You cannot expect salvation

Published 5:36am Friday, June 28, 2013

By REV. CARL G. RALSTON

Church of the Lord Jesus Christ

You truly cannot expect salvation, until you cease running after sin. As it says in Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him and to our God for he will abundantly pardon.”

Some talk like they care, and make big impressive, flowery speeches of concern, but are missing in the real test of involvement. Just as a seed receives its fullest development and its accomplishment when it is cast into the ground and dies, so our lives find their deepest and most satisfying fulfillment in complete relinquishment to God.

We hold on to things God wants us to release. It is difficult for us to relinquish the easy life in pursuance of God’s plan. We hold onto our pleasures, our comforts and wealth, rather than obey the call of God. But it is true that, “He is no fool, who gives up that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Involvement often involves “going.” The Lord’s specific prayer request is this, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest. That he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

Laborers are needed, not sightseers, not those seeking a diversion not those trying to satisfy a restless disposition hoping from one church to another leaving a bad example for them that are watching their lives. The fields of ripened grain, by their very existence, call for laborers.

Oh yes, we can put on an act of going along with missions, without really becoming involved in a real and positive way. It was a serious change that the prophet Ezekiel brought against the leaders of Israel in his day where he stated: “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost” (Ezekiel 34:3).

Prayer is another vital link in our involvement with souls. It is absolutely annoying the difference we have observed in hundreds of churches across our nation where the church is praying and where it is not. Where the church is praying, there is a spirit of anticipation in the services. There is a freedom for the preaching of the gospel. There is a concern for the lost. Demon powers are dispelled where people pray. An apathy prevails where the church is not praying. The spirit of Laodicea is in evidence, for where there is no sense of need, there is no praying.

Faith is another link in the chain of involvement. There must be an unquestionable and unshakeable faith in God himself. We do not say with Israel, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” (Psalms 78:19). We declare and know full well that God can.

Someone once said that the way to grow in faith is not to try to believe more intensely, but to enlarge our understanding of God and who he is. There must also be the giving of ourselves as a very positive link in the salvation of others. Paul spoke of having imparted “not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

So much of Christian service lacks this element of true Christian love and concern. When Paul was desperately concerned about the Christians at Philippi, he wrote that he hoped to send Timothy soon because, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Philippians 2:20-21).

We are guilty to hold on to things that God want us to release. It is difficult for us to relinquish the easy life in pursuance of God’s plan. We hold on to our pleasures, our comforts and wealth, rather than obey the call of God.

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