So far in this series we have learned the importance of staying connected to God in order to live in the fullness of Christ. We learn how to do this through his Word and by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We also learn to glean God’s truths from the world around us.
This week we will dig deeper into the importance of salvation and how to have hearts that are a garden of good soil in which God can plant his truths in our lives.
One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs.
The kingdom of God is within you. We have Christ in us. We have the Holy Spirit as our helper in this process.
My hope is that we can see our heart more as something connected to a pathway. We need to keep that pathway open and not allow it to get kinked or turned or twisted as opposed to the heart being something that is about did we do right or wrong today.
What is our physical heart connected to? It is connected to vessels and arteries that blood flows through. If they get blocked, bad things happen. They get damaged. You don’t say, “Shame on you, artery.” It’s not like that. It’s about – are you getting life?
Dear brothers and sister, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
5 For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. 6 But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). 7 And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” 8 In fact, it says,
“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.
And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced. 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 So, faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
These verses tell us a lot about salvation and Paul’s thoughts on our need for it. The first verse speaks of Israel. If Paul understood the Gospel as everyone is saved, then he doesn’t have to write this. It takes this one verse to disprove universalism.
I want everyone to be saved. But I know that salvation comes by putting faith in Jesus Christ. The work has been done. But we have to put our faith in him. There are a lot of people in grace who are getting on this slippery slope. They are falling into universalism and reconciliation. But Paul understood the Gospel, that it is urgent because there are people who know Christ and who are experiencing him in their lives. And there are people who don’t and who are in danger. We need to take this message to them. There should be an urgency in our gospel.
He goes on to say that the man who lives by the law will live by the law. What that means is if you try to live by the law and you don’t measure up you will live by the consequences of the law. It means you are not good enough. You don’t have what it takes.
If you do good you get good.
If you do bad you get bad.
And guess what? Because the law is perfect and you’re not, according to the law, you are always going to fail. There is no curve with God. God doesn’t grade on a curve. He doesn’t say, “Well, you are better than 90% of the population. So, I’m going to let you in.”
What he does say is – it’s based upon your work or it’s based upon my work. You choose.
Paul begins sharing that you don’t have to go get God. You don’t have to find Christ.
He is in you.