RSS

Tag Archives: saved

The Gospel in a Nutshell

As we go through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul now begins speaking about a new subject.  It deals with the truth of the resurrection of Christ.

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Paul gives us a wonderful view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It’s not a matter of simply repeating a prayer and all of our troubles vanishing.  There’s more to it than that.

We have to understand that the Gospel Paul is talking about is more than just “believe in Jesus and you’ll be on your way to heaven.”  The sinner’s prayer is definitely our entrance into God’s salvation.  But the Gospel of Christ doesn’t end there.

According to Paul, these people heard what he preached, and then they responded.  Not only did they receive it, but they took their stand on it – they began to establish their lives on this Good News.

The key phrase in all of this is, by this Gospel you are saved.  Paul is talking to a group of established Christians.  This tells me that salvation is an ongoing process in their lives.

That’s because the Greek word for save is full of meaning.  It doesn’t just mean that we’re freed from our sin.  Scripturally, saved means to be delivered and safe from any harm or loss.  It includes healing, protection, provision, and a whole host of other things as well.

Then again, that’s why there’s an “if” in this passage.  The initial believing and confessing of Christ place us firmly into God’s kingdom.  But there’s more that the Lord wants for us.

Our salvation is the ongoing process of the grace of God renewing every aspect of our lives.  In order for this to happen, I have to hold firmly to the Word.  That means that I need to hold fast to it, memorize it, and retain it.

In short, I need to build myself up in the Word of God.  Otherwise, my faith will be too weak to allow God’s work to be manifest in my life.

I think that part of our problem in the modern church is our stubborn refusal to allow God to continue His work of change in our lives.  We’re happy that our sins were forgiven.  We look forward with joy to our home in Heaven.  But right now there are so many things that we want to do and experience in the world.  The thought of God disrupting those plans for His purpose doesn’t sit well with us.

We need to see change as the natural outgrowth of our walk with God.  His ongoing plan of salvation in us should never stagnate.  There’s always something new to look forward to.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8

This is the Good News of Jesus Christ in a nutshell.  The Lord came to earth, died for us, was buried, and three days later He rose from the dead.  The resurrection was confirmed by hundreds of qualified witnesses.

Because of what Christ has done, our lives can be changed by the power of God.  Allow the Holy Spirit to continue the work.  Hold firmly to the Word of God that you’re receiving.

Question: How have you changed since bowing your knees to Christ?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Our Final Exam – What’s On It?

ClassI’m posting about God’s ongoing work of salvation in us. God desires to continually bring about changes in us.

But what happens if I don’t allow God to continue with His plan to renew my life? Paul gives us some insight into the question. In the letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is addressing a group of mostly baby Christians. According to the Apostle, they’re not babies because they lack experience, but because they chose not to grow up.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15

When we are initially saved we’re placed onto the foundation of Christ. It’s afterwards that the building program begins. We have the choice to build for ourselves – wood, hay, and straw. Think about it in the natural. All over the world wood, hay, and straw are normal building materials. They’re used because they’re readily available and easy to build with.

It’s a lot more difficult to build with gold, silver or costly stones. They speak of what’s built by the spirit. If we submit to the will of God for our lives, then we’ll see a beautiful structure arise. Not only that, but it will be beyond our expectations for what we could have ever accomplished on our own.

The good news is that we’re told how it will all turn out. We’re not in the dark. We know what we’ll be judged on. The test is fire.

You can build some elaborate and beautiful houses with wood, hay and straw. I’ve seen some grandiose mansions around the country. Here’s the problem, they’re not going to be judged on how high they were built or how ornate they are. They’re going to be doused with gasoline and lit up.

Think about what’s important to you right now. The test is not how high you climbed up the corporate ladder. It’s not how much money you accumulated. It’s not even about how many good deeds you did or how many friends you have on Facebook.

The judgment will be based upon how close you stuck to the Plan. Did you allow the Holy Spirit to work His changes in your life? The final exam is how close your life came to God’s will for you.

That’s what will matter the most to you in the end.

Question: How high on you priority list is knowing and accomplishing God’s will for your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Faith, Ministry, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saved in our Past, Present, & Future

Cross SunsetI’m posting about the salvation we share in Christ. How Christ took us from where we were and made us new in Him. Our past had no bearing on His love for us.

