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By Synthia Esther

Do you have religion or do you know God? Religion and its rules include moral, ethical, and social behavior. Do you feel you measure up? Do you feel better about yourself when you do? Does your religion have you follow the law of the ten commandments and the precepts of God Himself? Do your works, behavior, and ceremonial religious habits such as being baptized, stir you to boldly proclaim you are a Christian? Religion, baptism, or works is not the way to salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10, For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith - and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God - (9) not by works, so that no one can boast. (10) For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. It is by grace alone that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, shedding His innocent, Holy blood so that we can come to experience salvation and the gift of eternal life. By exercising our faith and trust in the work of atonement provided by Jesus Christ, we experience salvation made perfect through His justification plan. There is nothing you could or could not do to earn your salvation. No matter what you have done in your past it only took one drop of Christ's Holy atoning blood to cover not only your sins, but all of humanities sin. A defeasance is a clause within a contract or deed providing for annulment. Jesus Christ shed blood was the defeasance providing the clause that annulled all humanities sin. His death and resurrection was the provision that voided out our debt to sins curse on humanities souls. He paid the price to set us free.

Romans 3:22-24, This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Romans 11:6, And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

When we grasp the love behind God's redemption plan, and Jesus Christ submitting in love to His Father's plan, we see a glimpse beyond our minds thought and reason concerning our religious works or efforts. In our feeble earthly attempts to some how become worthy enough of His love, we become ensnared in false perceptions of the depth of His love. When we humans strive to grasp the power behind God's infinite grace, mercy and love with our finite reasoning power to define infinite, spiritual Holy Love we are limited in our perspective. This spiritual revelation causes us to look beyond what work and message we can impart, to become the living message of Christ's Love in deed, thought and action. Our purpose in life then becomes...your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). As Christians we strive to live by the values we feel unworthy of. But it is the act of surrendering our attempts at becoming religious to submit to the acts of God's will, that we come to realize the Holy Spirit is working within us to achieve what we never could, "to become more like Christ in Spirit and in truth".

By striving to go with the flow of the river instead of against its currents, we endeavor to achieve denial of self (the flesh), growing in faith and trust in God. We surrender our will for God's will, realizing we cannot save ourselves. Then no matter our circumstances, we accept our trails and tribulations for the cause of Christ and His work in and through us. Acts 20:23-24, I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. (24) However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Then we are strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that we might have great endurance and patience (Colossians 1:11). The power of the cross and resurrection provided by the blood Of the Lamb Of Sacrifice, Jesus Christ, did the work and paid the redemption price and defeasance clause against sin, for all of humanity.

As Christians, we are never powerless, as God has given us the authority and power through His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to live victoriously. The words of the song written in the 1930's by E. M. Bartlett, "Victory in Jesus, " tell the victorious salvation story well. "I heard an old, old story, How a Savior came from glory, How He gave His life on Calvary To save a wretch like me; I heard about His groaning, Of His precious blood's atoning, Then I repented of my sins and won the victory. 2. I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power reveling, How He made the Lame to walk again And caused the blind to see; And then I cried Dear Jesus, Come and heal my broken spirit, and some how Jesus came and bro't to me the victory. 3. I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory, And I heard about the streets of gold Beyond the crystal sea; About the angels singing, And the old redemption story, And some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of victory. Chorus: O victory in Jesus, My Savior, forever, He sought me and bo't me With His redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew Him And all my love is due Him, He plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood." Living in the 21st century is vastly different than Barlett's life in the 1930's. No matter the time difference, the message is still the same. As children of the King of kings, we have victory in Jesus!

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