Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation
God’s Love The love of God makes salvation possible. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
"God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves. " + St. John Chrysostom.
God’s Mercy Receiving God's mercy means we receive His undeserved compassion instead of our well-deserved punishment. God’s choice of a people in which to share His saving love and mercy took place before the world began and His love has been offered to sinners in every age. Of His people, Deuteronomy 7:6 says, "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." (cf.Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Chronicles 16:13; Psalm 89:3, 135:4; Isaiah 43:10). To God's new covenant people, St. Paul wrote, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" (2 Thessalonians 2:13), and to the saints at Ephesus he wrote, ". . . even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world." (1:4) Because God is merciful, He loves us and gives us grace.
"Human nature is deified for the sake of the boundless compassion of the Son of God; and its sins are purified; the defiled are sanctified. The ailing are healed. Upon those in dishonour are boundless honour and glory bestowed. Those in darkness are enlightened by the Divine light of grace and reason.” + St. John of Kronstadt, Sermon on the Nativity of Jesus Christ
God’s Grace Having mercy upon His people, God did not give them them due punishment they deserve; instead, He gave them the gift of life they don't deserve; the gift of eternal salvation in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul said to the saints in Rome, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:23-24); and, "For the wages ofsin is death; but thegiftofGodis eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This is God's amazing grace!
Man's Guilt Mercy and grace are not needed by those who are pure and innocent, but by those who are guilty and thus defiled by sin. St. Mark records our Lord Jesus saying, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." All mankind is guilty before God (1 John 1:8-10) who alone is pure and holy. For this reason, ALL of us need mercy and grace in order to be saved.
Understand the Severe Consequences of Sin Unless you recognize your sinful state before Holy God, you will never be persuaded by your need for a Savior, thus, you will justify your sinful condition and live accordingly. Unless you sense your great need to be reconciled to God and redeemed by Him, you will never repent, thus, you will remain eternally lost. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (See Luke 13:3-5)
The Effectual Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Christ’s blood paid a debt we could never pay. The Scriptures tells us that His blood (His atoning sacrifice) paid our ransom and His life and death appeased the father's wrath against us ( 1 John 2:2, 4:10), purchased our redemption and reconciled us to God.“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28)
God Calls Through the good news--the Gospel, God calls His sheep by name; they hear Him and follow Him (John 10:27). The Holy Spirit ensures God's people hear the good news that Christ Messiah has come to redeem sinners from the wages of sin (i.e.,death) and God saves them by grace through believing in His Name. Romans 9: 14 says, How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? ( See Acts 2:38-41)
God Converts Sinners Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit; the fruit of our gift of repentance. Sinners cannot convert themselves any more than a leopard can change the his spots (Jeremiah 13:23). Conversion then is a miracle of God when repentant sinners, who, being convicted by God have sensed their guilt before Him and thus turn to Him for mercy and life. This aspect of salvation too is a gracious blessing from God.
God Justifies Justification is God’s sovereign declaration that a guilty sinner is legally cleared of all the guilt incurred as a result of their intentional, repeated rebellion. All those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation are justified by God. Logically then, first comes God's mercy and grace which gives us faith through the Gospel, then comes His gracious "gift" of justification. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
To the Galatians, Paul wrote: "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” (Galatians 3:3-8, NKJV)
While the justification of sinners is God's work alone, that justification is never alone as the truly justified man or woman, having been converted by the holy Spirit, necessarily bears fruit which demonstrates justification (James 2:14-26), or as St. Paul put it in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." [Also see Titus 2:14]
God Sanctifies Sanctification is God the Holy Spirit's gift by which He sets apart for God regenerated, converted, justified believers. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime as God faithfully works in us to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). For those being sanctified by God, the Holy Spirit places His seal (2 Corinthians 1:19-22; Ephesians 1:3-14). Because of the Holy Spirit's work in our sanctification, we are now inclined and motivated to live "sanctified lives" in a world where Christ-like piety is despised (Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 2:10). Salvation through Christ leads to creation of a new person who loves the Lord and desires to serve and obey Him with all his heart. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3
“When we have attained some degree of holiness we should always repeat to ourselves the words of the Apostle: “Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me’ (1 Cor. 15:10), as well as what was said by the Lord: ‘Without Me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5)." + St. John Cassian
God Glorifies Glorification is the final application of all God's graces to the resurrected Christian in the eternal state. This too is a gift of God grace to whosoever trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life (Romans 8:18-28). St. Paul tells us we “will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3) and awaiting us is “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Jesus Himself prays to the Father concerning us, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them” (John 17:22), and perhaps most shocking of all, Peter says we will “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
Because God is Merciful, Gracious, and Faithful to us START LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE TODAY!
Be Baptized with Water Baptism is an outward testimony of an inward transformation and a symbol of fellowship with Jesus in his death and resurrection. It depicts believers being grafted into him, the remission of sins, and submission to God through Jesus Christ to live and walk in newness of life. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16 “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him...” Colossians 2:12
Attend Church Regularly Assemble with God's people for worship regularly; every time the church meets. Become an active member of a like-minded, Christ-centered, Bible-believing church. In the church, connect with fellow believers who read and live the truth for the glory of God. Don’t try to make it on your own. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Read and Obey God’s Word God’s Word is the source of faith and hope. Read it often, believe it and obey it. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10
Pray Often Prayer is conversation here He listens to all that's on your heart. God speaks back to us through His Word. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” I John 5:14-15 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
Resist the Devil Temptation is not sin but yielding to temptation is sin. We are called and empowered to be overcomers of sin. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Be Separated from the Sins of the World As he instructed his chosen people, Israel, to remain apart from the world, He also instructed His church in the New Testament to “come out from among them, and be ye separate.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) The Bible knows nothing of salvation apart from obedience. A superficial decision to “accept the Lord” while retaining a love for the pleasures of the sin of the world will not yield the power that transforms the soul and consistently overcomes sin. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13). And, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? …Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18
Be Transformed A born again believer considers self-denial and self-discipline a privilege. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Practice Holiness By the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit, seek to live an overcoming, pure life in all your thoughts, motives, conversation and actions. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13, For the wages of sin is death; but the giftofGod is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.