THE SALVATION EXPERIENCE STUDY
for continued Spiritual Growth
WARNING: Before you make a commitment to Christ, you must understand that you will be entering the biggest battle that has ever been known to man. You will have to fight in this battle for the rest of your life! You must be willing to sign up for the Army of God and fight! The Kingdom of God has seen its share of people who have had no idea what they were signing up for, and they usually defect right back the enemy's camp. Our goal at IGNITE is that you know what you're signing up for. Remember that I said, "You must count the cost of becoming a Christ Follower".
Before you even think about making a commitment to follow Christ, we recommend that you read the following study. You will either choose to be saved or choose to perish! Reading it could save your life for eternity!Disclaimer: I know that speaking in absolutes is a setup for failure, but I would like to say that I never want to question the sincerity of someone's conversion--that's for God to judge--and I do not intend to do that here, though I'm going to use language that sounds as though I am.
Understanding True Salvation and your need for a Savior: Where did it all start?
by Greg Stoffel
Where did it all start? Where did sin originate? Did God create sin? Why did God allow sin to enter His perfect creation? Why would someone sin against the very God that created them? Are we all really born with a sin nature? Does sin really bring us to a place of spiritual death? What is it about sin that makes it something so terrible that it required the death of God’s only Son? Is it true that the blood of Jesus is the only thing that will bring me to a place of full reconciliation to a Holy God? If I don’t believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, does that mean that I am not a good person? If I become a Christian, will I continue to sin? If someone that I love does not believe in Jesus, will we really be separated from each other forever? Good questions!
Whether we choose to believe it or not, we are all born with a sin nature. Because of this sin nature, we are separated at birth from the God who created us. In the Holy Spirit inspired and inerrant Word of God, which we call the Bible, God has taken the time and several thousands of years to establish prophetic prophecies. These are accurate and undeniable prophecies regarding His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. God has also taken much precious care in laying out clearly His plan of salvation, which includes full reconciliation of man unto Himself. He has given us many examples through the centuries, a lot of it hidden if looked at with just a casual glance. As we allow ourselves to look closely enough, being led by His Spirit, we can find this love motivated plan of salvation woven through the scriptures, so perfectly, so precisely! The most wonderful thing is that it leaves no doubt as to why Christ had to come and no doubt about God’s amazing love for us.
It’s all about the Blood, the precious life giving Blood of Jesus. If you choose to believe, it will be your covering! A covering that is needed to stand before a holy God so that you will not die. To some Christians, and a lot of unbelievers, the thought of His Blood having to be shed by the death of crucifixion, the worst death a person can experience, and the thought that we only have to just believe in His death and resurrection by faith, sometimes sounds too easy, even foolish. But it is true! All we have to do is look to the Blood of Jesus and believe! A deeper understanding of the how, where, when and whys of our Blood covered gospel will only increase your faith! Many people today don’t really believe in the Bible or that they are in need of a Savior. They think it is just a nice storybook or that with all its rules and regulations, it just doesn’t fit with their lifestyle. There are lots of reasons people choose not to believe in God and His precious Word. It would take pages and pages to list all the reasons and excuses that people have given throughout the centuries. But for the most part, we as a society see ourselves as self-sufficient and more than capable of taking care of anything and everything that may come our way. That is the sin of pride. We are a fast-paced, computer using, coffee drinking, brilliant generation.
To most, the Bible is an ancient document and they have no room in their modern thinking for the outdated biblical theology it offers. The scriptures of God are filled with absolute truth and yet, unless the Holy Spirit gives revelation, it can become twisted and interpreted away from the truth and priorities of God. Unfortunately, those who choose not to believe in the Bible don’t realize that they have been deceived in their thinking (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Another absolute truth is that God’s love for us has never wavered, and He never tires of trying to reach our hardened hearts. God continues to love His creation with an unfailing love, so much so, that He gave His beloved Son. I am convinced that we are all created for a specific purpose and are designed to love and be loved by the God who created us. We are all called with specific gifts and talents that complement our character, and yet, it is our choice as to whether we use them or not for God’s glory. God loves us so much that He established His plan of redemption from the beginning of time, and this plan was designed by Him to save our lives for all eternity. This earth and everything in it belongs to the God who created it. We are created for His pleasure, and our purpose is to share His love with those who are perishing.
The Bible is very clear that salvation through Jesus alone is the only way to God the Father. There is no middle ground in the plan of salvation that God has laid out for us. I hear it said all the time that there are many roads that lead to God. That statement is from the father of lies, Satan himself! This is exactly what he would want the world to think. However, the real truth is, there is only one way to God, and that way is through His one and only Son Jesus. There are only two directions in this Kingdom of God: you are either in the process of perishing, or you are saved. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that PERISH foolishness, but unto us which are SAVED it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The real depth of the love of God is something that you cannot comprehend with your human heart and mind, and yet for true salvation, you must trust in it. This love is so great that the Bible tells us that there is no place in Heaven or on earth or in the heart of a man where God can’t be found (Jeremiah 23:24). If you have not trusted Christ up to this point, the Bible says that you have been deceived in your thinking and are in a perishing state before a Holy God. It can only be the relentless love of a Holy God that will change your beliefs and open your spiritual eyes. Please read Acts 26:17-18. God wants to use you as He did Paul!
