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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy - Salvation based on faith in God
Larry Sheehy mug
Larry Sheehy

    Beginning with the story of creation, the Bible pictures man's salvation as being based on faith in God.
    Because of a lack of faith, Adam and Eve obeyed Satan rather than God, going against his explicit will by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden. Contrasting with their lack of faith, we read this about their second son: "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead" (Hebrews 11:4).
    Let’s think together about the relationship between faith in Jesus — specifically in his resurrection — and the commitment that faith calls for in his followers.
    Abraham is specifically recommended to Bible students as one whose faith made him willing to obey God’s command to sacrifice Isaac, while believing in God's power to raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Like Abraham, whose faith in the resurrection of Isaac caused him to live faithfully before God, our faith in the resurrection of Jesus calls for us to live a life of commitment as we face the world of doubt and death in which we live.
    For the Christian, Jesus’ resurrection calls for total commitment to him as Lord and savior. That commitment to Christ isn't an option for us. When Jesus died, the faith of his disciples was challenged. One of the events that demonstrates this is the disbelief, bordering on denial, expressed by the apostle Thomas when told that Jesus was alive (John 20:24–29). Thomas’ commitment was renewed because he saw the resurrected Jesus, causing him to exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”
    Our commitment to Christ doesn't pay for one minute of our salvation from sin. Instead, it is the nature of our faith in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection from the dead. (Read 1 Corinthians 15.) For believers, God has made it possible, through the obedience of faith, for us to experience the power of his resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).
    One of the benefits of God coming in the flesh is that his children are freed from the constant fear of the consequences of death. Death is still a reality for everyone living — with the exception of those alive when Jesus returns
(1 Thessalonians 4:17). The writer of Hebrews confidently wrote of our power over death through Christ: "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who hold the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Hebrews 2:14–15).
    Because he experienced it himself, Paul spoke of David's suffering: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36). But, because Paul believed not only in one who died before us but also died for us, he prefaced his quotation with his own confident knowledge that “Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
    The words of Paul can give us constant comfort and encouragement because of the certainty of the resurrection: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

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