Stop Selling Packaged Salvation!
We should not think too much of ourselves, nor to little. We should not think we have already attained salvation, but remain confidant in God’s promises. Paul tells us (in Phi 3;12) that he still hasn’t been made perfect, but he claims the promises, pressing on to the goal. This is discussed in: Being Made Complete And Perfect
We have not yet given our lives in the struggle to overcome sin. The Prayer of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector paves our path to true humility and shows us how to overcome the Pharisee yeast.
Summary From of Being Made Complete And Perfect :
We trust Jesus to initiate and perfect our faith, to transform us into a new creation as he fills us up with himself. We cooperate with this by living to please the Spirit, by listening to (and obeying) the Holy Spirit, not tiring of doing what is good, paying careful attention to our own work (never comparing), following Paul’s example, confidant that God’s strength is best revealed in our weakness, and dying to this world by never glorying in our abilities or accomplishments. We glorying only in the cross of Christ, passing all of the credit and honor on to Jesus.
A Living Sacrifice to God
NLT Rom 12;1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice―the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. …
When we honestly evaluate ourselves, the only measure that means anything from a Godly perspective is the faith that God has given us. We can do no good work without God.
We are expected to give up our lives in our struggle against sin
NLT Heb 12;3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. 5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
We can give our lives in the struggle against sin in two very different ways. We may be asked to become martyrs, literally giving our lives for our faith. Just as useful to God is someone who fulfills this assignment day by day, offering his life as a living sacrifice in a personal struggle against his sinful selfish nature, seeking and following Christ, and allowing Christ to transform him.
The Humble Servant Example
NIV Luke 17;7 “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’
We should not look with pride on our past accomplishment. We are just doing our duty.
AMP Phil 3;12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect , but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. 15 So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that. 17 Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you.
Even Paul (while still alive) hadn’t yet been made perfect; he just keeps forgetting the past and pushes forward into the future. We push on to the future by ordering our lives according to Paul’s example. Remember that we have not yet given our lives in the struggle to overcome sin.
Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
NLT Luke 18;9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer : ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The Pharisee probably had much less sin in his life, but he had sin! Only the man who approaches God, admitting he is a sinner can be justified. Remember, “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
We are not saved by praying a prayer or responding to an altar call. We are saved by giving our lives in our personal struggle against sin and selfishness. It is not a one time response to God and his Holy Spirit, it is a lifetime of living our lives in response to them. Being a living sacrifice, becoming complete and perfect, takes a lifetime. We claim the many promises of the Bible, but we must not become like the Pharisee, claiming something prematurely, before fulfilling our assignment. If Paul, during his ministry “had not attained the goal” certainly we should not presume that we have.
The Harvest is ripe but the workers are few. We pray to you, the Lord of the Harvest, Please provide many workers! Please deliver your flock from today’s fallen churches and transform all who read this, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
The Need for Workers
NLT Matt 9; 35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest ; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”