Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 4:25 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “My Sheep.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 10:1-13 (ESV). Submission to God (vv. 1-4) Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Many people today claim to be Christians. They claim to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives. Yet, not all of them are truly saved from their sins. Not all of them truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Why? Because it is not enough just to confess with your mouth that you know Christ, or even to believe intellectually in his death and resurrection. Salvation from sin involves submission to God’s righteousness. We can’t say we believe in Jesus and then make up our own beliefs about God and about Jesus. We can’t pull a few scriptures out of context, either, and build a whole doctrine around them while ignoring the bulk of teaching in the New Testament concerning our salvation, and what it means to truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (master-owner) and as Savior of our lives. So many people today are teaching a gospel of salvation absent of the cross of Christ in the life of the believer. Not only did Jesus have to die on a cross for our sins, but we must die with him in death to sin, and we must be resurrected with him in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24; cf. Ro. 6). Belief in Jesus Christ is not a religion or a set of religious practices we perform. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, i.e. to God, in submission of our wills to the will of God for our lives. We die to our old lives of living for sin and self, and we are born anew of the Spirit of God to new lives to be lived for God and to his righteousness and holiness (See: Luke 9:23-25; John 6:35-66; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9). It is much more difficult to reach people with the true gospel of our salvation who have been convinced that faith in Jesus Christ requires nothing of them whatsoever. They have sought to establish their own righteousness based on a lie, which tells them they don’t have to turn from their sins, and they don’t have to obey God, which means they believe they don’t have to submit to God’s righteousness. They are being taught that all they have to do is have some kind of mystical and undefined “belief” in Jesus Christ which absolves them of all guilt and punishment for their sin, and which guarantees them heaven when they die. Yet, what they are being told gives them free license to continue living sinful lifestyles without guilt and without remorse, while claiming the promise of heaven when they die. May this never be! Jesus did not die that horrible death on a cross for our sins so that we could continue in sin guilt-free. That is not freedom! That is still bondage to sin whitewashed to make it look like salvation. If we are not delivered out of slavery to sin, then that is no deliverance at all, for we are still destined to eternal punishment without God. If we are not called to obedience, to surrender to God, to submission to his will for our lives, and to walk in his righteousness and holiness, then why call ourselves Christians at all? A Christian is a Christ follower. To follow means to obey. Jesus put sin to death on a cross not just to forgive us of our sins but to eradicate sin from our lives. Amen! Jesus is Lord (vv. 5-13) For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Many people who call themselves Christians pull this section of scripture out of context and build a whole doctrine around it, using it to claim that if one just confesses audibly their faith in Jesus Christ, and if they believe in his bodily resurrection, then they are saved from their sins, have the hope of heaven when they die, and that nothing more is required of them – no submission to God’s righteousness, no repentance, and no obedience to God’s instructions to us, which he left for us to teach us about his righteousness and about holy living. But, is that really what this is saying? Paul was addressing these thoughts primarily to the Jews. For them, if they audibly confessed that Jesus is Lord, they were saying that they believed that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah prophesied about by Moses and by the prophets of old. This was not a mere audible confession for them, for when they did this, they risked rejection and/or death from their family, friends and religious community. Also, to confess that Jesus is Lord is to publicly acknowledge him to be owner-master of our lives. If Jesus is truly owner-master, then that means we obey him, we submit to his righteousness, we walk in his holiness, and we live to do what pleases him instead of living for ourselves and for what we want. As well, their belief in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was not to be a mere intellectual belief, either, but it was to be from their hearts. Our hearts are the center of our being, where we make decisions about morality and our life choices regarding who we are and what we do. So, if we believe in our hearts, i.e. in our innermost being (character and will) that Jesus not only died for our sins, but that he was resurrected from the dead in conquering death, hell, Satan and sin, we make a moral choice of our will to submit to his Lordship over our lives, and to submit to his righteousness being lived out through our lives. We die with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life – a new life in Christ Jesus which is to be lived to his righteousness. Calling on Jesus, too, is not a mere verbal call to him requesting forgiveness for our sins. To call on the name of Jesus is to make an appeal to him in accord with his divine character and will. It is to make a serious or an urgent request to a higher court (God’s court) for a reversal of decision regarding our eternal destiny. It involves pleading with God for his mercy. And, it incorporates repentance - turning from sin to God (See: Is. 55:6-7). Yet, the appeal is not founded on the basis of our goodness, but on God’s goodness and mercy, and on Jesus’ sacrificial death on a cross for our sins. So, what is the point of this passage of scripture? First of all, I believe it is to point out that no one can obey the law with absolute perfection. No one is saved by keeping the law. We can never be good enough to earn or to deserve our own salvation. That is why Jesus died for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us, and thus when he died our sins died with him. Only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, and not of our own doing, can we have such a great salvation from sin, be delivered out of bondage to sin, and have the promise of eternal life with God. Our salvation is a free gift of God, not of works lest any of us should boast that we somehow did something to affect our own salvation. Even the faith to believe is a gift from God. Yet, faith in Jesus Christ is not just an emotional decision, verbal confession, or an intellectual assent to what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins. Faith in Jesus Christ involves submission to God’s righteousness, and it makes Jesus Lord (master-owner) of our lives, for Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). My Sheep / An Original Work / June 24, 2012 Based off John 10:1-18 NIV My sheep hear me. They know me. They listen to my voice and obey. I call them and lead them. They know my voice, so they follow me. They will never follow strangers. They will run away from them. The voice of a stranger they know not; They do not follow him. So, I tell you the truth that I am the gate, so you enter in. Whoever does enter Will find forgiveness and will be saved. Nonetheless whoever enters Not by the gate; other way, He is the thief and a robber. Listen not, the sheep to him. Oh, I am the Good Shepherd, Who laid his own life down for the sheep. I know them. They know me. They will live with me eternally. The thief only comes to steal and Kill and to destroy the church. I have come to give you life that You may have it to the full… They know my voice, so they follow me.