Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
SALVATION—A GOOD INVESTMENT?
"Dr. Lovett, I was discussing what it takes to be saved with some of my girlfriends and one said a person has to repent and be baptized. Another said we must confess Jesus before others. I was arguing that salvation is a free gift; all we have to do is accept it. It seems to me that if you have to do anything to receive salvation, it is not free. Am I right in this?"
SHE WAS RIGHT
To this day Jesus offers the water of life freely. The only requirement is: One must be thirsty. It takes very little to be saved. All a person really has to do is WANT Jesus. Salvation is something God gives freely to all who want it. They just need to ask. That’s the only work involved. Salvation has to be free, for none is rich enough to buy it or good enough to deserve it. But the salvation one receives is BARE SALVATION.
When Jesus enters a person’s heart, the believer is instantly saved. Simultaneously, he is baptized into Christ’s church and becomes a member of the family of God. The moment he is saved, he has BARE SALVATION ― I mean, with no works of any kind. Now you may not be familiar with the term "bare salvation," so let me explain.
Before I entered the ministry, I was a building contractor. When building a house, you first dig the trenches, pour cement in them, and you have a foundation to construct your house. No lumber, no plumbing—nothing. It’s just a BARE FOUNDATION. Everything else comes AFTER the foundation has been poured.
Once the foundation has been laid, you can go ahead and build the house—any way you like. The foundation of the Christian life is Christ, and He provides it all free of charge: "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). When a man receives Christ, the foundation for his future life is instantly laid. From then on it is up to the believer what kind of life he will build on this bare foundation. The apostle Paul warns each Christian to be careful how he builds on his bare salvation:
"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the DAY (of judgment) will bring it to light. It will be revealed with FIRE and the fire will TEST the quality of each man's work. If what he has built SURVIVES, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will SUFFER LOSS, (yet) he himself will be saved (bare salvation), but only as one escaping through the flames" (1 Cor. 3: 12-15).
For someone who has done no works, those flames will leave him with his bare salvation, but any reward he could have had is GONE! Rewards are earned, and the foundation is free.
CHRISTIANS EXPECTED TO BUILD
All believers are endowed with gifts of some kind, and all are expected to use their gifts for Jesus. Investing in Jesus is building on the bare foundation. There is no reward for bare salvation. That is supplied by God. Every believer is capable of serving Christ in some way, and all of us will be judged INDIVIDUALLY for what we do with our salvation:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things DONE while in the body, whether good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10).
Do you know what that verse is all about? It refers to how a person builds on his bare foundation. You know the poem... “Only one life, twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last.” Those words summarize what I’ve been saying. If we want treasure in heaven, we must get busy and earn it now. No one is going to do this for us—certainly not Jesus. He’s the One who told us to do it for ourselves. But it will be too late for that when death strikes.
God looks for changes in us every day. CHANGE is the most important word in our Christian vocabulary. Our talk should be sweeter today than it was yesterday. We should pay our bills better, be kinder in speaking of others, be careful with our spouses, serve our employers more faithfully, raise our children more diligently, and display more peace in anxious situations. We should even drive our cars better and pay our taxes cheerfully. Those are reasonable expectations. If we don’t change now ― while there is time ― WE WILL ENTER HEAVEN AS WE ARE AT THE POINT OF DEATH ― AND NEVER CHANGE! There is no “before and after” in eternity.
ALL RIGHT, SO YOU ARE SAVED
Since it takes a such small act of faith to be saved, I have no problem accepting the fact of your salvation. But do you have the faith TO STAND? I mean, when trouble strikes, do you say, "Thank you, Lord," ― or do you say, “What am I going to do now?” or “How are we going to handle this?” Do you have the faith to trust Jesus when things go wrong, things as losing a job, your child accidentally being struck by a gang member's bullet, or you being diagnosed as having cancer? You could assure me you have such faith, which means you wouldn't have a single worry in the matter.
But most Christians worry, don't they? They worry plenty. Why? Their PROBLEMS are more real to them than the Lord. Why? They haven't gone beyond BARE SALVATION.
FROM A READER:
"Dr. Lovett, I need your help. My husband died recently leaving me alone to raise five children. My boys have smashed our car and now we can't get insurance. On top of that, they have robbed me, and forged my name on checks. Now I'm in danger of losing my home. I know the Lord can help me, but when I go to pray, my thoughts are so filled with my problems it's just too hard to pray."