Let’s take a close look at the original sin and the original offender. He is your enemy. You need to do this so that you will have a heart that understands the real consequences of sin and your need for a Savior. This will also help you understand the war. Who committed the first sin and started this war against man and the God that created him? Sadly, it was found in the heart of one of God’s most amazing creations: Satan. His original name was Lucifer. God created him, so he must have had a purpose in the Kingdom of God, but what was it? See Journey Through The Word Study#1. But before we answer that question, you must first have a real understanding of your enemy’s character. His character is to turn your heart from the God that created you and keep you far from Him. He also wants to bring you in to the biggest war known to man and he wants to defeat you. You must be aware that there is a real battle raging in the heavenly realms for your soul and the souls of those around you. This knowledge of your enemy will only come through the study of the Bible. May you be encouraged in knowing that God is well aware of the battle lines that have been drawn by Satan. Please remember, it was Satan’s choice to start this war and rebel against the God that created Him. We must understand that we are in a real war! (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
If you read the scriptures in Journey Through The Word Study #1, you have taken a brief look at the original nature, character and calling of one of God’s creations, Lucifer, whose name means “Light Bearer.” In Ezekiel 28 you learned that he was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” He was created to be the “anointed cherub that covereth.” This was no small calling! Cherubim are found in the Most Holy Place of the temple and are a covering for the Mercy Seat. God Himself sits enthroned between these cherubim. It’s the place where God and His glory dwell. This means Lucifer was in the very presence of God! With such wisdom and anointing, what could possibly cause Lucifer to sin against the God that created him? Can you imagine the implications of this angel of light rebelling against the one and only “I AM THAT I AM”? (Exodus 3:14) Staggering! I personally pondered for days God’s holiness, His glory, and Lucifer’s blatant rebellion against Him. When I think of God’s glory, I’m reminded of the public display in Heaven of the holiness of the Lord of Hosts, the Lord Almighty. In Isaiah 6:3-4, we find the angels covering their faces and covering their feet as they cried “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of His glory.” I can only imagine this scene in my mind! I had to ask myself again, what is His glory, really? The answer came to my heart quickly. It’s His holiness! In Psalm 29:2 David says of the Lord, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.” I now believe that God's very nature and His glory are the radiance and perfection of His holiness! Can I truly wrap my heart around that as David did? He is infinitely worthy, full of perfection, and HOLY.
In the Old Testament, it was clearly understood that if a man or woman encountered the manifest presence of God (His Holiness) uncovered, they would die (See Exodus 19 and Hebrews 12:14). The priests could not go in to the presence of the Lord unless their sin was temporarily covered by the blood of bulls and rams (Lev. 16:3-4). Our hearts really need to comprehend this concept. To stand in the presence of the Most Holy God, we must be covered or we will die because His nature is perfect and He is holy. This is a lost concept in our world and churches today. When was the last time you heard a sermon on being covered by the Blood of Jesus or you die because God is holy? I have thought, prayed and studied about being “covered” by the Blood of Jesus for quite some time, and then it hit me! Lucifer was a covering cherub! He knows all too well the importance of being covered before a holy, perfect and righteous God. In addition, he also knows the consequences of being uncovered before a holy, perfect and righteous God.
You also need to take a look at Lucifer’s actual sin and fall. He is known to us after his fall as Satan, whose name means “Adversary of God”. When Lucifer chose to rebel against God, it was because of the sin of pride. In essence he was saying,"I am Lucifer, a covering cherub.“I can cover myself. I will make myself like the Most High!” Ascribing to one’s self divine glory and worship is something that angels and humans are forbidden to do, but this is exactly what Lucifer did! He said in his heart, “I will, I will, I will be like God Most High!" He sought glory for and of himself. Imagine this rebellion taking place in the very throne room of God! His pride must have been so great! With that said, the Bible says that iniquity was found in his heart. This is the origin of sin. In Lucifer’s rebellion, not only did he rebel against God’s glory, but against His perfect Holiness.
The Counterfeit Covering
By Greg Stoffel
Pride is the counterfeit covering that Satan continues to offer mankind even to this day. Job explains the heart of pride perfectly in Job 21:14: “Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?” (See also Psalm 36:2, Proverbs 14:2). This “heart attitude” is the same rebellion that was found in Satan. God hates all sin, but He especially hates the sin of pride because it robs Him of His glory. Pride is rebellion in that it tries to take God Himself off His throne. The sin of pride is a war that rages in the heart of every man and woman ever born. When pride in the life of man becomes his god, there is no chance of reconciliation with the one and only true God until the sin of pride is dethroned.Satan brought sin into the human race in the Garden of Eden where he tempted Eve; she ate and offered the fruit to Adam and he ate. They both freely chose the counterfeit covering that Satan offered them. Satan brought about man’s fall through a means very similar to that which had resulted in his own fall. Satan had sought to be “like the most High,” and he deceived Eve into believing that she could be “as God” through partaking of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14). It is heartbreaking to me that Satan continues to tempt mankind to sin in this same way even today. If a person chooses to deny the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, like Satan, their pride is saying, "I will and can cover myself! My holiness is good enough! I will be like God Almighty!" However, in each instance, rather than individuals becoming like the Most High, “as God,” an uncovered, prideful heart is the result.
