9 Min Read
One of our little ones had the sniffles and we could not afford to be suspect of spreading the coronavirus in our community. In light of this, and thanks to the advancement of technology, we got to worship God and learn from His word Freedom Life Church’s via Youtube channel.
Mind you, online services are not a substitute for in-person assembly, but more of a supplement to in-person gatherings. So we value our fellow believers and always look forward to the possibility of fraternizing in person, chatting about life, and knowing that there is a body of believers out there who value our presence as much as we value theirs. But we must be cautious. Plus, taking sick or attention-seeking little ones to church when they’re sick is a nightmarish situation.
Pastor Rohan ministered on the importance of being sealed by the Holy Spirit of God, in contrast to being sealed or preserved by anything else.
Let us refer to the beautiful text for reference and context. Paul was writing to the church in Ephesus who had struggled with a few concepts of how they are saved. Were they saved by good works or by faith? What is grace? Once saved always saved? Can one lose their salvation?
I mean these are questions we grapple with to this very day, nearly two millennia later and I must admit that I, at times, stop and remind myself that my assurance of life beyond this realm is not dependent upon my person, my efforts, my works, or my identity as a good person. My future is solely, wholly, fully, and completely placed at the feet of Jesus Christ, as yours should be as well.
So Paul addresses one of these many questions in the verses below, which Pastor Rohan exposits later:
“And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” – Ephesians 1:13-14 NLT
Paul explains to the church in Ephesus that Christians, once saved, belong to God. We’re given a deposit, or a seal, per se, who is the Holy Spirit of God until Christ’s return or our death, where from there we are with God forever.
It’s quite relieving to be reminded that our salvation and our faith are in the hands of God and out of our hands. His grip is sure.
But Pastor Rohan reminds the church that there are four steps that we must understand concerning these doctrinally divisive and polemic verses so that we are confident of God’s work in our lives.
Salvation Demands Repentance
He states that true salvation proceeds honest repentance. The Century dictionary explains repentance this way: “Repentance goes beyond feeling to express distinct purposes of turning from sin to righteousness; the Bible word most often translated repentance means a change of mental and spiritual attitude toward sin.”
So in seeking salvation from one’s sins one must first recognize the gravity of their fallen state and seek to revert or turn from it. They must desire that turning from sin to righteousness. Like a vehicle traveling in haste to a collapsed bridge, the sinner must not only stop their vehicle from a disastrous route but they must turn it around and head away from calamity.
A change must be mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Repentance is not simply remorse one feels for one’s sins but the knowledge that your state of being as a sinner merits God’s wrath and this realization brings us to a fork in the road. Choose life by turning around or remain on the course where our outcome is to be catapulted from solid ground to be dashed on jagged rocks below.
Repentance is a change of course and a change of being.
Salvation Requires New Birth
This is where the miraculous work of God takes place. As we are born sinners, not simply people who commit sinful acts, we need a new birth, one from God and not man, where we are transformed to not only perform good works but be a good work of God.
Jesus reminds the scholar Nicodemus that for one to enter the Kingdom of God he must be born again. The term is used frivolously today, often looked down upon by unbelievers and only used for people who handle vipers and drink poison on Sunday mornings.
But this could not be further from the truth. To be born again is to be vested with the very Spirit of God. Transformed in our passions, desires, motives, and hopes. The weight of condemnation that once overwhelmed us is removed and we’re given the opportunity to walk away from the gallows on our own two feet. Christ takes our sins and we take on His Spirit. Hear takes on the clothes of condemned men and we take on the linen, the purpose, and the Person of God with us, in our hearts, our very souls to live as righteous children of God.
We are born again.
Salvation Is Evidenced By Perseverance
Pastor Rohan reminds the hearer that a believer is a believer because God initiates, impresses, and fulfills His promise of salvation, independent of the effort of the believer in question. This can be misunderstood or misconstrued when taken out of context but pastor Rohan states, and I quote, “God will not change his mind, reconsider or second chance…”
It’s a comfort, really, knowing that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
God does not lie. He is not overcome by the influence of an angry mob. He is not tricked by the devil. He is not intimidated by legions of unclean spirits.
Pastor Rohan reminds the reader of Paul’s statement to Christians situated in Rome:
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39
Rest assured, believer, that your salvation and the culmination of your faith which is eternal security with God rests entirely on the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. You are His and no one can sift you out of God’s hands. Not even the accuser of the brethren, the devil.
Saving Faith Always Produces Works
Here Pastor Rohan impresses upon our hearts that believers who have repented of their sins, have been born of the Spirit of God, and relied upon Christ, the perfector of their faith, will also produce good fruits.
Jesus reminds us that:
“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” – Matthew 7:17-18
And how true. Our life should be a replica of that of Jesus. Our deeds ought to be for God’s glory. Our efforts are to be God-centered. The product of our life here on earth should be fewer people hungry, destitute, and alone. The byproduct of our faith ought to be more lives transformed, forgiven, and saved. The legacy we leave behind is less reflective of our old selves and more in tune with the person of Jesus Christ.
Every facet of our lives is touched by this person, Jesus Christ, and everything thereafter should be representative, in intellect, in art, in thought, and in essence, of Him.
It does not mean we are without error because we do sin and falter, but as apostle John reminds us:
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God” – 1 John 3:3-9
Apostle John informs the reader that because a believer slips off the trail of faith and sullies his feet in the mud does not grant him the freedom to swim in it. A believer sins, yes, but he does not make it a practice, a business, a comfort, or a lifestyle of remaining in that sinful life. There is an acuity, an awareness that was not present before salvation that alarms the regenerate mind to seek the path of righteousness more than he does the path of perdition.
Pastor Rohan informs us further that we produce that which we are sealed in, sealed by, or sealed with.
If we are NOT sealed by God’s Holy Spirit for repentance, regeneration, perseverance, and good works, then we WILL be sealed by something else.
Those sealed in despair will only produce despair….
Those sealed to performance will reap at the end of their days an empty crowd….
Those sealed by conventions, festivities, parties, and emotional peaks will later find themselves without a following, without a purpose, and without God. Their image has become their god and in the end they won’t be surprised when their “self” is unable to save them.
What a disaster. A very sad disaster.
All in all, Pastor Rohan’s message is one of comfort more than it is one of admonishment. He points the listener to the glorious strength and character of an Eternal God who fulfills His promises.
Has He promised to keep you? Then rest assured, He will.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” – Numbers 23:19
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” – John 14:1-3
“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20b
Questions to consider
- Are you burdened by the possibility that you’ll lose your salvation? Your faith?
- Do you find comfort in your sin? Have you made it a practice to sin? If so, why?
- Do you believe Jesus will keep His promises? Do you believe He will return? If so, how then ought you to live?