Salvation and Repentance
Our first order of business is to preach the gospel of salvation. If you go through these teachings without the power within to "do" what is taught, then it becomes a self-help book and not one inspired by the Holy Spirit that brings the fullness of God into your life and the promise of life after this life!
This session addresses the following individuals:
This session is to help you learn the truth about where you are in relationship to the Lord by helping you find your place in the Kingdom of God. I’ve really liked having this teaching on the web because I’ve had the opportunity to lead many to the Lord, some have even stated that they used to doubt their salvation but after reading this session, they are no longer in doubt. When we receive Jesus Christ, once and for all, then it’s awesome what God is going to do through you.
For those who have not received Christ as your Savior, it may be difficult to understand what I'll be sharing because it's the Holy Spirit within you (because you received Jesus) that gives you the ability to understand what you are learning. So before going to the "meat" of the teachings, please go through this session thoroughly. If you are already saved, it’s good to read this because you may be able to help someone else.
Before we can really start our journey to freedom, we have to get first things first - knowing without a doubt we have been bought and paid for by the Blood of the Lamb - Jesus Christ. If we are unsure, then we are in for a rocky relationship with our self, with others and with God, resulting in frustration, anger, hopelessness and accusations, fear, doubt and unbelief.
The Bible says that we need not keep going over the salvation plan; we'll never grow up (known as one of the doctrines of Christ - Hebrews 6:1). This has to be settled once and for all, and you have to believe it and never doubt it again. Some of you have been Christians for a long time, yet you battle daily in these very areas. I believe by the time you finish reading this and praying through this, you will have a certainty in your heart to live your life in Christ.
The first thing we need to do is go to the Word and see what it says:
I discovered that I couldn’t do anything from my heart if I didn't first believe it. If I begin "doing" something without believing it to be true, it becomes works of the flesh and I can end up making a big mess! God looks upon our heart, not our works. Because our works reflect what is going on in our heart! So then as we "go" and "do" the Word (James 1) then others will see our good fruit and that could lead to their conversion as well because it's from our heart. We win others by our example, not by our Words. (Except if you are preaching the Word... faith does come by hearing and hearing the Word of God - this isn't what I'm talking about - I'm talking about an individual's life.) Remember, "trying" to be a good example is NOT what you are to do to get God to love you and to accept you. If you believe that you are righteous, then you will live without judging others. If you believe you are holy, then you will love and forgive, yourself and others. If you believe you are forgiven, then you won't live under guilt and condemnation. If you live in God's mercy, you will be merciful. If you receive God's unconditional love for you, you will love yourself and others unconditionally.
As you have believed, let it be done unto you (Matthew 8:13). And when it's done unto you, you do it unto others, without effort! You cannot give to others what you don't have to give! It's who you are not what you do! I hope this is clear. It's not that we won't "do" things, it's when we "do" things, where is our heart?
However, IF.... well I mean "When" we offend someone, we are to go to that person and be reconciled to them. This is what is being a Christian is all about love and forgiveness. But more about that in later sessions - I'm getting ahead of myself.
When you truly believe something, you will "live" it easily and naturally, without effort! This is the peace God speaks of in the Bible. If you start believing, the rest will follow. Believing is ONLY the beginning of a lifelong journey. If you don't believe something now, pray that God help you believe, (Mark 9:24) and wait on Him to bring it to pass. The Bible is very clear that God wills in us both to will and do of his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). So get off that treadmill of "good works" and just believe what you believe. This is where most people start to have problems. Once we are saved by believing, we are recruited to begin "doing" a bunch of stuff - either by others, our church or even ourselves. We jump in and begin "trying" to be a Christian! The same way you were saved is the same way you continue living, by believing (Galatians 3:1-3). We are only perfected in our Christian walk by faith (believing) and that comes in time, not over night! You do not need to be doing more than you believe right now! What I mean is that you are OK right where you are, you don't have to "try" to do any more than you are doing, unless of course the Lord is leading you "by faith" to do something more.
I found that when I finally got the following things down in my life, my life took a radical change for the better. (More is discussed in sessions to come.)
