The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Acts 15 and Salvation by Grace Through Faith


This is Nathan Fox's first post for the TDL. I would like to first post his bio, so you can see where the Lord has brought him thus far. His actual post will follow. 


Early Life

The Lord blessed me to grow up in a Christian home. Both parents are heavily involved in our church, but beyond that, have taken the time grow our family through Christian principles and values. I grew up and professed faith in Christ at the age of 9, and attempted to grow in both my knowledge and application of the Bible. I loved going to church, loved reading and learning God's Word, and even more so, loved to talk about Jesus. However, as time went on, some very troubling sins creeped into my life, and ultimately took a hold on me in high school.

High School Years

I came to high school a quiet, calm, and kind young man (if I do say so myself). I never attempted to get into trouble, never sought out problems, and typically associated with the right people. By the time I was in high school for 3 years I was miserable, lost, and in need of something deeper than this world could provide. I had tried pornography pretty regularly, sought out relationships that were not motivated by proper desires, and perhaps most depressing, developed an eating disorder. This eating disorder consumed my life for 4 years where I lost considerable weight, fought often with my parents, and worst of all, blamed God for my problems. I turned from God, wanted nothing to do with Him, and had no interest in Him in the slightest. It was during these years that I saw just how wicked humanity can be as I went from a person who professed God as my Savior to someone who wanted nothing to do with God. 

God's Saving Grace

I can still remember the night in which God took a hold of my life and made my faith something deeper than just words. I can remember being on the edge of total depression, wondering how in the world my life could get so miserable. That night, for whatever reason, I decided to open up the Bible. I couldn't tell you why I did, but something compelled me to "try" out God (I believe this was the Holy Spirit moving in that moment). Reading several verses of Scripture led me to this realization: I did not have to live this life of pain, because there was a Savior who brought victory. That night God took my life as His, and has led me on a journey of redemption for His glory.


Today

Today I attend Liberty University and have aspirations to be a youth pastor one day. I am engaged to a beautiful, God-fearing girl who has helped me in my own spiritual walk. I love God's Word, but more than just loving what it says, I love to see how it transforms my life and the lives of others. I truly believe it is the standard of truth, and His Word alone will save people. Why God uses a wretch like me I will never know. His Grace is sufficient in my weakness, and I hold to this promise. I don't hold to a certain theological foundation (but I lean Calvinist for sure), but I seek to analyze all theological stances against Scripture. What you will get from me in this blog is a sincere approach to God's Word, practical advice on how we as Christians ought to live, and a lot of love through what God has allowed me to type. 

Thank you for the opportunity to proclaim God's Word to you and to all who read this.



By: Nathan Fox 



Background

The chapter of Acts that I am currently finishing up is Chapter 15, which happens to be one of the most important chapters not only in this book, but also throughout the course of church history. Why is this chapter so imperative? What makes this one chapter so important in comparison to chapters around it? In a nutshell it answers this question: can keeping the law of God save a man? 

We see in the beginning of this chapter the assumption being raised by "men from Judea" (I would daresay that they were Jews) claiming that unless one keeps God's commands, then that person cannot be saved. This was a big issue at the time, and in some ways is still a big issue today. Can a person keep God's Law and expect those obedient acts to get him to heaven? Though these Jewish men said that one must keep the law, we see in the very next verse just how hard Paul and Barnabas (two strong men of the faith) fought to squash this idea. The Bible says that they had no "small dissension and dispute with them," meaning that they vehemently disagreed with the notion that works can save a man.

This dispute ended up being carried into the presence of the apostles and elders of the church (of whom we know included Paul, Barnabas, Peter, and James). With the question lobbied about whether works does or does not play a contributing role to salvation, Peter stands up and makes this proclamation: "Why do you test God by putting the yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved..." (Acts 15:10-11) Look at this contrast that Peter lays out for the entire audience. Perfect works are too unbearable for anyone, but the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation! The yoke, the heavy burden, of works is unattainable for any human being according to Peter, but simple faith in Jesus' person and work meets God's standard for salvation. 

Implications Today

So many times through Facebook, Twitter, and even face to face conversations I have been asked the question of what role works play in our salvation. People just want to know what can they do to gain God's favor. They want to know what they must do in the future to keep God's favor. And you know what is saddening to me? You know who is not stepping in and saying what Peter said? The Church! The church has so watered down the Gospel, so compromised the message, and so deified man's efforts that it has become sickening to my heart. I know of pastors (both big and small) who claim that "you can obtain heaven on your own efforts, and who are we as conservative Christians to claim that salvation is through faith alone?" I have heard this message from pulpits, though luckily never at a church I have stayed at. 

Folks who read this need to understand this simple truth: you can't do it. You cannot make it to heaven on your terms. It is illogical, man-driven, and selfishly attempts to rob God of the glory due to Him. Think about this for a second: If you can earn your way into heaven like the Jews claimed in this passage in Acts, then is your salvation really secure? If you can get into heaven through works, then what happens when your good works stop? Do you lose your salvation? You can see the conundrum that faces so many people who are so desperate for some satisfaction in knowing that they are saved. 

It is through Christ alone that you are saved. It is through His grace and His alone that we can know what eternal life really is. John 14:6 does not mix words when it says that Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven and to the Father. Perhaps someone reading this has put faith into works, and perhaps they have realized through this post that their efforts just are not sufficient enough. They might be valiant in your mind, but it breaks the heart of myself to say that your valiant efforts will still condemn you to eternal judgment. In Christ alone our hope is found. In Him and nothing else. If this blog or any posts we have written entice you to wonder, this would be a great time to ask any of us what salvation really consists of. Trust me, we would love to help you. 

1 comment:

  1. Revelation 3:5
    King James Version (KJV)
    5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

    NOTE: in the 2nd part of v 5 we see that some will have their names removed from the book of life.

    Be careful of what you teach, you will held to a higher standard.James 3:1

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