Real Salvation Calls for a Total Commitment
NIV Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
NAU Deuteronomy 11:1 "You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments.
Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment and to love your brother was the second greatest. He said that if we would do all that we can to fulfill these two commandments then we would fulfill all the commandments.
What we have to pay attention to is the fact that these commandments involve our whole being, every part of us.
· Heart: In Scripture the heart is the central focus of our being. It is where our emotions are, our reasoning takes place, our choices are made, our understanding is stored, and where our will and thoughts take place.
· That is why Scripture commands us to protect it above everything else
o NAU Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
o NIV Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
· The heart is the place God searches to form His opinion of us
o NIV 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
o NIV 1 Chronicles 28:9 "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
· The heart is sometimes called the spirit of man because it is so closely related to the soul, and, it can be broken and crushed. But God looks for those who are repentant, with a broken or crushed spirit, they are the ones God will save
o NAU Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
o NAU Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
· If our hearts were pure/clean our spirits would be immovable
o NIV Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
o NAU Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
· NIV Genesis 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
· God ‘breathed the breath of life’ into Adam and he became a ‘living soul,’ notice it is the combination of the breath, ‘ruah,’ of life and the body that make the living soul, the ‘nephesh.’
· This speaks of the whole person through and through, these ideas are often misunderstood because we have to study them in parts but they actually describe the unity of a human person. In Hebrew thinking we are living bodies, we do not possess bodies.
· Notice that the whole person is described or implied
· You can fear for your soul
· NIV Ezekiel 32:10 I will cause many peoples to be appalled at you, and their kings will shudder with horror because of you when I brandish my sword before them. On the day of your downfall each of them will tremble every moment for his life. (soul, nephesh)
· You can risk your soul
· NAU Judges 5:18 "Zebulun was a people who despised their lives even to death, And Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
· NIV Judges 5:18 The people of Zebulun risked their very lives (nephesh); so did Naphtali on the heights of the field.
· Your soul can be taken
· NAU 1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life (nephesh), for I am not better than my fathers."
· ‘Soul’ implies the whole being and it often refers to the individual person: Leah bore sixteen ‘souls’ (children) to Jacob (Gen. 46:18).
· In the NT, ‘soul’ has the same basic meaning. Soul refers to one’s life: Herod sought Jesus’ soul (Matt. 2:20); one might save a soul or take it (Mark 3:4). Death occurs when God ‘requires your soul’ (Luke 12:20). ‘Soul’ may refer to the whole person, the self: ‘three thousand souls’ were converted in Acts 2:41 (see Acts 3:23).
· But Scripture reminds us that the human heart is desperately sick and whatever impresses the soul is written on the heart.
o NAU Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it
o NIV Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
o NAU Psalm 24:3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.
· This is why the passage in Deuteronomy 11 is so important to us, "You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments, it tells us what is involved in loving God which is the only cure for a sick heart; i.e. keeping God’s charge (doing His will), His statutes, His ordinances, or His commandments
· Scripture tells us that obedience is more important and that means self-sacrifice and dying to ourselves comes before all other forms of worship
o NIV Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." 32 "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
o NIV 1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed (honor/respect) is better than the fat of rams.
The act of obedience is not what saves us because we are saved by the grace of God through putting our trust in Jesus. But obedience is the means that God uses to help us reach our full potential, i.e. to be completely saved.
· We have to remember that our Salvation is threefold: We are saved in the past, we are being saved now in the present, and we will be saved in the future (glorification).
· We have to recognize that we are a fellowship of sinners saved by grace and God has to sanctify us so that we can spend eternity with Him. You see God cannot fellowship with us if there is any hint of sin in us. So He must remove it and this process (the sanctification process) is accomplished when we respond to God in obedience.
God is Holy and cannot tolerate sin in any form. That doesn’t mean that God is looking to destroy sin because He cannot stand it. It means that because God is Holy anyone or anything that is not perfect would be destroyed simply by God’s presence. Scripture describes Him as “a consuming fire.”
· NIV Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
· NAU Hebrews 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.
So God commands us to be holy because He is holy or to be perfect because He is perfect and that without holiness no one will see God.
