The word hope (desire, expectation) is one of the most comforting words one may hear. However, when HOPE is preceded by the word NO, it can be depressing, devastating or final. NO HOPE is generally not something one would want to hear of self. Sports teams may get so far behind that there is NO HOPE of winning, and may even give up. Businesses sometimes lose all hope of surviving; they may close or even go bankrupt. Individuals and/or families through fault/no fault of their own may feel that there is NO HOPE of saving their families and/or possessions. Some have even committed suicide over such hopeless situations. These and so many other things are sad. Even worse than these things is contracting some disease, having an accident, or any other life-threatening situation, and hearing a doctor say, “I am sorry; I have done all I can. There is no hope.”
The foregoing things all pale in comparison to hearing that you are “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12). Yet, Jesus said most people are in this sad condition. As a result, He plead, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:1, 14). Which road are you travelling?
Dear reader, you do not have to live WITHOUT HOPE! You do not have to be “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1). You no longer have to walk “according to the course of this world…in… disobedience…fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” (Verses 2, 3). “God…is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Verses 4-7).
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus, therefore, pleads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17). Jesus truly is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). He has a right to do so because of the great love He showed for us (John 15:13) in the shedding of His “precious blood as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (2 Peter 1:19) on the cruel, painful, humiliating cross of Calvary. (Matthew 26:28; 27:33-50; Luke 23:33). Cf. 1 Peter 1:21-25.
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Hebrews 5:8, 9). The lost are “justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9), and “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boat. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Thus, all are saved by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, when one does what God has ordained. The God who saves informs all what He calls on them to do to be saved by His grace. God calls upon each one to hear Him (Mark 12:29; Romans 10:14, 17) in order to believe (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6; John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30, 31; Luke 13:3,5; Luke 24:47; Acts 11:18), confess one’s faith that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9, 10; Matthew 10:32, 33), and be “buried” or “planted” in “water” “baptism” (Romans 6:1-5; Acts 8:36-38) “for the remission of sins” (Acts 22:16; 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21), to get into and put on Christ (Galatians 3:27), and enter “the body, the church.” (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22, 23). We see, therefore, that one cannot earn one’s own salvation, but God gives it to one by His grace when one walks in the works He (God) has ordained. Salvation is, therefore, “not by faith only.” (James 2:24, 17, 20, 22, 26). Were salvation by faith only, the devils would populate heaven, because they not only believe and tremble (James 2:19), but confessed Jesus, saying, “Jesus, thou Son of the most high God.” (Mark 5:7; Matthew 8:28, 29).
The chain of salvation might be shown like this: GOD’S GRACE->BLOOD OF JESUS->OUR FAITH-> OUR REPENTANCE->OUR CONFESSION->OUR IMMERSION (BURIAL IN WATER BAPTISM)=SALVATION IN AND PUT ON CHRIST/ AND ADDED TO THE CHURCH. Another way of looking at forgiveness is as follows: GOD’S GRACE->THROUGH FAITH->UPON OBEDIENCE (WALKING IN GOD’S WILL)=SALVATION. Upon doing the things God has ordained (Ephesians 2:10), one’s faith is seen by one’s works (James 2:18), and reveals an active, living, vibrant faith, which merits the grace of God bringing salvation. In other words, those who love Jesus and who wish to accept His grace, unchangeably keep His commandments (John 14:15), showing themselves to be His friends. (John 15:14). One accepts the grace of God and the sacrificial shedding of the blood of Jesus, by working out his/her own salvation (Philippians 2:12), saving his/her own soul. (Acts 2:40).
The result of this great salvation (Hebrews 2:3) has been accepted through obedient faith, and should lead one to thank “God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15). One who has “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17, 18), and may now proudly but humbly declare, “Christ in” ME “the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27). One who is now “in Christ” may now boldly declare that he/ she is “a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Faithfulness (Revelation 2:10; Mark 13:13), will lead one to show godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10, 11): (1) carefulness to live right; (2) total clearing of self; (3) indignation, hating sin and having sinned; (4) fear that you might not have obeyed the Lord, and died lost, with the realization that you could fall back into sin; (5) what vehement desire there is to live right now; (6) what zeal there now is to be faithful; (7) what revenge, in showing Satan for what he is and does to people, such as, Romans 6:23; and, finally, (8) “In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” The saved will show that they have “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24). What is put off, and what is put on? Read Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-26; Ephesians 4:25-6:24; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Philippians 4:8.
Friend, Hades (paradise, Abraham’s bosom; or torment) are just one heartbeat away. (Luke 16:19-31). After Hades, begins the eternal (non-ending) lake of fire and brimstone. (Revelation 21:8; Matthew 25:46). Are you ready to leave this world at peace with God? He wants to and will be your Savior today. (Luke 2:11). He will be your “Judge…at his appearing and his kingdom.” (2 Timothy 4:2). If you are a faithful Christian, do not let anything disturb your relationship with God. Continue to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” (Titus 2:11, 12). If you are not a Christian, or you are unfaithful, deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” (Titus 2:11, 12), putting the sinful worldly things behind you, and obey God (1 John 2:15-17) today (Hebrews 3:7, 13, 15; 4:7), right now. (2 Corinthians 6:2). Remember, “And there shall in no wise enter into it and thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 22:27). Those in Christ, the hope of glory are those written in the Lamb’s book of life. IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN THERE? IT CAN BE!!! Call the one who gave you this tract or the church of Christ nearest you to obey God today. Pillow your head this night with assurance of forgiveness of sins. You may also write to the address hereon.