Being covered correctly means being covered by the precious Blood of Jesus. This is what enables us to come before a holy God and not die. It gives us the full right to stand boldly before Him without fear of death (Hebrews 4:16). The reason why pride is so bad is that it makes us think that we can cover ourselves in our own righteousness. Pride is simply “works in and of ourselves,” and it is truly a heart issue. The Bible says that "our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6.) Therefore, we can’t come before God until we are covered correctly by the Blood of Jesus and have a heart that is humble before Him. It is our choice as to what covering of righteousness we will apply to our lives. Will you choose your own righteousness or the righteousness of what was accomplished on the Cross? God wants us reconciled unto Himself by the precious Blood of Jesus His Son, but God won’t force us to take His covering. He only offers and asks us to be the ones to put His covering on, in and by faith. Pride’s ultimate penalty is death. I am very thankful that God has made a way for us to be delivered from pride’s penalty. We can freely choose the covering of life, which is the Blood of Jesus. I so desperately want everyone I know and love to choose the covering of life, eternal life, with our Creator and His unfailing love; but it’s our choice alone, no one can make it for us. He will not force our hearts to worship Him!
One of the biggest warnings I could give you, is that.... if you choose to believe, pride will not only continue to be a struggle for you in your Christian walk, it will also be the biggest enemy to your spiritual life. You must die to the sin of pride and you can no longer allow it to sit on the throne of your heart. Pride puts us at enmity with God and it’s something we have to put under the Blood of Jesus every single day. If pride is a struggle even for us as believers, how much more do you need to understand that it is pride that keeps men from seeking God at all? If you can truly grasp that sin and pride go hand in hand, then just maybe you can understand a little better why your own heart and the hearts of others choose not to believe. If you are reading this, this spiritual truth of pride and how it has deceived you into choosing to put on Satan’s counterfeit covering has motivated my heart to pray earnestly for you and to come against this spirit of pride in your life. From the beginning of all that God created, the sin of pride has been a heart issue. But the good news is, God is able to change the hardest of hearts and to tear out the deepest roots of pride. He is not only able, but willing to take a heart of stone and make it into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26-27). At this point, I would encourage you to go to Journey Through the Word Study #2 and look up the scriptures.
BROKEN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD . . .
By Greg Stoffel
I hope that, through this discussion, you have established that sin originated in the heart of Satan. This sin revealed itself as “pride” which is nothing less than rebellion against God. Many people have asked the question, “Did God create sin because He created Satan?" I firmly believe that God DID NOT create sin. But He did give His creation the freedom of choice. Free will means, “the power to choose for or against something.” Satan had every opportunity and the choice to remain loyal to God, or to rebel against Him. His rebellion was not the fault of God, but the result of his own free choice. He chose freely to take off the covering of God’s glory and replace it with his own. He broke fellowship with God.
As with Satan, before Adam and Eve sinned, they were covered by the glory of God and enjoyed fellowship with Him. The Lord Almighty was their covering and He took full responsibility for them. I believe that in this time of covering, Adam and Eve enjoyed a pure and holy relationship with a pure and holy God, a relationship without sin. They walked with God in perfection and were in close communication with Him daily. I am convinced that this made Satan furious. I have always felt that this is the reason for Satan’s obvious hatred of us. Since we are created in the image of God, it is natural that his hatred would be extended to all of mankind. After our creation, Satan was going to do his best to try and get us uncovered and in broken fellowship with God.
Eve first encountered Satan in the form of a serpent (Genesis 3) and he would be relentless in his tempting of her free will. Satan used a subtle but deadly temptation! The same temptation he still uses today. Satan implied that God's commands were harsh and unreasonable. He, in effect, condemned the absolute and unquestionable authority of God. He went on to suggest that God is in fact jealous, prohibiting Adam and Eve from eating of the tree because they would ”be like God.” Would Adam and Eve choose to live solely under the authority of God's Word to them? The outcome of the story is all too well known. Satan deceived Eve and she, in turn, questioned what God had told her. They were tempted into believing they would gain the wisdom and knowledge of God. They both exercised their freedom of choice and when they chose to believe Satan’s word over that of their Creator, they chose to establish a relationship with the enemy and they broke fellowship with God.
You should now know the origin of sin and that it was found in the heart of Satan. Now you have the original sin and it’s found in the heart of man. This original sin nature can cause a sense in which the aim of every man's life is to be like God. All men are striving to imitate God in one way or another. But there is a radical difference between submitting to the Satanic temptation to be like God (Genesis. 3:5) and responding to Christ's petition that we should be like God (Matthew 5:48). The first is an attempt to replace God's authority with one's own, while the second is an attempt to demonstrate godliness as a desire for an intimate relationship with our Creator. When Adam and Eve sinned, Satan had accomplished exactly what he set out to do. Just as Adam and Eve, we have become the object of Satan’s attacks. Since Satan cannot attack God himself, he attacks His creation. We will take a look at some of the methods he employs in achieving his goal.
ENEMY OF GOD . . . ENEMY OF MAN . . .
