Into the Light Ministries Christian Flag
 

The Covenant of Salvation
And how it affects you.

There are many churches out there that will tell you that you need to do this or that to be saved and it is confusing to a lot of people. How can we tell what to believe and what not to? What do we truly need to do, if anything, to maintain our salvation? To answer these questions and more is the purpose of this study.

So what is the covenant of salvation? Well crudely put it is the agreement we enter into with God at the moment of salvation. God states in His word that if we seek Him then we will find Him and that if we invite Him to take over our lives then He will. He has and will keep His side of the agreement; but it is up to us to keep ours. Some of you at this point my be wondering what I am talking about. So let me lay it all out and then we can go through it one item at a time.

The Bible tells us many things that we must do in order to maintain our salvation. I know that some of you will be wondering if I am teaching salvation by works, a concept clearly refuted by scripture. We are not saved by our works. Our initial salvation is undeserved and unearned. There is nothing that we can do or have done to merit salvation, but our salvation is something that we must maintain. This is why Paul says in Philippians 2:12 to work out our salvation. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are told to examine ourselves daily to see if we are in the faith. So then what is it that we need to examine? We need to take a look at ourselves and see if we are living our lives in accordance with the word of God. God is not frivolous, He would not tell us this if it was not important. God is telling us to make sure that we are doing the things that He has commanded us to do, the things that will keep us in a right standing with Him. If we do not do this then we are in danger of losing our salvation. So what are the things that we must do in order to maintain our salvation?

  • We must deny self
  • We must be selfless
  • We must be compassionate
  • We must have brotherly love
  • We must have friendship
  • We must have humility
  • We must have no strife
  • We must forgive
  • We must follow Christ's example
  • We must live by faith

If we can do all, not some, of these things, then and only then is our salvation secure in Christ. So let's go down the list and see where they line up with the word of God.

Self denial

24) Then Jesus said unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.
25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Matthew 16:24-25

Here Jesus is telling us that in order for us to gain our life in Him, eternal life, then we must lose our life. We must deny everything that we were before we were saved. This means that we must give up all of our hopes, dreams and plans, and our way of doing things whether for a good job, a family or a vacation. We must lay down our entire life and pick up the cross of Christ and follow Him and live the life that He has for us. This means that we will be persecuted by the world and the devil. The devil will persecute us because we are living for Christ and not for him, and the world will also persecute us because they will not understand what we are doing or why we are doing it. It is only in giving up ourselves completely that we can find Christ. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with a good job or a family etc, but they must be in subjection to Christ, and if He wants you to give them up then we must obey (but we will discuss obedience later).
Have you given all for Christ?

Selflessness

24) Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
1 Corinthians 10:24

The ultimate in selflessness is in seeking another's wealth. How many of us were (or still are) caught up in the pursuit of our own wealth? And how hard is it for us to let all of that go and seek another's wealth? This can be a very hard command to follow, especially for the family man. Modern society has taught us that the man is the provider for the family, when it should be God that supplies all of our needs. Even Jesus said that it is difficult for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of heaven. But having said that, it is not wealth itself that is the problem. It is the pursuit of it. Remember it is the “love” of money that is the root of all evil not money itself. If we are pursuing wealth, or anything for that matter, then we have taken our eyes off of Christ and put then on self. This can be said for anything that we desire and not just money.
What is your wealth?

Compassionate

32) Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
Matthew 15:32

If we are called to be Christ-like, then we also must have compassion as He had. But this compassion does not extend only to our family or the body of Christ, but to the multitudes, to the entire human race. Not once does Jesus say that we are to feed and cloth only fellow believers. Jesus had compassion on the unsaved multitude and so must we. Some people might say that they have compassion for the world but their actions do not show it. That is not being compassionate it is being lazy. Jesus followed up His compassion with actions, He feed the people, healed the sick and infirm, preached the gospel and in the ultimate act of compassion He gave His life that we might live. How many of us can say that we would do the same thing? How many of us would give our time up for others let alone our lives? Yet this is the very thing the Jesus commands us to do. How many of us can say that we live our lives completely for others? Again this is what we are commanded to do by Christ.
Have you given up your life for others today?

Brotherly Love

12) And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men, even as we do towards you:
1 Thessalonians 3:12

Here we are told to take compassion one step further. Christ tells us that we must abound (be overflowing) in love for everyone. John 15:13 tells us that the ultimate expression of love is to lay down our life for others. Again Philippians 2:3 tells us to consider all others more important than ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 13 we are told just exactly what love is. And to put it in a nutshell, love is selfless. As we go through this study it will become more and more obvious that all of these requirements for salvation mean putting to death self and living for others. We must do this if we are to emulate Christ, the embodiment of love. If we truly have brotherly love then we will only be thinking of the needs of others and never of ourselves.
Do you truly love your brother or sister?

Friendship

The word for friend in the New Testament is Philos, meaning “dear to” or “companion”. Over 15 New Testament words are derived from Philos and all of them mean love in one form or another, both good and bad. The antonym of Philos is Echthros, meaning enemy. So one of the best ways for us to know how to be a true friend to someone is to do the opposite of what an enemy would. An enemy will do everything that they can to tear you down and destroy you, they will try to discredit, shame and accuse you. But a true friend will do just the opposite. He will build you up and help you to grow, stand by you at all times, help you to avoid shame and they will never accuse you of anything. In short an enemy brings death but a friend brings life because a true friend is acting out of the love of Christ.
Can we be friends, one to another?