· NIV Leviticus 11:45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
· NIV 1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
· NIV Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
· NAU Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
What am I talking about when I say that God is Holy? In the OT the basic idea of “holy” is “separation.” In its verb form it is “to set apart to” or “dedicate.”
· The pagan religions during OT times used the word holy to refer to something unique or different, and it carried the idea of a mysterious power. Holy often referred to particular, impersonal objects that were removed from common life.
· The OT writers based their idea of holiness on the fact that God is divine
· He is separate from creation
· He is holy; His very essence is holy, everything about God is holy!
· God is not holy because He is absolutely moral; He is holy because He is the “Only Holy One.” Holiness is what God is which is way beyond the idea of a mysterious power.
This means that God is unique and pure and far above all creation.
· Because He is the “Only Holy One” holiness can only come from Him
· Therefore God makes us holy! Anything that is associated or related to God must be holy and that can only come from Him.
· The nation of Israel was set apart/sanctified or made holy simply because they belonged to God.
· In the same way people, places and things are made holy because of God.
Another concept of holiness that comes from OT is found in the “purity laws” of Israel. They showed the people that there must be an outward expression of holiness that showed a difference between the sanctified and the wicked.
· The idea developed so that Holiness became a condition, a personal quality that the people carried as they put these rituals into practice. So it became a two-fold concept:
o Persons and things were set apart and had to be made holy
o These had to become more and more morally holy.
· Christians are called to do the same in the New Testament.
The holiness of God is an active quality/attribute; i.e. He makes the unclean clean and the unholy holy. Peter tells us we are a “holy nation.”;
NIV 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Peter understood that we are made holy because of Christ sacrifice on the cross which opened the way for us to live in relationship with God making us holy by relationship. He also knew that the holiness of God was at work in us through sanctification.
What is sanctification? It is God making us holy.
· Sanctification is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit, where He brings the whole nature of man under the influence of the new life principles that were implanted in the soul by regeneration, and that continues on to perfection or glorification.
o This is the “good news” of the gospel, i.e. that God saves us completely. His salvation is not half way, it is a salvation of the whole man and God has covered all the bases.
· That is what Jesus meant when He said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” It is having life in all its fullness spiritually and physically being all that we were created to be. (should not be mistaken with the American Dream)
· That means that we have to remember that salvation is multi-faceted, it has many parts and like we saw earlier when we looked at the makeup of man, we have to study salvation in parts but we must remember that it all makes up one salvation and they cannot be separated from one another.
o Your Salvation is three-fold: saved in the past, being saved, and will being saved
o Your Salvation is instant and progressive
o Your Salvation is multifaceted: justification, regeneration, sanctification, and glorification (all these parts of salvation come by faith)
Why is this important to know?
There are many in the church who do not understand what their salvation consist of. They walked around thinking they are ok because they have been taught that all they have to do is believe the facts about Jesus and His claims for eternal life.
But Jesus, the gospel writers and Acts teaches us that there is more to salvation than this. True/real salvation calls for a commitment to serve Jesus as Lord, which means we must continually believe, repent and obey.
· We must trust in Jesus for our eternal life (faith).
· We must turn from our sin daily and show evidence of a changed life (the fruit of repentance).
· We must show a commitment to obey (obedience).
Anything less than this will only develop superficial Christians and I believe it is safe to question whether they are truly saved. (what about Rom 10:9, see paper in Home Studies).
What does this mean for us?
Commitment—we must be sold out for Jesus and make Him the Lord of our lives
Obedience—recognize that in order to develop the characteristic of obedience it must be carried out in everyday life, but it is done for the Lord.
No Compromise—repent of all sin because God does not accept “Luke Warm!”
Holiness—means daily dying to self and living for God in all aspects (morally, physically, work, purity of thought,…)
NIV Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
NAU Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
Loving the Lord means obeying His commands and that must become the foundation that a leader stands on. He/she must look to strive to fulfill the Great Commission:
NIV Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
As a believer this means I must strive to obey keeping in mind that I must keep the balance for growth that Jesus gave us in Matthew chapter 7:24-25
NIV Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
NIV James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.