Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
King David was a man that had experienced many evils in his life. Although a great warrior, he had been misunderstood, maligned, and even hunted like a dog. He knew what trouble was in his life, and often found himself in the “valley,” sometimes not sure he would live another day.
Yet he found great comfort and joy in the Lord during those occasions. He saw no need to fear evil, even when in “the valley of the shadow of death.” He learned not to focus on the “shadows,” but on the living Lord.
Why did he have boldness in times of trouble? He came to understand that: “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” The One Who is my Shepherd, and Whom I follow, will take care of me, David realized. I follow Him closely, and He can take care of any problems I face. No one is greater than my Shepherd!
Believer, when you enter into that valley next time, or face the “shadows,” be sure to look toward Christ to deliver. As we look at His care and power, we can understand that there is no reason to be afraid of “shadows.” The staff is used to guide the sheep, but the rod is for the enemies.
Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”
Once saved, the child of God has promises from God that He will provide the needs of His own. This Psalm continues to use the illustration of God’s people being sheep who are led by a loving Shepherd.
This verse tells us that God leads His sheep to “green pastures,” which simply refers to a place of sufficiency. Plenty of grass for them to eat. Our shepherd is concerned that we get enough to eat. It may not mean steak everyday, but we will have what we need.
This Bible verse also tells us that He will lead us beside “still waters.” This is a reference to the fact that literal sheep are afraid of rapidly moving water. They need to be able to drink out of still water, where they will have calmness of mind and heart. Christ the Shepherd does the leading to the things we need, we just need to be sure that we are following closely.
Many people believe that God offers salvation to those who work hard for it. This concept is taught by a large number of religious leaders all over the world.
The idea, some think, is that if the good deeds outweigh the bad, then God will overlook the sin and receive them into Heaven. While most people believe this, this way of salvation is not found anywhere in the Bible.
Part of the problem as to why it is believed is because so few people actually care enough about their soul to discover the truth – Bible truth. So, they leave it up to religious leaders to present it to them – and they hope the leader really knows. Unfortunately, when the blind lead the blind…
Now, I am not trying to be overly critical, but I do want you to know the truth that can save your soul. The Bible does make it very plain to those who really want the truth. This is why Jesus said, in John 8:32: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
This freedom that Christ spoke of is not some fleeting feeling or mere religious idea that has no real value in this life. Instead, it is a real knowledge that your sins are forgiven because of a very real transaction that took place between you and God.
What is the truth that sets you free from sin and its eternal penalty? There are several elements to it, but it is not difficult to understand. After all, God has told us that He wants to save all people.
The first essential truth that must be understood is that God tells us we all are sinners. There are no exceptions. The Bible says: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10); and “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Of course, this includes both me and you.
The next thing to be understood is that sin sends the sinner to Hell. A holy God cannot let sin into Heaven. He also is just and the Judge of all. His Word, in Romans 6:23 tells us: “For the wages of sin is death…” The word “death” in this verse is a reference to eternal death, or Hell.
The sin of every human is written in God’s books. There is no sin left out. In Matthew 12:36, Jesus tells His disciples that: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Jesus told them that even the “idle words,” the words carelessly spoken are all written down!
The next thing to know is that no good work can erase a single sin! It does not matter what type of work it is – religious works included! It needs to be realized, that if salvation could be obtained by being good, then it would have been totally unnecessary for Christ to die on the cross!
The Bible makes it clear that no one has ever been saved by being good. Sin condemns us all! We are told in Ephesians 2:8,9 that: “For 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 boast.” Did you see that part where it says “not of works”?
When God sent Christ to die for us, it was because there was no other way to erase our sins and let us go to Heaven! Our sin demanded both physical and spiritual death. The next important truth is to understand that Christ’s blood was the payment for what we owed. The sinless Son of God became our Substitute, and His sacrifice was sufficient to obtain our forgiveness and freedom from such a penalty.
Christ died and rose again to not only pay our debt of sin, but also to reveal that the debt was fully paid! If not, He would not have come out of the grave!
Now, I mentioned a “transaction” earlier in this post. Here it is – don’t miss it. Christ’s payment for sin is not to be taken lightly. God offers forgiveness to those who are sorry for their sin and want to turn from it.
The final truth necessary for salvation, which will make you“free”, or “saved,” is that you need to personally go to God in prayer and admit to Him your sin and sinfulness. Confess that you are worthy of His wrath and damnation, but that you know that Christ paid for your sin. Ask Him to forgive you and to save you right now on the basis of what Christ did for you, and He will save you this very moment!
Consider these verses:
Romans 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
John 3:16,17 “For 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.”
By making salvation so easy to obtain, anyone can get saved. God loves you and He wants to save you. This is, however, the only way.
Have you asked Him to save you today? I hope and pray that you have. The freedom comes because you know your sins are forgiven and that you are on your way to Heaven.
Or, if you already are a believer and would like to learn more about Christ and how to serve Him better, I invite you to look at these Christian eBooks and other materials that will help you grow spiritually.
Have you seen these other posts about Bible salvation?
Being that today is Sunday, I am sure that many people will be going to church. This is a good thing, and I hope that many more people will go, too, even those who have not been in a church for a long time.