IMPORTANT! When we believe what I just shared, the next step is to receive. We believe AND receive to be complete. I can believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, but until I receive that truth into my life, it's nothing. The devils even "believe" the difference is they cannot "receive." This is CRITICAL for you to be able to have the kind of relationship you want with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We "receive" totally when we apply the sacrifice Jesus gave. So as we confess our sins, we then "receive" forgiveness of our sins by faith (believing our sins are forgiven). This is where people get tripped up. They may confess their sins, but can't believe they are forgiven. Again, if you don't believe you are forgiven, then you aren't. Remember, "whatever you believe, let it be done unto you."
Until we "receive" and "apply" (appropriate) that forgiveness to our sin, we will be under guilt and condemnation. People who are under guilt of any kind or feeling condemned for any reason have NOT applied the forgiveness and sacrifice to their lives.
So perhaps you "know" you are saved, but do you "believe" you are saved, that is the real question.
This is the foundation for us to grow up in Christ. Many are "trying" to be Christians but don't have the power behind it (the Holy Spirit within) to "be" a Christian. When we receive Christ (believe what I shared above), we are given the power to overcome sin. And truthfully, that is what being a believer means. Believing is the power to be victorious over all sin. If sin were not in the world, we would not need a Savior? After all, Jesus came to save us FROM our sin! It's all about "sin!" (Matthew 1:21)
Once we have been saved, now what do we do? As I shared moments ago, we are to continue our lives "believing" not "doing" as the scriptures say (Galatians 3:1-3). Doing comes after we truly believed AND received the salvation and forgiveness of sins. However, many are out doing a bunch of stuff thinking it's what they are supposed to be doing as part of their salvation. This is error and bondage. The scripture, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:17) is really talking about the manifestation of faith. God looks at the heart and motive for whatever we do, and if it's not being done in faith, no matter what it is, it's counted as sin (Romans 14:23). But a person who truly has received a revelation on being forgiven and applying it daily to their lives, they will have "works" that are not dead. They will have fruit, and many will be touched by this person's life, because it's from faith.
Now that we understand a bit more about salvation, repentance follows. We need to understand what "repentance" means. We are to live a life in truth. (John 17:17) What is really awesome is that God has made a way for us to remain a Christian even when we do things wrong because of the price Jesus paid for our sins - we ARE forgiven! Forever! But we need to believe we are forgiven – that’s what it means when Jesus told the disciples the work they were to do was “believe” (John 6:29). He knew that believing was going to be the most difficult thing we would do. But to only believe is the first part of repentance, then we need to receive. I can believe I’m forgiven, but it does me little good until I receive the forgiveness. If I go around “knowing” I can fall under guilt and condemnation. But once I “receive” it, I’m made free of all guilt and condemnation! We don't have to beg to be forgiven. We ARE forgiven.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways and he shall receive nothing of the Lord! (James 1:6-8) If we believe and then doubt, believe and then doubt, this is double-mindedness. We are not saved one day when we "think" we are good, and not saved the next when we "think" we are bad. When our children do this, does that make our children any less our children when they disobey? No, they are still your child. Same with us, we are still saved and Children of God regardless!
As we go out into the world from conversion, we have opportunity to come up against so many obstacles. How deep our roots are from the first moment we believe is how we will weather these obstacles (Mark 4:3-8), Good roots are made deep when you truly "believe" what I've just shared. Paul said to be rooted and grounded in the love of God (believing in and receiving God’s love). He knew this was foundation for living a victorious life in Christ.
When we receive Christ as our Savior, we have been given a desire to serve Him. We desire to turn from those things we used to serve to serve Him. We may not do such a good job, but we want to follow Him none-the-less. By turning from those things we used to follow, this is called repentance. Falling out of agreement with something we used to agree with – it’s a choice. We may not do it perfectly all the time, but the desire is there, this is one indicator you are saved! Again, that is why Jesus came, so when we don't do things perfectly, we have a Savior to forgive us and help us go on.
