Today's Word of Encouragement
STEPS TO SALVATION
Friday, May 29, 2020
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:3-6).
Most, if not all of the people Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount were religious, some were very religious, but they were also spiritually lost - unsaved. The Jews relied on their relationship to Abraham to be their buffer with God. John the Baptizer set the matter straight, Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham (Matthew 3:8-9).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus did not outline a moral lesson on right living. He outlined the steps to salvation and the fruit of salvation in the life of the saved. The first four statements (Beatitudes) are the successive steps that lead to salvation. While they lead to salvation, they are not nullified in the life after salvation, but continue to mold and shape the moral and spiritual life of the believer throughout his/her life. Note the steps again:
- Spiritual depravity is the work of the Holy Spirit in opening one’s understanding to the reality of his/her true sinful condition.
- Mourning over one’s sinful condition is bought on by the recognition of one’s spiritual depravity before holy God.
- Meekness, which is spiritual humility before God, is the position of the one who mourns over his/her own sinfulness.
- The longing for righteousness, which can only be found in Jesus Christ, is God’s gift to the one who humbles himself before God and seeks His salvation.
In other words: spiritual depravity → conviction of sin → humility before God → imputed righteousness (salvation).
The first four Beatitudes outline a person’s need for salvation and how it is obtained. The remaining three Beatitudes (and the rest of the Sermon) outline the Christian having obtained salvation, and conducting him/herself accordingly.
“Father, there is no salvation apart from knowing You through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I thank You that I cannot obtain salvation through my own efforts, for then I would be able to lose that salvation by my own negligence and sinfulness. Thank You that Jesus has paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left the crimson stain - He washed it white as snow.” Amen.