By Greg Stoffel
Satan’s goal is to separate for eternity human beings from the God who created them, and his strategy for the world involves massive deception. “He has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). His most severe attacks are directed at the minds of people, and in this effort he “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). But his number one passion is to defeat the family of God! He wants to render the Bride of Christ ineffective! This is why we should not be surprised when we become the target of the enemy’s anger and hatred. The forces of evil and darkness are constantly challenging the people of God, and the boundary of the Blood of Jesus on our lives is a place of continual conflict. There is no letup in our battle with Satan, ever!
Sometimes his attacks are subtle and sometimes he will assault openly. Often, spiritual opposition comes in the form of human opposition, and Satan will empower and embolden anyone who has the slightest tendency to want to attack God’s people. Satan lives by the rule, "I Will Divide And Conquer God’s family!" He is the “Master of Division.” In Matthew 12:25, Jesus revealed a critical spiritual law: " Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Satan is acutely aware of this spiritual law and uses it as a weapon to destroy marriages, families, ministries and friendships. He looks for ways constantly to inspire disagreement and create division. His scheme is simple: pit ministry against ministry, husband against wife, children against parents, friends against friends, anywhere he can sow disunity.
From birth, we are bombarded by the attacks of Satan. Abortion is a good example. He wants human life destroyed! If we live, Satan will relentlessly come against us with accusations and lies, trying to keep us from the Cross. If he is not successful and we choose to recognize that Jesus is “the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), his attacks against us only intensify. When we choose to apply the Blood of Jesus upon our lives, it is a constant reminder to Satan that his plan to destroy Jesus on the Cross at Calvary didn’t work. Satan failed utterly at Calvary, and is now at war with the family of God because he has lost claim to our souls.
His methods of attacking you once you become a believer are limited, but they can be very effective. He will continue to work through enticement, temptation, busyness, addiction, complacency and discouragement. Our churches are full of Christians who never learned to fight against Satan with the weapons God has given them (2 Corinthians 10:3-6,) and Satan is able to render them ineffective. If you choose to become a believer, you must learn to fight God's way. If you fight Satan in your flesh, one of three things will happen to you, guaranteed! You will either get tired of fighting against Satan and become convinced that you need to defect to his army so he will leave you alone; or you will get taken out of the battle altogether; or you will buckle down and learn to fight God's way and defeat the enemy. You must count the cost of the battle! We do not need more ineffective soldiers in the Kingdom of God. So, unless you're willing to really fight, I want to discourage you from signing up!
Another warning about Satan: in keeping with his character as the father of lies, one of his most effective weapons is blinding Christians to the way he operates by getting us to buy into an unbiblical and materialistic world. I have named just a few of his methods, and unfortunately, they have been sufficient enough to entrap and enslave millions of Christians. This can lead to a life of bondage, even as a believer. In many ways, his job is not difficult because our natures gravitate toward sin, and it is a real battle. Satan cannot force sin upon us, but he will work subtly to get us to yield to it (James 1:14-15). If Satan can keep the body of Christ defeated, he can keep us from being effective witnesses for Christ. It is important that you understand why you must be willing to battle the enemy of God. I am thankful that God’s Word gives us all the information we need to understand and defeat our enemy.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:12-13). At this point, I would encourage you to go to Journey Through the Word Study #3 and look up the scriptures.
At every possible opportunity, Satan will place temptations before you in an attempt to cause you to continue in sin. He can’t force sin upon you; he can only tempt you to yield to it. The Bible says that we are tempted in three areas: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). This covers every sin in the book! The problem is this: when we choose to yield to the temptation of sin, no one else is responsible for our choice to sin; we have to own it! The only man who walked this earth and never gave in to evil desires and the temptations of Satan was Jesus. Thank goodness! On the other hand, we must always be watchful of Satan’s schemes because our flesh struggles continuously with evil desires. James goes on to say that we can be drawn away by them, enticed, and baited by them. "Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully mature, brings forth death" (James 1:14). We can see that there is a progression to the temptation of evil, and if it is left unchecked, it leads straight to sin and then ultimately to death.
For years I, personally, had a very shallow view of sin. I thought of it as only something I knew to be wrong, and that is true, but sin is far worse than that. In 1 John 3:4, John tells us that sin is transgression or lawlessness. Please take a moment to read 1 John 3:4-10. The dictionary meaning of" lawlessness" is a state of disorder, anarchy, complete denial of all established authority, the violation of a law or a duty or moral principle. Because sin is lawlessness against God and a violation of His authority, it is also totally opposed to Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives. In our discussions, we have established that Satan’s strategy has always been to get rebellious man to worship self and dethrone God from his heart. This worship of self can come in many different forms, called “sins”. Billy Graham says, “We need to remember that there is a difference between sin and sins. When we use the word “sin,” we usually think of the actions or bad habits that we know are wrong. But those are specific sins, and they are the result of sin, the deeper spiritual disease that infects our soul. Sin is the cause; sins are the effect. Sin is the tree, sins are its fruit. Sin is the disease, sins are the symptoms.”
I had someone say to me once, “I may not be perfect, but I’m not a wretched sinner”! In so saying, this person had been led by Satan into pulling God down from His throne and rejecting His absolute holiness in the judging of their sin. They were actually saying, “Surely, a loving God understands that I’m only human and He wouldn’t demand perfect righteousness and holiness from me”! If Satan can convince us that God is not so holy and we're not so sinful, then we won’t need the precious Blood of a sinless Savior to atone for our sin! Sin is so totally opposed to Jesus Christ and what was accomplished on the Cross! This deception in how we view God’s holiness is a big problem in the modern church today, and is exactly how Satan works through sin to undermine the Cross. We all struggle with sin. The Bible makes this clear in scriptures such as Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:10. But the truth is, if we do not have a biblical view of the seriousness of sin, whether believer or nonbeliever, we will not feel the need for anything nearly as radical as a Savior who “appeared that he might take away our sin” (1 John 3:5).
