Bible Ballistics: I pledge allegiance??? Vol. 4 #8 6/29/14

As we prepare to celebrate ‘Independence’ Day, here in America, I thought we’d look at ‘allegiance’.—“loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior, or of an individual or group or a cause”. To what or whom are we giving allegiance? We say the ‘Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag, we are loyal to the country we love, to brands we use, to people, to organizations….etc., the list could go on. But my question today is, “Have you pledged your allegiance” to the one who saves? Do you claim the name of Jesus and yet give Him no loyalty or commitment, for whatever reason?

Romans 11:36 says, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Glory to Him who created all things, including faith. Glory to Him who saves!!

 We live in a time of ‘selfies’: ‘self’ pics, ‘self’-indulgence, ‘self’-gratification, and ‘self’-righteousness. We have, in many ways, neglected and even ignored the wonderful gift of conviction. Because it’s not of ‘self’, but of God. The conviction of the precious Holy Spirit, who brings men to see their sinful state and burdens them to come to the cross. And when we come to the cross it is worthy of all our allegiance–All that we have, the very breath that we breathe for all is ‘of Him…through Him….to whom be glory…

But what’s the importance of ‘conviction’? Is it important? While we don’t hear this preached much these days, we need it. What is ‘conviction’? Conviction means to “convince” of something. To be convinced of one’s own sin.

2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Romans 3:23-24, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Are you convinced?

Jesus paid the price for sin, but unless and until we see ourselves as ‘sinners’, we see no need of the Savior.  Conviction is the work of the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) who brings people to see themselves as a sinner, lost before a Holy God. In Romans, Paul reminds us that while we are/were lost, Jesus paid the price for our redemption (buying us back) from the debit we owe– as sinners.

Romans 5:8-9, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Romans 6:22-23, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (See Ephesians 2 also)

We who belong to Jesus are ‘free from sin’ and it’s power and are now servants of God, rather than servants of sin. We have obtained this life through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus—because the ‘wages (payment) of sin is death’, but the death of Jesus, when we trust HIM, gives us eternal life. Jesus delivers us. The Spirit brings this ‘short-coming’ to our hearts and souls—only then can we see the significance of Christ’s redemption–The payment HE made for ‘MY’ debt.

In Genesis 3, we see sin enter the world, man hiding his sin, by hiding himself from God, and God’s response. So, what did God do? He came ‘asking’, “Where art thou?” Did God not know where they were? Of course He did. Then why ask? So that ‘they’ would recognize where they were. They felt the shame and embarrassment of sin, but didn’t know what to do until God came to them. God, in his mercy and grace, walked them through the sin in their lives, revealed to them the harm, degradation and evil of their sin and showed them the way to be restored (in part) to fellowship with God. He provided a sacrifice for them. He showed them that the sacrifice of blood was required to cover their sin and restore their relationship to God, until the ‘once for all’ sacrifice was made by His own Son.

Hebrews 10:10, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

God brought them to see their sin, and by His Holy Spirit He is still revealing sin, and restoring people to relationship with HIM because of Calvary. Have you been there?

 God hasn’t changed—He is still the initiator of Salvation:

 John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

And John 14:5-7, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, there is no saving faith. God initiates salvation–it is never our idea!!!! No, you didn’t think of it yourself. God brought you to Himself through the convicting of the Holy Spirit, and without God’s initiation—there is no saving faith, there is no salvation. As we’ve looked before at John 1:12-13,

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Think back in your own life.   What are you counting on to save you?

A prayer,

baptism,

your faithful work in the church?

These are all good things but they don’t achieve, win or gain salvation for anyone.

 John 5:38-40 says, “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Are you refusing to come to Jesus?

Or pledging ‘self’ to Him?

Real faith comes from God, is imparted to us by God, but is preceded by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Until we know that we are sinners, why would we need a Savior? From what would we need to repent and be saved. It’s like trying to give ‘chemo-therapy’ to a person who doesn’t know they have cancer. Why would someone undergo such a harsh remedy if they didn’t realize that they have a terminal cancer, in need of treatment? Why would anyone come to Jesus who is good enough on their own? They wouldn’t.

So where is our allegiance?

 Is it to our God, who has brought us to repentance and faith?

 Is it to ourselves and

 our own ability to do enough good to get to heaven?

Have you heard the voice of the Spirit, calling you to the Savior?

Do you belong to Jesus and hear that ‘still small voice’ calling you to forsake the world and cleave to your Savior?

 What ever our need—

 God is our only hope.

 Spend some time

in quietness

 before the Lord,

 listening to that precious Holy Spirit

 speaking His heart to ours.

 To know and obey the dearest one to our souls,

 in our living TODAY!!!