…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13

This work that Christ has done in us is totally His doing. It didn’t matter how good I was. I’m just as guilty before God. It wouldn’t matter if I was a drug dealer, rapist, or terrorist. The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all of my sins.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

The salvation of the Lord is all encompassing. But, as incredible as all this is, it’s not the end of it. Even though in one sense I have been saved, God’s work continues to have an effect upon my life. Salvation doesn’t end with the sinner’s prayer.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:2

It should be clear from the context of this verse that being saved is an ongoing process. The word for saved in this verse implies a continual work. That’s why there’s an “if” in this section. The process of salvation can only continue if you hold firmly to the Word.

I think that part of our problem in the modern church is our stubborn refusal to allow God to continue His work of change in our lives. We’re happy that our sins were forgiven. We look forward with joy to our home in Heaven. But right now there’s so many things that we want to do and experience in the world. The thought of God disrupting those plans for His purpose doesn’t sit well with us.

We need to see change as the natural outgrowth of our walk with God. His ongoing plan of salvation in us should never stagnate. There’s always something new to look forward to. That even applies to the return of Christ.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Romans 5:9

Not only is the saving work of the Lord active in me today, it gives me a future hope. I know that on the Day of Judgment I have nothing to fear. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, I will be saved from the wrath of God. Death holds no fear for the Christian, only the promise of a new address in the presence of God.

Question: How is God’s ongoing work of salvation continuing to change your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Faith, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Saved are You?

CrossAs I think about Resurrection Sunday coming up this weekend, I want to talk about our salvation. It seems like we hear about it so often that it loses its appeal. It’s so important that we keep what God has done for us fresh in our hearts.

In this series, I’m not going to give you a detailed theology of Biblical salvation. Rather, I want to talk about some important aspects that we’ve glossed over in the modern church. The saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ is so rich and powerful, yet in many Christian circles we’ve reduced it to only a fraction of God’s desire.

There’s a tendency in the evangelical church to use this word in the past tense.

“I’ve been saved. Are you saved?”

“When did you get saved?”

Statements like these relegate our salvation to an event that happened sometime in the past. It was a great thing. It changed my life. But now it’s something I can look back on. This is the furthest thing imaginable for the true definition of our salvation.

The Greek word sozo is what’s normally translated as saved in our English Bibles. It is a huge word that’s crammed full of meaning.

To enter into sozo means that you’re not only saved, but kept safe and sound, and are rescued from danger and destruction. Also included in that word is the fact that you’re saved from disease, healed, and restored to health. It applies to both the physical and spiritual realms.

The word saved includes the entire scope of everything that Christ paid for on the cross. It contains the answers for our past, present and future. To see it as anything less is an affront to the Gospel – the Good News – of Jesus Christ.

Let’s look at what the Scripture has to say about it. We’ll start with our entrance into this great work of God.

…That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10

This is the only way possible to enter into the salvation of God. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to God apart from His work on the cross. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is the only door to our salvation.

In this sense we can look back at the initial work of God’s saving power in our lives. It was the day we heard and understood the Good News. We learned that we were incapable of pleasing a Holy God. Yet, because of the work of Christ, His Son, we could be saved.

We believed the message in our hearts. Then, in an outward response to that faith, we confessed with our mouth that Jesus Christ was Lord.

It doesn’t matter the semantics you used. Whether you say that you received Jesus or prayed the sinner’s prayer. If you bowed your knees to Christ in the above manner, you entered into the salvation of the Lord.

It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from. Your good works or your evil past had no bearing on what God did in you. When you called upon Him, you were saved.

Question: What were the events surrounding your initial salvation experience?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Faith, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Living Saved – Past, Present & Future

GalaxyIn my last post I talked about how the work of salvation was started in your life.  But that’s not the end of it.  The Word has a greater job to do in you.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:21

James is writing to the church in this passage of Scripture.  As I’ve stated before, I believe that the book of James was the first New Testament Scripture to be written.  If that’s true, then the Word he refers to could not be the Bible, since that was unknown at this point in church history.

What James is telling us is that the Word has been planted in us and is continuing to grow in us.  It’s there to change us.  Actually, what he says in the original Greek, is that this seed has the power (dunamis) to save your soul.  James is telling us to allow the seed of the Word to do its job, the saving of our souls.

Wait a minute!  I thought that if I accepted Christ, then I’m saved already.  The answer to that is an important one.  Yes, you were saved from sin and hell.  If you died right now you would go to heaven to be with the Lord.

However, in the broadest sense, salvation is not a one time thing.  It’s ongoing.  I’m saved (from sin and hell), I’m being saved (from the effects of sin in me), and I will be saved (from my flesh).  It’s this ongoing process of salvation that James is writing about.

Salvation itself is a package deal.  It includes everything that Christ paid for on the cross.  That same Word that brought me over from death to life also works God’s health and provision in me.  But for this to work, it has to start in my soul and work its way out.

