The IF Of Salvation

Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Colossians 3.

Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

We often skip the little words in the Bible – but these little words add so much to the text. Take, for instance, the word “IF”. The dictionary says that the word “IF” imposes a conditional clause. When I told mama “I wish we weren’t eating liver tonight”, she replied, “IF wishes were horses, beggars would ride”. I didn’t know what that exactly meant when I was a kid, other than the fact was I was to shut up and eat the liver. Daddy would say, “IF you’d study harder, your grades would be better”. Then I’d be sent to my room to study – a room that had no television, no radio, no internet, nothing but two twin beds and a table and a chair to use for study.

The word “IF” occurs in the King James Version of the Scripture 1,595 times in 1,420 verses. The first use of the word “IF” occurs when Cain was upset that God would not accept his sacrifice. God told Cain:

Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

God was emphasizing to Cain that He expected Cain to bring an animal sacrifice, not the fruit of the field. Had Cain done that, the Lord would have accepted it. God demanded animal sacrifices because, as we later learn in Scripture, these animal sacrifices pointed out that human works cannot permanently cover our sins in God’s eyes. We all needed Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God” to come and give His life for us. Jesus is “the Lamb without spot or blemish (John 1:29), “Christ our Passover sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Cain refused to listen to the IF of God, and murdered his brother Abel. Cain not only lost the possibility of salvation, but lived the rest of his life a marked man for the evil he did.

IF is used so many ways in the Scripture:

Noah released a dove to see IF the waters were receding (Genesis 8:8)
Abraham by IF gave grace to Lot, allowing him to choose (Genesis 13:9)
IF God found just ten righteous in Sodom, they would live (Genesis 18:32)

Some of the great IF statements come from Jesus.

Matthew 16:24 … If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 18:8-9 if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Or one of my favorites:

Romans 10:9-11 if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

The Christian faith is built on an IF. It is certain that Jesus is the Lamb of God that “taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26). But to be included in this saved group you MUST have a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. You MUST repent, and come to Him and Him alone to be saved. You MUST follow Him if you are saved. One of the great Evangelists, Billy Graham preached at Earl’s Court (in London, England, On June 27, 1966):

Religion without a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ will not save the soul, and will not bring the peace that your soul longs for. … You’ve got to know Christ for yourself. And when you come to know Christ for yourself, there is a peace and a fulfillment, and life takes on a purpose, and there’s a sense of forgiveness of your sins, and there’s a joy unspeakable, and full of glory..”

I had the privilege of hearing a young man’s testimony just last Sunday. In it, he said he “walked the aisle” at the age of 9, but it was not until just before his 16th birthday that he was actually saved. The same was true of me in my life. “Saved” and baptized at 9 years old, there was no change in my life. I walked the aisle, but never committed my life to Jesus. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old that the Lord spoke to me during a youth service at a Church I was visiting, and I gave my life to Jesus. Beloved, you need to …

Take Heed Of The “IF” Of Salvation

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ

The Apostle, as he writes the Church at Colossae, does not assume everyone at that Church is saved. He uses the DIVINE IF. The lost person is a lost person because they have wandered from God. God made everyone in His image – we are all His creation. But Adam brought sin into the world. All of Eve’s children have one thing in common, and that is SIN. Whether you are red, yellow, black, or white, the universal truth is …

Romans 3:23 … for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We humans are born into this world “alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in us” (Ephesians 4:18).

We are all quite naturally broken. Apart from Christ we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Humans are born believing themselves complete in themselves, but we are not. We are broken, and in need. The animal sacrifices – performed over and over – reminded ancient humanity that we are broken, and cannot fix ourselves.

We need God.

We were made to walk with God, but are born walking away from God. But, praise God, when we were unable to fix ourselves ….

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

He died on Calvary for the sinner. He died for people like you, and people like me. God loves His creation, but cannot draw us into union with Himself unless our sins are covered. Since we were unable to save ourselves, the Lord made a way through Jesus Christ to save us. The Bible promises:

Romans 5:8 … God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

But here is the IF of salvation. We must receive Him as He is.

John 1:10 {Jesus} was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The IF of salvation is “Have YOU received Him?” Not the Church, not the denomination, not me, but HIM. He is to be RECEIVED as both SAVIOR and LORD.

Jesus as Savior died for our sins.
Jesus as Lord
roseto commandHis people.
The Saved OBEY The Savior!
Jesus SAVES
us, as Savior.
Jesus LEADS us as Lord.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Jesus did not die on Calvary, and rise again to no reason. He died for our sins, to cover our sins, to make payment for our sins. Then He rose again from the dead that He might calls us to Himself, a people who are risen from the dead.

Colossians 1:21-23 And you, that were {in past time} alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard

Because you have had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, you are now in God’s eyes holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. God sees you as His Child. But this is only true if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard.

True salvation has permanence. Judas Iscariot followed Jesus for 3 ½ years, but was never saved.

Genuine faith OVERCOMES THE WORLD.

1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever (πᾶς pâs, {pronounced pas} literally whosoever”) is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The day the Christian is saved, that old lost person DIES. The IF of salvation says:

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ

The Christian is a person who died with Christ. On the day I was saved, the old David died with Jesus on Calvary. Sin is no longer a joy, but it was sin that drove the nails that killed my Savior. I hate my sin, because I hate those nails!

