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MORE NUGGETS FROM HEAVEN
By Rayola Kelley, Jeannette Haley
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Rayola Kelley
All rights reserved.
THE MATTER OF SALVATION
A man by the name of Tertullian made this statement, "Every soul is considered as having been born in Adam until it has been reborn in Christ. Moreover, it is unclean until it has been regenerated."
Salvation lies at the heart of God and should be the consistent theme of every Christian. Even though you can read the works of Tertullian and see that he confronted the issues of his day, the concerns and challenges for the saints of God remain the same—the salvation of man. Clearly, man in his unregenerate state, remains unchanged towards the matters of righteousness and God's attitude towards sin has never changed regardless of the times. As a result, man's soul hangs in the balance.
Tertullian who lived from 160-230 A. D. was an ordained presbyter. He wrote numerous apologies in regard to the culture of his times as well as works that exposed heresies. It has been my goal to bring a contrast between the early works of Christians in light of the Christianity that is presently being promoted.
Various works from these early Christians will be presented throughout this book to bring contrast and enlightenment. As you will see, the truth is always the truth regardless of the time or generation. In some instances, their statements are miniature sermons. I found most of these statements in two very important resource books. They are: The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations (GPQ), compiled by I. D. E. Thomas, and A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DCB), edited by David W. Bercot. It is clear that much time and energy was put forth in these books to bring to life those who influenced the early Church. It is my hope that each of these nuggets from above will reflect a valuable contrast.
The above statement from Tertullian came from The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations (GPQ), pg. 250.
* * *
It is man who complicates a matter, and God's wisdom that clarifies it. Sadly, man is forever adding onto the simplicity of Christ. You wonder why people must complicate such matters. It is easy to answer such a question. It is a matter of unbelief. They simply cannot or will not accept or receive the simple message of salvation.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).
* If men can get to heaven by being good, then the death of Christ is the worst waste in human history.
* Wanna know if Jesus Christ is THE ONLY WAY to heaven??? Ask the lost souls in hell!!
As believers, we all start out like Rahab, undesirable and unlikely as a candidate for salvation. But, by faith, we believed the Gospel, securing a new life, knowing that we will not perish in our sins. We are now identified to the new covenant established by the blood of Jesus.
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1 Corinthians 1:27).
* I will not glory because I am righteous, but because I am redeemed; not because I am clear of sin, but because my sins are forgiven.
-Ambrose of Milan GPQ, pg. 105
* Do not doubt whether it is possible: for He that on this sacred Golgotha saved the robber after only one hour of believing, the same will save you, if you believe.
-Cyril of Jerusalem GPQ, pg. 97
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).
The love of Christ
Here is love, that God sent His Son, His Son that never offended, His Son that was always His delight. Herein is love, that He sent Him to save sinners; to save them by bearing their sins, by bearing their curse, by dying their death, and by carrying their sorrows. Here is love, in that while we were yet enemies, Christ died for us; yes, here is love, in that while we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly.
-John Bunyan (HFC, pg. 356)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:8-9).
A New Status
Jesus is clear that a man must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3, 5). A person must have a new heart and spirit that identifies him or her to the spiritual and heavenly life. Such a life comes from above, from outside of any attempts of a person. It is truly a gift of God.
We are told that with this new life we are given a new inheritance. In fact, we have been endowed with the seal of the Holy Spirit to identify us to this inheritance. This brings us to the fact that we have a new status as well. The status is that of being a child of God.
The Bible tells us that as believers we have been adopted into a new family. America's adoption policy points to someone being an orphan or abandoned and brought from outside of a family to be given the same status and rights as a child who was born into the family. However, in the days of the Apostle Paul, adoption had a different take on it. According to H. A. Ironside's commentary on Galatians every child born into the Roman Empire possessed the same status as a servant or slave. It was only when the father took the intended heir to the courts of the land and officially adopted him or her that the child could be assured of an inheritance.
When you consider adoption from this perspective, it brings more clarity to what it means to be adopted into the family of God. Every person is born into the Adamic race. As a result, each individual possesses the status of a slave to sin. However, God provided the necessary documentation of adoption when Jesus died on the cross to redeem each of us. As believers, we need to not only embrace our new status by faith, but we must strive to reach the heights of excellence in order to properly embrace our glorious inheritance.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15).
* I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me: Moody save all you can.
-Dwight L. Moody
* Salvation is a helmet, not a nightcap."
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
* God can take an insignificant branch like Abraham and produce fruit a thousand-fold. He can take a small branch like David and produce a strong nation. He also took an unlikely branch in the form of His Son, and provided salvation for all who will believe.
* The salvation in which we believe is proved not from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.
-Cyril of Jerusalem GPQ, pg. 243
* For many people in our churches these days, salvation is all in their minds. This will result in their missing heaven by eighteen inches, because God's salvation has never gotten down from their heads into their hearts, where Christ can become their life. They know the verses, but they do not know Him; whom to know is life eternal.
-Paris Reidhead FRG, pg. 19
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).
* Stand still, and see the salvation of God. He knows the way, and He will direct thee in it if thou cry unto Him.
-Charles Spurgeon (FCB, pg. 59)
* Most of us are thronging Him—just like the crowd ... It is easy to throng the Lord and never touch Him. A great many people in the churches, and perhaps a great many seeking Him, coming close to Him, but never actually touching Him. In this matter of eternal importance, coming close is not enough. It is like missing a train ... You may miss it by one minute— and that's pretty close— but you have lost the train ... It is gone, and you are left behind. Thronging saves nobody. Coming near to Jesus will not bring healing. We have to touch Him for ourselves.
