GOD, HUMANITY AND SIN
Many people do not realize that the Holy Bible is actually “God’s Love Story” for mankind (humankind for the modernists).
The information provided on this page can help you understand how we “got here”: why we are today in this situation of a sinful fallen world, with death, destruction, disease, famines, wars, lying, cheating, stealing, murder, killing and other sinful behavior and misery all around us.
You will also read who our hope is: Jesus Christ the one true and living God, the Lord our Savior. This is the Jesus of Nazareth. Christ is not His last name. Christ means “Messiah” or “Anointed One” (by God). I have listed some helpful verses to read as you go. These verses are by no means meant to be exhaustive, but they form a very good starting point as you go along.
Contrary to many peoples’ beliefs, becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you abandon your reason, logic and intellect and just “blindly believe in faith” in Jesus. You should come to that decision to accept Jesus as your Lord after evaluating facts and evidence on which to base that decision.
In fact, the evidence given in the Bible would far supersede the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof that is required by a jury in a modern court of law to arrive at a consensus verdict, even in the most severe of capital crimes! You are being asked to make an informed decision based on documented evidence, historical proof and facts, eye witnesses and testimonies thereof (many), etc.. It is by reviewing all available information that you can then make an informed, logical, rational decision to accept Jesus Christ as truth and life, and your God and Lord, if you so choose.
HOW TO BE SAVED (BECOMING A CHRISTIAN)
Contrary to popular belief (and even the teachings of many “Christian” pastors), you are not saved by simply saying a magical set of words (called the “sinners’ prayer”) that you say once and then somehow are magically saved forever, without anything more involved.
In fact, coming to accept and verbalize Christ is simply one component of salvation. Christianity isn’t a one time little prayer…sure it often starts that way, in an instant, when you see and decide to accept the truth of Christ…but Christianity is a way of life until death.
The elements involved in true Christian salvation are:
- Belief in Christ
- Confession (verbally)
- Baptism (by immersion in water)
- Obedience to the commands of Christ (as given in the New Testament, not the 10 commandments), and
- Perseverance in faith (even in the face of trials and tribulations unto death)
- Believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. To receive this free gift, all you have to do is believe in Jesus: that He was who He said he was (the Son of God, and also God Himself), that He did what He said He did, and that He will do what He said He will do. This is called putting your faith, trust and hope in Jesus, and only in Jesus alone! Religion, ceremonies, idols, schemes of man (e.g. Popery), good works, none of that will get you into heaven. You can be saved by grace through faith, not of works, lest any man boast. [See: Luke 11:9-10, John 1:1-14, 1 Peter 1:20-21, Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 1:18-23, John 1:29, John 1:32-33, Matthew 3:16-17, John 3:16-21, John 10:30, John 8:58, Colossians 1:15-16, John 14:9b-11, John 5:39-47, Matthew 18:18-20, John 14:6, John 11:25-26, Acts 4:11-12, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Romans 1:16-17, Hebrews 2:14-15, Philippians 2:8-11, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 1:18-19, John 19:1-3, John 19:17-19, 1 Peter 3:18, Romans 5:6-8, Hebrews 10:11-13, John 3:14-15, 1 John 2:1-2, Psalm 103:6-14, 1 Corinthians 15:45-49, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Luke 24:5-7, 1 Corinthians 15:14-17, John 14:1-3, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Ephesians 1:19b-21, Hebrews 1:1-13]
- Confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Verbalizing Christ as your Lord and Savior is necessary for salvation. You will often be asked to do this at your baptism, which is great, but the command goes beyond that, as it is written: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” [See: Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8]
- Repent of your Sins. Genuinely and sincerely repent of your sins – repent means to turn away from/stop doing sinful behavior. You will be able to do this now by the power of Jesus, who lives in you. Sins come in many kinds. Repenting of your sins usually starts at the instant you confess Christ the first time, but then lasts over a lifetime with the avoidance of deliberate and continued sinful behavior. [See: Matthew 4:17, John 3:3, John 3:5-8, Hebrews 10:26-27, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 103:12]
- Be Baptized. Be baptized (by immersion in water) for the forgiveness of your sins. [See: Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 10:48, Acts 22:16, Colossians 2:12, Galatians 3:27, Luke 3:21-22, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 8:36-38]
- Welcome New Brother or Sister in Christ! You have now been “born again”! This is also referred to as walking in “the way” of Jesus. You now live in Christ, and He lives in you. You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. You are now also reconciled again to God, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’s death, and through obedience to Christ. Atonement means making reparations, payment for sins, reconciled with God. [See: 1 Peter 1:23, John 3:1-14, 2 Corinthians 5:17]
Note: We are not advocating a “salvation by works” here, which is what most will claim (falsely); we are simply telling you what the Bible says in very clear words and commands. You cannot simply pick some verses while ignoring others; this is what many do. A perfect example is Mark 16:16, which says: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” People try to weasel word this verse, ignore it, twist it’s words or pretend it doesn’t say exactly what it says! You cannot pick some verses about salvation and ignore others. They must be viewed together in aggregate unity which comprise the necessary conditions for true salvation.
