3. Frequently asked Questions About Salvation and Heaven
1. What Are The Biblical Requirements for Salvation?
“But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Job 32:8
For centuries men and women have posed the question, “What must I do to be saved?” “What Are The Biblical Requirements for Salvation?” The church has provided these hungry people with a multitude of answers. This seemingly endless group of answers to this simple question has led to much confusion and disagreement over the years. But the source of the answer, the truth and authoritative source has remained the same. In order to know the truth, in order to answer their question we must look to the word of God, the Bible.
One must first believe that the contents of the Bible are wholly-inspired (written under the direction and approval of God). This core belief is the foundation and principle of Christian based faith; and recognizes the Bible as the guided source of what we know of God and His dealings with men. The Bible emphasizes the need to look to the scriptures themselves for our guidance. It is the authoritative doctrine for all of God’s people.
(2 Timothy 3:14-16) “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:”
The Requirements to be “Saved”
(According to Scripture – Not Man)
|TO BE SAVED:||TRUE||FALSE||SCRIPTURE VERIFICATION||TRADITIONS & DOCTRINES OF MEN |
(Mark 7:13) (Colossians 2:8)
|You MUST believe that God exists.||Hebrews 11:6|
|You MUST believe Jesus is the Son of God.||John 3:16, 6:40; 1 John 4:14-15, 5:5, 5:10|
|You MUST believe Jesus died for Your sins.||1 Corinthians 15:2-3|
|You MUST believe God raised Jesus from the dead.||Romans 10:9|
|Baptism is part of God’s Plan of Salvation.||Mark 16:16; Acts 2:32-38|
|Is man required to do such in order to please God or to be SAVED?||Verified By The Scripture(s) Above|
|Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6 (KJV)|
|TO BE SAVED:||TRUE||FALSE||SCRIPTURE VERIFICATION||TRADITIONS & DOCTRINES OF MEN |
(Mark 7:13) (Colossians 2:8)
|I must believe Jesus is God.||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
|I must believe God died on the cross for our sins.||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
|I must believe God died for 3 days then resurrected himself.||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
|I must I believe Jesus raised himself from the dead||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
|I must believe in The Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
|I must speak in "unknown tongues" in order to go to Heaven.||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
|Is man required to do such in order to please God or to be SAVED?||none||DOCTRINE OF MEN|
Also Ref: (The Sinner’s Prayer)
2. Once Saved Always Saved Or Can I Lose The Holy Ghost?
When we give the newly repented individual the expectation that they will be sin free, problem free, and that the Holy Spirit will make them do right or good when they receive the gift we are giving them an unrealistic expectation and it is an incorrect teaching. Imagine how disappointed the new saint will be to find out they must still face and overcome temptation.
It Is Better To Be Divided By Truth / Than United In Error
Can I Lose The Holy Ghost After Receiving It?
Yes, it is very possible for a believer to lose the Holy Ghost (The Spirit of God) after having received it.
The Bible clearly reflects several incidents of this taking place. In the book of Samuel, the Holy Spirit first indwelt King Saul, but later came upon David (1 Samuel 16:13) and departed King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). We also read that after his adultery with Bathsheba, David feared that the Holy Spirit would be taken from him (Psalm 51:11).<1>The “Holy Spirit”, the “Spirit of God”, the “Spirit of the LORD” and the “Holy Ghost” are all one and the same. Regardless which expression is used, they have the same meaning. This Ghost (or Spirit) is Holy (of God). The Bible often reflects this type of phenomenon as a movement of the “Holy Ghost”, “Spirit of God”, the “Spirit of the LORD” or “God” acting upon or within a believer (1 Cor 6:19). (See also. Verses Where “He” & “Him” Should Be Referred To As “It”)
“Once saved always saved” is a dangerous and very misleading statement, and if you are not careful that belief will take you straight to hell. Although it sounds real good it is non-biblical. Furthermore, there is an “obedience” factor that exists and you cannot get around it.
(Hebrews 5:8-10) “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of [by] God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
The Holy Ghost is a gift from God given to those who are obedient to the will of God and his plan of salvation. (Acts 5:32) and (Matthew 17:5; Acts 2:37-38). This gift is promised to those who have truly repented and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The evidence that we continue to possess God’s Holy Spirit (The Holy Ghost) is demonstrated (made manifest) by the fruit we bear and the life we live (Matthew 7:18-20). You cannot just live any lifestyle that is contrary to being Holy (Matthew 7:21-23; Ephesians 1:4, 5:27; 1Cor 1:8; Php 2:15; Col 1:22; 2Peter 3:14). “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). As Paul reminds us:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)
References [ + ]
|1.||⇑||The “Holy Spirit”, the “Spirit of God”, the “Spirit of the LORD” and the “Holy Ghost” are all one and the same. Regardless which expression is used, they have the same meaning. This Ghost (or Spirit) is Holy (of God). The Bible often reflects this type of phenomenon as a movement of the “Holy Ghost”, “Spirit of God”, the “Spirit of the LORD” or “God” acting upon or within a believer (1 Cor 6:19). (See also. Verses Where “He” & “Him” Should Be Referred To As “It”)|
3. Is Speaking In Tongues Required for Salvation?
Salvation And Speaking In Tongues
Another area that has been a source of conflict for many Charismatic Christians, especially those of us who are brought up under the Apostolic/Pentecostal banner, is this issue of speaking in tongues. So Is Speaking In Tongues Required for Salvation? Some believers have adopted the thought that speaking in tongues represents salvation; it doesn’t. Because of this incorrect assessment, it has led many God fearing people to question their own salvation, wondering if they were filled with the Holy Spirit because they did not hear themselves speak in tongues.
NOTE: The Bible does NOT state that there are three requirements (repent, be baptize, and speak in tongues) before one can receive this “gift” of the Holy Ghost (some non-biblical person added that requirement for you).
Although there are those of us who have repented, accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, received water baptism and have the personal experience of speaking in tongues, which is something that has and continues to occur for some (See: Not Everyone Speaks In Tongues) and for some this phenomenon occurs more frequently (1 Corinthians 14:18), the act of “speaking in tongues” however does not prevent anyone from sinning nor does it guarantee you deliverance from hell or everlasting life in heaven with God. Speaking in tongues is just one of many spiritual gifting’s, but it is certainly not evidence that you now have obtained permanent eternal life (salvation) status with God. Why? Because of the “obedience” factor that exists and you can not get around it.
The Holy Ghost is a gift from God given to those who are obedient to the will of God and his plan of salvation. (Acts 5:32) and (Matthew 17:5; Acts 2:37-38). This gift is promised to those who have truly repented and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The evidence that we have God’s Holy Spirit (The Holy Ghost) is demonstrated (made manifest) by the fruit we bear, the life we live (Matthew 7:18-23). It is important that you understand the difference between speaking in tongues (a spiritual gift) and salvation; the gifts and calling of God are given without repentance (Romans 11:29), salvation (the gift of eternal life) however requires repentance and a continual walk with and in the will of God.
Distinguishing A “Gift” From The “Initial Sign”
Ministries who teach/preach that an “initial sign” of speaking in tongues is mandatory in order to prove you have received the Holy Ghost, when asked, have no actual biblical scripture to support their claim. We as Pentecostals basically claimed that there are two different types of tongues with different purposes; (I can speak on this fact being that I am of the Apostolic background).