I worked with someone recently who was seeking help from the Lord, people ministered to her, she even went to seminars and conferences, she knew the Bible was the help she needed but struggled terribly to live in victory. She shared with me that she realized she was never really saved! It wasn't until she "understood" what repentance meant that it “clicked” in her spirit. She has since found her assurance and hope and now is living serving the Lord and enjoying all the blessings promised. Before she kept wondering why she wasn’t being blessed, she was “doing” all the things a Christian was supposed to do, but she only had half the truth. Salvation AND Repentance goes hand in hand.
The Meaning of Repentance
Once we have recognized the need for a Savior and have received Him by confessing He is the Son of God and accepting all He did for us on the Cross, we are SEALED by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 13). The Holy Spirit begins to shine the light on things inside of us that needs to go. As we see that thing, it's not time to get mad at ourselves, confused or fearful. It's time to say, "Thank you Lord for showing me what is in my heart, I want to be free from it." This is repentance. Recognizing the thing and then deciding in your heart you want no part of it. It doesn't mean you are going to be clean from it at that very moment because some things take time for God to work it OUT of us. Things like anger, fear, jealousy, etc. Some things take more time. Be thankful that God is taking His time with you and that you don't see all that junk at once!!
One area I find that could be a block to living in the Kingdom of God is that we live in our own kingdom. When we take on the robe Christ gave us, it's also saying we have enlisted in His army. II Timothy talks about being a “good soldier.” Keeping our eyes on the "Commander and Chief" not on ourselves.
Recently the Lord showed me I had been living in my own kingdom. My husband would say things like, "The world as Linda knows it." What he was gently telling me was not everything was about me and for me, or even what I think about things. This is "self" kingdom living. It's something I had to see within myself and confess to God. As I did, it gave God permission to begin purging that part of me. It has been painful because it's an emotional pain of dying to self - but what I needed to focus on is the GAIN of it all! I'll be living in more peace, satisfaction, joy, love, and exercising the power of God in my life - because I'm dwelling in HIS kingdom, not my own made up of wants and desires to make ME comfortable. I also know that my life will send out a beautiful sent of God, which will draw people instead of them running the other way when they see me coming.
So where is God's Kingdom? It's inside of us. Because of this, it becomes a tug-of-war. How do I know when I'm living in my own kingdom? When I put my own interests, needs, desires before God and others.
Repentance is described in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, as “Turning to God from idols.” Remember the Holy Spirit says to believers, “Little children, guard yourselves from idols “ (1 John.5:21). There is no difference between a heathen man who wants to accept Christ in addition to his existing gods, and the so-called believer who wants to accept Christ, but still wants to pursue after money (his present god), or riches and comforts of this world.
God tested Abraham's devotion that day to check whether Isaac had become an idol in his life. God told him, as it were, that he had to turn from all idolatry if he was to serve the Lord. And so he had to place his son on the altar and give him up. God did not take Isaac away, because God was only detaching Abraham from his unnatural attachment to Isaac that would have hindered his walk with God. God has to do the same with us. We have to give him that which is most precious to us.
Let me clarify something before we go on. When you are saved, you are saved. Repentance is what we do daily after we are saved that helps us to “serve” the Lord. See, Isaac? He had to “turn from” idolatry if he was to “serve” the Lord. But the truth is, any person who claims to be a Christian gets a desire to “serve” the Lord, so that’s why understanding repentance is important. If we don’t get this, we may just go around in circles all our lives not understanding why God isn’t using us while on this planet and why the blessings spoken of in the Word aren’t happening in our lives.
In the rich young ruler's case it was his money. Just like God asked Abraham to give up Isaac, God asked the rich young ruler to give up his money. For all you know, if that rich man had only said “Yes, Lord, here it is all,” God may have told him that he could keep his money, just like he told Abraham to keep Isaac. But he had to give it up first.
May we then all have the grace to say, “Lord whatever Isaacs there are in my life, I lay them all on the altar and give them all up to you. I don't want any more idols in my life that come between you and me. I don't want to live for myself. I really want to live for you alone. I want to live for the glory of God. I don't want to waste my life.”