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians continue to live in sin and most nonbelievers see themselves as good people. These two views seem to be opposite, but they are just the same. It is also unfortunate, but true, that nonbelievers do not see a big difference between themselves as sinners and Christians as non-sinners. They see Christians divorcing, drinking, swearing, gossiping, lying, having affairs, stealing money, addicted to pornography, addicted to prescription drugs, depressed, angry, suicidal, and the list goes on and on. Is there a big difference in the lives of believers and nonbelievers? Are we Christ’s spotless Bride, walking in victory and wholeness? Is His church full of miracles and healing? Have you been pushing your way into our churches, where there is standing room only, because you want what we have?
The Bible is very clear in stating that God hates sin (Psalm 11:5-6). We can see how much God hates sin by looking at what He has done to redeem us from it. He sent his Son to earth to die on a Cross to condemn sin and to save His creation from their sin (Matthew 1:21). He made his Son, who knew no sin, to be sin that we might be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). He sent His son to bear our sin in His body, that we might be dead to sin (1 Peter 2:24). He admonishes us to stop sinning (1 John 3:9).
Warning: The modern American church has fallen into serious deception on this crucial matter of sin, so you must make sure you choose a church that preaches the whole scripture. You, as an unbeliever, need to understand that holy living is recognizing the sinfulness of sin, both in its essence as lawlessness and in its satanic origin. We also need to recognize sin as absolute incompatibility with God and His holy character. The more clearly we grasp these two facts, the more detestable sin will appear to us. The Bible clearly teaches that when a man is saved, his life is drastically changed, yet there are so many who profess to be children of God, and yet their lives remain full of sin. This is what we wish for you to avoid. One of the most heartbreaking things to me is a brother or sister who professes to be a Christian, and yet they lack any conviction of the sin in their life. You may have met many of them. Christians as well as nonbelievers must understand the nature of sin and its effects. Satan has succeeded in the destruction and debilitation of too many believers through sin and sins. He has also created a perception of the body of Christ that we are no different than anyone else who walks on the face of the earth.
In 1 John 3: 7-8, John divides all people into two groups: those who practice righteousness and those who practice sin. Most people, even Christians, have a real hard time with this concept when it comes to people they know and love. The Bible teaches that if anyone rejects the message of the Cross, he is practicing sin. For me, this is what I call a “hard but truthful teaching.” It’s hard because I personally know lots of good hearted people who have rejected God’s gift of salvation, and yet continue to attend church. I have very fond memories of my grandmother, Mary. I was 9 when she died. As an adult, I asked my mother one day about her. She told me Grandma Mary did not believe in Jesus. I was shocked! I knew she had attended church once in a while. My reaction was, “My grandmother was honest and good to everyone!” I know she believed in the basic goodness of human nature and practiced it. How could she be considered sinful and separated from God? It’s hard to believe that God gives no other option but death for those who have chosen not to believe in His Son. The truth is, my grandmother may have died in her sin. I don’t know her last moments of thought or the last minute confessions of her heart; only God knows. But what I do know is that she never confessed Christ as her Savior before men, and “her goodness” is not good enough to stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. She most likely perished without the covering Blood of Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33.) This is a hard but truthful teaching! This is the sin of lawlessness! (1 John 3:4) "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Even the disciples struggled with Jesus’ message of “His Blood and His Flesh” being the “only way” of salvation (John 6:60).
This deception of “believing in the goodness of human nature” is deadly, and it is another one of Satan's lies. It is opposite to the Biblical teaching of “sin” and our need of a Savior. This thinking is infiltrating our churches, schools and colleges at an alarming rate. It’s called “Humanism”. Humanism teaches that man is inherently good, not sinful as the Bible teaches. If all you need is just a few pointers on how to have a happier life, or how to improve your self worth, then why talk about Christ shedding His precious Blood to purify us from our sin? (1 John 1:7; 2:1-2) None of it is necessary! Continue in your sin! It is vital that you comprehend and understand sin. You must never believe that you are good and honest on your own account. You must recognize the sinfulness of sin! Be willing to take inventory of your own heart so that you can have real answers to real life problems. Let us offer you the real Jesus!
The True Covering....
By Greg Stoffel
Calvary is, and will always be, the centerpiece of God’s eternal plan of salvation for you. God not only foresaw Calvary, but He was the one who arranged it ( see study Why A Blood Covering?). My heart cannot begin to comprehend the depth of perfect love that was behind His planning. Not only the love of a God for His creation, but the sacrifice that He made in putting His “only begotten Son” through the death of crucifixion.
What is just as astounding to me is the obedience that was produced through the trust that Jesus had toward His Father. Jesus never questioned His Father’s motives regarding what was asked of Him. Not only did He trust His Father, but in spite of the Cross, He was assured of His Father’s love. One of the most amazing scriptures to me has always been John 10:17 where Jesus states, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.” Should that not speak volumes to your heart about the love and trust that was between the two of them? If Jesus was able to trust His Father under the circumstances, and at the same time, be assured of His Father’s love, shouldn’t you be even more assured of God’s love for you?