Why do you suppose this lady found it so hard to pray? The answer: her problems were more real to her than the Lord. And why was that? She had neglected the one thing that could make the Lord real to her―the Word of God. Because we serve an UNSEEN LORD, it's tough to be a committed Christian. We can't reach out and touch Jesus. He lives inside us as an indwelling Spirit. We, on the other hand, live in a world of things we can see and touch, things we can taste, smell, and hear. To us, that's the real world. For most Christians, money in the bank is more solid than the promises of God. Even lunch is more real than Jesus.
SO HOW DO WE MAKE HIM REAL?
We must find at least five minutes a day for the Word. With a busy schedule, you may have to get up early in the morning to find the time. Be in the word together, if you are married. That's the best way ― husband and wife together. Now five minutes may sound like very little time, but the moment you try giving it to Jesus, Satan will make it a real fight. I guarantee it is a lot tougher than it sounds. Just try it, and you'll see what I mean. Finding time for Jesus is a measure of the place we give Him in our lives. You can be sure of this: THE PLACE WE GIVE THE LORD IN THIS LIFE DETERMINES THE PLACE HE GIVES US IN HIS KINGDOM.
We have the Holy Spirit on the inside and the Word of God on the outside and that’s all. If we neglect these, what we build on the bare foundation will be nothing but wood, hay, and straw and will quickly be consumed in the judgment fire. We'll suffer a SHOCKING LOSS AND END UP IN THE GHETTOS OF HEAVEN.
It would break my heart to see you there. Surely you don’t want to end up like that. So think soberly about what you are building on your bare foundation. If you’ll give God those five minutes a day, you will build something very special and find that your salvation is a . . .
C. S. Lovett
Copyright © 2023 Personal Christianity. All rights reserved.
SINCE YOU ASKED!
Question: “How can anyone be sure the Bible is true? It was written by different men over a period of centuries. So how can it possibly be something anyone should take seriously?”
Answer: The Bible is also called God’s Word. Most Christians claim that title for it. So if it really is God’s Word, then God is the One Who has to make it real and certify it to the hearts of men and women. And that is just what He does. How? By the witness of His Spirit to the person who reads it with the eyes of his heart. As the person reads the Word, eager to know if what he is reading is true, then it becomes the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to certify what he’s reading is the true Word of God.
The open-hearted reader senses he is reading something God has put before him and with his heart, a conviction arises, “Yes, this is true.” He doesn’t question it. No one can do this for another. Only the Spirit can confirm God’s Word to a believing heart. There is no outward proof of any kind. All we have is the Word of God on the outside and the Spirit of God on the inside.
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14 NKJV).
STIRRED: “I have never been so stirred in my heart and soul as I have by your LOVETT’S LIGHTS ON JOHN. I couldn’t put it down. This is the most wonderful, inspirational, and clear interpretation of John I have ever read. I am enthralled with it. I have taught Sunday school for 28 years, but I have never felt the Holy Spirit move so powerfully as when I began reading your Lights!” (Mrs. M.S.—FL)
GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT: “Your book, WITNESSING MADE EASY, has helped tremendously. I have spoken about Christ and sent tracts in the mail, but assumed I was a failure as a witness. I now see the difference between soul-winning and witnessing! This has been a great encouragement to me. Thank you.” (A.G.—FL)
LOVETT’S LIGHTS ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (2022 edition): 372 pages. Available on Amazon.com and sells for $15.99 HERE.
LOVETT’S LIGHTS ON JOHN (2021 edition): 381 pages. Available on Amazon.com sells for $15.99 HERE.
WITNESSING MADE EASY (2019 edition): 213 pages. Purchase on Amazon.com for $14.99 HERE.
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL (2018 edition): 241 pages. Available on Amazon.com and sells for $14.99 HERE.
THE PREPARED LIFE (2017): 159 pages. This book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $13.99 and is also available in Kindle form for $7.99 HERE.
ORIGINAL OIL PAINTINGS BY LINDA LOVETT are available on our website. Click HERE.
If you would like to send us a letter, comment, or prayer request, you may contact us at:
Personal Christianity, PO Box 918, Middleton, ID 83644
“Preparing for His Appearing” Since 1951