Imagine yourself in a huge room surrounded by all kinds of candles.There are big ones, small ones.There are plain ones and beautiful ones. Candles of all shapes and colors. Some are white and in plain candleholders. Some are decorated with gold and silver and have a sweet perfume smell.The one thing they all have in common, they are not burning and have no flame of their own, nor can they ignite themselves.
Lets look at a flame of fire. A fire is alive and hot when it is burning, dead and cold when it is out. Fire has the characteristic of something living when it is burning. It is consuming and producing. It produces light and heat.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can not be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house". (Matthew 5:14-15) A candle is put out where we can see it and be by it.
We cannot work our way to God. To think that our works can save us and we can do something, or some great thing, to make up for our sin nature, earn our salvation and find favor with God, is purely unbiblical. Jesus never taught that. That was the problem he had with the religious leaders and the people of his day. It is the problem we, the church, face today. We can no more work our way to salvation and earn Gods forgiveness, than a candle can ignite itself.
We are saved by the grace of God AND through our faith in Him: NOT of ourselves: BUT as a free gift of God. Not as results of works, THAT no one can boost. (Ephesians2:8-9) What is grace? It is Gods unconditional love for us.That is, we did not do anything to earn it, or done anything to deserve it.God,Jesus Christ, loves us because of who he is, not because of who we are or what we can do for him. He can do no more or no less than to love us and forgive us, because of whom He is.
What is Faith? Simply, it is total trust in God [Jesus Christ]it does not simply believe things about God [Jesus Christ].It is allowing Christ to be Lord of our life and giving him total control over us.To understand why grace and faith are so important. Why we need his forgiveness,we need to ask and answer two questions.
What is sin?..Sin simply put, is our rebellion agency God and who he is! It is total separation from him.
What is forgiveness? Forgivness is a release from a debt that is owed to someone. because we have this rebellious nature in us agency God, We owe a debt to him.
Let's go back into the room with all those candlesticks. As we enter the room, we see a huge and beautiful candle burning in the center of the room, and it is the only candle burning. We see someone take one of the smaller candles down, walk over to the one in the center of the room and touches the wixk of the one that is burning with the wick of the smaller one. We then see only one flame. We then see them pull the smaller one back,and it is lit. The flame of the smaller one is not of one, but it is burning as the results of coming in contact with the flame of the one in the center of the room.
John 3:16 says:For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in HIM should not perish, but have Eternal life.
We are unable to pay back our sin debt. So he, God, sent his only Son to pay for our sins on the cross at Calvery. He, Jesus, did not owe that debt. He was without sin. Yet, Jesus Christ paid for them, our sins, in our place at Calvery.Jesus did not say to believe him our facts about him. He said to believe in him! That is to totally put our trust inhim, despite ourselves, our circumstances, and our sins. To allow his Holy Spirit to enter us, guide us, and work through us. To allow his will, his nature to come into us and transform us to his likeness.
Like the smaller candle that allowed its wick to be lit by the bigger one, we must allow the Holy Spirit to light a fire in us and allow Jesus love and light flow through us. For the flame of the smaller candle takes on the nature of the flame burning in the center of the room. It breathes, has light and gives off heat. So to, through God's grace our faith and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we become one with him and we take on the nature of Christ within ourselves.
Answer this question: If works can save us, then how much work must I do, how much must I produce, how many good deeds must I do for others, to make up for Jesus Christ death on the cross.If we are honest and open with ourselves, there is nothing we can do to make up for what he did on the cross.
For you see our works is the results of our faith. It is the Holy Spirit working in and through us. They, our works, are like the flame;heat and light, shining from that little candle that came from the one sitting in the center of the room.
The light and heat, the flame of the small candle. being part of the larger one, magnifies the light of the one setting in the middle of the room. Not of its own, but by the results of coming into contact with the first. That is why our works cannot and will not save us, when we take on his nature, by his grace and through our faith. It is his light his works that shines within and comes through us.
We must ecxept Jesus Vhrist as Lord and savior, open our hearts to him and let him in and ignite our hearts. Grow in his truth, let him lead us and allow his love, his nature, flow through us.We must let him become part of us, allow ourselves to takeon his nature. Then and only then can we say we are truly a light unto the world.
BY SGT. TRACY JOHNSTON
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
NO PART OF THIS CAN BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER
WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR.
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