Daily Devotions: Biblical Eternity
In the Name of Jesus
"...Jesus is the ‘stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:11-12 (NIV)
It is rare today for parents to give their child a name of signi cance or meaning. More often than not, a baby receives a name because it is trendy, well-liked by the parents, is a given family name, or because it's melodic in its pronunciation.
This has not always been the case. In Bible times, children were given names with speci c meaning and intentional signi cance. Isaac's rstborn son was hairy; therefore, he was named "Esau," the Hebrew name for "hairy." His twin brother Jacob was born holding onto Esau's heel. The name Jacob means "heel grabber."
Biblical names de nitely had signi cance. Why is this important for us? In today's focal verse we are told salvation is found in no other name but the name of Jesus. Is there something holy about the sequence of letters or phonetic sounding of the name? No! The name Jesus is actually a common Jewish name meaning "Jehovah saves." Does that mean everyone named "Jesus" has the power to bring salvation to others? Of course not! The name Jesus is signi cant because of who it represents, His attributes, nature, and qualities.
The angel told Joseph "You shall name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). He is "the Christ, the Anointed One" (Luke 2:11). He is "the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16); "Immanuel, God with us" (Matthew 1:23); "the Word" (John 1:1); "Lord" (Romans 10:9); "the life and light of all mankind" (John 1:4); our "High Priest" (Hebrews 4:14); and Creator (John 1:3). Jesus is "the water of life" (John 4:14); "the bread of life" (John 6:35); "the Light of the world" (John 8:12); "the door" (John 10:7); and "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). It is by THIS Jesus we are saved!
Through the Blood of Jesus
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us...."
Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV)
Have you ever noticed how people of all faiths shy away from talking about the blood of Jesus? People will discuss the miracles Jesus performed, His sermons, the places He visited, and the people He healed; but start talking about His blood and the tone of the conversation changes.
The very thing necessary for redemption of sin, the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22), makes people squirm in their seats. The reality is for blood to be shed, something or someone has to die. We struggle to wrap our minds around this fact.
Before the foundation of the earth, God's plan had always been the sacri ce of His Son and the shedding of Jesus' blood for our redemption. From the very rst sin committed by Adam and Eve, until the time of Christ's perfect and nal sacri ce on Calvary, God has always required shedding of blood for forgiveness of sin. The practice of animal sacri ce to atone for sin under the law was never intended to be eternally suf cient to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. It was a temporary covering until the time of Christ's sacrifice (Hebrews 10:4).
Only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins. Jesus was the perfect sacri ce, a Lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:18-19) and only His blood cleanses us from sin and brings us into a saving relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:13). We are made holy and clean only by means of Jesus' blood shed for us (Hebrews 13:12; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5).
Jesus bought us with the price of His own precious blood (I Corinthians 6:9-20). Salvation can be found in no other because no one else except Jesus has shed blood to secure our salvation. No other man. No other god. Only Jesus!
"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)
Few words in the English language are harder to de ne than "grace." In order to grasp some understanding of its meaning, we must return to the original Greek language. "The most characteristic use of the word grace (charis in Greek) is an undeserved favor granted from a superior to an inferior. When used of divine grace toward mankind, it refers to the undeserved favor of God in providing salvation for those deserving condemnation."
Try to de ne it as we might, the grace of God is something that has to be experienced down in the soul of a believer in order to even begin to grasp the magnitude of it! God does not grant grace because we deserve it. He grants it based on His great love for us. That's what makes it grace!! Grace, and thus our salvation, lay solely with the Giver, The Lord Jesus Christ.
Salvation through grace is God's message from cover to cover in His Word. We see in Ephesians 1:4 that even before the foundation of the world, God intended for His grace through salvation in His Son Jesus Christ to be what makes us whole and holy and without fault in His eyes. The very last verse of the very last chapter of the very last book of the Bible conveys the same message. After 66 books, 1188 chapters, and 31,103 verses, The Lord concludes His word, "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen" Revelation 22:21.
"If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)
Before sitting in the chair you are seated in, did you pause to consider the mechanical stability of the chair and whether the design would support you? In all likelihood, you did not give it a thought before you sat down. When ipping on the light switch or turning on the lamp in the room you are currently in, did you pause to consider how electricity would travel to the light source to illuminate the room for you? The answer is probably once again a resounding, "No!"
You exercised faith when you sat in the chair believing it would support you. When you turned on the light switch, you exercised faith by believing the room would illuminate. Your actions showed what you believed.
As Christians, our actions show what we believe as well. We exercise our faith with our declaration and confession that we believe Jesus died, was buried, and was raised from the dead as the sacri ce for our sins. True faith in Jesus does not allow what we believe in our hearts to remain hidden there. Rather, we exercise our faith by declaring to the world (visibly, audibly, and tangibly) the Truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 makes it clear that our faith must be put into action. Faith without action is dead. "I have been cruci ed with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the esh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." What do our actions say about what we truly believe?
As a Gift
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
Salvation is a free gift offered to us by God. We cannot earn it, and we certainly do not deserve it. We established earlier this week that salvation comes by grace. One of the paramount attributes of grace is that it cannot be earned. Grace stands in direct contrast to works and rules out all human merit and effort in an attempt to earn salvation. In fact, human merit totally violates grace and renders it null and void. Man's attempt at atoning for his own sin (symbolized by Adam and Eve's works of sewing g leaves together in the Garden of Eden to cover their sin) has never been and will never be acceptable in the sight of Holy God. Where there is grace, works have no value!
If human effort, offering, or sacrifice could earn our salvation, Jesus' death on the cross was in vain. If we could earn our way to heaven, then the suffering and the cruel death Jesus endured on Calvary was all for naught. It is sin that separates us from a holy and righteous God and the consequence for sin is death. Jesus paid our sin debt by dying in our place and doing so freely, without expectation of return. That's grace, "The absolute freeness of the lovingkindness of God to men nding its only motive in the bounty and freeheartedness of the Giver."1 What an amazing gift! "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23 NIV).
Salvation is indeed a free gift, but purchasing salvation was not free for Jesus. Our salvation cost Him everything...His life and His blood! His perfect, incorruptible blood has redeemed us. Our only responsibility is to accept, embrace, and treasure the free gift He offers to us.
By Renewal and Rebirth
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
To become "in Christ" literally means we become a new creature. Salvation
is not merely cleaning up our act...it is a total rebirth. We are not an altered, cosmetically covered over version of our old selves. "In Christ" we become brand new. The word "new" is the Greek word kaino, which means "something that is brand new or recently made."
The word "creature," as used in the verse above, is the Greek word ktisis.
It is the same word used in the account of creation in Genesis when God created everything out of nothing. That same word is used to describe our salvation in becoming a new creation. We go through a transformation, a total metamorphosis, and become something completely unrecognizable from our former self. When we become in Christ, old things ("the original formation") pass away, perish or die. The practices, attitudes, and beliefs we had before salvation no longer exist. In Christ, "[we] are not an amended, corrected, improved version of what we used to be. [We] are an absolutely brand-new creation! [We] are completely detached from the person [we] once were before Christ."1 We truly are reborn and renewed.
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justi ed by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7 NIV).