Humility

There are a number of places in the New Testament where we are told that if we are humble then in God's time He will exalt us. But the one that speaks to me the strongest is in Matthew. Here the disciples have asked Jesus who is the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus replies…

3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3-4

Here Jesus is telling us that first we must be converted (saved) and that then we must become as humble as children if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven. Humility should be a natural state for any Christian, but as the verse implies it is not. Jesus tells us here that we must become humble not that the act of salvation makes us humble. Pride can be a big problem for Christians; because we seem to get it into our head that just because we are saved we are somehow better that everyone else, forgetting of course that we did nothing to warrant salvation in the first place. When we do this we become the Pharisee spoken of in Luke.

9) And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:9-14

Who we are is chosen by God, what abilities we have are chosen by God. God created us the way that we are because it would give Him the most glory and pleasure. And remember we were created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). I once heard a saying about humility, it goes like this: Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. If we were always thinking of others there would be no room for pride and we would be living in true humility.
Are you truly humble?

No Strife

23) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
2 Timothy 2:23

Here is the command of God to avoid strife. Here we also learn that it is foolish and unlearned questions that lead to strife. Now I know that many of you have heard the saying “There are no stupid questions”. In this case the Bible is talking more about the intent behind the questions than the questions themselves. Some people will ask controversial questions just to try and cause an argument, and they have no intention of listening to what you or anyone else has to say, and no intention of learning anything. All they are looking to do is cause strife. As Christians we should be above these petty things, but some are not. Avoid these situations by seeking the Lord about any questions you have and also about any questions that others my have asked you. Strife causes contention and division in the body of Christ, and as Christ says in Matthew 12:25 a house divided cannot stand. If Christians are spending all of their time fighting amongst themselves then the Gospel is not being preached and people are not being saved. This is the same as squandering the talents that God has given us. Remember what happened to the man that buried his talent (Matthew 25:14-30). If we as Christians cannot stand together then we will fall. Is the strife caused by arguing really worth it? So what if someone accused you of something falsely or called you a name or something equally foolish. Is it not better to be the bigger person and take the offense rather than be the cause of division? Remember Jesus says to turn the other cheek.
Are you causing or preventing strife?

Forgiveness

As anyone who has read even part of the Bible can tell you, it is full of verses that tell us to forgive each other and our enemies. This is not a suggestion; it is a command of God. Let us look at Matthew 18:21. Here Peter is asking Jesus how many times must he forgive his brother. And Jesus replies with the parable about the unforgiving servant. At the end of this parable Jesus says.

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35) So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one of his brother their trespasses.
Matthew 18:35

Here Jesus is telling us that we must forgive everyone their sins against us. One thing to notice is that He does not set a limit on how many times we must forgive. Here and also in the Lords prayer we are told that if we do not forgive others then God will not forgive us. Forgiveness is such a big part of our lives as Christians. The forgiveness of Christ is how we became Christians in the first place. Now I know that some people are easier to forgive than others, especially if it was a family member that sinned against us or if it was an unintentional sin. But the bible tells us that we are to forgive unconditionally, even if it was our worst enemy that sinned against us and even if they did it on purpose. Christ forgives us for our sins against Him and no matter how you spin it our sins are deliberate. We have a choice, to sin or not to sin. So many times we choose to sin and yet God, in His mercy still forgives us when we ask for it. How much more (since we are to be Christ like) should we be forgiving those that sin against us?
Can you forgive those that have sinned against you?

Follow Christ's example

21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that that ye should follow his steps.
1 Peter 2:21

So then what exactly is the example of Christ that we are to follow? The next few verses tell us that Jesus was sinless, that no guile was found in Him, He did not return insult for insult (He turned the other cheek), He made no threats of vengeance for the abuse He suffered. In fact Jesus trusted and committed Himself wholly to God (verse 23). Elsewhere we are told that Christ spoke only what the Father spoke, He had compassion, forgiveness, humility, in fact Jesus had everything that we have covered so far. Christ is all of these things and more. There is much more to Christ's example than the small list here. Please read and study Christ's examples for yourself to see what else He would have us do. The New Testament is full of examples of our Lord for us to emulate. If we are to call ourselves Christians then we must follow Christ's example.
How Christ-like are you?

Live by Faith

17 …the just shall live by faith.
Romans 1:17

Romans tells us here that the just shall live by faith. So who are the just? The just are those that are righteous before God. If anyone wishes to be righteous before God then he must live by faith. So what does that mean? What is faith? Faith is the persuasion of the mind that a certain thing is true and if a thing is true then it is worthy of trust. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior we do so because we are persuaded that He is real and true. And if that is the case then His word must also be true and worthy of trust. Therefore if we are living by His word (the bible) then we are living by faith and we are living a life pleasing to God, and we will be found righteous on the day of judgment.
Are you living by faith?

These points and more are part of the covenant that we made with Jesus the moment we accepted Him into our hearts to rule our lives and grant us His salvation. Please read, study and pray about these points and ask the Lord to reveal to you where you are in relation to His covenant. I pray that this study has opened your eyes as it did mine.

 
Everyone must die sometime.
"...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..." Hebrews 9:27

 
What will happen to you?
© 1998 - 2017 Into the Light Ministries
Branson, MO, USA
 Site Index      Webworks Website Design
Validated by HTML Validator