Most Pentecostals claim that there are “tongues” which evidences the “initial sign” of the Holy Ghost (which occurs after the repentance and baptism) but allegedly differ from the “gifts” of tongues, which are seen as “spiritual” gifts mentioned in the book of (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
It is this contention that is of great importance. This claim that there are two types of tongues (the “initial sign” and the “gift of” tongues) being the justification for mandating the requirement to speak in tongues is the crux of their error.
NOTE: Most Christians do not deny prophesy as being a spiritual gift, however they fall short trying to justify several inconsistencies.
The first is trying to explain how (tongues) identified in (Acts 2: 4) is not a spiritual gift but instead a (required) “initial sign” evidencing the “indwelling” of the Holy Ghost after someone is baptized;
The second problem is trying to explain the (Acts 19: 5-6) incident which reflects the Holy Spirit manifesting the “initial” evidence of dual signs (gifts) upon the people. They try to justify tongues as mandatory because it is referenced in more than one instance. They therefore claim it as an “initial sign” requirement yet they cannot recite any scripture that makes such claims or which distinguishes the difference between these two spiritual signs (tongues or prophecy).
Both tongues and prophecy are listed as spiritual gifts and if they are gifts then only the Spirit decides who may speak in tongues, as tongues, (being a gift), is not guaranteed to anyone, but as God wills.
NOTE: Adding this criterion to the scriptures is manufactured. You will not find the words initial or required associated with tongues in any scripture.
(Acts 2:4) “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
(Acts19: 5-6) “On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied”
(1 Corinthians 12:4, 11) “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit… ……..to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
(Romans 11:29) “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
It is also clear from these passages that there were:
1. No limitation as to how many gifts could be received;
2. No stipulation as to which gift would be made manifest; and
3. No limitation as to whom God could give these gifts to, tongues being one of many listed spiritual gifts, a gift which can be given to someone without repentance or to whom so ever God desires or wills.
You will not find “initial sign” or “unknown tongues” associated with salvation in any scripture, these also are man-made practices many have turned into man-made requirements.
Note: Jesus did not indicate that his disciples had to teach any recipients how to speak in tongues, and they certainly could NOT teach someone else how to speak in an unknown tongue for as the name implies that which is unknown cannot be taught.
In reality many recipients are basically “trained” to make or recite “unintelligible” words in an attempt to equate their murmuring to the “unknown tongues” mentioned in the Bible.
Unless someone has the ability to translate babbling, “unintelligible babbling” is not language but random sounds made by the mouth.
Telling a new convert they have received the Holy Ghost is a very dangerous practice if it is based on “unintelligible” sounds or words coming forth from someone’s mouth, after being “prompted” by the ministers to speak in this manner.
This leaves room for fraud to occur, especially if the recipient made themselves babble in order to excuse themselves or to see if those who deem themselves to be “qualified” would actually claim that their manner of speaking was the result of the Holy Ghost. (That individual would probably doubt the rest of the ministry as being a fraudulent practice from that point on)
Any ministry claiming the infilling of the Holy Spirit for someone else, other than the recipient himself making that claim, places themselves as well as the church in jeopardy of telling a LIE!
(Omitting Other “Initial” Signs)
(Acts 19:5-6) & (Mark 16:16-18)
It is of little surprise that we as Christians do not claim dual requirements having to be met at the same time, as indicating the “initial” evidentiary sign of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, (i.e., Acts 19:5-6, the combined tongue speaking and prophesying) even though it is clearly stated that both occurred after the Holy Spirit came on other individuals. We are now presented with a new potential problem; deciding which verse I want to identify or label as being an “initial occurrence” vs. the verses I choose to call or label as being an “initial requirement”
(Acts 19:5-6) “On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied”.
Clearly in (Acts 19:5-6) an “occurrence” is being recalled and recorded in the New Testament (or in the Dead Sea scrolls), yet it is not stated anywhere as being a “requirement“.
They are Either
Occurrences or Requirements?
Christ said These signs (Plural) shall follow them;…
Similarly, if we hold fast to Biblical occurrences that took place as being requirements; then all Christians professing themselves to be “saved” (especially those of us who are Pastors and said to be called of God) should exhibit all of the following signs (plural) as stated by Jesus, as the “initial” evidence of being “saved” (which is commonly referred to as being filled with the Holy Ghost).
(Mark 16:16-18)“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”.
I know of no one exhibiting all of these signs, verifying that they have all of these listed God given abilities. If there is to be any “initial” sign requirements in determining who is “saved”, or who is not, then this is clearly the scripture to focus on. This should be the foundation of any test, as Christ himself has clearly indicated, “these signs (PLURAL) shall follow them”. DO YOU EXHIBIT ALL OF THESE SIGNS? DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES?
I cannot remember the last time I saw a “saved” Christian picking up a rattle snake or drinking a cup of poison to “confirm” that he/she was saved. OK maybe that would be a little too extreme for most of us? Well tell me then when do individuals (like yourself) start exhibiting the evidence of your ability to heal by the “laying on of our hands”?
I am sure that we all know many seriously ill people. I cannot remember the last time I saw any “saved” Christian or Pastor eagerly and honestly with assured confidence profess to be able to lay hands on any randomly chosen sick individual and claim healing or deliverance from a deadly disease, sickness or terminal illness (indicating one of the undisputed signs of being saved). I personally don’t remember any who openly declared a specific time when that healing would take place, “immediately” or “let’s just keep our fingers crossed”, and pray that God heals them”.
Of course, we all know that God is the only one who can heal, but it is indicated that God has given all of those who are “saved” his approval, his authority and the ability to heal by the means of laying on of hands. This is scripture.
You see it is quite easy to claim to speak with “new tongues” or “unknown tongues” (which is an ambiguous sign) easily generating “unintelligible vocal activity” or “unintelligible babbling” claiming it to be a “Heavenly language” (for lack of better wording). Those who cling to this justification may only be adhering to this sign as it is clearly the easiest one to “fake”, anybody can be taught to mimic unintelligible vocal activity. It is undoubtedly harder to fake the rest of the God given evidentiary Biblical signs of being saved.
It is not surprising that we tend to avoid claiming “ALL” of these signs as “joint” requirements .
Why, because this was not an actual commandment here, neither were the other passages as mentioned earlier, but it is nonetheless undisputed that along with the sign of “tongues” Jesus also indicated there were several other signs which were all part of the EVIDENCE of a TRUE BELIEVER, ONE WHO IS SAVED!
As with the sign of speaking in tongues, just because something is mentioned which occurred, or could occur, does not necessarily make it the exhaustive (complete) listing or a combined list of all requirements that must all be obtained unless the Bible specifically states it as such.
Now we have a context interpretation decision, either these signs evidenced what “could” take place as God so chooses to gift an individual or all of these signs must occur at the same time in order to fulfill the listed requirement Jesus identified.
Remembering the word initial is not used in any of these passages of scripture, as it is often said “we can’t take part of the word and omit the parts we don’t want to practice” The whole picture has to fit in the most harmonious and logical manner.
If we are looking for evidence of the Holy Ghost, it seems that we need a larger arena to be surveyed or a reevaluation of our logic.
