SAVED BY FAITH††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††By Pastor Yau
†††††† One of the most difficult things I have to do as a pastor is conducting funerals for non-believers.† As the pastor of a Chinese Community church, I often times have to conduct funerals for friends of the church who were not Christians.† I canít say the deceased person, because he/she did not believe in Jesus, is not saved and will not therefore be admitted to heaven.† All I can say, usually, is about the importance of believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior and therefore have eternal life.† I always aim at the family and the non-believers in the congregation when I preached at those funerals. Many people just donít understand the importance of making that decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior while they still have time.† A funeral service conducted by a pastor will not get them tickets to heaven after they died.
WHY DO WE NEED TO BE SAVED?
†††††† MAN NEEDS SALVATION is the theme of the Bible from cover to cover. From the time God created the universe to the coming of Jesus, to the founding of the church and the Great Commission to this day, God is calling people back to Him thru the atonement of His son, Jesus, the Christ. All men need to be saved because:
1) All men have sinned. (Romans 3:10-12, 19-20; -25) All men in history have sinned. No man may save himself because he is good. We all have violated the laws of God. We were born with the nature of sin as babies were born with HIV virus from their parents. Sin, as a spiritual disease, can not be eradicated by human efforts.† It can only be forgiven by God on the basis of our faith in His son Jesus.
2) No man is able to save himself by obeying the law. (Romans 3:20, 7:7, 18-23) The purpose of the Law is for men to recognize his sins just as a mirror is for men to see his true condition. Sin is from the heart more than from the actions. (Matt. 5:28) God looks into the hearts of men while laws look only in the actions. †Our thoughts condemn us before we act out the thoughts.
3) No culture or ethnic background can set anyone superior then others.† Some Chinese insist that because Chinese have a long history and civilization, we may not need salvation of God.† There are many other nations whose history and culture have been in existence as long as Chinese, can they claim the same? Are Chinese people less sinful, more righteous in the eyes of God than other people? It is a very poor argument to claim culture and history as shields from repentance.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO BE SAVED?
†††††† SALVATION IS A PLAN PREPARED BY GOD.† Knowing that men cannot save themselves, God initiated a plan very early in human history by offering a SUBSTITUTE for sins of men.
1) God sent His only Son to save the world. (Matt. 1:21; Romans 5:6-8) Since there is no human deeds good enough to save man from his sins, God prepared a way for man to be saved: by sending His own Son to die on the cross for the sins of men. The words like ATONEMENT and RANSOM give us some ideas how this is done.† God prepares a substitute to pay for our sins so men will not be condemned.
2) Men need to accept this gift of grace by FAITH. Believing in Jesus, accepting his forgiveness upon our repentance, trusting Him with our all in this life and eternity will bring us back to God. (Romans 10:9-10; John ; -15) We put out faith in many people and many things. We trust the doctors in his diagnoses, the pharmacist on the medication we take.† We trust the traffic lights to stop or to go. But trusting Jesus is the most important trust we need to have for eternal life.
†††††† We all know the importance of OPPORTUNITIES. When they knock, we better respond, or they will soon go away.† God has been waiting for all of us to come back to Him since He sent Jesus to die on the cross, We need to take the opportunity to accept His grace and gift while we still can by placing our faith in His Son Jesus. No dead man can make decision for his eternal life.† Please make things easier for the pastor who may conduct your funeral some day, knowing that you are saved and you are with the Lord when you die.