Blog Archive - May 2013
The archives of The Sun Will Rise, organized by month.
Are you saved?
Evangelical Christians are united in the belief that salvation is essential. However, various streams in the church have deviated in articulating what we have been saved from and when that salvation would be evident. Some say we are saved from sin, others say we are saved from sickness, poverty, and lack, and still others say we are saved from hell and unending torment. Yet as Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul, and the rest of the New Testament writers present straightforwardly, salvation is about being saved from the future wrath of the day of the LORD (Matthew 3:7; Luke 21:23; Romans 10:9, cf. Joel 2:32; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10, cf. Isaiah 2:12,19; 2 Peter 3:10; Romans 2:5-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2).
The day of the LORD was not just a concept fabricated by the New Testament writers but was spoken about by virtually all of the Old Testament prophets. Since that dreadful day in Eden's garden, the LORD promised to restore all that humanity's fall had torn asunder. Though His patience would afford men time to repent (2 Peter 3:9) before the day He had fixed to renew all things by Jesus (Acts 17:31), humanity would scorn His mercy and the atonement provided in His own Son, "storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5)
Pentecost Sunday marks the day when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on some of His followers after His ascension back into the heavens. The church celebrates Pentecost 10 days after the ascension and 50 days after Easter. Some call this day "the birthday of the church" because over 3,000 souls in Jerusalem put their faith in Jesus (Acts 2:41).
The two major events of Pentecost as recorded by Luke in Acts 2 are:
- The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on 120 Jews in the upper room
- Peter's sermon to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
If we are to rightly understand the significance of Pentecost, we must do more than acknowledge the giving of the Holy Spirit - we must understand why He was poured out. This is what Peter explains in his sermon. The sign of tongues was meant to do much more than spice up their prayer meeting - it was to confirm the truth about Jesus. Therefore Pentecost has everything to do with who Jesus is.
Today, Christians in the Western tradition celebrate "Ascension Day", commemorating the day of Jesus' ascension into the heavens to retake His place on His throne of glory. The church calendar marks 40 days following the day of His resurrection, according to Acts 1:3:
“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3 ESV)
The magnitude of the ascension is overwhelming. This was not just Jesus' "disappearing act". The place where He ascended to was not unfamiliar to Him, because that's where He had come from (John 8:14; John 16:28). He went to a physical, tangible locale in the heavens with an authentic human body that has real bones, real hands and feet, and a real face with a beard, eyes, and nose. Where He went to and what He is doing there is what is enormously significant to understand as we celebrate His ascension today.