Although these miracles occurred at that time, these attributes may come about later or be developed over the course of time, (spiritual growth and gifts, some being faster than others considering those who are babes in Christ).
If Tongues Are Mandatory; Are Infants Who Die Doomed?
If the Holy Ghost must make “EVERYONE” speak in tongues as the condition to enter heaven (or be “saved”) then if this were true all infants who die premature would be doomed. Thankfully we know this teaching has little merit. First, we know God is just. Second, Jesus was born a human infant, whom we say was also “totally man” (Hebrews 2:14, 17) and the seed of David (Romans 1:3-4) so let’s test this man-made theory further.
Comparing The Humanity Of Jesus
The Bible says that Jesus was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5). How could He have been without sin if babies “inherit” the guilt of Adam’s sin and if Jesus was indeed a real “human being” (not just the outward appearance of a human) and the true blood offspring (descendant) of David who was also a descendant of Adam (both who were sinners)?
If a baby is guilty of sin, what happens if it dies before it is baptized or speaks in tongues, or if its parents refuse to baptize it?
If babies were guilty of sin, if one dies without baptism or speaking in tongues, then wouldn’t it follow that it would be eternally lost? Almost no one will accept this conclusion, yet to deny the conclusion is to admit that babies really are not guilty of sin.
Furthermore, if speaking in tongues is essential to salvation, if a baby is a sinner, then its salvation from sin must depend entirely on the actions of others and God to allow it to reach an age of understanding. It must rely entirely on its parents to choose to baptize it. It has no choice in the matter, and cannot possibly influence its own destiny. This contradicts all the scriptures quoted showing that salvation is a matter of individual choice (2 Corinthians 5:10; etc.).
Since salvation is a matter of individual choice, and since a baby cannot confess its belief in Christ, cannot repent of its sins if it had any and cannot choose or express a choice to be baptized, even if it wanted to, we can conclude that a baby is not lost to begin with. Therefore it does not need baptism nor must it speak in tongues. Acts 10:47 and John 3:5 refer to “men” (adults) not children; “Can any man forbid water” and “except a man is born of the water”. There is no indication that these words were ever intended to be applied to a new born child (nor are there any examples of such) but this was written to men and women who had a level of “understanding” and comprehension, not infants.
4. What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?
The Bible contains many interesting expressions.
“Born Again” is one of those expressions.
In the book of John (chapter 3) we find Jesus using several new and interesting expressions; “Born of Water”, “Born of the Spirit” and “Born Again.” In the opening passages (John 3:1-2) we have Jesus talking to a man named Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jews, a member of the Sanhedrin.
Jesus revealed to this devout Pharisee that the Kingdom of God was for the whole world (John 3:16), not just the Jews, and that Nicodemus wouldn’t be a part of it unless he was personally born again (John 3:5). This was a revolutionary concept, its entrance requirements were being born of water and of the Spirit. Jesus also tells us that God’s Kingdom had already begun in the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21, Mat 12:28).
When Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be “born again” he is actually speaking of the literal birth of a man, or transition, into a new creature that has been given a new life, although it encapsulates a figurative birth process.
Two Biblical Aspects
Conversion: is the process of being born again, “figuratively.”
Resurrection: (In reference to the Rapture) is the “literal” transition of being “born again.”
Part 1: The Conversion
Is Born Again / Figuratively
A Son of God
When His Life & Belief Is Converted
To Be Born Again Indicates:
1. The starting point in our new life (as a Christian).
2. The new starting point in our growth, as babes in Christ.
Although not directly stated as such, various passages suggest (or imply) that the point in which a “sinner” becomes converted that sinner has been “born again.” The Bible implies that we are “born again” when we begin a new life in Christ (in other words we, “like as Christ”, ought walk in a “newness” of life – Romans 6:4, 7:6, 2Cor 5:17, Eph 4:22-24, Col 3:10, 1John 2:6) and as with any “earthly” birth there is a growth process. This is also why some are often referred to as being babes in Christ, and newborns (as desiring the sincere milk) who have to be taught the Word of God (1 Corinthians 3:1-2; 1 Peter 2:2) just as Jesus was taught by his Father (John 8:28-31). Even though your heart may be right for receiving the Holy Ghost we still have to be taught the “Will of God” or “Word of God” somehow or from someone (Hebrews 5:8; John 5:19-20, 8:28, 14:26; 1 John 2:27; 2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11-12).
When we receive the Holy Ghost (the Spirit of God) and are led by his Spirit we are classified as “sons of God” (Romans 8:14) which is of course only figuratively because we have not yet truly been “Born Again” (literally).
To make matters somewhat more perplex, in (John 3:5) we see two different birth processes emerging, a man must be born of water and of the Spirit. Both are symbolically similar (in reference to being born) in that they both symbolize the beginning of a new life.
The phrase to be “born of water” is often debated as to its true meaning. Some argue it refers to the birth as given by a woman, others say that it refers to water baptism. Since the Bible does not address this expression directly, the best we can do is consider what else the Bible says.
This leaves several possibilities to explore:
1. Water Baptism?
Water Baptism is a commandment (intended to demonstrate your act of obedience) for it was not given as an option (Acts 10:47, Matthew 28:18-20, See also: Comparing Matthew 28:19 to Acts 2:38). It is said to reflect the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. There is a great deal of merit that links water baptism scriptures to Jesus statement; “Except a man be born of water.” In (1 John 5:5-6) it could very well indicate that “water” in this passage is in reference to the water baptism Jesus received and “blood” could be reflective of His blood shed on the cross for our sins (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 3:22; John 1:31-33) thus confirming that water baptism was to be done as Jesus had instructed (and partook of) and that it was approved by God. In addition we know water baptism indicates (symbolizes) the “cleansing of” or a “washing away” of our sins (Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 3:21). Being justified by faith, we have peace with God (Romans 5:1-21). This is the start of a “newness of life” (or birth) in Christ. (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12-13, 3:1-3; 1 Peter 3:21)
Man (who is mortal) can now position himself to become an acceptable (child of God ) a “son” unto God (born of God) and receive everlasting life because of the redemptive work of Christ, it was all made possible through Christ (Matthew 19:29; John 3:16, 36, 5:24, 6:40, 47; Romans 6:22; Galatians 6:8; 1 Timothy 1:16). The joy we will experience is such that it has not even enter into the hearts of man (1 Corinthians 2:9)
However, we must understand that the commandment to be baptized with water was/is only applicable to certain groups of people. For example, as for the Old Testament (O.T.) Saints, water baptism and the belief in Jesus was not a requirement given them from God, these individuals are now dead (or “asleep”). Many of these “obedient” men and women of God (often referred to as “holy” or “righteous”) will be saved without ever receiving water baptism (Heb 11:13-16 (NIV); Heb 9:15 (NASB): Rom 4 (NIV); James 2:23: Ps 32:5). Many O.T. men and women of God had the Holy Spirit (Psa 51:11), various gifting, callings and blessings without ever receiving water baptism ( 5. The Holy Ghost Was Not Unique To Pentecost ). The same occurred with John and others in the N.T. (Luke 1:15-17, 41, 67, 2:25-38; Heb 11).