Illustration I am sure you all heard of the terrible shooting that was perpetrated by Robert Long in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17, 2021. One of the headlines I saw was, “Christian mass shooter Robert Long was tired of ‘temptation’ posed by massage parlors: police”. Something is missing from this headline. It is the word “PROFESSING”. The 21 year old who murdered eight people is scripturally NOT a Christian, regardless as what he may say. He is no more a Christian that Judas Iscariot was. If you are saved, you walk in the light with Christ. The Bible says:

1 John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 but If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Again, you see the IF of salvation. IF you are saved, then you walk with Christ, loving others, loving even the unlovable. The old you dies the day you are saved. We say, along with the Apostle:

Galatians 2:19-20I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The Christian loves Jesus. The Christian walks with Jesus. The Christian may sometimes step into the darkness, but God is in us, and will not leave us in that dark, evil place.

The Christian Is Quickened TOGETHER With Christ

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

When the Christian believes on Jesus Christ, God causes us to be “risen with Christ”. We are “quickened” or made alive by God. The Christian is no longer spiritually dead to God, but is now alive to His leading.

The spiritually dead person follows darkness.
The spiritually alive person
follows Christ.

The day you called upon Jesus the Holy Spirit of God visited you and made you spiritually alive. The Bible calls this “quickened” or “quickening”. We read:

Ephesians 2:2-6 …. in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

The believer is QUICKENED by God, RAISED UP with Christ. The Christian is called into a “new and living way” (Hebrews 10:20). God the Holy Spirit indwells us. We are no longer dead in our trespasses and sins, but are “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath {God the Holy Spirit} quickened together with {Jesus}, having forgiven you all trespasses …

Yes, you are still enclosed in this “body of sin”. Yes, this weak and mortal flesh still holds us. But Beloved, the God “Who searcheth the hearts” (Romans 8:27) no longer considers you a child of hell, but willingly and freely accepts you as a Child of Heaven, an Eternal Son, one who has been promised a great promise:

1 Peter 1:4-5 … an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

You belong to God, dear one, if you are indeed saved.
Sin nor Satan is your master.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 … {you have} turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven…

The living should not walk with the dead.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, SEEK those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Word Study The word translated “SEEK” is the Greek ζητέω zētéō, {pronounced dzay-teh’-o}, which means “to make a priority, to pursue until you reach it, to set your mind on to get”. The same word was used by Jesus to explain what He expects of us. He said:

Matthew 6:31-34 {Do not worry about} what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (for after all these things the {lost} seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. 33 But “SEEK” ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We as believers are to passionately pursue the things of God. Where is our passion? Too many who profess to be Christian have turned from a passionate seeking of God. We are to:

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

We are to be like old Enoch. Do you remember Enoch? Enoch had a living relationship with the Living God. Enoch walked with God until he was …

Hebrews 11:5 … translated, that he should NOT SEE DEATH; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation {Enoch} had this testimony, THAT HE PLEASED GOD.

Living Creatures are supposed to serve the Living Lord. We are to live for the Lord, to please Him in all that we do. We are to be like Jesus, who was always “about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). Jesus passionately served the Father. His love for the Father exceeded even His desire for food. “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).

Jesus took the high road so that we might be saved. We are to take the high road so that others might find Christ through us. The Bible tells us:

Ephesians 5:7-10 Be not ye therefore {partners} with {the lost world}. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Our God is watching. Our God will judge this world. Let us live knowing that Jesus could return at any time, taking the Church from this earth.

1 Thessalonians 5:2-5 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

The Lost Are Dead To God, But Alive To Sin
The Saved Are Dead To Sin, But Alive To God

Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

The lost person pretending to be saved will have an inordinate affection for the things of this earth. The saved person will have affection for some of the things of this earth, but their greatest affection will be on God and the Word of God. The saved person is a different person than a lost person is. The saved person is different in their spirit. The Apostle said in:

Philippians 2:3-5 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Before the Apostle Paul knew Jesus Christ, he was very religious. His focus was on pleasing the Pharisees, and on following the traditions of men. But once he was saved, life changed for him. He said:

Philippians 3:7-10 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death

Christian, you will stand before Jesus one day, and your works will be judged. You will not be judged for salvation. If you are a Christian, your salvation is secured by the Blood of Jesus Christ. But your works will be judged. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For other foundation can no {one} lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any {one} build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 every {one’s} work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every {one’s} work of what sort it is. 14 If any {one’s} work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any {one’s} work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Your salvation is a FOUNDATION, a very important foundation. God gave you the riches of Grace in Christ. You have been given eternal life if you have received Christ as Lord and Savior. But another great gift was given. God calls you to partner with Him in this life, sharing Christ with others. How you live your lives will impact the Kingdom of God on this present earth. People watch the Christian. You are the Bible that the unsaved will read.

Chuck Swindoll told this story in his book, The Tale Of The Tardy Oxcart:

After His Sunday messages, the minister of a church in London got on the trolley Monday morning to go back to his study downtown. He paid his fare, and the trolley driver gave him too much change. The minister sat down and fumbled the change and looked it over, counted it eight or ten times. And, you know the rationalization, “It’s wonderful how God provides.” He realized he was tight that week and this was just about what he would need to break even, or at least enough for his lunch. He wrestled with himself all the way down that old trolley trail that led to his office. And finally he came to the stop and he got up, couldn’t live with himself, walked up to the trolley driver, and said, “Here you gave me too much change. You made a mistake.” The driver said, “No, it was no mistake. You see, I was in your church last night when you spoke on honesty, and I thought I would put you to the test.”

The Christian is being put to the test in America and throughout the world, much more today than ever. The darkness looms. Will we shine for Jesus? What we do today will effect the state of our nation tomorrow. May God lead us all to live as risen creatures, saved by the glorious power of our God. May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts with His Word this very day. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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