I am posting these in one place as Jim adds to them. You can visit Stand for the faith, to read direct from there, or many other good articles. But I think this series is a must read:
BIBLE BASICS PART 1
Questions abound when it comes to the Bible and Christianity. I will attempt to develop a series of posts that answer the important questions starting with eternal salvation . My goal is have a consolidated stand alone page with the questions and answers.
Why do people need eternal salvation?
Since the sinful transgression of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, mankind has been far from perfect. We are sinners. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are born with sin natures and do sin of our own volition. We stand guilty before a Holy God and the sentence is eternal death. This eternal death is separation from God forever in the lake of fire. It should be then easily understood that there is great need to be delivered from this pending fate.
(Gen 2:16-17, ch 3, Rom 3:23, 5:12, John 3:18, Rev 20:15)
BIBLE BASICS PART 2
Eternal Salvation is a tough enough concept for people to comprehend but let’s now also consider the idea of good works. Some people believe the gospel, receive the spiritual birth of the new man but are deceived by the world’s wisdom and counterfeit teaching concerning the Christian life. The Galatian believers were drawn back to law keeping. Sadly some people never get to the point of faith because of all the hype about good works, fruit inspection, etc. Christians need clarity on this so let’s first consider the Biblical view of works and then look at various misrepresentations and certain verses used to try to prove that works prove our eternal standing.
What role do good works have in the Christian life? In essence, what is the big deal?
God always intended for believers to do good works
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify
unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Sometimes Christians get the idea that they are saved and therefore can relax knowing that they have their “ticket” to heaven. However, as we will see we were intended for great things. Note here that it does not say that we will do good works.
2 Timothy 3:14-17
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
(The Word of God is capable not only to make us wise unto salvation but to equip us with the instruction needed for good works. Part of what people have to understand is that good works are just that – work. Likewise preparing yourself for good works takes effort. There is no effort needed to believe the gospel and be saved but the believer needs to study the Word to know what is expected of them by their Savior. We need to also understand who God is and build our ongoing relationship with Him. 2 Pet 1:1-9)
All too often I hear people talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ yet something is off. How many of you remember receiving mail from Publisher’s Clearing House and it said something to the effect that you may have won 10 million dollars. They did everything they could to package it and dress it up to try to make one think, hey this really may be possible. They often hid the fine print that declared the odds. Overall it was just a gimmick to sell magazines. They were using what seemed like good news to get something out of you. Too many times our gospel presentations are the same. They are dressed up to look like good news but can’t and won’t actually deliver.
Let’s look at some examples of false good news.
1) God might love you but He also might hate you
2) God may have selected you for salvation (but he rejected the vast majority).
3) God sent His Son to only die for the elect.
4) God expects you to turn from your sinning to be able to receive the gift of eternal life.
5) God expects your faith to include commitment to discipleship.
6) God gives salvation to all who trust Christ for it based on the gospel but if you stop believing at any point you lose it by forfeit.
7) Salvation can be lost if you sin too much
8)Sinning too much means you are never really one of the pre-chosen.
9) If you desire to be saved from the penalty of sin then start praying now that God will grant you repentance faith, and perseverance etc.
10) God expects you to make a public confession in order to receive the gift of eternal life
11) God expects you to do good works to help earn eternal life.
12) God will save everyone so don’t worry about it
13) God will regenerate you if you are the elect and at some point you will repent, believe, and live right. (Happy fruit inspecting and introspection to see if it has happened yet.)
14) Btw… of course all true believers will (fill in the blank with a behavior or practice) tithe. (So start giving 10 percent plus or you know the story… you may not really be saved – guilt, guilt,guilt…manipulation using fear, and verses taken out of context).
15) God expects you to be saved just by believing in Christ’s name (crossless gospel) but nothing else needs to be known about Him or what He did.