The thing that I want to focus on this morning is the issue of “why” some people go to church. Of course, many people have been brought up in church. They plan on going and are often faithful to every service. Again, I think this is a good thing.
For those who may look at going to church as a part of going to Heaven, however, I want you to pay attention to this post. Salvation does not come to people through the local church.
Don’t get me wrong. It certainly can be valuable in showing people how to go to Heaven – but it cannot confer the gift of salvation to you.
I have met a number of people who have gone to church all their lives. They thought they were saved and on their way to Heaven, but one day they discovered they were wrong. What brought them to this conclusion?
A number of them just thought it was kind of automatic. They knew the lingo, the songs, were faithful and some had even been serving actively in the church for years. Others around them thought they were saved, too.
The plain truth, however, is different than that. You see, just because you go to a pool or lake and start swimming, does not at all make you a fish. Walking into a garage won’t make you a car either. Likewise, going to church, no matter how often, will not make you a Christian.
The Lord Jesus tells us how to be saved. He said in John 3:3 that every person needs to have a new birth. We were born into the wrong family and our sin proves it. We love to go against the laws of God. Every one of us is guilty of breaking His laws. God’s Word tells us: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Because of our sin, we all are on our way to Hell: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
The only way this situation could be changed was for God to do something about it. He loved us, and proved “his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Notice that Christ, the Son of God died for us. Not the church.
Participating in religious ceremonies and services cannot wash away sin. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. It can wash away all your sin.
In order to be saved, you need to come straight to God. You must confess your sinfulness to God and be willing to turn from it. There is no one else Who can save you: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).
The reason the church members I mentioned earlier were not saved is because they realized they had never actually asked God to forgive them and save them. They had been baptized, joined the church, and did more – but this cannot save you.
Salvation comes only by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. This must be a deliberate decision on your part and it takes places at a specific point of time. Have you deliberately chosen to trust Christ to be your Savior. Can you point to a time when you did that? Consider what Christ said: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
I hope and pray that you have called on Him for salvation – or will do it now.
Evangelist Mike Valles
P.S. – If you have still questions about salvation, I encourage you to download my free eBook: How to Be Saved and Know It and read it carefully. It will answer many questions.
Many people reading this post will know what Bible verse of salvation the title refers to, before I present it. That is because it also is one of the most well-known verses, and I am glad for the opportunity to talk about it today.
God never intended Bible salvation to be difficult to understand. The truth is clearly in the opposite direction. It is quite simple. In fact, so simple, that multitudes of people reject it because it sounds so simple that even a child can understand it. After all, didn’t Jesus say that children should be permitted “to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 19:14)? This verse means that many children get this truth and will be saved, and many adults will not be saved – simply because they just won’t receive salvation the way God offers it. God makes it easy to understand because e wants all to have it.
The Key Verse of Salvation
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Christ spoke these precious words in a discussion with Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. Jesus referred to Himself as the One God gave to everyone on earth for their salvation. John the Baptist referred to Christ as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Although God was desirous to send the promised Redeemer to Israel, God loved the whole world, and wanted to save all.
The reason Christ could save all people from their sin is because of Who He is – the “only begotten Son” of God. Now, it only makes sense that if all need to be saved, then everyone is already condemned! Because the Bible tells us: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Ro. 3:23), it is imperative that people everywhere understand that we are not good in God’s sight.
If we really were not so bad as to deserve Hell, then there was no need for Christ to die for us. But God sent Him to die, because God wanted to give us an opportunity to be saved.
One of the most important parts of this verse is the requirements it gives for salvation. Let me encourage you to reread the verse. It says that “whosoever believeth in him” will not perish. Simply believing on Christ is all that is needed to receive eternal life.
Believing Is More Than a Set of Facts
Now, please understand that when the Bible talks about the belief or faith that can save the soul, it is not talking about a mere intellectual understanding of a set of facts, although the facts cannot be neglected. Instead, it refers to an actual trust in Christ, letting Him do all the saving for you.
It is first an understanding that you are a sinner on your way to Hell. You have willfully sinned, and God must punish sin, all sin, in Hell. Then, you need to understand and believe that God in mercy sent Christ to pay the price your sin deserves, and He died for it. Christ was raised from the dead to reveal that all sins have been successfully paid for – including yours and mine.
As a result of understanding and believing these truths about Christ, you are sorry for your sin (rebellion against God and His commandments). You also know that God said that if anyone (“whosover”) comes to Him in prayer and sincerity, and desires to turn their life around and live for God, they can be saved.
Faith Also Means Receiving
How? Simply by asking God to forgive you because of the fact that Christ already paid it all for you. You, in faith, ask Christ to save and forgive you at the very moment you pray – and He will. Thank Him for it, and then begin to follow God and His Scriptures – the Bible.
If you have never asked Christ to save you, and you recognize your need for it, why not bow your head right now and ask Him to save you now? God loves you and He is ready to hear your prayer.
If you do ask Him to save you, I would like to hear about it.
