Salvation

Can You hear me now?

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Apart from John 9:31, also see:  Job 27:9 and 35:12; Psalm 18:41; Proverbs 1:28, 15:29, and 28:9; Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 11:11 and 14:12; Ezekiel 8:18; Micah 3:4; Zechariah 7:13; and James 5:16.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, references for John 9:31.

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Sacrifice

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This verse is filled with the language of substitution.  The Servant suffered not for His own sin, since He was sinless (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26), but as the substitute for sinners.  The emphasis here is on Christ being the substitute recipient of God’s wrath on sinners (2 Corin 5:21; Galatians 1:3,4; Hebrews 10:9,10).  He suffered the chastisement of God in order to procure our peace with God.  The stripe that caused His death has brought salvation to those for whose sins He died.  Peter confirms this in 1 Peter 2:24.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Isaiah 53:5.

Safely to shore

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This does not mean God has abrogated His moral law (Romans 3:31, Matthew 5:17-19).  The law is good, holy, and righteous (Romans 7:12, 1 Timothy 1:8), but it cannot be kept, so it curses.  Since it cannot assist anyone to keep God’s moral standard (Romans 7:7-11), it can only show the standard and thus rebuke and condemn those who fail to keep it.  But the believer is no longer under the law as a condition of acceptance with God – an impossible condition to meet and one designed only to show man his sinfulness (Galatians 3:10-13) – but under grace, which enables him to truly fulfill the law’s righteous requirements (Romans 7:6; 8:3,4).

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Romans 6:14.

Highway of Holiness

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This refers to the way leading the redeemed back to Jerusalem, the throne of Messiah, literally and spiritually.  Christ Himself is to be the leader on that way, called in Isaiah 40:3, the “way of the Lord.”

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Isaiah 35:8.

Happiness or Joy

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Though some people use the terms happiness and joy interchangeably, there is a vast difference in their meaning.  Both cause a pleasant emotional response, but the former relies entirely upon circumstances.  As soon as difficulty arises and pain intrudes, a person ceases to be happy.  On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that enables believers to find hope and peace – even when life seemingly falls apart.

At times, however, even Christians live joylessly.  Sinful behavior, of course, is one reason.  But there can be other causes, too, including regret about past failures, fear of future mishaps, or a pattern of discontentment that’s ingrained in one’s personality.

If you’re a follower of Jesus but lack gladness, take a moment to remember who Christ is and who you are in Him.  To begin with, you are saved eternally, and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  The love of almighty God is unconditional, and His indwelling Spirit will never abandon you.  He understands everything you face and promises to provide for your needs.

When you stop to consider the blessings that are yours in Christ, gratitude will likely overwhelm you.  Sadness concerning circumstances may still endure, but the joy of the Lord will carry you through even the deepest pain.

Amid the ups and downs of life, does God’s joy sustain you? Or do trials leave you hopeless and discontented?  Our Father offers a higher way of living – not without pain but with strength to endure.  Continually remember the vast treasure you have in Him and His promises.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 20, 2018.

A Saving Faith

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The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t.  We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived.  They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.

Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith.  It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again.  Even demons believe that (James 2:19).  Salvation involves more than mere knowing.  It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him.  What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.

Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord.  As the Master of your life, He then has the right to govern what you do.  His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change – God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit.  If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord.  This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 18, 2017.