Life Beyond Salvation

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

The evidence is overwhelming and unmistakable.  God’s presence in our lives is easy to see.  Unlike the contentions of those who doubt His existence or make claims that there is no God, there are many facts that we can point to that refute or cancel out the views of the atheist or agnostic.  This is not, however, about proving God’s existence to the non-believer, for a non-believer ultimately takes a position that is similar to that of an atheist or agnostic.  To deny that God exists is to ignore the evidence of His presence.

God’s presence is evident in the miracles of nature.  Only He can orchestrate the perfection of the earth, its atmosphere, its rotation, its distance from the sun that allows for optimal life for humans on earth, and the perfect balance of resources that sustain and promote overall population growth.  Seeing the miracles of God from a distance is one thing, but knowing Him on a personal level is a completely different thing.

To have a personal relationship with God requires more than just knowing who God is, because even Satan knows who God is.  An atheist or agnostic has no concept of a personal relationship with God.  A non-believer must make a decision to accept who Jesus Christ is in order to begin the journey of having a personal relationship.  A believer in Jesus Christ, as a result, must continue to grow and develop in his or her understanding of God to have a fulfilling relationship with Him.

Successful growth in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not a certainty for the believer.  It requires the believer to do what is necessary to promote the relationship.  Please note that God is always ready and always willing to develop a relationship with you.  He is not fickle in the same way that you and I are about our fellowship with Him.  We have to make the effort to meet Him where He is as we develop our personal relationship with Him.  Why is this such a difficult thing for us?  Answer:  He is God and you are not.

The essence and nature of God, summed up in a brief phrase is eternal love and holiness. There are many, many verses that support God’s love.  In addition to John 3:16-17, here are just a few:

1 John 4:9-11

9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.

Galatians 2:20

…and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The essence of God’s love is aptly described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

5 does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

7 It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

 8 Love never ends.

But as for prophecies,

they will come to an end;

as for languages, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

Romans 5:8

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8 should always remind us who we are in comparison to who God is…we are sinners; nevertheless, God loves us!  The talking points that describe God’s love in 1 Corinthians are certainly achievable as long as we are practicing humility in our actions.  We have to practice humility because we are fleshly, which is in conflict of God’s nature.  We are unable to love in the same way as God’s essence of love without the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Without the Spirit, this is who we are:

Ecclesiastes 7:20

There is certainly no righteous man on the earth

who does good and never sins.

Romans 3:10-12

10 as it is written:

   There is no one righteous, not even one.

11 There is no one who understands;

there is no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away;

all alike have become useless.

There is no one who does what is good,

not even one.

This is why it is foolish to rely upon your salvation, through God’s grace, of course, to be sufficient in the development of your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Your desire to develop a personal relationship with God should go hand in hand with your desire to learn about Him.

Proverbs 1:7, 22, 29-33

7 The fear of the LORD

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

22 “How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance?

How long will you mockers enjoy mocking

and you fools hate knowledge?

29 Because they hated knowledge,

didn’t choose to fear the LORD,

30 were not interested in my counsel,

and rejected all my correction,

31 they will eat the fruit of their way

and be glutted with their own schemes.

32 For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them,

and the complacency of fools will destroy them.

33 But whoever listens to me will live securely

and be free from the fear of danger.”

Proverbs 2:1-6

1 My son, if you accept my words

and store up my commands within you,

2 listening closely to wisdom

and directing your heart to understanding;

3 furthermore, if you call out to insight

and lift your voice to understanding,

4 if you seek it like silver

and search for it like hidden treasure,

5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD

and discover the knowledge of God.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom;

from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,

and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 19:27

If you stop listening to correction, my son,

you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Psalm 119:66

Teach me good judgment and discernment,

for I rely on Your commands.

When you grasp the nature of God, His grace to you and His unconditional love for you in spite of who you are (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 5:8), you can’t help but WANT to know more about who He is.  And there’s the rub…your desire to know Him and grow in your personal relationship with Him is based upon how serious you are about God.  In other words…”Do you take Him and His Word to heart?  Do you take God seriously?”

We already have the assurance of eternal life by trusting in Jesus Christ because His Word promises this to us (Acts 16:31).

1 John 5:11-13

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

There has to be a foundation as you build your relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is the foundation of your faith, your development, and your growth.  A strong foundation begins with a Cornerstone:

1 Peter 2:1-8

1 So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, 3 since you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 Coming to Him, a living stone—rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God— 5 you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it is contained in Scripture:

   Look! I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and honored cornerstone,

and the one who believes in Him

will never be put to shame!

7 So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving,

   The stone that the builders rejected—

this One has become the cornerstone,

 8 and

   A stone to stumble over,

and a rock to trip over.

  They stumble because they disobey the message; they were destined for this.

Your growth in your personal relationship starts with Jesus Christ and continues with a key phrase—obedience to His Word.  We will only grow in Christ in our ability to maintain fellowship with His Word.

Psalm 1:1-3

1 How happy is the man

who does not follow the advice of the wicked

or take the path of sinners

or join a group of mockers!

2 Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction,

and he meditates on it day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water

that bears its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

6 think about Him in all your ways,

and He will guide you on the right paths.

When you remain obedient, God blesses your obedience with His faithfulness—remember that it is in God’s nature to be faithful because of His love for you (Galatians 5:22).

God also responds to our persistence in seeking Him, our patience in waiting on Him and in our desire to know more about Him:

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:14-15

14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.

Finally, in building your personal relationship with God, it is to be done with humility.

Luke 18:9-14

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’

   13 “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Salvation through Jesus Christ is sufficient for eternal life, but not enough to experience the abundant life…

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

The abundant life that Jesus refers to comes from developing your relationship with Him through the following:

  • A desire for His Wisdom
  • Obedience to His Word
  • Persistence with patience
  • Reverence to Him in humility

Pray for His wisdom and focus upon these things each and every day.  It starts in His Word and builds you up as you trust in Him and rely upon His presence.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.

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About melvingaines

I am a communications professional, author and inspirational speaker with experience as a business owner and corporate management for over 25 years. I am a member of the National Association of Black Accountants and served as President of the National Association of Credit Management, Greater Akron (OH). I have also been a member of the American Collectors Association International, Inc. and the Commercial Law League of America. I am presently a Sunday school instructor at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church in Akron and moderate over numerous bible studies and church cell group sessions. My degree is in Business and Organizational Communication from The University of Akron, and I am working on my M.A. in Christian Studies with Crown College (MN). My hometown is Cleveland (the center of the universe) and I am married to my lovely childhood sweetheart, Lynn. View all posts by melvingaines

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