Christmas "A and S" The letters A and S conclude our discussion on the True Meaning of Christmas with the hopes that an enhanced understanding of Christmas has been gained. A-Atonement means to be forgiven of ones sins, or the bringing together of two who have been at odds with one another. Atonement removes the barrier that once existed between man and God and through Jesus’ death on Calvary restored the peaceful relationship between man and God. His blood sacrifice removed the need for animal sacrifices ever again (Hebrews 9:12-18). The difference between animal sacrifices and Christ’s sacrificial death is that animal sacrifices covered over sin whereas Christ’s sacrifice done away with sin. What a difference! Lastly, Christ’s atonement permanently removed guilt and sin thus turning away God’s wrath and reconciled humanity back to God. Thank God for Jesus----what a fellowship! S-Salvation means deliverance from evil, the bringing safely through, or protecting from harm, and eternal life (Isaiah 12:2; Luke 19:9). Our salvation comes only through God’s grace, which He freely gives, and our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24) which is based on His death (Romans 3:25; 5:8; resurrection (Romans 5:10) and continued intercession for believers (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus is the way to Salvation! Salvation is described as having two sides or three stages: (1) Salvation is a gift of God’s graces that is received through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; 24-25; 28), and it is extended to us as a result of His grace (John 1:16) (2) It is received by all believers through ones response of his or her faith (Acts 16:31; Romans 1:17; Ephesians 1:15). Let's segway to the three stages of salvation, which are past, present and future as outlined below: Past consists of the personal experience by which believers receive forgiveness of sin as a free gift (Acts 10:43; Romans 4:6-8) and pass from spiritual death to spiritual life. Believers have been rescued from Satan’s powers. Present is that salvation saves us from the bondage, power and dominion of sin and brings us into a fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit. There is a person-to-person relationship with God as our Father and Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Matthew 6:9; John 14:18-23). Believers are dead to sin (Romans 6:1-14) and believers submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Roman 8:1-17), God’s Word (John 8:31; 14:21; II Timothy 3:15-16), an invitation to be filled with the Holy Spirit and separate ourselves from sin (Roman 6:1-14) and we are called to contend for the advancement of God’s kingdom against Satan and his demonic attacks. Future stage of salvation is the believer’s deliverance from God’s coming wrath (Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 3:15; 5:5). Believers will share in Christ’s glory as well as receiving our resurrected or transformed bodies (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49). Lastly, believers will be rewarded as faithful overcomers as this is the goal for all Christians to achieve (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:8-14) (All scriptures are taken from Life in the Spirit Study Bible KJV).
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