Men have received the Holy Spirit before water baptism (Acts 9:17, 10:44-48; 15:7-8) and some in Christ’s ministry were forgiven without water baptism (Mt. 9:1-7; Luke 7:48).
Water baptism serves as both a symbolic “figure” (1 Pet. 3:21) and as a “witness” (1Jn 5:9-10). However, it is not necessarily essential to everyone’s salvation, but applies to those who have heard the gospel (Rom 10:14). God is not going to throw anyone in Hell solely for those things they were never afforded the opportunity to receive.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Knowing that God is a just God (Rev 15:3), this understanding would also apply to other similarly situated groups of individuals, infants, mentally disabled, unlearned, etc.. (Ref: Should Babies Be Baptized? ) nonetheless, everyone will stand before the judgment seat to give an account but not because they failed to be water baptized. This is an important point to take note.
Note: Jesus statement clearly indicates that being “Born of Water” was a prerequisite with no exceptions (John 3:5). Although water baptism is important to us who have heard the gospel of Christ yet, as indicated above, it is clearly not the sole requirement needed for receiving the Holy Ghost or entry to Heaven, especially considering the Old Testament Saints or infants, mentally disabled, etc., we therefore can conclude that the phrase “Born of Water” is probably not in reference to water baptism.
2. Human Birth?
The symbolism can also be seen in the physical birth of man. Life comes through both the water and by the breath of God; an infant comes through the water of flesh and breathes air and a Christian comes through the water of baptism and breathes Spirit. We can see these comparisons now; but during the time these scriptures were written the understanding of the human birth process may not have been viewed in this light, especially considering Nicodemus clearly didn’t understand what Jesus meant by being “born again.”
It is also clear that a brand new creature is born in both instances; One is a literal human baby, the other is a figurative Spiritual baby in Christ. A new baby must go through the process of growing, learning, and maturing as does a new man in Christ.
One of the signs of a woman getting ready to give birth is what we commonly call the passing of water. Admittedly there is no direct evidence people of that era thought of this phrase (born of water) as the inner membrane fluid sack which surrounds a developing baby (embryo, fetus) a woman carries within her body during pregnancy prior to giving it birth, especially when we consider Nicodemus was also said to be a learned/educated (master) Jewish man (John 3:10) asking Jesus this question.
Conclusion: Although you can argue the fact, the human birth symbolism is the most harmonious analogy of the two. You can argue it, but we certainly cannot eliminate this line of reasoning especially considering the context of the statement made by Jesus in these two passages (John 3:5-7).
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Verse 6 is parallel with verse 5. Water is equated with (flesh) physical birth. Whereas, Spirit is equated with spiritual birth. So what Jesus is saying is that you must not only be born physically but spiritually. This is further confirmed when we review what the word of God says about access to Heaven.
(The Rapture/The Caught Up)
Are Born Again By God (Literally)
As New Living Creatures
(As Immortal/Spirit Beings)
(Through The Rapture)
How Are We Born Again?
Let’s review again how men (humans) are first given life (born).
1. (With the exception of Adam and Eve) In order for the nature of “man” to enter into the world as a living, functioning, breathing human soul requires a woman (women contain the human “ova” or egg). The spirit of man (given each of us from God) is born with living human flesh. All men are considered to be “created creatures” of God and “ALL” men (including Jesus) are given mortal bodies of “flesh” (it’s able to die) and unless some supernatural intervention occurs these bodies will return to dust – (Genesis 3:19)
2. The Bible however indicates that this is distinguishable from that which is required for man (dead or living) to enter into the kingdom of God. This is accomplished by a process called Born Again (John 3:7), the question is how?
(John 3:4) “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”
(John 3:5) “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus’ question was legitimate, it was impossible for a man to reenter his mother’s womb and be reborn. However, Jesus was not asking him to do the impossible but to see that he had a real spiritual life to consider, not just a reformed old life.
(1Co 15:49) And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
(Php 3:21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
(2Pe 1:4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Jesus Christ the First to be Born Again
To fully understand the true meaning of being born again, we first have to understand the true meaning of Jesus being the “first born” among many brethren.
(Rom. 8:28-29) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Yet we know that this is not speaking of Jesus’ first birth, his human birth at Bethlehem. It is speaking after He was physically born of the virgin Mary—because many brethren were born (of human birth) before Jesus.
Since Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren, these many brethren are to be born having the same kind of birth experience as Christ.
When Jesus was “born” at Bethlehem, he was a human, – born the Son of man (woman).
When Was Christ Born Again?
The Bible says we, (being sons of God), will one day be like Christ (not like God) when he appears (1 John 3:2, Col 3:4, Heb 9:28, Php 3:21) – and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
In order to be born again, our fleshly body must first somehow DIE or, as we know it, cease from existing as a functioning/breathing human being. Only then could man be literally born again!
* Note: But some of us humans will still be alive when Christ returns during the Rapture, but they will be caught up to meet Christ in the air (1Th 4:16-17). Either way the old flesh body will die (Jas 2:26) and we will be changed with new bodies (1 Cor 15:52-53).
Jesus was born again — but this time born of God by His resurrection, as you read in Romans 1:3-4: “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed (born) of David according to the flesh [His human birth of Mary — making Him the Son of man]; and declared (confirmed) to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
These scriptures (Rom 1:3-4, 8:28-29) are referencing the TWO births of Jesus Christ. The one through the virgin Mary, a descendant of David, by which He became the Son of man. Then later, He was born again, (by God) but this time by His resurrection from the dead!
Note: When we consider (John 1:13, 1Peter 1:3, 1John 5:1) these three random passages contain three different English words (Begat, Begotten and Born) which are all English words transliterated from the same Greek word (G1080). However the intent and usage of these words is vitally important to understand. It is true, no one will be born again (of God) unless he repents of his sin, believes on Christ and accepts Him as personal Savior, receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then is led by the Spirit of God. But this experience is not a true “born-again” experience — it is a begettal! It is NOT a true Birth!
We have not literally been born again if we have not yet literally died because as long as we remain physically alive we still possess our sinful nature (free will/ the ability to chose sin) which is an inherent part of our physical nature.
Each of us was begotten in our mother’s womb before we were later born.
Who Are These “Brethren”?
In Romans 8:12, Paul says: “Therefore, brethren…”, brethren is in reference to the saints
(Romans 1:7 — To all that be in Rome, “beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In (1 Cor. 1:2) Paul addresses his letter to Corinthians: “Unto the church of God … to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints“. And in verse 10, “Now I beseech you, brethren…” The brethren are those who are the saints.
Note: (Luke 24:46, Acts 26:23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. (Ref Isa 53:2-12)
Christ is the firstfruits — Christ the firstborn of many brethren — the first to be born by the resurrection from the dead! (1Cor 15:20-23).
The Bible does not say that Christ was a sinner who needed salvation. Yet he had to be born again, just as all saints (brethren) in order to be the FIRST!
Quickened To Be Born Again
The Biblical term “born” or “birth” is used, not only to indicate a child coming forth from the womb of a woman but it is also used to describe the source of a beginning of a thing, an event, or series of events. For example, we speak of the birth of a nation, an institution, or a concept. As it was with Christ, the essential component to experience being born again (to experience the FIRST resurrection) occurs only with those who have been “quickened” (1Cor 15:45).