-Peter Marshall (JMM, pg. 185)
* Surprisingly, over the years, I have heard many Christians talk about Jesus' deliverance in terms of circumstances, but some of these individuals have failed to realize Jesus' true deliverance is not of a physical nature, but of a spiritual one. God's love did not reach through circumstances to save people from unpleasant conditions. Rather, He reached through the darkness of men's souls with His light to save them from the ways of death. This light is the very life of Jesus.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:4).
There is Always Tomorrow
We humans have a tendency to put off today what fails to catch our fancy or excitement. We always perceive that we have tomorrow. It is true that some matters can be put off until tomorrow, but there are other matters that should not be put aside because the opportunity to ensure a beneficial outcome may be narrow and limited. And, there are still some matters that will ultimately reveal the folly and destruction of such procrastination.
I remember the story about a young couple who came to an evangelistic meeting. As they listened to the message, they were almost persuaded by the Holy Spirit and the urgent exhortations of the evangelist to come forward and give their lives to Jesus. However, they reasoned that since they were young, they always had tomorrow to resolve such an issue. After all, death seemed far away from them in light of the strength of their youth. In their minds, they had much life to live and embrace before the unmerciful grip of death enveloped them.
They happily walked out of the meeting to enjoy some ice skating on the frozen lake. As they gleefully enjoyed the folly of their youth, the unpredictable claws of death reached up and snatched them as the ice broke beneath their feet. They were pulled down into the icy waters of death to face an eternity without Jesus.
Augustine said, "God has promised forgiveness to your repentance; but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination". Basil the Great stated that God says "today"; the devil says "tomorrow". It is clear that the matters regarding life that must never be put off are those that involve eternity.
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation) (2 Corinthians 6:2).
* Sometimes a sinner parlays with his Savior, wishing he could have a little of the honor of his salvation, wanting to keep some favorite sin and amend the humbling terms of grace. But Jesus will be all in all, and the sinner must be nothing at all.
* It is little wonder then that many are disillusioned with Christianity. They have yet to realize that salvation is not a plan, not in scripture verses, not in ordinances and not in a scheme of theology. Salvation is not a decision and not a pronouncement of an evangelist, a pastor or a teacher... Salvation is a Person—Jesus Christ.
-Paris Reidhead FRG, pg. 19
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself (John 5:25-26).
* The primary work of salvation is not a matter of saving us from hell; rather, it is the complete work of Christ to reconcile us back into a relationship with God.
* Jesus save me now—It is He
Jesus saves me now—It is His work to save.
Jesus saves me now—I am the one to be saved.
Jesus saves me now—He is doing it every moment.
-Hannah Whitall Smith (CHL, pg.53)
* The follower of Jesus makes the salvation of the soul the first object in his holy ministry of love.
* There is true conversion where there have been covenant transactions between God and the soul.
* Praying people are the only people who have influence with God, the only people to whom God connects Himself and His Gospel.
-E. M. Bounds (WOP, pg. 44)
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18).
* * *
My dear friend, Maureen Human, physically lived through a Job's experience for the better part of a year. I encouraged her to write some of her feelings during her ordeal. Throughout this book you will be graced with some of her thoughts. As I followed her writings, it was almost like watching a graceful phoenix rising out of the ashes of devastation. I could see the seriousness of her meditation as well as the redefining of what she deemed important and significant. It was through her eyes that I was reminded that beauty is so often discovered in simplicity.
Folly is that in which we deceive ourselves to be more than who we are! Only He who has paid the price can save us from ourselves.
* I must be saved from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, the punishment of sin, and ultimately from the very being of sin. God hath said it: "Thou shalt be saved." I believe it. I shall be saved, I am saved. Glory be to God for ever and ever.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
* The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from Hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness."
* If anyone has hoped in Christ as a Man lacking a mind, he is truly mindless and is quite unworthy of being saved. That which was not assumed has not been healed; but that which is united to God, the same is saved. If only half of Adam fell, then what is assumed and saved may also be only half; but if the whole of Adam fell, it must be united as whole to Him that is born, in order to be wholly saved.
-Gregory of Nazianzus GPQ, pg. 242
* No one has the right to think themselves a child of God unless they have the witness of the Spirit to the new birth!
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son (1 John 5:10).
The Reality of Sin
It is hard to understand the devastation sin works upon our lives for we live in the constant state of it. We do not see how it mars our potential, causes us to love its very darkness, fiercely guard its wicked ways, justify its incessant wrongs, and make its cruelties right and acceptable in our own sight.
However, we must remember sin mars, ruins, and devastates every aspect of our lives. There is nothing sacred from its far reaching tentacles of perversion, wretchedness, and destruction. In fact, we get a glimpse of how sin mars that which is pure and righteous. All we have to do is consider Jesus and Him crucified. The perfect Son and sinless Lamb of God was so marred by the affront of others' sin upon His physical body that He became undesirable to the onlookers who mocked and despised Him.
Sin's ability to mar everything perfect, innocent, and sincere was brought to the forefront by a legend surrounding the painting of the "Last Supper." I admit my exact recollection of the time period may somewhat vary, but the intent remains the same. According to the legend, Da Vinci searched for men whom he felt would best portray Jesus and His disciples. For example, the man he used to portray Jesus was 19 years old, still untouched by the wicked influences of the world.
Excerpted from MORE NUGGETS FROM HEAVEN by Rayola Kelley, Jeannette Haley. Copyright © 2013 Rayola Kelley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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