The Benefit Package of Salvation
An employee looks carefully and considers the benefits an employer offers when considering a job offer. Benefits have come to be a significant factor with the following being chief concerns: health care, retirement, disability, life insurance and paid vacation time.
I would remind you- benefits are for the full-time employee, not part- time employees. And in the case of those who are self-employed, own their own business- they must provide all the benefits themselves.
This is not that different from the benefits one has as part of their salvation. We could compare the carnal Christian to a part time employee; and the spiritually mature Christian who is fully persuaded that God can do what He promised to do as a full time employee enjoying all the benefits. And the unbeliever is like the self employed, they are depending on self to create the benefits they will enjoy. Many times we even describe these type of individuals as a self-made man.
Why would a believer ever not want to utilize the benefits provided by our Heavenly Father? Sometimes it is ignorance of what they have in Christ. But also we are like the Galatians Paul described in his epistle to them- having begun in the Spirit they are now trying to finish in the flesh. This is one of the great deceptions of the enemy, the father of all lies. The carnal Christians life is marked by worry, anxiety and fear. Like a person who has no insurance worries about what he will do if they become sick, this person is weary and burdened with so many cares. Yet the Lord could not have been any clearer than in Matthew 6 where He told us not to worry about our lives and the bottom line was seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
We sing- saved- to new life sublime, dont we? But it seems not many are enjoying what they would call a sublime life in the here and now and seemed resolved to only looking forward to heaven while getting through as best as they can. Another song comes to mind- trying to make a living and doing the best I can. That seems to sum up life some days, doesnt it?
So here Paul turns his attention and ours to what we have as a benefit package as a result of salvation, which he has clearly detailed as being saved by grace through faith. So like the HR person who sits down with the new hire and explains the benefit package, Paul lists our major benefits:
- Peace with God
- Access to God
- Glorious Hope
- An ongoing Character building program
- Gods love within our hearts
- Salvation from future wrath of God
- Reconciliation with God.
In todays lesson, our goal is to understand these benefits.
PEACE WITH GOD
All of these benefits come to us as all included package of benefits made possible by Grace through faith. First understand, as verse 10 of Romans 5 tells us- we were enemies of God before we were saved. God had declared war on us, we were condemned. Justification means God declared us righteous and therefore He has made a declaration of peace with those who believe, made possible through the death of Christ on the cross. It was sin that caused the quarrel between us and God. But more than a formal peace between two parties who were once enemies, God loves us, adopts us as His own children and we have the privilege of becoming His friends. How sweet the song the little children sing- my best friend is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Jesus said we are his friends. He is the friend who took our place-took my sins, took my punishment, paid my debt. The Lord Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the one who mediated a peace between me and God. Peace with God. No longer the subject of Gods wrath, but instead the recipient of His infinite love and goodness. Have you ever been the recipient of good news regarding something that you were anxious about, something that had been a major concern?
I remember when Gina and I heard the results of the cat scan that would tell us if the cancer was gone, when the doctor told us there was no sign of any cancer. Our reaction was relief, relief from worry about my health, our future, our family. The relief was a benefit of peace that knows the problem that existed, no longer exists. Freed from worry, anxiety and concern, we felt the weight lifted off our shoulders. We speak of world peace and pursue it, but there will never be world peace until the Prince of Peace comes. Jesus also said to His disciples on the night of his arrest: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you . I do not give to you as the world gives. (John 14:27) This is a peace, (in my opinion) that seems to come and go. There is another peace that Paul mentions in Philippians 4:7 a peace that passes understanding. It seems obvious from its description this is a peace that comes upon us, we cannot understand.
But we cannot experience any of these types of peace until we have this peace with God, which is permanent. It is a peace that comes because we are fully persuaded our sins are forgiven and everything has been made right with God through the blood of Jesus Christ.
ACCESS TO GOD
Before the cross, the Jew was kept from access to the presence of God by the temple veil to the Holy of Holies. The Gentile was kept out of Gods presence by the wall in the temple that separated the Gentile from the Jewish congregation. In fact, to go past this wall was to subject that Gentile to death. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn from the top down. And Paul writes in Ephesians 2:14: For He Himself is our peace who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh,the law with its commandments and regulations.
The word access carries with it the meaning that we have access to the kings court because we have been brought into His presence and announced as one having the right to enter into His presence. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who has provided us with the way into His Presence. For He told us- he is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by him. ( John 14) Notice again, there is nothing we have done or accomplished to enter into His presence it is all by grace through faith.
We are told this benefit is something in which we now stand. Stand has the implication of something that has been established. Again Paul in Ephesians explains further this benefit. Our stand comes as a process of what God has done. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. All of these benefits are in Christ. He is our resource. We were raised up with Him and made to sit in Him. It was from this position of rest we begin our walk. What was Adams first day on the job? Not the first day he was a new creation. That was a day of rest, the seventh day. So Adams first day on the job came after the rest. We walk after we are seated. We walk worthy of our calling. ( Ephesians 4). Then from there we take our stand, as described in Ephesians 6.
These benefits are rights given, not to be taken away. We are like immigrants who have taken up permanent residence in a new country, where we have received citizenship. These immigrants who come to America come to find a better life. Often they came from a country of oppression where personal freedoms and opportunities are limited. As we were once in a kingdom of darkness held captive in sin and now have come into a kingdom of light. We are as believers, much more than citizens of heaven for we have been adopted into the family of God and made joint heirs with the Lord Jesus. We are a royal priesthood. We are royalty. We must learn how to live in this new place that is now our permanent residence. We must pledge our allegiance to our new country, our new Ruler as we are now citizens of heaven, royal ambassadors. There is one body, one Spirit, – just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.(Ephesians 4) Until I see Him face to face, I have access to Him through prayer. Justification has to do with our standing that gives me access. We are in essence, members in good standing in the household and kingdom of God. This is a benefit of salvation. Our access is twofold. We can enter into the throne room of heaven with confidence because of this standing and our relationship, we enter now in prayer and are told we may find mercy and find grace to help in time of need. This is the power of prayer.
And then this access means that God speaks to us through His Word.
When we get saved, the Word of God comes alive for us. Before it was just a book that had no appeal to us. Now this book was about me, for me, a light that directed my path-it explained my new position, it told me of what I now possessed. It was the Lords living will and testament to me as to what I had inherited. I am always welcome in His presence- He delights to see me and you and hear from us. And do you know how glad He is to see you when you leave Him to go to the far country like the prodigal son? Listen to the description of this reunion: But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15) There would be a big party that night- for his son who was lost- was found. Come near to God and he will come near to you.( James 4)
Let me say our glorious hope is that this life is not all there is. In fact, it is only the beginning with the best yet to come. For He has promised He is coming again for me and you. For this reason we have hope. We also have hope because we know Gods commandments are always for our good. God made us and therefore He knows us better than anyone, including ourselves. He knows my name, He knows my limitations, my drives, my weakness. He also knows what will give me the greatest sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, meaning, purpose and hope. He also knows what will put you and me in the best possible position to receive all that He has for us. His commandments are my operating instructions so that we might experience all the wonderful things He has for us.
I have hope- glorious hope because:
- I know I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.
- I know I have access to His presence
- I know I have access to His Power.
- I know I have access to His Name.
- I know I have access to His Estate.
I have Hope,Glorious Hope because I know God loves me unconditionally, is true to His Word, is able to deliver, is wise and loving, and is in complete control
I have all of this by grace through faith. I believe God is Who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.
I have Glorious Hope because I believe in an all powerful, all knowing Almighty God for whom nothing is impossible!
Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14