The contrasts we’ve discussed so far in John include spiritual hunger versus spiritual bread, spiritual thirst versus everlasting water, spiritual birth from above versus physical birth on earth, and spiritual light versus spiritual darkness.
Now, the contrasts do not stop there for the Christian. Salvation means:
- Our vile wickedness has been made wholly righteous.
- We were guilty and condemned to death from conception, but now are justified and given life eternal.
- Our heart of stone is replaced with a new heart.
- We didn’t seek or love God (in fact, we hated Him), but now we are drawn closer to Him and love Him dearly.
- We were slaves to the sins of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), but are now led by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- We were not accepted by God but are now not only accepted, but have a new identity in Christ as well.
- “The Christian who has forgotten the bad shape he was in before salvation will often lose his worship. It is the gravity of how bad our situation was that makes our salvation so great. If a person saves you from making a mistake on your taxes, that’s great, but if they save your life, then there will be a greater thankfulness. Many have lost the joy of their salvation because they have forgotten how much God has saved them from.”—Gregory Brown
- Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- Thank God now for the wonderful gift of salvation you have been given: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What were you saved from? A dying world with no hope, no peace, no joy, and ultimately an eternity of eternal death in the Lake of Fire. What were you saved to? Righteousness, grace, hope, love, mercy, joy, and an eternal life with our eternal Lord Who gives life. The more you focus on these contrasts, the more you should be thankful. The more thankful you are, the more joy you will have.
Sadly, many believe they deserve salvation (even thinking they are not thatbad, and are ultimately good enough to tip the scales in their favor). Many others have been falsely led to believe that they are the center of God’s universe, and that God serves them. They think, “Of course Jesus saved me because I was so important to Him that He died just for me!”, never realizing that Jesus saves because Heis so important and deserving, not us! This self-focused version of Christianity is foreign to the Bible’s version of Christianity, and it leads people to have ingratitude and an entitlement mentality.
- Hebrews 5:23 & 25 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her
- Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Jesus specifically died for those whom the Father gave Him (John 6:37-40), and these constitute His church which Ephesians 5 tells us He specifically died for. Meanwhile, our Hebrews passage tells us that the church is designed to encourage each other in love and good works as the day (the coming judgment) is coming soon. But notice that we are to assemble together, and those who choose not to regularly assemble are forsaking the very church Jesus died for! This is unacceptable for Christians and we should not tolerate the cavalier attitudes of many about the church assembling together (i.e. those who habitually avoid church). Meanwhile, we’ve had a pandemic which has caused a governmental prohibition on church gatherings (as well as other organizations) to protect people. Thankfully, COVID-19 is not that bad of a virus after all (yes, many can get it, and sadly people have died, but it has only killed so far .003% of the population which is an excessively low percentage, especially in comparison to the scary numbers that everyone was originally predicting). And, because it is stabilizing now, we are able to once again reconvene as a church in the near future (hopefully June 7).
- Thank God now for the opportunity to come together again as a church family, to fellowship with each other, and to stand as a light in our community pointing people to Jesus: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- John 14:16-18 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
- John 14:26-27 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
- John 16:7-11 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
- “Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son, And leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.”—Melody Green, from “There is a Redeemer”
- The last thing we want to thank God for today is His Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to indwell us upon salvation. This is a privilege that only Christians can partake in, and is a demonstration of God’s love for us.
- Thank God for the Spirit’s permanent indwelling: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Thank Him for the Spirit teaching us all things: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Thank Him for the indwelling peace the Spirit provides: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Thank God that the Spirit will convict the world of sin and judgment, and that you and I are His instruments to spread the Gospel of salvation so the world can be saved: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Way of the Cross Leads Home Hymn by Jessie Brown Pounds
1 I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light,
If the way of the cross I miss.
The way of the cross leads home, (leads home,)
The way of the cross leads home; (leads home;)
It is sweet to know as I onward go,
The way of cross leads home.
2 I must needs go on in the blood-sprinkled way,
The path that the Savior trod,
If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
Where the soul is at home with God.
3 Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it nevermore;
For my Lord says, “Come,” and I seek my home,
Where He waits at the open door.