That’s why the Word is called a seed.  Much of its work is done in the unseen places, below the surface.  Then, as it continues its work, it bursts out into the sunlight to bring the work in my life to completion – the bearing of fruit.

The question may arise – where does the seed come from?  The answer is simple.  It comes from the processes of the Spirit.  The seed grows, produces the plant and then the fruit.  The fruit itself contains more seed.  That seed is then planted in new ground to produce even more – and the cycle continues.

So, in reality, the seed comes from those who at one time received the Word, allowed it to grow, and then brought forth fruit.  The seed comes from someone who accepted the Word.  According to the parables of Christ, there can be 30, 60, or even 100 times what was originally sown.  God wants an abundant harvest.  The greater the harvest, the greater the next planting will be.

Question: How much has your life changed since you first made Christ Lord of your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

God’s Seed in You

SeedIn many of my posts I talk about the relationship between the Word of God and the Scripture.  The Bible is the written Word of God.  But we also need to hear the Word from the Holy Spirit.  This is where the power of God intersects with our lives.

For a few posts I want to write about how the Word of God relates to us.  The Bible teaches that we must correctly handle the Word of Truth.  In order to do that I must be studying the Scripture – the written record of God’s Word – so that I can handle the Word I receive from God today.

In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Acts 19:20

The Bible uses many terms in relation to the Word of God.  It uses language such as spread, increased, grew, reached and multiplied.  In the above verse we’re told how.  The verse says in this way.  If you read through this nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts you’ll get a taste for the effects of the Word.

We see the gifts of tongues and prophecy being manifested.  There was boldness in preaching.  Handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were taken to the sick and they were healed.  Demonic spirits were confronted and expelled.  There was widespread repentance such that a group of new believers burned the equivalent of $5,000,000 worth of satanic sorcery books.

That’s the way the Word of God is described as growing.  Literally, the above verse says that the Word became a force to be reckoned with.  The Word of God is alive and it grows.  That’s the aspect that I want to discuss in this series of posts.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

We’ve been saved by the living Word of God.  That Word is a seed that’s growing inside of us.  It will never decay or diminish.  It’s there forever.

Somewhere along the line somebody spoke God’s Word to you.  It doesn’t matter whether they used the Bible or not – you heard a Word from God that changed your life.  It might have been a Bible verse, a word of prophecy, or a statement of divine truth.  Either way, you received it, it grew inside of you, and eventually you accepted Jesus Christ and were born again.

That’s how the Word of God starts its work in you.  The fact that you’ve established Christ as your Lord and Savior is proof that the Word has taken residence in you.  Now it’s up to us what we do with that seed.

Question: What was the Word of God that brought salvation into your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do I Need the Gospel?

News GlassesWho is the Gospel for?  Is it only the unsaved that need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ?  I think that we’ve short changed ourselves by not continuing in the whole truth of the Gospel.

This is my second post in a series about the true, life-changing Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I want to look at what it is and its effect upon our lives.  In this post I want to explain how the Good News is also for believers.

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Hebrews 4:2

According to this passage of Scripture, without faith, the Gospel is of no value or of no benefit to those who hear it.  It starts there – you must believe the Gospel in order to enter into salvation.  What most Christians don’t realize is that the Good News doesn’t end there.  It’s not something that’s only for those in need of the saving power of God.

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him…
Romans 16:25-26

In the first line of this section of the Word the phrase is able is the Greek word dunamispower.  This literally says that He has the power to establish you.  How can the Lord accomplish this?  It’s through the Gospel that we are established.  Not only does the Good News save you, but it gives you a foundation.  It sets you firmly in place by the power of the Lord.

I think one of our fundamental mistakes is to think of the word salvation as a one-time thing.  It is actually an ongoing process.  According to Scripture, I received salvation when I accepted Christ as my Lord.  Now, for the rest of my life, I am being saved by His work in me.  One day, when He returns, I will receive my final salvation – my resurrected body.  The Gospel is a part of God’s continuing work in my life.

Of course, if you read the above verse carefully you’ll find that it’s not just the Good News.  It’s also the proclamation of Jesus the Anointed One and His anointing that brings about this stability in your life.  That’s why we can’t neglect the gathering together of the church.  We need what happens when we meet together for worship if we’re going to progress in that anointing.

This is Good News, But as great as our lives being established is, the Gospel doesn’t stop there.  In my next post I will talk about another aspect of the Gospel we don’t normally consider.

Question: What is a result of failing to see the Gospel as an ongoing work in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Faith, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,