7 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

1 Chronicles 5:18–6:81
Acts 26:1-32
Psalm 6:1-10
Proverbs 18:20-21

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Acts 26:19-20 (CSB): “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

If Satan cannot keep the Gospel from spreading, he will do everything he can to distort the Gospel so that it loses its potency.

I am gravely concerned that the Gospel has been horribly distorted in our contemporary culture. Over and over I have heard people tell me, as their pastor, of a church member who hasn’t darkened the doors of a church in years (or even decades). The church member doesn’t have a desire to read their Bible or pray. They seem to have no desire to share their faith. They have obvious sin vices and it seems that they are not getting the victory over those sins … or even have the desire to defeat those sins. And yet it is brought up that they “said a prayer” as a kid to “receive Jesus into their hearts” so they are said to be “saved.”

Friend, that sort of mentality is so foreign to the true Gospel. Those assurances are nowhere to be found on the pages of Scripture.

If someone has been truly saved, it will make a difference in their life. While not everyone makes progress on the road to Christlikeness at the same rate, and while some will progress much farther on the road to holiness than others, the Gospel WILL make a huge difference in the life of the person who has trusted in Jesus for eternal life.

This is what we hear the Apostle Paul saying in the verses that I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses:

Acts 26:19-20 (CSB): “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.”

Notice in the previous words that Paul claimed that his vision from God called him to tell everyone that they must repent (turn from sin) and turn to God (in trust and obedience) and then “do works worthy of repentance.” Doing those “works worthy of repentance” simply demonstrated that true repentance and faith in Christ had actually taken place.

What we do (works) doesn’t save us. But, what we do certainly demonstrates whether or not we have been truly saved.

Simply put, if you haven’t been saved, you won’t find it easy to love and serve the Lord. You won’t find it natural to enjoy reading your Bible and making the adjustments in your life to conform to it. You won’t find it natural to enjoy a relationship with God that comes from spending much time in prayer with Him.

On and on I could go concerning the behaviors and internal promptings that demonstrate whether or not we have truly been saved.

Once again, I will point to Scripture. Did you know that one particular book in the Bible was written so that we could know if we are saved? Just listen as the Apostle John clarifies why he wrote the letter that we call “1 John.”

1 John 5:13 (CSB): “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Did you get that? The Apostle John said that he wrote his letter so that those who claimed that they have believed in Jesus “may know that (they) have eternal life.”

So, what is the content of 1 John? What are the litmus tests that John gives to help us understand whether or not we are truly saved?

If you read through 1 John, you will quickly come to understand that he highlights heart attitudes and observable behaviors. He assumes that someone who is truly saved will demonstrate the heart attitudes and behaviors that validate their trust in Jesus.

So, based upon the fact that someone who is truly saved will demonstrate a changed heart and lifestyle, we could either ask them if they are saved or we could ask questions like:

  • Do you have an internal desire to know and love the Lord (Galatians 4:6)?
  • Do you demonstrate your love for the Lord by a life of studying His Word and conforming to its commands (John 14:15)?
  • Are you making progress in your journey to become more like Jesus (Philippians 1:6)?
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Conclusion

It is abundantly clear in Scripture that we can do nothing to save ourselves. Any effort on our part to save ourselves falls infinitely short of the standard that God requires (Romans 3:23).

We are not saved by doing anything … except receiving the gift of grace and faith to trust in Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (CSB): “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.”

Yet, it is clear from Scripture that if we have been truly saved our life will demonstrate it. While we are not saved by doing anything (works), the validity of our faith is certainly demonstrated by what we do (works).

Ephesians 2:10 (CSB): “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.”

So, my friend, are you saved? I didn’t ask you if you “said a prayer” at some time in your past. I asked if you are truly saved.

To gain a substantive assurance of your salvation, your answer will be based upon your journey toward relationship and obedience to God, your love for others, and your progress in becoming more and more like Jesus.

So, when you look at your heart attitudes and behaviors, is it clear that you have truly been saved? If not, why not begin your journey with Jesus before the sun goes down this evening.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (CSB): “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless you fail the test.”

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