(Ephesians 2:1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
(Ephesians 2:5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(Colossians 2:13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Note: The quickening aspect is indicated as being obtained now not after we are physically dead. We (the Saints) have been forgiven before we die thus we are ready for death (physically) as we have been quickened and await to be changed, “In a moment in the twinkling of an eye” to meet Christ in the air when he comes (1 Corinthians 15:52).
This is vitally important to understand because in order for this “quicken” aspect to take place you must have His Spirit (the Spirit of God, which is called the Holy Ghost) residing in you. Paul puts it like this:
“But if the Spirit of him (God) that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he (God) that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken(G2227) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Whether we call ourselves brethren, saints or a child of God, One thing is made clear in (Romans 8:14,16) – if God’s Spirit is in us, leading us, we are sons (children) of God. And if children then heirs of God.
However, we are not yet inheritors — but rather we are heirs waiting to inherit. “If” we suffer (endure) with Christ we will literally be “joint-heirs” with Christ (born again by God in the resurrection), and the “glory” Christ has we too shall receive, for we (as children of God) will also be glorified together with Him (Christ) (Romans 8:17).
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5. Is There Salvation In Any Other Name – (Acts 4:12)
Neither Is There Salvation In Any Other
( Acts 4:12)
If you believe in the Bible you believe in the name of JESUS, as do all Christians. Jesus was a child and seed of David born by the will of God through the power of the Holy Ghost, to be called the Son of God (Luke 1:30-35; John 7:42; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:8). He was chosen before the foundation of the world to be the Christ, the slain Lamb of God so our faith would be in God (1 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 13:8). WE BELIEVE that it is the only saving name (pursuant to the will of God) and whatsoever you do in word or deed do it all “in” the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:12; Colossians 3:17). But does “the name” Jesus, the word itself, actually save you? Well that actually depends on how you use it, it may or it may not do anything for you. First, you must be able to correctly understand what “in the name of Jesus” means:
Example #1 (In the Name of.. / In my Father’s Name)
(Acts 3:6) “Then Peter said,.… In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”
This verse is clearly telling us by “whose authority” (Jesus) this act or demonstration of power was being conducted under (the command to rise and walk). It demonstrated the power [authority] given to Peter [as a follower of] through Jesus Christ to work miracles through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost/the Spirit of God (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:19). Then Peter said,.… In the name of [by the authority] of Jesus Christ Nazareth rise up and walk.
Even today an officer of the law may call out to an escaping criminal: “Stop, in the name of the law.” He is giving notice to the criminal that he has the authority given him by law by which the criminal is to comply to his command to stop.
NOTE: This is also the same context used by Jesus (below) when he said “I come in my Father’s name” and “the works that I do in my Father’s name“.
Jesus was not claiming that he had the SAME NAME as God [his Father] but that he came [with the authority] of his Father [God] which was GIVEN him (Matthew 28:18)
(John 5:43) “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive”
(John 10:25) “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me”
The point we should take note of is that the name “Jesus” (the word) in and of itself does not have any power (other men were also called Jesus during this time period– See: The Name Of God) yet it is indeed a very important name to know. There is a phrase that is common, either at the beginning or at the end of a Christian prayer (often praying for healing, deliverance, thanksgiving, etc), we may say something to the effect; “In the name of Jesus we proclaim healing or deliverance over a situation” or “I baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ” (See: In The Name of Jesus) yet understanding the meaning of that phrase is key to correctly understanding the phrase Neither is there salvation in any other… (Acts 4:12) and how that is actually achieved. It is the source of power (God) that is behind the name Jesus that makes this passage so powerful. You can say the word “Jesus” or write it a thousand times but that alone will not give you supernatural power to heal anyone from cancer, raise people from the dead or provide you with “salvation” (eternal life), not unless you have two things:
“Faith” (believing in the operating authority behind the name); and “works” (evidence – James 2:14, 17, 18).
6. Who Is In Heaven? – (John 3:13)
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
John 3:13 (NKJV)
According to Jesus no man (John 3:13) (or no human) has ever entered into heaven “but he” (except Jesus), the “son of man” (the son of a human).
There are several important facts to take away from this passage.
1. Jesus is clearly and specifically speaking about humans only (no man); identifying which humans, if any, have or have not entered into heaven itself.
2. Jesus specifically claims to be the ONLY man (the only human/the son of man), who has ever “ascended up” to heaven.
3. Notably, this passage does not (nor does any other scripture passage) reflect Jesus as proclaiming himself to be God (who was and still is the Father that created him to be conceived in the womb of a woman named Mary).
In this passage, the reference to “man” is speaking of the spiritual essence of man (his human soul/spirit, or if you perfer his “glorified body“) not his physical body. We know this because:
(1 Corinthians 15:50) “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption“.
Note: In this passage, the reference to “who came down from heaven” is arguably a matter of interpretation. It is better argued and supported that this is in reference to the fact the Jesus came from God (from heaven)
(John 3:34-36) “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Note: The reference to “the Son of Man who is in heaven” is also another example where there is variation in some of the “original manuscripts“; some contain this section as worded in bold italic undelined others do not.(Remember ONLY the scriptures are recorded as being inspired of GOD, yet we have known variations that exist in some of the original manuscripts. Therefore, we must always be mindful that not every translation will necessarily be the same nor does it mean the translation used is the correct one!) Although many argue that this indicates Jesus was actually God, unfortunately Jesus is speaking here and he is not proclaiming himself to be God but rather he is professing himself to be “a man” (the Son of Man who is in heaven).
(John 3:13 (NIV)) “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. (Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven)
Enoch, Elijah and Abraham
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him (Hebrews 11:5). It should be noted that the Scriptures do not record the specific place to which Enoch was taken–only that he was taken.
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)
The word heaven however is used to refer to different things, namely the sky, the domain of the stars, and the dwelling place of God. It therefore goes to reason that Elijah was somehow carried up (arose) into the sky by an act of God, but there is nothing that would indicate he went to the Heavely dwelling place of God.
There are those who believe the dead (Saints) are alive – But this belief is contrary to scripture (1Thes 4:13-14; 1Cor 15:51-57). WHY WOULD JESUS CHRIST COME BACK TO RAISE THE DEAD IF THEY ARE ALREADY UP??!! The Bible tells us that we will be caught up TOGETHER!!!! (1Thes 4:16-17)
(Job 14:12) “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
Notice the word till in that verse. This means the dead will not, or cannot awaken until the “last day“, as Martha calls it when she is speaking of Lazarus (John 11:23-24).
(Acts 2:29,34) “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. For David is not ascended into the heavens:…”
Keep in mind this verse is penned AFTER the death and resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many preach that everyone that was in the graves are in Heaven after the resurrection of Christ because they think He brought them all out of (Hell) when He was dead. Yet, this verse proves that they are indeed in error. Peter made it plain that the passage they were questioning ( which was Psalm 16:10) in regards to the Lord not allowing His soul to stay in hell or His body to rot. The passage was indeed speaking of Jesus Christ ascending to Heaven, not David. For it is also explained in this same chapter of Acts…
(Acts 2:30-32) “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
(1Corinthians 15:20-23) “But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
According to this verse, the dead in Christ will remain in their graves awaiting the order of resurrection. Jesus is the “firstfruits of them that slept“, then those that are believers in Jesus will “be made alive“. According to the Bible, they will have to be made alive in the order that the Lord set up. Jesus, the “firstfruits” and then those that are His followers, “at His coming“.
