Revolutionary New Life
By David Brandt Berg
What is this revolutionary new life? It’s a gift of God performed by a miraculous transformation of our lives when we accept His truth in the love of His Son, Jesus, by the work of God’s Spirit. All we have to do is receive Him. Our new life is only by grace, never by our works or battling in the arm of the flesh with our sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9) If God can’t do it, nobody can!
With faith you’ve got to believe the Word and accept that you’ve been saved just on the Word. This is all that saves us, not any exterior things. In water baptism, for example, the preacher isn’t actually washing away your sins; he’s merely going through the motions to present an outward show that is indicative of an inward spiritual change. We can’t put our faith in the water instead of Jesus, who is the Word! As John said: In the beginning was the Word and … the Word was made flesh (Jesus), and as many as received Him (Jesus, the Word), to them gave He power to become the sons of God. (John 1:1,14,12)
This revolutionary new life is often quite a surprise to our loved ones and associates, and is sometimes called salvation or conversion. Jesus called it being “born again” of His Spirit, (See John 3:1–9) and Paul called it the new birth in which old things are passed away and all things are become new. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Salvation is eternal! For a few years as a young Christian I was deceived by the delusive doctrine of off-again, on-again, gone-again eternal insecurity of the believer and the religion of works. But one day as a teenager I was thrilled to discover the simple truth of John 3:36. I found that all I had to do was believe, and that did it! “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Right now! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. No “providing you’re a good boy and go to church every Sunday.” You have eternal life through His Son, which is the gift of God, and you cannot lose it, for He will keep you. As Jesus said, “I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish,” (John 10:28) and “him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
Since your new life didn’t depend on your works in the first place, it is so secure that even if you were to commit suicide, as King Saul did in the Old Testament, you will still be saved. You don’t lose your salvation. It doesn’t depend on whether you are a success or not. If you were lost, then God failed, because salvation is a work of God—for He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it to the end (Philippians 1:6)—for you are God’s workmanship.
The most raging religious controversy the world has ever known has always been between the do-it-yourself religions and the God-alone-can-save-you kind. In fact, this was the biggest church fight among the early Christians: whether you could just believe and be saved, or you had to keep the Law, too, to make it. “Sure, we believe that Jesus is the Messiah,” they said, “but we still have to help Him save us by keeping the old Law.” Paul spent most of his years fighting this obnoxious mixture of works and grace in epistle after epistle. And he summed up God’s views on the subject when he said, “If righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21) In other words, if you can be saved by just keeping the law, why did Jesus have to die? Therefore he said, “If it is by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace (or mercy) is no more grace.” (Romans 11:6)
You haven’t got anybody’s righteousness except Christ’s, and He’s the only one who can give it to you. Your own righteousness stinks! It’s filthy rags. (See Isaiah 64:6) And that’s all there is to it; there’s no other way. No righteousness of your own, none of your own good works, nothing of yourself can keep you saved any more than it can save you in the first place. Only Jesus can do it! He not only saves you, but He also does the works through you. It’s all Jesus; it’s none of your own self or your own self-righteousness—it’s just Jesus! Paul said that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 10:4) In other words, receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior and following His Spirit is the only law that justifies you—none of the others count.
However, real faith motivates works. We’re not saved by our works, but if we’re saved, we’ll sure work like everything to give it to others. Your heavenly rewards are based on services rendered to God’s kingdom while in this life. When Jesus said, “Beware lest any man steal thy crown,” (Revelation 3:11) He wasn’t referring to your salvation. The crown is your reward—given to those who run, and win, the race of good works, not salvation.
In the case of mistakes and failures, we should remember the case of the prodigal son. Although he lost his birthright and inheritance, he did not completely lose his place as a son at his father’s table. Likewise, the Lord doesn’t lose His children.
I’m looking forward to the day—this may be shocking for some people—when everybody or almost everybody will be saved—at least there won’t be many left in hell, if any. This work is not even over in heaven, or in the heavenly city after the Millennium (the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth). We’ll still be serving God, and quite a few things will not be finished yet: total redemption, universal reconciliation, cosmic restitution. There will still be kings and nations who will need healing. “In the midst of the street … was there the tree of life … and the leaves were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2)
To get the real thing, this revolutionary new life, all you have to do is receive Jesus, God’s Son, as your Savior by asking Him into your heart. Try it! You’ll love it! God bless you!
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