Be Born Again in the Spirit

'But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.""

It Is a Freedom Thing

It Is a Freedom Thing

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Died on Good Friday

"And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.  And the people stood beholding.  And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God". Luke 23:32-35.

The world is divided into two classes of people....just two.  There are those who like one of those two malefactors would also deride Jesus even as He was hanging on that cross...."And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." Luke 23:39.  The rest of us would come to know the Christ as the second malefactor recognized him when he answered the first one and admonished him saying: "But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.   And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom".  Luke 23:40-42.

This is a well know story to those of us have spent any time in what we consider Christian churches.  And yet, as simple as the gospel message is....we want to complicate it.  Why?  Do religions do this as a means of guaranteeing a life long income as they provide purported spiritual rites at various stages of a persons aging process to guarantee our salvation?  I mean are 7 sacraments really necessary when the second malefactor did nothing to hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".  And, are we really dependent on the well being of others for our own personal eternal life?  Essentially is social justice as is being sold in some of our main stream churches today, scriptural or Christlike at all?  I think we have our answer.

Jesus responded to the second malefactor thusly...."And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise".  Luke 23:43

The malefactor, or thief as a couple of the gospel writers put it, gained his salvation by an expression of faith, by recognizing that Jesus Christ is indeed God and able to reward them that call out to Him.  He claimed his salvation when he declared Christ as Lord and believed that Christ indeed would come into the Resurrection of Life and rule over eternity. 

This faith the thief displayed....what is it?  In the book of Hebrews, we find the apostle Paul telling us "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  Hebrews 11:1  It is kind of like when the apostle Thomas, who was absent when Christ first appeared to the others after His resurrection, and when told about it, Thomas declared he would not believe it unless he could see the and feel the wounds in his hands and side.....when Christ did appear with our 'doubting' Thomas present, he placed Thomas fingers on his wounds and said "Thomas sees and now believes, how much more blessed are those who do not see, and yet believe"?

Paul goes on to tell us "For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it being dead is spoken of.  By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God".   Hebrews 11:2-5.

Hebrews, chapter 11 goes on to tell us of others who were justified by faith including Abraham, Noah, Sarah, Joseph, Isaac, Jacob and so many fact, in Christianity, Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the 'faith' chapter even as I Corinthians, chapter 13 is the 'love' chapter.

Paul additionally tells us "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him".  Hebrews 11:6

In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul really hit the nail on the head in describing to us what it is to be born again in the Spirit as Jesus told Nicodemus he must be in order to be saved in John 3:3 and emphasized again in John 3:7...."But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 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.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed".  Romans 10:8-11.

Three died on good Friday and because one of those three was the unblemished Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world when He arose again on that third day, those of us who believe on Him should say so and indeed work to fulfill the admonition of the Great Commission which is to spread that gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth.  This is what is expected of us. 

He is Risen.....and the faithful reply and say, Indeed!

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