It is not until Jesus MAKES us immortal on that last day will we be able to “get out” of the grave on that day.
7. Discernment & Accountability – (Are Babies Born With Sin?)
When Does Accountability Begin?
The Discernment Of Both Good & Evil
(Genesis 2:16-17) “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
When Adam was created in the garden he was created with the gift of choice or what we commonly term “Free Will.” There was no recorded sin in Adam’s life. Prior to his pivotal moment of disobedience to the commandment of God found in (Genesis 2:16), it appears he did not even possess the ability to discern the difference between good and evil. He had free will but did not have the ability to discern both good and evil.
It wasn’t until after he had disobeyed that his eyes were opened and he knew he was naked and covered himself. Preceding Adam’s fall, he and his wife were both naked and unashamed. They did not discern nakedness, it was their natural state of being. Once spiritual discernment came into play the freedom Adam and Eve had experienced was altered.
(Genesis 3:6-7) “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
Then came the curse of death, the promised consequence of Adam’s disobedience. “In that day thou shalt surely die…” was the promise but abrupt death was not manifest in that moment; but God’s promise was far reaching and it was at that precise moment that death was allowed to reign in the world and become the heritage of all mankind.
(Romans 5:12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (also Romans 5:13-17).
Are Babies Born With Sin?
So, today we have both death and a sinful nature that was inherited from this one act of disobedience and with age, time and study we learn to discern both good and evil. The question many have regards babies and are babies born with sin. (Romans 5:12) states “all have sinned.” If All meant ALL (as to include infants) then babies are born with sin. However, if true that would also mean all of mankind are born with sin, even Jesus Christ would not be exempt, he himself “born” (Matthew 1:16, 2:1; Luke 1:35, 2:11), a “human child” of Mary (Matthew 1:16) and seed of David (John 7:42; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8). Yet, the Bible tells us that this man (John 8:40) was without sin (1 Peter 2:22). Is sin actually inherent at the first breath an infant takes into their lungs? Or, does choice play a part; being a point of entry into each life?
Until Adam exercised his choice/free will to disobey God’s commandment there was no sin in his life. Once he disobeyed and his eyes were opened there were other things he came to understand were not as they should be and had to be changed.
In Adam’s life sin was nonexistent without that choice. Once that choice was made, then discernment and accountability came into play. When an infant is born they lack the ability to choose anything for themselves, their entire existence depends on the care and nurture of others. It is not until they have the ability to choose to disobey that sin enters the picture. Even then, until they have the ability to discern right from wrong can full accountability come into play?
(Luke 12: 47-48 ) – “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
(Hebrews 5:13-14) “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Based on the word of God there are clearly different degrees of understanding and accountability. It is impossible to disobey without a choice. Disobedience comes with a price, but it is impossible to disobey if you have no knowledge that what you are doing is wrong.
The basic knowledge of right from wrong starts being learned at a very young age. How many people reading this know this scenario? “Don’t touch that, it is hot.” followed by a curious child touching the object and learning what both “don’t touch” and “hot” mean. At this point, did the child sin? Until after the lesson of what “don’t touch” and “hot” means the child does not comprehend that touching the object is wrong. It is with this repetitive lesson. “Don’t touch that…” that the child begins to understand this is an order and they are not supposed to disobey. When the child turns to the parent with a knowing look and an ornery grin and touches the object anyway, they have made a choice and they have disobeyed, they are then accountable and pay a consequence with a swat on a diaper padded bottom, or a moment in time out. Was punishment meant to hurt the child or teach them the serious nature of the infraction? Children are taught in degrees. Choice and disobedience also presents itself in degrees.
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8. What Is The Difference Between Sin, Sinful Nature & Sinful Flesh?
Many pastors teach their members that all individuals are born into this world as sinners, someone who is doomed for the eternal pits of hell. The meaning of this word “sinned” as used in (Romans 5:12) is actually in reference to man’s “sinful nature.” A “sinful nature” and an act of “sin” have different meanings. To sin is to actually commit some type of sinful act, while to be born with a “sinful nature” is to have a trait that makes you susceptible to becoming a sinner. All infants being born as sinners is argued as fact; however when born babies have committed no act of sin this argument is not supported by the definition of sin as being an act of disobedience or transgression (breaking of God’s law – 1 John 3:4).
However, before we come to any conclusion we must also consider every related scripture on this topic in order to be honest with ourselves and adhere to the most harmonious biblical understanding. The following are several verses which must be taken into consideration.
(Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (also Romans 5:13-17).
A few verses later however in Romans 5:19 Paul now says “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” Paul says many (in contrast to “all”) were made sinners so unless one verse is a “figure of speech” (which it is) they contradict.
Let’s compare the following:
(Ezekiel 18:20) – “The child does not bear the iniquity of the father, but the wickedness of the wicked is upon himself.”.
(2 Corinthians 5:10) – “Each one will be judged according to what he has done in the body, good or bad.” If this verse is true then this means no one will be condemned for Adam’s sin, except Adam!
(Luke 12: 47-48) – “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
(Romans 5:13-14) – “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned”
We therefore need to explore how all of these verses best harmonize without being contradictory. In addressing this matter I always like to start by addressing how it relates to infants. How is a baby ever given the opportunity to receive salvation if it is born a sinner and happens to die during infancy? Does it die a sinner? Is it a sinner because of Adam’s sins and yet it cannot even comprehend the concept of faith or belief in Christ? The bible gives no examples of Christian believing infants?
What we do know is that when an infant dies each one will be judged according to what they have done (their deeds – 2 Corinthians 5:10) so we can concede that an infant would have done the least wrong or sin in comparison to any adult who dies regardless if the infant was never baptized, never knew of God or Christ, never spoke in tongues, never even repented for any of the “alleged” sins the infant actually never committed, in thought or through any of its own “physical” actions.
What Is The Difference Between Sin And Sinful Nature?
Sin is basically any disobedience which goes against the will of God.
We are always striving to keep ourselves in right standing with God by observing and following his commandments. Sin is not something condoned by God but sin can be forgiven by God in accordance to the will of God.
Old Testament Time
God’s requirement for the forgiveness of sin in the Old Testament was often by sacrifice.
All sacrifice involves offering something valuable to God; the object offered represents the self-offering of the worshiper. There are several sorts of sacrifice mentioned in the Bible:
- Human; burnt offering (Genesis 22) Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son to God
- Passover: (Exodus 12) blood sacrifice which the Israelite’s offered at the command of God
- Animal; burnt offering (Leviticus 1) of an animal completely burned;
- Grain offering (Leviticus 2) of raw or prepared grain, as a memorial or as sign of the worshiper’s faithfulness; and there are probably more examples, etc…..
I am not an Old Testament scholar but without question God has often been found making a way for the consequence of man’s sins to be forgiven (or to avoid God’s punishment). There were many men and women who followed and worshiped God as instructed by God and many of these men were called Holy men or prophets and their stories are recorded.
