This periodic blog, titled Our Unending Honeymoon, is a joy to write. Sue and I have gotten to introduce ourselves to those of you who follow us and also to tell you some about our unique relationship as husband and wife. Perhaps we have even shared a few tips that have helped you in your marriage… But the truth is that our unending honeymoon has been made possible only because we, personally, are firmly settled in an eternal honeymoon with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Susan and I have been born into God’s family by simple child-like faith. Permit me to explain …
There came a time in our lives when the Spirit of God opened our understanding to see ourselves as we truly were, sinners on our way to hell because of our sins against a holy righteous God. In His grace and mercy the Father loved us and drew us to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God helped us understand that Jesus died on a cross to pay our sin debt to God. Christ literally became our substitute, dying in our place. He took our sin upon Himself and transferred His righteousness to our account. What a trade! Because of what He did for us, we are now saved forever from the penalty of our sins.
Did we deserve what He did for us? Absolutely not! But because we truly believe in our heart that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for us on the cross, was buried and rose again the third day … for us … we are now a part of God’s family. We are members of His body, the invisible church. We have been placed among those who are called “The Bride of Christ.” We are now bound together with Him in an everlasting relationship that will soon take us to heaven to spend eternity with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Just before He died on the cross Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30. ESV.) From that point on for eternity nothing more could be added in order to receive the free gift of eternal life … nothing but our faith that He died for you and me.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV.)
We do not work to earn eternal life according to a certain set of religious rules. We accept God’s gift of eternal life by faith. In other words, we simply believe that Christ became our substitute, dying in our place, and that settles it!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8 and 9, ESV.)
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. (Titus 3:5, NKJV.)
So let’s talk for a minute about “works of righteousness.” All of the world’s religions except Christianity are based upon earning the favor of God (or of some god) with their religious works or observances. Even within the realms of so-called Christianity there are vast numbers of leaders and followers who call themselves Christian and yet strive according to some set of standards, some church dogma, some list of sacraments or works to earn a righteous standing before God.
In their attempt to earn eternal life they mistakenly try to replace faith in Christ with their religious works. Or at best, they try to mix and mingle their religious works with the finished work Christ accomplished on the cross. They just don’t realize that their own religious works are, as the Bible calls them, “Filthy Rags!” (“Filthy rags,” that is, when we attempt to use them to pay for the free gift of eternal life!)
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6. KJV.)
Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified … I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:16 and 21. NIV.)
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11. NKJV.)
I’m not saying for a minute that these people who attempt to earn eternal life by their good works or by observance of religious laws are not sincere in their efforts. I’m simply saying that they are sincerely wrong! And since they are wrong on this critical point, they are headed for an eternity in the torment of hell, separated from God.
The apostle Paul is a good example of someone who had worked hard to earn eternal life. But after his eyes were opened to the truth, he understood that simply believing that Jesus Christ died to pay for his sins was all that was necessary.
Paul said it this way:
“though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Philippians 3:4-9. NIV.)
(For more information on God’s free gift of eternal life please see the “Booklets,” above.)
A Thanksgiving prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for all the many blessings you’ve bestowed upon us this year and throughout our lives. We thank you for our families and friends and ask for your continued blessing and guidance upon them. But most of all we thank you for your eternal love and care for us. Thank you for sending your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for us, and for bringing us into your family as your own children.
Lord Jesus, if there is even one visitor to this blog who does not yet know you as their Savior and Lord, please impress them with the simplicity of believing that you love them and died for them. Lead them to ask you to save them today. And Lord, I ask for all those around the world who are without freedom, without food or friends, or without faith in you as their Savior. In your grace and mercy bring these blessings to the people of the world.
Addendum: Novels by Carl Peters, available on Amazon Kindle, above right:
Victory – Heroes are sometimes found in the most unusual places. Victory is the short story about a boy’s daydreams and how he learned “the secret formula of how to make his dreams come true” … from a most unusual friend. Victory is an animated fantasy adventure for the whole family.
The Tallest Angel – The inspirational family adventure novel based on the short story, Victory. This family story takes over where Victory ends, that is, AFTER RICHIE WAKES UP from his dream adventure! A fun story, part real life, part Disney-like animated fantasy, woven together to surely charm the kid in each of us.
Solo – A twenty-four year old Christian woman, Joy, is tempted to stray from her Lord. But through a series of unique, heaven-sent events she is befriended by Paul, an older man who steps in as the father figure Joy has not had for nine years. As their father – daughter friendship develops, Paul gives Joy much-needed wholesome Christian advice about life and marriage.
Transgression – Definitely an edgy John Grisham type novel. The story of a sinful preacher and the terrible consequences his sin brings upon his church family. The amazing part of this story is how the Lord eventually brings a silver lining out of the darkest storm clouds. This story is powerful, at times overwhelming, yet gentle in its application of God’s truths.