PEACE IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES
We cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the radio or television for any length of time and evade the word "peace." There seems to he trouble of some kind raging on every hand, and everyone is in search of peace. We usually hear the word used in reference to world or national peace, but we are convinced that we, as individuals, are constantly in search of a personal peace.
If we were asked what we wanted from life, most of us would answer, happiness. The difference in individuals would determine the things considered important to bring this happiness about. If we analyzed our feelings, couldn't this happiness we desire also be called contentment or peace?
We go to great lengths in quest of this personal peace. To one person it might seem that success in business would bring about this peace, to others it might he success in a social or financial way. As a matter of fact, we would probably get just about as many different opinions as to what brings about this peace as the number of persons who were asked the question. Most of us have our own little plan, subconscious though it may he, to bring this feeling into our own lives.
There is an emptiness or longing in man which searches for something outside himself. We may deceive ourselves into thinking this emptiness can be filled and this longing satisfied with worldly things such as position, wealth, social standing or any other success of the world. But this deception can only last for a time, and then we come back to the realization that these do not fill the desires of our inward being.
No doubt God planned it this way, that we feel insecure and unstable within ourselves, so that we would search for Him. The very fact that all civilizations of people since the beginning of man have devised some object and some method of worship points out that we recognize our own inadequacy and need something strong outside ourselves to hold to.
Even though the United States is referred to as a Christian nation, I wonder if we are not doing very much as the heathen nations have done ~ through the ages and are settling for a religion which has no lasting satisfaction or peace in it. Do the religions of America offer everlasting and eternal peace, or has it become more or less an empty form of worship which soothes the conscience for a while?
We, at Long View Missionary Baptist Church in Gallatin, Tennessee, are convinced that the majority of the world has become caught up in a formal, superficial religion which denies the very power of God, and therefore completely misses the inner peace which is available to us.
This Church is in the process of preparing a booklet which explains the fundamentals of Bible doctrine in catechism form. Since this is an extremely slow and tedious work, we feel that the following two chapters should he printed and made available to as many people as possible immediately.
We fully believe that the following pages might help to lead a person to Jesus Christ, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world: and therefore, to salvation and to PEACE IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES.
THE WAY OF SALVATION
1. What is salvation? It is deliverance from sin,1 death,2 and eternal punishment.3
1I John 3:8, 9. 2Psalms 116:8; John 5:24; II Cor. 1:9, 10. 3Rev.21:8; Rev. 2:11.
2. Does this mean that a saved person will never die? In order to explain this, we must explain the twofold man. Every person is made up of two parts, the outward man (physical) and the inward man (spiritual) .1 T0 understand salvation, we must get a clear picture of the two parts of an individual. It is the inward man which is saved, and therefore, it is the inward man which cannot sin again and will never die.2 This outward body will continue to sin as long as it lives (even though it is our duty to keep it under subjection to God as much as possible),3 and this outward body will die a natural death and go back to the dust of the ground from whence it came.4 At the resurrection the body will be raised (a spiritual body) and then salvation is complete, both soul and body.5
1John 3:6. 21 John 3:9; II Cor. 4:16. 3 Romans 7:25; Eph. 3:16. 4 Ecc. 12:7. 5 1 Cor. 15:42-55; Rom. 13:11; Rom. 8:23.
3. What makes it possible for a person to be saved? It is the free and unearned favor of God, called grace.1 It is completely by the goodness and grace of God that we are saved.2
1Eph. 2:8; Rom. 3:24. 2 Tittis 3:5, 6.
4. What makes this grace available to us? This grace is available to us through faith.1 We must believe that God loved mankind so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay the price for our salvation.2 His Son, Jesus Christ, paid this price with His death and the shedding of His blood. He had no sin of His own and that is the reason He could be offered for the sins of others.3
1Eph. 2:8. 2John 3:16. 3 11 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:21-24; Isa. 53:4,5.
5. Where is Jesus now, and what is He doing? He arose from the dead 1 and ascended hack to heaven to be with His Father, God.2 He is now in the presence of God,5 serving as mediator between God and man. It is through Jesus that we pray and are able to reach God.4
1Luke 24:5, 6. 2 Acts 1:9; Heb. 4:14.16. 3 I John 2:1. 1 Tim. 2:5.
6. Was the price that Jesus paid enough to save everyone? Yes, He paid the full price necessary to save every soul that has ever lived and every one that will ever he born into the world.
II Cor. 5:15; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; Titus 2:14; Eph. 1:7; Psalms 90.2.
7. Do all religious groups believe in Jesus as their Savior? No, some people and some groups have completely rejected Jesus as the Son of God. Some groups say they believe in Jesus, but do not teach the true plan of salvation and therefore, reject Him also.