So what happens to all of the Old Testament people like Abraham, Noah and Job? Are all of these God loving men doomed to the same fate as the sinner who did not serve God? Of course not, if so this would totally vanish the belief that God is a “just rewarder” of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). God never told any of these men they would go to hell and burn forever as a consequence for not knowing that there would be a man named Jesus (who had not yet been born) that would be called the Christ or for not knowing and believing that Jesus was the “Son of God” that would come after the had long been dead and buried, or that someone in their future would die for the remission (removal) of their sin(s) or that they should adhere to some future baptism requirement “in the name of Jesus“, or any other requirements or instructions that would be taught by Jesus or shared through the writings of his disciples.
For those who attempt to take select New Testament scriptures out of context pertaining to salvation should be very careful when we claim that these men had to be baptized in Jesus name and speak in “unknown” tongues. Just a little hard to imagine all of these Holy men of God going to hell after doing the will of God as instructed by God. This issue is brought up only because infants would also have this same similar disadvantage of being disconnected from God’s forgiveness if this theory were true.
New Testament Time
God’s last commandment to man is found recorded in the New Testament writing:
Mark 9:7 “….. This is my beloved Son: hear him.”
We have been commanded to obey the words of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was sent by the Father into the world teaching us how all men could obtain a relationship with God our Father, through the belief in and teachings of Jesus (repentance, baptism, etc…). This is also referred to as discipleship.
Sinful Nature / Sinful Flesh:
Sinful nature is the ability to commit sin or the desire to want to commit the sin, it is the free will given man to choose sin or choose to abstain from sin. The bible gives us plenty examples of various types of sins. This is important but not the primary focus regarding infants and determining if they are born “sinners” destined for hell.
What Part Contains The Sinful Nature: The Spirit Or The Flesh?
The first order is to determine which part of man is sinful? Sounds easy enough right?
Flesh is unanimously determined to be the sinful nature, correct? (Romans 7:17-18, 8:3) But is it really that straightforward?
Did Satan and his angels also have a sinful nature (the ability to disobey God)? How? Did they originally have human flesh? Or were they “angels“? It would appear that although Adam and Satan are different types of beings both were created of God and both sinned against (or disobeyed) the will of God. This is only mentioned to bring light to a factor that many tend to overlook in consideration.
The bible indicates that sin is disobedience to God’s will (or transgression of the law), therefore adults have this ability to transgress but do infants actually qualify as sinners when they have committed no disobedience or transgression against the will of God at this stage in their life?
The Play On Words:
Is Sinful Nature The Same As Being A Sinner? No
So does being born with a sinful nature automatically make every man a sinner? At first thought many would say yes but clearly it doesn’t because even after we have become Christians our sinful nature (this free will ability to be disobedient to God) remains with us until death.
To be born with a sinful nature is similar to being born into this world with parents who have diabetes. From that point on the disease is said to run in your family; it is an inherited possibility (a risk) but not necessarily a guarantee you will ever have the disease. Your father or mother may have this disease but based on your choices to live healthy you may never develop the disease. But if you make bad choices, you eat a horrible diet, don’t exercise, and pollute your body then you end up with diabetes. So it is with man and has always been that way. We can prove this here very shortly but I first need to address the “new man” aspect.
Some would immediately argue “but we become a new creature in Christ and have put on “the new man” (Ephesians 4:24). Yes that is true but that is also only figuratively speaking, it is new in that we are actively renewing our way of thinking and living daily but our “sinful nature” the minds ability to think of sin is ever present with us for it is the mind that initiates all actions which are listed as being sinful.
Was John The Baptist born a sinner?
John the Baptist was born “filled” with the Holy Ghost from the womb (Luke 1:15). Was he then born “with” sin? Can a man have the Holy Ghost while yet being a sinner at the moment of his birth? Or was John actually born into sin (a sinful world) being man having a sinful nature (the ability to sin or disobey God). Did John ever sin? There is no record of John committing sin. For “all have sinned” (Romans 5:12) to be taken “literally” would indicate John sinned somewhere along the line. Was it while he was in the womb? Was it after his birth and after receiving the Holy Ghost? If all are born sinners then John’s situation would indicate that the Holy Ghost doesn’t save anyone from sin if this understanding meant John was born a sinner instead of being born with a sinful nature. This understanding is further supported by the fact that even after receiving the Holy Ghost people fall away, fall back into sin, often turning their back on God. Being filled with the Holy Ghost does not make a person immune to committing sin, but this Holy Spirit (that portion of which we receive of God) leads and guides in the paths of righteousness, man was inherently made to have “choice” and it remains this way even after receiving the Holy Ghost.
Was Jesus born a sinner?
For Romans 5:12 (“all have sinned”) to be taken “literally” then Jesus must have sinned also somewhere along the line. The Bible says that Jesus was without sin (Hebrews. 2:14, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5). How could He have been without sin if babies “inherit” the guilt of Adam’s sin and Jesus was “human” and the offspring of David who also was the descendant of Adam?
One argument I was presented with was that Jesus “inherited” his sinless nature from his Father, which sounds good and must be taken into consideration. But what about the sinful nature he also inherited from his mother that too must be included. How could that be excluded when we just determined that it is the flesh (or the desires of the flesh) that gives man his sinful nature?
Both John and Jesus were said to have been born with the Holy Ghost, yet Jesus is not considered a sinner at birth.
The Virgin Mary- Jesus Mother
It dawned on me that maybe we should take a look at Jesus mother Mary. Was Jesus (if he were God) then birthed by a sinner named Mary? If salvation didn’t occur until after the shedding of Jesus blood and his resurrection and if we still claim that everyone is born a sinner “literally” then Jesus (or God Jesus) dwelt inside a sinner for 9 months? As you may start to see a bit of caution may be needed in our hasty interpretations of what is meant by “unclean” or “sinner” or “all have sinned” which may be literally spoken in one verse and used figuratively in another, dependent upon the intent of the writer.
What About Thought?
Mental development and accountability
What is the starting point when we begin to know of God?
One difference not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:21 is that Adam was a grown man when God gave him his commandment thus Adam’s mentality or intelligence was developed well enough to be held accountable for disobeying God. Jesus on the other hand was an infant when he came into the world. There is nothing in the bible, which would indicate Jesus had any prior abilities or prior conversations with God until after Jesus reached an age higher than infancy mentality.
We can reasonably conclude that all children including Jesus had to be taught from someone that which is good from that which is bad (i.e., “you ate my candy, it didn’t belong to you”). Does an infant know all the rules prior to being taught? How do we measure accountability or distinguish doing something wrong vs. being sinful (i.e. stealing)? Is the child’s action actually an act of sin if he is unaware?
Luke and James seem to imply that this is not the case with God, indicating that some degree of conscious awareness is required to be considered as committing sin, because there must be a sense of fairness to fit the circumstance.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12: 47-48)
The first indication that Jesus had any possible communication with God was after Jesus was of age and able to speak and shared his need to “be about my father’s business” (Luke 2:49), to his mother, clearly a higher degree of mental development had been established. He was now able to speak and share his thoughts as compared to his limited abilities during his infancy.
We can also reasonably conclude that Jesus would have been taught by his parents. God, being Jesus father, would have had to convey what God’s will was for Jesus, which Jesus acknowledged took place.