If you have wasted much time in profitless pursuits in the past, you can't do anything about that now. You can confess your sin of selfishness, etc., receive forgiveness now and start the day a-new. The Bible says His mercies are “new” every morning! Since you are reading this, I assume you are still alive and breathing so there is still time ahead for you.
Salvation comes through faith in Jesus. There is nothing else you can do to receive it, earn it or pay for it. It’s a free gift to all who believe. If you have problems believing then pray to God to “help your unbelief.” 2 Timothy 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.“
Prayer of Salvation:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I recognize that I’m a sinner and in need of a Savior. I believe that Jesus is your Son and that you sent Him to die upon the cross to pay for my sins. I believe He died and rose again on the third day, and now sits at your right hand. I ask you to forgive me of all my sins and help me to know that Jesus paid for them all, there is nothing I can do to add to what Jesus already did at the cross. I ask Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior and recognize that the Holy Spirit was deposited in me to be my comforter, teacher, guide and helper. Thank you for coming into my heart and saving me. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer (or one like it) welcome to the household of faith. The Bible says that when one comes to salvation the Angels have a party on your behalf!!
Prayer of Repentance:
“Lord I can't do anything about the years of my life that are past. But I want to live the rest of my life for you alone. Search my heart and see if there are any idols that I am worshipping. I want to turn from every idol in my life to worship and serve you alone. Lord Jesus I repent especially of this unconscious idolatry of living for myself. I ask you to come into my life, not only as my Savior, but as my Lord. I pray that you are Lord over my life, not me. I know that I am a sinner and Jesus came to pay the penalty for my sins. I believe He rose from the grave and lives! And because He lives, by my receiving Him, I will live too. I confess my sins and thank you for forgiving me of my sins, and cleansing me from all unrighteousness. I believe you have saved me and will not doubt that salvation again. Help me to believe this every day of my life Lord. I receive your Love, your forgiveness and choose to live for your glory every day. When I fail, I will come to you and confess, I will not fear or doubt or worry I've lost your love - I will only believe that you forgive and receive that love and forgiveness immediately. I pray all these things by faith, in Jesus precious name, Amen.
This is the best news in the world: We don't have to be slaves to our own ambitions and desires any more and thus waste our earthly lives, but can be free to live for the glory of God and thus live useful lives. To live for ourselves is to live in bondage and in chains. To live for the glory of God is to be like the eagles that fly in the sky. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus can break every chain and set you free - TODAY!! It is written, "If you lose your life, you shall find it."
If you have wasted much time in profitless pursuits in the past, you can't do anything about that now. You can confess your sin of selfishness, etc., receive forgiveness now and start the day a-new. The Bible says His mercies are "new" every morning!
Prayer of Assurance of Salvation:
"Dear Heavenly Father. I accepted you as my Lord and Savior _______________(when). And I have doubted it from time to time. I don't want to doubt it ever again, nor do I want to keep asking you into my heart every time I do something wrong. Help me to believe the complete work Jesus did on the cross. There is nothing I can add to what He has already done, I need to believe that. That Jesus died while we were yet sinners! It may be that I have not "received" so I receive into my life all that Jesus did. I receive the Holy Spirit that seals me and helps me while on this earth. There is nothing I can ever do or say that can take me out of your hands. When I do something wrong, I will not fear, but will run to you and confess all my sins to you, and "receive" forgiveness for my sins. I will not run in the bushes like Adam or blame someone else for my sin. I take responsibility, repent and confess them to you who loves me unconditionally. I receive your unconditional love now in Jesus name. When I do something wrong, I will simply confess my sin and receive forgiveness. I need to confess and receive, that's it Lord. Help me remember to do this. I thank you for your love, forgiveness and help. In Jesus name, Amen."
If you prayed one of these prayers, you'll want to share this with someone! Revelations 12:11 say that we overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb - which you just proclaimed by salvation, and the word of our testimony. So now go and share with someone your testimony. Other passages say for us to go and proclaim what the Lord has done for you. By doing this, you are solidifying your decision; you are even building faith within and helping others with their faith. If you want to share your testimony with us, you can do so by emailing Linda personally. Your sharing with us is so important that it even encourages us to keep on keeping on.