Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts
There was this little Bible that got my attention earlier. I was so happy reading its foreword, but got so dismayed when I read the last pages.
It was a little study bible, I guess because it has some reading guides. What I really did not like about it is because it shared a false step on ‘How to become a Christian.‘
It said, “If you pray the prayer above, you will have an assurance of salvation. . .” I was really shocked. Really? That was a false assurance. Saying that little prayer will not really assure you. Repentance and faith will not be visible in your life if you’ll just utter unwillingly a sinner’s prayer.
There is no such thing as a human power on the true steps of ‘How to become a Christian’. It is not because of our own might that we were able to reach out to God. Remember that we are all sinners. Although I might sound a little bit cliche by repeating this, but It’s only by God’s grace that we were saved!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9
There are some who flood themselves of thoughts that they are saved, but their lives don’t reflect it. Salvation is not cheap! It costs Jesus Christ to die on the Cross. The One who dies on the Cross is our God. He, who knew no sin become sin for us! This fact should wake us up on the fact that the atonement that was being laid down that day is more than precious. It is not achieved just because we say the sinner’s prayer.
I cannot tell you a human power step on becoming a Christian. It’s only by God’s Spirit that we are convicted to repent and have faith. If there was someone who taught you a step on becoming a Christian, stop fooling yourself. There is no way you could save yourself because our carnal minds oppose God. We are all sinners, and we all ran away from God! That’s why He’s the one who draw us near to Him. It is not our own choice that we made it at His feet.
You might say, ‘I’m the one who prayed.’ But remember, naturally we cannot ask forgiveness only by ourselves. God’s Spirit has to convict us first. He should be the one who is going to teach us what to do. He is the one who tells us to pray, repent, have faith, read the Bible, fix your eyes on Jesus, wait for Him and persevere the trials.
Remember, if salvation is because of our works, turning back to God should have been up to us, but the Cross reminds us that whatever we do to save ourselves will still be an unacceptable sacrifice. It’s only by the precious blood of the Lamb that we will be accepted in God! There is no way that prayer that was only written by a human will give us assurance of salvation. If that’s the case, it will be easy for us to be saved but NO! Remember my blog entry about The Forgotten First Step? I tackled there about the first step on becoming a Christ’s follower. You first have to deny yourself, but even the power of denying ourselves is dependent on the work of God’s Spirit. There is no way we could deny ourselves by our own power because we are all dead without God. And a dead man has no way of saving himself.
I believe that one of Jesus Christ’s purpose of raising Lazarus’ to life is because He wants to show us that it’s only by His power that we will be raised from the dead just like what Jesus promised for Israel through the vision God has given to Ezekiel:
37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”
It has always been God’s way; “I will…” said the LORD! Israel portrays us. We are dead and it’s only by God’s grace that we live! That should leave us with so much gratitude and humility. Through Jesus Christ alone, we are now accepted!
We have been called as Christians because God chose us and not because we prayed the sinner’s prayer:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
We did not chose Him, He is the One who chose us. Thus, a sinner’s prayer is not the true assurance.
A sheep cannot know his way back to his shepherd. It’s not us who search for our Shepherd. It’s Him, not us! That illustration in the Bible should have convict us that there is no way that we know the way unless Jesus Christ is the one who tells us where the way is.
So how can we be assured with our salvation? It’s through the works of the Holy Spirit. He convicts and teaches us through the Scripture! He illuminates sins that we are not aware of, and He convicts us to ask for forgiveness and what to pray for. And if your are truly a Christian, Christ’s work on the Cross means so much to you. It’s gives you the real feeling that it has been done for you because the Holy Spirit assures you.
Our true assurance depends on the works done by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us! Through Him, we long for the day when Jesus Christ returns and brings us home. Through His guidance and teachings, we have the foretaste of eternity in us! He fill our hearts with the hope that Jesus gives for those whom He has chosen.
We should correct those who believed they are assured because they just prayed the sinner’s prayer and act as if the sanctification given by the Holy Spirit depends on it. We should defend the truth because many among us profess that they are Christians, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit is not seen in their lives.
Let’s pray for those who were lead astray by wrong beliefs and teachings. Let the truth be known to them. Always be ready to defend your faith because the only truth that will set free is the truth that God has been written in our hearts through the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Let His Word that brings life be known in every Nation.
All glory belongs to God alone!