We have all read John 3:16, and like me, you have probably memorized it. But have you really thought about the implications of the love and trust in these actions? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” It assures us that if we simply put our trust in the same Father that Jesus did, we will have life eternal just as He promised. It’s not only recognizing the depth of His love; it is also trusting in the depth of His love. He asked His only begotten Son to trust Him and become man, then asked Him to trust Him in the worst death, that of crucifixion, and then to trust Him that He would raise Him from the dead, all that we might be reconciled unto Himself. For God so loved the world, and Jesus trusted His Father. God can be trusted, and if Jesus trusted His Father’s plan, so should we! What amazing love! Because of Jesus’ trust and obedience to His Father and the willingness of His heart to shed His sinless Blood, our sins are not only forgiven, but cleansed and cast as far away as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:11-12). Through His obedience, willingness and trust, something wonderful happened at Calvary that day. His sinless Blood satisfied the wrath of a Holy God. The plan of God was revealed that day in all its glory and perfection.
I have always said that there is a physical picture for every spiritual truth in heaven and on earth. One of those physical pictures is the spiritual truth behind Jesus’ Blood being sinless. The significance of Jesus’ Blood in the scriptures takes on a whole new meaning in the light of the discoveries of science. Satan does not want us knowledgeable in the area of science and the Blood. Satan does not want the world to truly believe in, and trust in, the truth of a sinless Savior. One of the areas that unbelievers may eventually attack you in is your doctrinal belief in the virgin birth. How could Jesus be sinless and yet born of a woman? The Bible, written by God thousands of years ago, fully anticipated this question and the truth would be revealed in all future discoveries through science. I stand in awe of the fact there has not a been a single proven scientific discovery that has ever shown that the Bible was in error, and this is especially true in the matter of blood chemistry and biochemistry.
Most Christians agree that the Bible teaches that Jesus was conceived in the womb of a young virgin named Mary. The Bible also teaches that “the Holy Spirit overcame Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowed her” (Luke 1:35). By supernatural power, Christ was conceived in the womb of Mary. This was done completely by the power of God and by the Holy Spirit of God. There was no intervention of a human father, ever! As I was researching the precious, sinless Blood of Jesus, I came upon some important medical information that I think is worth mentioning in our study. Medically, they have discovered that the blood which flows in an unborn baby’s veins is not derived from the mother, but is produced within the little body only after the introduction of the male sperm. An unfertilized egg from the mother can never develop blood on its own and has nothing within itself that can produce blood. It is only after the male sperm has entered the egg that blood can develop. All the blood which forms in that little precious body is only as a result of the contribution of the father. The mother is the one who provides the egg with the elements that build the little body, i.e., the flesh. Mitochondria are DNA passed only through the female from one generation to the next. Mitochondria enable the body to aerobically respirate, and without mitochondria, human tissue would be unable to sustain its metabolic pathway. It was necessary for Jesus to possess the mitochondria DNA of Mary, otherwise His human body would not have the capacity to continue living. It is impossible for any human being to be conceived without female mitochondria.
Another miracle is that from the moment of conception to the time of birth, not one single drop of blood ever passes from mother to child. No blood can pass from us to our children in the womb. In order for God to produce a sinless Son that would be fully man, He had to use a woman through whom would come the flesh only, not the blood. How wonderful is this physical picture of a spiritual truth! God in His wisdom foreknew that He would use the egg of woman, and He prepared her body perfectly to contribute what was needed for human life to continue. God also foreknew that because of Adam’s sin, sin would continue to be transmitted through the blood of man, so God Himself would have to be the Father from whom the sinless child would come.
If it would have been proven through science that even one drop of the mother's blood could be passed to her children, then Christ would not have been sinless. But that is not the case! We not only have the Bible but the scientific proof needed to back up our answer to the virgin birth and the sinlessness of the man Jesus. By God using Mary, a virgin, and by the Holy Spirit overcoming her and by the power of the Most High overshadowing her, they together produced a sinless man. By Mary contributing the flesh, Jesus became the scripture promised and prophesied, "the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3). And with God contributing the Blood, Jesus became what the scripture promised and prophesied: “the lamb without spot or blemish.”(1 Peter 1:19). There should be no doubt in our hearts and minds that Jesus’ Blood was sinless Blood.
But there is still one question to be considered. The Bible teaches us that Jesus was fully man. So could Jesus have chosen to sin and corrupt His sinless Blood? The answer is “Yes.” But the truth is, He chose not to sin and He remained sinless throughout His human life. We should have no doubt as to what that sinless life was able to accomplish for us on that Cross. No doubt that God is satisfied, because the sinless Blood of His sinless Son was the only price of redemption that God could accept, without violating the integrity of His holy nature. Our debt is paid! This sinless Blood is ever living, ever powerful, and it continues its work on our behalf even today.
