Salvation: Part Four
I know a little girl who is very shy. One day I wanted to give her something, but I couldn't! Over and over I asked her if she would not like it, but she would not stretch out her hand to take it, and finally I had to give up, and the little girl never got the present.
The salvation that we have been talking about in our lessons is God's gift. He wants so much to give it to us, but He cannot unless we will take it. Perhaps that is a little hard to understand. Salvation is not something that you can take in your hand, is it? Our taking is not with our hands, but with our hearts. It is believing what God says about it. This is the way it is. Long ago the Lord Jesus came into the world as a little baby. He was not like other babies, for He was the Son of God. He grew to be a man, and He was always perfect. He never did anything that was even the tiny least bit wrong. But wicked men hated Him and finally they crucified Him. God says in His Word that He died for us. He wants us to believe what He says. If we believe it, He gives us this great gift of salvation, with all its forgiveness, and regeneration, and eternal life, and a new Father, and perfect keeping, and the Holy Spirit, and the glory that we will have is what the Bible means by having faith. (Read and discuss Luke 7:50; 8:48; Mark 9:23; John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 6:47)
Sometimes your teachers in school give you rewards if you are especially good or do your lessons well. Perhaps they let you erase the board, or collect the papers, or give you some other special privilege. Salvation is not a reward. You may try as hard as you like to be good; God can never give you salvation as a reward. That is a gift and it cannot be bought. Besides that, we could never be good enough to deserve it, even if it could be bought.
Do you remember the story about the two thieves on the crosses? The Lord Jesus was being crucified. On either side were thieves. Both had been very bad men, and deserved to be punished. At the beginning both were cursing and swearing. But after a while, one of these thieves became very quiet. The other went on cursing. Finally the one who had been quiet, spoke. He said to the other thief, Do not you fear God, seeing we are being crucified too? And we ought to be for we have been very bad. But this Man has never done anything wrong.” Then he turned to the Lord Jesus and said, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” That mail had never done anything to deserve salvation, but the Lord Jesus saw that he believed in Him, and said, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” He could give him salvation because he believed.
Never try to buy salvation. Going to church; praying, being good, giving money in Church, none of these things can buy salvation for you. It is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). It is not of works, so no one can be proud of it. God does it all (Ephesians 2:9).
* If we cannot take salvation into our own hands how do we then "recieve" salvation?
* Why does God give us rewards?
* How does one earn salvation? Can we earn it ourselves? Why?
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