II Peter 2:1, 2; II Tim. 3:1-5; Jude 4.
HOW TO BE SAVED
1. Who needs to be saved? Anyone who feels the Spirit of God reproving him and letting him know that he is lost.
Luke 19:10; Matt. 9:13; john 16:7, 8; John 6:44.
2. What must a lost person do to be saved? He must hear the Gospel and believe it to the extent that he starts seeking the Lord.1 He must then repent toward God and have faith in the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.2
1Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6. 2 Acts 17:30; Acts 20:21.
3. What is meant by "Repent toward God"? The carnal mind, which is the normal mind of fallen man, is enmity (hate) against God, not subject to His law, neither indeed can be. To be carnally minded is death, since they that are in the flesh cannot please God.1 So, from enmity against God, repentance is a change of mind toward God. When a person is convicted of his sin, a Godly sorrow sets up, which works repentance unto salvation.2
This repentance takes place inwardly, with the help of the Spirit, and is not, as many religious groups teach, simply a decision (with the carnal mind) to turn away from sin and toward God.3 Many of these groups attempt the teaching of repentance and never mention the necessity of Godly sorrow or the working of the Holy Spirit. The teaching of true repentance is a fundamental doctrine of the Bible, which should be defended at all cost.4
1Rom. 8:6, 7. 211 Cor. 7:10; Ps. 34:18. 3John 6:44; Rom. 8:7. 4 II John 9.
4. What is meant by, "Have faith in the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ"? Since Jesus is the one who paid the price for our salvation, He is the only one through whom it can possibly be obtained.1 We must believe that the price He paid on the cross was sufficient for our salvation and then call upon Him to save us from our sin.2 When we call upon Him. believing with all our heart that He can and will save us. God grants us the faith that we need to be saved.3
1John 14:6. 2Rom. 10:13; John 3:18. 1Mark 11:24; John 1:12.
5. Can a person know for sure when he has received salvation? Yes. the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit and lets us know that we are children of God.1 Salvation is a very personal thing, and is a matter which is settled between the individual and the Lord. A person should never trust anyone else to tell him when he is saved.2
1Rom. 8:16; I John 5:10. 2 Rom. 8:9; Rom. 8:14.
6. How does salvation change a person? Salvation takes place in the inward man.1 The outward man will only he effected to the extent that he allows the inward man to lead his actions. The soul (inward man) is now ruled by the Lord, but the body (outward man) is still sinful and must be brought under subjection.2 It is possible for a person to be saved and the people around him not know it for a long time. But. usually when the Lord saves a person, he follows the leadership of God to the extent that there is a change in the way he acts and lives.3
1Rom. 8:10; I Cor. 2:14.16. 2GaI. 5:17; Heb. 12:9. 3Matt.7:20.
7. Is it possible for a person to become con fused about his salvation after he has been saved? Yes. the devil doesn't stop his work on a person when the soul is saved. He has lost a battle as far as the soul is concerned, but he still tries to win the influence of the individual. It is possible for the devil to cause a child of God to doubt whether he has actually been saved.1 Of course the devil would like to keep a child of God in that condition, but all a saved person must do to find peace of mind is to ask the Lord to show him where he stands. Once a person is saved, he has an advocate (friend) in the presence of God, who is willing to help him at all times.2
1 II Peter 1:9; Matt. 26:41 2 I John 2:1; James 4:7
This inner peace is obtained when an individual makes personal contact with God and is saved. However, many saved people allow the devil and his forces to crowd back into their lives and to rob them of the full enjoyment of that peace. It is eternal and can never be taken away from us, but we can neglect it to the point that it will be of very little comfort to us.
Just as salvation was afforded to us by grace, through faith; the strengthening and nourishing of this peace is by grace through faith. God has an immeasurable store of grace and love for us, but He does not force these benefits on anyone. Faith is the key whereby we unlock this storehouse, and it is the key whereby we must keep the door open to God if we are to enjoy our inner peace.
The closer an individual stays in contact with God, the stronger this feeling will be. And the stronger this tie between our inward being and God, the more we will love and serve Him and the more we will realize PEACE IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES.
If you have not yet found this peace and you feel this longing desire in your heart, please do not lay the thought aside for one moment, until you have found God. It is not necessary to go anywhere other than where you are right now. If the Spirit of God is dealing with your heart, simply surrender to Him, ask the Lord to save you, believing with all your heart that He can and will when you ask.
The devil will convince you that there will be a more convenient time and place. if you let him. Believe us, there will never be a time when the devil will not try to tell you this same thing. So talk to the Lord, He is ready and waiting to hear from you. Your salvation is paid for in full-all you must do is ask for it, believe that you will receive it, and you will have found PEACE IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES.
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