There is no way that when the Bible was written, the authors could have known these medical facts. Only God in His great wisdom could have set in motion from the beginning this perfect plan to have His Son born of a virgin. Only by inspiration of His Holy Spirit could it be put into print and then thousands of years later be proven by medical science. This medical information should be an encouraging truth that we can trust God. God foreknew exactly what He was doing. We can, through this evidence, trust that Jesus is both God and man. No other explanation upholds all that Scripture says about Jesus Christ being our sinless Savior. Understanding this essential spiritual truth should be more to us than just intellectual knowledge, it must be the truth that we base our faith and hope on. Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin named Mary, was the union of God and humankind for the express purpose of providing a sinless Savior for us. Amazing! Peter rightly described Jesus when he said, “It was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:18). "He was chosen before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last times for our sake. Through Him we believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so our faith and hope is in God.” You can be assured that through your faith in the name of Jesus, His sinless Blood, and His resurrection, you can and will have life eternal. May you choose Christ as your Savior and Lord. May you desire to put your faith and hope in God and His sinless Son!
Because Jesus trusted His Father, are you now willing to trust in Jesus? Through His obedience, you can now have “Life Eternal” and can live with “The Power of God through the Blood of the Cross.” Jesus trusting His Father unto death on your behalf is a very serious matter to God. The truth is, Jesus did not deserve to die for you, and you must remember not to make light of something that God holds so dear. May you always remember that you should have been the one to die on that Cross. You did not have to pay for your own sin, and if you can, by faith, trust Him with something as important as your redemption, then maybe you need to trust Him in the least important things of this life. This bloodstained gospel is not just something that some man has imagined up in his mind like some of the other world religions; it is much more real than that. True salvation requires a genuine faith in what you believe to be the truth and a life that is committed to serving God. God’s unfailing love is behind it all! This should compel you to come to Christ, trust Him as your Lord and Savior, and then share your faith and that precious unfailing love with others. If you choose to believe, you will need not only to place a significant emphasis on the love of God for yourself and others, but you will also need to continue to place a significant emphasis on the value of the precious Blood of Jesus that was shed for you. You will need to take seriously the importance of the “Power of that Blood” and believe in its ability to redeem you from sin and death and its ability to continue to transform and change your life and the lives of those around you. The precious Blood to the “perishing”, if accepted, will redeem them. To those who make Him Lord and are “saved,” the precious Blood, if accessed and applied, will continue to work alongside the Holy Spirit in great power, transforming us into the image and likeness of Christ. The application of the Blood of Jesus to our lives, as believers, provides us a safe place where we can actually be spiritually transformed. As Hebrews 10:14 states, “Because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Although we have been redeemed initially, we are also, according to 2 Corinthians 3:18, “being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” But part of being transformed is first realizing your need to be transformed and then allowing the Holy Spirit to complete you.
Like salvation, being transformed by the Holy Spirit is also a choice and not all people desire to be transformed by God. I am afraid that I have met too many Christians today that look at their salvation as just some kind of life insurance. We have talked about that. They want the security Jesus offers, but they like their life just the way it is. They have no interest in being truly transformed into the image of Christ.
So many people today mistakenly think that they are 'saved' just because they believe in Jesus or because they are a member in their local church. This leads them to pay little attention to their lifestyle. Yes, they may have stopped those major sins, but to follow closely the teachings of Jesus? That, to many, would be legalism. Yet all the writers of the New Testament are strong on this point of obedience to the written Word of God and a life transformed into the likeness of Jesus. There is a difference between just “believing” in something and “genuine faith”. Genuine faith in Jesus produces real transformation in the life of someone who chooses to receive Him. The apostle Paul writes, "You were taught to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" Ephesians 4:22-24. The precious Blood of Jesus was shed for the remission of all your sins, but it doesn’t stop there if you choose to become a believer. It is the precious Blood applied to your life daily that will continue to give you the power to overcome the challenges and temptations that you will face as a new believer. You must understand that it is in the midst of your weakness that you need the power that comes from the Holy Spirit and the precious Blood of Jesus. You need the Blood and the Holy Spirit working together on your behalf.
WARNING: If you choose salvation, you must be very careful not to become complacent. If you don't have a daily concern and interest in being transformed, you can and will become spiritually disabled. You will end up right back where you started. However, if you have a full understanding of the power that lies behind the Holy Spirit and the precious Blood coupled with a desire to be transformed by them both, you will have the ability to replace your faulty thinking with thoughts and a life that is obedient to Christ and capable of carrying out His purposes. Not only is He with you always but He has given you the promised Holy Spirit. Remember the Spirit! You will have all you need to overcome the power of the enemy, but you must always be on guard. Our inclination as humans will always be to respond to the sin nature that is within us, so we need to be always watchful and fully aware of our need for the covering of the Spirit and the Blood. This is all the power you need to continue in battle, and it offers you the ability to fight victoriously the war that is waging against your soul. The appropriation of the Blood of Jesus and invitation of the Holy Spirit daily upon your lives will be a powerful tool in the transformation process and is what will bring about your victory.
