to unlawful desires. They were bound to perform the dictates of their fallen flesh. The penalty for such ungodliness rested on their heads. Through Christ, the Lord provided freedom and forgiveness. Christians will no longer spiritually die for their sins. What’s more, they have the ability to live emancipated from sin’s bondage. All of this is possible because of God’s plan of salvation.
I HAVE NO ROOM TO BRAG.
As a result of our new life in Christ, we have no room to brag or boast. Paul said that God’s plan of salvation is “not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9). Since salvation is determined by our merit, there is no place for religious, braggadocios chest thumping. The spirit of the Pharisee shrinks in the sight of grace. The cross leaves no room for man-centered glory. Since our works didn’t earn God’s love, we can’t brag about our works. We can only brag on account of Christ and what He has done. When spiritual showmanship takes hold of a heart, it is a sure sign that an individual has lost sight of the true nature of salvation. Furthermore, spiritual peril is eminent when one becomes inordinately prideful (Proverbs 16:18).
I SHOULD LIVE A NEW TYPE OF LIFE (v. 10).
Even though salvation isn’t earned by good works, it should be evidenced by good works. A new type of life ought to be owned by all who profess Christ. Paul concluded his soteriological discussion of the Christian life in our current section of Scripture by saying, “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Charles Hodge has accurately said that “Holiness is the end of redemption.” Since this is true, believers should work hard to live a life that demonstrates good works. A profession of faith is important, but a profession of faith that isn’t matched by a changed life is suspect. Born-again Christians will give evidence of their salvation with a new type of lifestyle. The Lord uses such as a witness to His glory (Matthew 5:16).