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they endured a lot of hardships. It was not without a reason, however, and God explained His reason for it in this way in Deuteronomy 8:3 “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
God wanted His children to understand that the things that sustain life here are not the same things that give us real life – God’s kind. By this I mean that biologic life is not at all the same as spiritual life. Neither can having biological life ever bring forth spiritual life.
Being “spiritual” is becoming a more and more popular concept, but it is only pseudo-spirituality. It is just a substitute for the real thing. It is commendable that some people want a greater spiritual depth to their life, but they go about it in the wrong way.
In the above verse, God declared that the purpose of their trials was so that they might learn that the spiritual life that God wants to give us will only come from one Source – the Bible. Getting that life cannot be obtained in a class, with a degree, or even a ceremony. It only comes from God Himself.
Some people look for a better life, or for immortality – as I mentioned in my last post – from science, thinking that it can provide all the answers to life’s problems. Well, it can’t!
God says that if you want true life from God then you need to know what His Word says about it – which I am summarizing in this blog post. Someone once said that there is a vacuum-shaped hole in the heart of every person, and that it can only be satisfied by God Himself. True – and God put it there.
In order to get the true life that God offers, there first must be a hunger for it. You need to recognize, like I did many years ago, that you are a sinner and that that sin keeps God at a distance from you. None of us are good in His eyes: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
Then, the Word of God tells us that our sin is sending us to Hell. We see this in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” This refers to the price tag of sin against a holy God, and it refers to both physical and spiritual death. He cannot let sin enter His Heaven, and His justice cannot let sin go unpunished.
This problem leaves us all in a real dilemma: God loves us, but His justice demands the penalty to be paid and He has already condemned us. This is why Christ had to come. He stood on the receiving end of God’s wrath against our sin on the Cross and paid for us what we could never pay.
In reference to the verse above, Jesus boldly declared, in John 6:51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
He was not referring, of course, to literally eating Him in order to gain the life He offered. Instead, He explained it in an earlier verse: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
The sinner must come to Christ, humbly in prayer, confessing their sin and asking for forgiveness. Then they must ask Christ to give them the life He offers, which is pardon, and eternal life for those who believe it. Notice that He also said if you partake of Him through receiving Him in prayer, that He said you would never hunger or thirst – this means your spiritual life will be satisfying because He moves into your heart and life and will be with you forever! His presence brings salvation.
Do you have this kind of bread – and life – today?
Bringing God’s Great Truths to Light, Evangelist Mike Valles
Would you like to learn more about Bible salvation? I encourage you to get my eBook that explains it in much more detail.
Every now and then I see an article online about how some scientists are working toward making it possible to have immortality. Performing a quick search online leads me to several articles.
The first article I saw is about a Russian scientist who injected himself with a bacterium that is believed to be 3.5 million years old. It has apparently already been shown to be able to add some longevity in plants and mice.
Another article revealed how that some tech giants in Silicon Valley are trying to lead the way to extend life. Scientists have been enlisted to work on the project and mega data already collected has been given to them to try and find the solution to longer life – and possibly even immortality. According to the Washington Post article, many millions of dollars has already been donated to the project.
There is no doubt that people want to live forever – at least if their body will stay young. The idea has been around since creation.
What many people do not know is that the Bible shows us that the idea of immortality has always been here. Adam and Eve had the promise of eternal life, and so has every generation ever since. God wants people to believe in it, and to seek it – but not from technology. True immortality worth having will not come from a test tube.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to find ways to be healthier and live longer on earth, it is not the end goal of life. You see, our bodies are under a Divine curse, and death is inevitable. It came after sin entered the world.
God wants mankind to seek to live forever, but there is only One Source. Eventually death comes to all – and then we step into eternity. You see, God made us all eternal beings. We all will live somewhere forever. The most important issue is not how long can you live here – but where will you live forever? Of course, there are only two options – Heaven or Hell!
The key to immortality is plainly written in the Bible. We see that the Apostle Paul talked about it in II Timothy 1:9,10: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
It is worthy to note that this key to immortality, and how man was to get it, was decided upon before the creation of the world. Even a casual reading of the first few chapters of Genesis reveals that the perfect bodies of Adam and Eve, and their immediate descendants, lived a long time. Sin reduced that blessing to a mere 70 year average.
God knew that man’s sinful and selfish actions would bring death. In the Bible, death is defined basically as being a separation. This occurs in two ways: first, by the spirit being separated from the body; and secondly, as the human spirit being separated from God. All humans are in this second category because of personal sin.
Now, note that in the above verses that immortality comes only through Christ. A church cannot give it, and good works cannot earn it or erase sins already committed. Because He died on the Cross for our sins, He defeated death and made it possible for all people to regain the kind of spiritual life that only He can give.
God wants our thoughts of immortality to be focused on Him. If we sincerely admit our sin to God, and ask for His forgiveness, He will save that person and give them immortality – eternal life with Him. It begins the moment you ask, and life begins to be different because of the renewed life within. No longer is the human life separated from God. Although this present body will die, it will be given a new one – one day.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Do you have immortality now? If you have turned from sin and trusted Christ to save you, you already have eternal life!
For Salvation and Revival,
Evangelist Mike Valles
For more information about salvation and other Bible materials, go here.