In truth, the understanding of the shedding of Jesus’ precious Blood can open up for you a whole new realm of relationship with your Heavenly Father. Two wonderful things will happen during your salvation experience. Not only will the “state” of your condition change, but your “status” will change. First, Christ’s death changes your “state” from a sinner with a death sentence in need of a Savior to one who is redeemed with a Savior. Second, your “status” will change from a child whose father was Satan to a son or daughter whose Father is God the Most High. Christ’s death and the shedding of His precious Blood changes your “state”. His resurrection changes your “status”. The Biblical terms for your state and status being changed are "justification" and "sanctification". The change of your state is justification, which is where the whole saving process begins. The change of your status is sanctification, which is where the saving process goes on and on. This is where the miracle of transformation takes place. During your transformation process, you need to every day ask the Lord to refresh you with the power that lies behind His precious Blood and His precious Holy Spirit. This will increase your ability to serve Him. By Jesus bearing the punishment of your sin even unto death, Jesus conquered the power of sin and has given you the ability to do so also. He robbed the enemy of victory and made it possible for anyone to experience “The Power of God through the Blood of the Cross”. Faith in Christ’s Blood and His name will give you a spirit led, faith filled life so you can triumph over sin in your daily walk. God has a specific purpose for you, and He wants you to continue to remove anything and everything that would prevent that purpose from being fulfilled. If you choose Christ, it is imperative that you remember that you are now called to be a consecrated and set apart priest, ready to serve Him. You will then be responsible for spreading His message. As a new believer, you are to take your relationship with God and the responsibilities that He has called you to very seriously.
WARNING: You must be willing to consecrate yourself. In the Book of Leviticus, Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated and set apart for God’s purposes. They were called by God, just as you are, to accomplish their priestly duties. After the high priest consecrated a ram for sacrifice, Moses sprinkled its blood on the altar and put some of the blood on the tips of Aaron's and his sons' right ears, right thumbs and also their right toes. This sprinkling of blood on their bodies signified the consecration of their bodies and their whole lives to the Lord.
This is exactly what you will need to allow the Holy Spirit to do with you. You are to be consecrated by the sprinkling of Christ’s Blood on your whole body. Why? By doing so, it is setting you apart for His service. Your ears represent what you hear. When you listen to the radio, television, CDs, DVDs, conversations of others, etc., it affects tremendously your thought life and will influence how you think. You will either think like Christ or you will think like the world. You need your ears consecrated and protected daily with the precious Blood. Once saved, everything that enters your mind must be filtered through the precious Blood and the Holy Spirit if you are going to be of any use to Him.
Your thumb being consecrated with the Blood is a representation of every work and skill that you are capable of doing for the Kingdom of God. It depicts your actions. Everything you set your hands to do should be done for the glory of the Lord through the Blood of the Cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Your toes being consecrated represents where you go. It stands for your purpose and plans as well as your daily walk with the Lord. Everything you say, everything you do, everywhere you go needs to reflect the power, nature and purposes of God. You don’t have to physically kill an animal and place its blood on your bodies as Moses had to do for Aaron and his sons because Jesus accomplished that for you. But you, in faith, can apply daily the precious Blood of Jesus to your life, consecrating yourself to Him. One of the first things you will learn as a believer is that Paul says you are to "Put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18), and you will oftentimes remember to do that. But along with putting on your spiritual armor you will need to consecrate your ears, minds, eyes, hands and feet.
If you choose salvation, there is another member of your body that is very important and needs to be consecrated unto the Lord and covered with the Blood of the Lamb every day. Your tongue! For many people, Christians and non-christians alike, our tongue can be one of the most deadly weapons, and the enemy will use it against you and others at any opportunity given him. The Bible says that "Life and death are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21.) When you ask, by faith, for the covering of Christ’s precious blood over your tongue, you are asking the Lord to guard your mouth against wrong speech, lies, anger, gossip and any idle words that you are prone to speak against yourself as well as others.
Your tongue is also a major contributor to “subtle sins”. See Journey Through the Word Study #5. It needs to be controlled by the Spirit and the Blood. It is quite possibly your greatest enemy in the battle you will wage on a daily basis. A tongue that is filled with any of the above cannot bring life and cannot praise God in purity. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” James 3: 9-10. Your praise to a Holy God will be contaminated and is of no interest to God if you can’t get your tongue under control. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 that we will have to give an account for every idle word spoken. If you will surrender to Christ’s power by applying His blood in faith to your tongue, you will have the ability to take an unruly tongue and make it an altar of praise. How exciting is that?
As a new believer, you should be committed to being consecrated and truly transformed into the image of Christ, and should be fulfilling much of the purpose of the redeeming Blood of Jesus. You were purchased for God that you may love Him and serve Him only, not serve yourself and your selfish desires. When the Israelites of Moses’ day sacrificed their sin offering, they did it according to Leviticus 4:31 which says, “The priest shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” The Lord wants you to cut away and burn those things that quench His precious Holy Spirit and to cut and burn on the altar anything that would hamper your sanctification, consecration, transformation and praise. All the things that are not pleasing to the Lord you should offer upon the altar, and let it become nothing less than a sweet aroma pleasing to Him. You must be willing to hand over your life to God in order to experience the purifying and renewing power of His precious sinless Blood. Remember the Blood! In doing this, you can become no less than a reflection of Christ to other people, a reflection of God’s power and His unfailing love.
I realize that few will read to the end of all that I have written. But if you have, and are ready to make a commitment to Christ and have counted the cost, now would be the time to accept His full, limitless, amazing grace. This grace is truly free but was not cheap! It cost God His precious Son. May you truly desire salvation, and may your heart long to be transformed by a Holy God. See The Salvation Experience.