It is true you are “saved by grace through faith and not of works, lest any man should boast”! Of that we heartily agree and say amen! We are simply indicating that true saving faith (by the grace of God) then is confirmed throughout your life as a Christian by good works, Christian attitudes and behavior, producing real fruit (through good works) and loving God and loving others. [See: James 2:14-17]
We do also disagree strongly with the “once saved, always saved” cliche that is often told. I used to believe that – but it is a false teaching. The Bible is abundantly clear on the need for perseverance in faith even unto death. You can “turn back” after you profess faith, you can “depart” from the faith and you can be “lead astray” by false teachers! That’s why the Bible is so full of admonitions to persevere in faith and warnings about false teachers/teachings. It is clearly written: “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” And it is written: “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you”. [ See: Philippians 2:12, 1 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Hebrews 3:12-19, 2 Peter 2:20-22, Romans 11:19-22, Matthew 24:10-13, Revelation 3:11, James 1:12, 1 Timothy 4:16, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Hebrews 10:39, 2 Peter 1:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 3:8, Mark 4:17]
Friends, it is this exact “working out of your salvation in fear and trembling” that you do daily as you die to self each day (by “taking up the cross”) during the course of your life that SHOWS you are saved! And with “fear and trembling” doesn’t mean to be afraid (i.e. literally trembling, etc.); in fact, we are called to be bold and courageous as Christians! Fear means to respect and honor God, obey Him and not man, seek His wisdom not the world’s wisdom, value eternal things over material things, and to glorify Him in what you do and how you live, etc. This is why Jesus specifically said: “‘If you love me, keep my commands.'” – John 14:15. [See: Galatians 2:20, John 14:15, Matthew 16:24-26, Philippians 2:20, Joshua 1:9, Proverbs 28:1, Ephesians 3:11-12, 2 Corinthians 3:4, 2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 10:12, Acts 5:29, Hebrews 13:6, Hebrews 10:19, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Mark 4:17]
WALKING IN “THE WAY” OF A CHRISTIAN
There are other very real and clearly defined conditions as written in the Bible. The conditions for salvation are: belief, acceptance, verbally confessing Christ, repentance, baptism, obedience and perseverance! You cannot omit any of those conditions and meet the criteria that the Bible gives for being saved (truly born again). Some of these happen very quickly and instantly, while others occur over an extended period of your life (e.g. obedience, perseverance) as you are being “sanctified” (set apart, made to conform to the image of Christ).
- Learn and Obey Christ’s Commands. It’s not enough to simply say you are a Christian now, you must also learn and obey Jesus commands/instructions of the New Testament. You do this by reading and studying the Bible. Genuine faith results in good works and results. Faith without works is dead! Contrary to popular opinion (and false teachings), this is not “salvation by works”; this is actually following the commands of Jesus, who said those who love Him obey his commands! Also, be sure to read and learn from what other saints who have gone before you have written also so you are NOT lead astray again; use discernment in who you believe as many who claim to be Christians are really fake, imposters, wolves in sheep’s clothing! [See: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 15:4, Matthew 22:37-40, John 8:31-32, John 8:51, John 14:23, Luke 9:23-26, Matthew 7:15-20, Matthew 7:24-28, Galatians 5:17-21, Romans 7:15, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Matthew 24:23-25, 2 Peter 3:3, Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 27:17, John 8:32, Acts 5:29, James 2:14-17, James 2:16]
- Produce Fruit (Good Works). Other people should be able to tell you are now a Christian by your fruit (your works, kindness and love for others) and your new spirit of Christ (gentleness, patience, caring, giving, etc…).
- Persevere in Faith. You must persist in your faith even unto death: through good times and times of hardship, tribulation and persecution even unto death if that’s where it leads – and He (Jesus) will lift you up on the last day (the day of Judgment) and give you eternal life in heaven with Him (a crown of life), just as He rose from the dead 3 days after being crucified on the cross. [See: 2 Timothy 4:1-8, John 15:18-19, John 16:33, Romans 14:8, Hebrews 10:23-25, Matthew 7:21-23, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 3:20, Romans 8:31, 1 Corinthians 7:23, Philippians 4:13]
AVOID FALSE PROPHETS/TEACHERS WHO LEAD MANY TO DESTRUCTION!
As you walk in the way of a Christian (or even before) you will be exposed to many many lies, false teachings and misinterpretations of Scripture. In fact, you’ve already been exposed to many of these lies, propaganda and conditioning, starting all the way from your earliest childhood! I’ve compiled a list of the main ones so you can be aware. There are literally hundreds of such “snares/traps” laid by man (some even well meaning) who fail to properly divide (understand, interpret) the Word of God.
- Avoid False Prophets and Teachings. Now this item is of extreme importance and very difficult to do. The schemes, myths, snares, traps and false-teachings of man abound, in nearly every direction as far as the eye can see. Beware! Be not deceived. How are you not deceived? You must read the Bible, and learn how to read the Bible correctly. For the interpretation of Scripture is not up to private interpretation of each person, nor their guesswork or supposition. As a Christian, you are called to rightly divide the word of truth. [See: 2 Peter 1:20, 2 Timothy 2:15, Ezekiel 13:9, Jeremiah 23:16, Matthew 24:24, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Acts 20:28-30, 2 Peter 3:16-17, 1 John 4:1-3, Matthew 7:15-20, Titus 1:9-10, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Matthew 23:2-3, 2 Peter 3:3, 1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Matthew 24:11, Deuteronomy 18:20, Jeremiah 23:1-40, Jeremiah 14:14, Jeremiah 5:30-31, Galatians 1:6-9, John 8:44, Matthew 7:21, 1 Corinthians 14:13, Revelation 3:9, Revelation 19:20, Psalm 91:3]