The Simplicity of Salvation

To say that we are living in unprecedented times is an understatement. As we all navigate life these days, I sense the frustration among people is beginning to reach new heights.  It seems that the dawn of each new day is greeted with more regulations, new mandates,  additional recommendations, and restrictions.  Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum regarding rights and safety, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to know what we are supposed to do.  The path seems convoluted, confusing, and uncertain.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving and giving thanks.  In a normal year- which I think we can all agree that 2020 is far from normal- I wouldn’t need a holiday to remind me to be thankful.  I’ve always felt that gratitude needs to be a posture that we take every day regardless of what our circumstances are.  But I would be lying if I said that gratitude came easy this year.  I don’t think that I am alone.

So I’ve been reflecting these past few days on all that I am thankful for.  There are the obvious things like my husband and sons.  I am thankful for the church that the Lord has led us to.  I’ve been so blessed by worship this year, and I think that I have truly begun to learn how to worship our Lord.  It’s been a healing balm for the soul.  I’m thankful for the challenges that we have had.  Those very challenges have caused us to see where our priorities lie and if an adjustment is needed. 

Even in the midst of hardship, there is much to be thankful for.

But what the Lord really impressed upon me this week was the simplicity of salvation.  I suppose that the current backdrop of confusion and chaos has helped me see this so plainly this year.  With conflicting messages from city officials, governors, national leaders, and healthcare agencies, it can truly be challenging to know what the right path is. The fact that we live in a world rife with do’s and don’ts, with regulations that do not seem to lead us to an end, shows me the beauty in the simplicity of the Lord’s path to salvation.

Friend, please know that this truly is a simple path.  Many people sully the waters here and take scripture out of context, create their own addendums to the Lord’s plan, or believe lies from self-proclaimed religious leaders.  The Lord’s plan is centered on one word: believe. 

The Lord simply tells us to believe.  Believe that we have a sin problem.  Believe that this sin problem is the very thing that separates us from our holy Heavenly Father.  Believe that nothing of our own doing – not good works, not ritualistic tradition, not outward acts of obedience – provides a path to the Lord.  Our salvation comes through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

That’s it. 

I Corinthians 15:3-4 provides the best picture of this:

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

It’s through Jesus alone that the forgiveness of sin comes.  It is through His spilled blood that the chasm to righteousness is bridged.  It is through His resurrection that death is defeated forever.

That’s it.

John 14:6 reiterates the fact that salvation comes through Christ alone:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Simplicity:

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”- Acts 16:31

My friend, it is we who complicate salvation.  It is we who add to its requirements.  It is we who say, “What more must I do?”  Please know that our loving Heavenly Father seeks to add to the fold.  His plan is simple.

In a year of such utter confusion, I am so very thankful for the Lord’s simple plan of salvation.  There is one path that leads straight to His throne.  There will be no changes to the Lord’s plan, no new regulations or requirements, no vacillating back and forth, no conflicting or confusing mandates. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…Romans 1:16.

 

Longing for Home

My family and I took a pre-Christmas trip back home to New Jersey recently.  It was not the first trip back home since moving, but it was the most emotional and thought-provoking trip to date.  As we drove through Virginia, Maryland, and finally, Pennsylvania, like a small child, I anticipated the “Welcome to New Jersey” sign that awaited me at the state line.

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How to Know God’s Will for My Life {Part 2}

As a believer one of the greatest struggles that we experience is discerning what the Lord’s will is for our lives.   After setting aside our will and submitting to the Father’s, we yearn for Him to show us and tell us clearly the direction He wants us to follow.  And while I believe that the Lord honors those who follow His will, His ultimate goal is not to provide an expedient, easy answer.  His will goes far beyond logistics; His plan centers around providing opportunities for us to grow and ultimately to become more Christlike as we wait for God’s plan to unfold. Continue reading “How to Know God’s Will for My Life {Part 2}”

How to Know God’s Will for My Life (Part 1)

One of the greatest struggles that we experience as Christians is discerning what the Lord’s will is for our lives.   Oh, if He only left a personalized note, an audible message, or wrote His words using a skywriter or a billboard – how much easier it would be.  But alas, God does not communicate with us via those avenues, but thankfully, He does indeed speak to us, and rest assured, if we are willing to wait, follow, and listen, He will show us His will.

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Praising the Lord in All Times

I am an early riser.  My alarm clock first sounds at 4:45am.  After a few not so gentle smacks of the snooze button, my eyes begin to open to the new day at around 5:00am.   But during those in between moments of waking,  my ears are fully alive and busy taking in the sounds of the morning.  Those early morning hours are void of the chaotic sounds of the day.  There is peace and stillness in the air as the uninterrupted sound of a gentle breeze ushers in a new day.

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Parents: Open Up Your Eyes to the Problem of Pornography

I remember the details like it was yesterday.  They are ingrained in my memory, stamped and etched in a place of perpetual recall.  While I do not remember my exact age, I estimate I was either in fifth or sixth grade.  It was a weekend visit to my father’s house that first exposed me to the world of pornography.

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Embracing the Sorrow in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.  The time of the year to reflect on all that we are thankful for.  Yet, for some reason, this year my heart is quite burdened.  While I truly am grateful for so much in my life, my heart can’t seem to break free of bearing the burden of so many close to us that are traversing through challenging times.  Cancer, illness, wayward children, suicide, financial hardships, addiction, bitter relationships…and all of that is just within the walls of my circle of friends.  Mingle in the sinful, divisive climate that bathes our society, and you have cause to feel the weight of the world.

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Allowing the Lord to Say No to Your Children

It was the summer before my son’s freshman year in high school, and he had one request of me:  “Mom, can I join the football team?”

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How the Time Flies

I remember the moment so clearly.  I was a mom of three small boys ages 4, 3, and 1.  It was a beautiful spring day so the boys and I packed up the stroller to walk down to our park.  As the older boys ran and jumped and played, I pushed my giggling little guy on the baby swings.  Not meaning to eavesdrop, but being too close to avoid hearing, I listened in on a conversation between two moms.

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When Waiting on the Lord is Hard

Waiting patiently has never been one of my best attributes.  My trouble started early on.  As a child, I always knew where my mother kept our Christmas gifts hidden, and I made it a point, with great regularity, to spy and peek at the stash.  I simply could not wait until Christmas.

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