From the Beginning

A STORY OF "TIME" by Trevor Topsfield

What Value Is It ?

How important is salvation?

Salvation is impossible for us to value.

The initial problem is that only God has the resources to invent it and to fund it. This is proven by the fact that so many people, perhaps even most cannot even imagine it exists. The only circumstance that makes it believable is to glorify God when his “divine nature” and “eternal power” is recognised in the things he has created. For all those to whom God is not God; then they cannot see past human limitations and salvation is on a far superior level.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways.” declares the Lord.” As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55; 8+9 (NIV)

With a totally different perspective and a complete understanding of the whole picture, God can do that which is well outside our frame of reference.

“Love” is another limitation to valuating salvation, for here on earth love at best is far from perfect as no-one can perform it in every situation, however the “love of God” is an absolute and will do whatever it takes to make the best possible outcome available to everyone. To achieve this; the love of God personified in the person of Jesus Christ took upon himself the sinfulness of all human beings, so that we might have the righteousness of God and qualify for a place with him forever.

It only takes a little imagination to realise how painful his ordeal was, but it was considered worth it or he would not have gone through with it. It must be remembered that it was a voluntary action of Jesus as he could have avoided the cross if he wanted to; in fact he did everything to make sure it happened. Therefore salvation is available to everyone; our sinfulness has been dealt with and the righteousness we need to live in heaven is ours for the taking.

So what value does God place on our salvation?

Whatever had to be done, he did it, the cost never entered into it; it is priceless.

Of course God has the advantage of knowing exactly what salvation consists of and the huge benefits to all those who have it. He knows he is prepared to use all his attributes to ensure we enjoy prefect environment with everything supplied at no cost to us forever.

There is nothing better than salvation, nothing longer lasting, or more pleasant or totally stress free than the perfection of heaven with God at the helm, and salvation gives it all to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

I personally would have thought everyone would snap up the opportunity, but it appears there is not as many people appreciate it as I think.

This seems to stem from the fact that there is not that many people who after seeing his “divine nature” and “eternal power” in the things God has created actually appreciate him, so he is someone they can ignore. With no appreciation of God; there is no thought of anything he proposes.

Perhaps as one who not only appreciates God and also the salvation he has provided, it is why should I try and convince others of my beliefs. To me it is logical that seeing he went to so much personal suffering to offer it; I should recommend it wherever and whenever I can.

But who am I to recommend such a wonderful concept, I am just another person very few have ever heard of. So let me use a famous person who many people know of, a person who not only appreciated salvation, but was prepared to share much of his life to cause others to appreciate it too.

Paul an Apostle of Jesus; to many he might be known to them as a “saint”, but by his own admission he was not always “saintly”.

In 1Timothy 1:15+16 he give us some idea of his appreciation when he writes “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.” (NIV)

There is plenty of evidence to back his low opinion of himself for in Romans 9:15+16 he says “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do. I agree that the law is good.” (NIV)

So Paul knew what was the right thing to do through the law, but so often he did not do it. While Paul’s salvation had not ceased and his eternity is secure as ever it was, for that is dependent on his faith in Jesus Christ. However; when he was doing that what he hated for he knew he was going against the law; therefore he was out of fellowship with God at those times.

The question we are examining in this article is how much did Paul appreciate his salvation under these circumstances?

It would appear that he was fully aware for in Romans 6:1 he says; “What shall we say then? Shall I keep on sinning so that grace may increase? (NIV)

Paul knew that his sinfulness though the grace of God was dealt with by Jesus on the cross and there the penalty paid. So his argument is that we should no longer function through it. The grace of God is not going to fail Paul even if he continues to function through his sinfulness, it will increase to cover whatever Paul does. However this would be an abuse of the generosity of God, but even so his generosity will never fail.

But seeing God would prefer him to function through the righteousness he was given at the point of his salvation, which is done in conjunction with the Holy Spirit where he (the Spirit) takes our knowledge of God and uses it on our behalf and for our benefit.

To swap over from the former to the latter God has put in place a simple procedure to make this possible.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) (NIV)

To confess our sins simply means we have reached the point where our appreciation of our salvation we are prepared to condemn ourselves for not maintaining the standard required by God. God’s authority is re-established; the Holy Spirit takes control of our lives and once again works on our behalf and for our benefit.

This is known as the filling of the Spirit with the fruits of this union being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, ect. found in Galatians Chapter 5. At no point does God ever to threaten to take away our salvation; he leaves it up to us to demonstrate our appreciation of it and do the right thing of our own free will.

When we choose to function from our sinfulness, we stop the function of the filling of the Spirit.

Paul clearly understood the two options he had available to live by, but what was his motivation to change from one to the other which he obviously did. When his appreciation of his salvation was high he would make sure he was filled with the Spirit, but at low times he would slip back to functioning through his sinfulness.

Let’s not judge Paul too severely, for he has made himself an example to teach a principle. Given Paul’s work load in the establishment of the early Church, it is safe to say he functioned through the filling of the Spirit a maximum amount of the time.

It is easy for me to sit at my desk and use someone else as an example of how life should be lived. But in the process of examining Paul’s life I automatically examine my own.

To what degree do I appreciate my salvation so that I will say to myself when functioning through my personal sinfulness; “enough is enough”, I have taken advantage of the “grace of God” for too long and it is time to function under the filling of the Spirit.

So there comes a time when I appreciate my salvation to realize I have gone too far down the wrong road, the relevant thing to do is to confess my sinfulness and I am back where I belong.

My appreciation continues to motivate me as I am filled with the Spirit. While enjoying its fruits such as love, joy, peace ect. ect. Do I then continue learn the ways of God so the Holy Spirit can use my knowledge for my good, or through the lack of appreciation do I choose to function through my sinfulness. In this way I quash the Spirit and like Paul when he did the same; do the things I hate.

If anyone can do the right thing all the time Paul would be the one, but if he cannot and according to his letter to the Romans he can’t, then I suggest no-one can, certainly not me.

However, there will come a time when every believer in Jesus Christ will really see his salvation in action and appreciate it like never before.

Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians in Chapter 12 speaks of a man who was caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of it, he does not know.

The First Heaven is understood when The Bible refers to it as the earth’s atmosphere where the birds fly and the clouds reside. The Second is further away consisting of the sun, the moon and the stars while the Third Heaven is where God resides. There is speculation that this man was probably Paul himself when he was stoned to death at Lystra fourteen years before (Act. 14:19), taken to Paradise, and then brought back to life.

In modern times there have been people who have an out of body experience and been brought back to life to tell the tale. Some tell of them leaving their bodies behind and moving on.

“We (as believers) are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)

This is when salvation is worth the value God has given it, but the value is for our benefit, for when we leave our dead bodies behind we will wonder off to be with Jesus Christ. The beginning of an eternity where nothing is less than perfect, and Jesus the “love” of God personified, which added to perfection means it will be a very pleasant forever.

This is a rhetorical question; what value do you give salvation?

For many they will not give God any glory and therefore will not give it any consideration, sad to say to their detriment eternity away from God will never end. It is a pity to miss out on something so wonderful when it is so easily procured at no cost,

Trevor Topsfield

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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