“I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)
John 8:28 gives support showing Jesus was as any other human infant not all knowing but had to be taught. To me this is important because unless Jesus was a real human who had free will to disobey God and face similar consequences from God there was no “real sacrifice” ever made.
If Jesus was controlled by God no real sacrifice was made either however scripture indicates that Jesus death was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus didn’t really want to die when his time came.
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
If we say that Jesus was actually God then Jesus was not a real man or totally human but God pretending to be a man. Of course that does too much damage to who and what God is. As Jesus told us from his own mouth, God is a Spirit. Jesus always claimed himself to be a man. No more needs to be said if we claim to believe Jesus.
Both Jesus and John The Baptist are identified as being men, (humans) just as you and I, and neither are considered to be “part-human”. Both were “born” of a woman and neither are recorded to be born as sinners (especially not if BOTH had the Holy Ghost from BIRTH) then clearly ALL MEN are NOT born as sinners, at least not in the manner many churches try to portray the “all have sinned” passage (Romans 5:12). Being men (human) both Jesus and John would have had the same “sinful nature”, the same ability and opportunity to sin, (or disobey God) but it is not recorded anywhere that John ever committed sin himself. Infants are not born as sinners, not literally, because they do not have the ability to “sin” thus they are not guilty of having committed any sin (sinful acts) during this period of time of their development (Ezekiel 18:20; James 4:17; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
This does not in any way diminish the “unique” relationship God had with Jesus (God’s begotten Son/ the lamb of God, etc..) any more than the special relationship God had with Adam and many other biblical notables mentioned through the Bible in comparison to the rest of humanity.
9. Who Then Is Our Saviour, God Or Jesus? – (Titus 2:13)
The Great God and our Savior Jesus
The answer to this question is not actually that difficult or confusing. God has always been our savior (1 Timothy 1:1, 2:3, 4:10), in that God alone created the means whereby man could be saved, that is to say whereby man could, (both before and after the fall of Adam), obtain “eternal life” (Titus 1:2-4). It is however important to understand that it was always God’s plan (will) that Jesus would be the propitiation (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2, 4:10), sent forth to shed his blood for our sins (Hebrews 9:22-28) thus becoming the redeemer (Galatians 4:5-7; Titus 2:14) and savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Jesus was always God’s redemptive plan for man’s salvation which was made before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). It was God’s plan alone that gave man this second opportunity to obtain “salvation” (which is eternal life with God the Father) made possible through the obedience of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 5:8; John 5:19, 8:28-29, 12:49-50, 15:10), being deemed an acceptable sacrifice, in that he was tempted but did not (without) sin (Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; ) and gave his life humbly as a “lamb of God” sacrifice (John 1:29, 4:42, 6:68-69; 1 Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 13:8).
Unless you were to somehow overlook all of Paul’s writings, we can easily prove that Paul never claimed Jesus to be God (the Almighty). Some have point to the book of (Titus 2:13), which speaks of Jesus and the Great God, who is also referenced in this same passage. The church again is neglecting several facts:
Here again, we need to first start at the beginning of this writing (Chapter 1) to prove that Paul is speaking about two different individuals.
Here in (Titus 1:3-4) Paul clearly identifies and distinguishes God from Jesus yet they are both called by the same title “Saviour”. However, Paul calls God the Father and Jesus is called Christ (Christ is a title given to only one “man” and God is NEVER called or referred to as “the Christ”).
Titus 1:3-4 (KJV) “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; 4To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour“.
I find that in (Titus Chp. 2 and 3) both God and Jesus are called Saviour apart from each other.
(Titus 2:10) “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things”
(Titus 2:13) “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Here the conjunction “and” separates God from Jesus the Christ)
(Titus 3:4) “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared”
(Titus 3:6) “Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour”
An additional point to note; Paul also says:
(Hebrews 9:24) “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
11. Accountability and Salvation For Special Cases
Accountability and Salvation
Most of us as Christian believe in the judgment of man (Ecc 11:9, Ecc 12:14, John 5:26-29, Acts 17:31, Ro 14:9-12, 2Cor 5:10, 2Tim 4:1, Jude 1:15) based upon some sort of qualifying criteria to obtain salvation. Most base this criteria upon repentance, baptism and for some speaking in tongues is alleged to be mandatory. But is this an accurate understanding to hold. If such is being claimed as mandatory then what happens to other special case situations or individuals? Individuals, such as those who were either isolated (in the jungle or arctic) or remain set apart from civilization (primitive or natives)?
What happens to those individuals who did not receive the opportunity to hear the word of God or obtain the foreknowledge of Christ before their death? Those who existed prior to the time of wide spread communication technology (TV or radio) or mass printing and distribution of the Bible?
But more importantly what happens to those individuals who were (or are) mentally ill (handicapped) or infants who possibly died shortly after birth before even hearing the word of God?
God didn’t exactly give us all of the answers “directly” to every possible scenario an individual may be confronted with, although that is not to say the correct answer is not contained within the Holy scriptures.
There are those who hold firm that an individual must 1. Repent 2. Believe In Christ (death, burial, resurrection, being the Son of God, etc..) 3. Receive Baptism and 4. Speak in Tongues (for Tongue Believers) as being mandatory criteria’s for “everyone” and with no exceptions, um?. Some hold that Hell (Damnation) is the final destiny for any individual if these steps are not followed above.
The problem with ministries who take scriptures out of context and then try to apply select scriptures literally to everyone that ever lived, would be to imply that it would also include all of the “special case” individuals and circumstances (such as the mentally handicapped or babies, etc…).
Generally most Pentecostals (and others) who claim to be unwavering “Baptism by submersion only” and stringent “Speaking in Tongue Believers only” are sort of stuck holding this position, even though a baby cannot speak in tongues or repent let alone have the mental ability to confess or believe in Jesus Christ raising from the dead or even understand who Jesus Christ is (Lord) or his purpose. Babies have to be taught both to speak and understand right from wrong. I am also not aware of any religious group practicing full submersion under water of infants.
God’s purpose for accountability and salvation was not to take advantage of those individuals who may be disadvantaged through no fault of their own, what kind of God would we be trying to make God out to be? We then would be making God out to be cruel. Do you then say that God is fair or unfair? Just or unjust? Your conclusion must take in every aspect of Gods character and make sure the scriptures you are quoting are interpreted correctly and fit jointly together in harmony.
Somehow, it seems that somebody is leaving out one component of God’s character and that is God is Love (1John 4:1) and God has compassion for all of mankind, so much so that he gave his son so that ALL might have life (John 3:16) of which ALL includes “special case” individuals. Is God to be accused of being unfair? How dare we speak or even think such nonsense.
Fortunately for some of us folk, God knew these issues existed and his word does provide evidence when such unfortunate circumstances are presented he has consideration in these special situations.
God is wisdom, he just doesn’t haphazardly omit vital information necessary for one’s ability to receive salvation or unfairly jeopardize anyone due to disadvantages beyond their control. What may seem unfair and sound unreasonable is because it probably is. Therefore, we know that any unfair concept thinking surrounding God must be immediately discarded from even being considered as a possibility.
To believe in a Holy God you must also believe God is JUST!!!
God Arranged Or God Allowed
Nothing occurs without God’s permission. They are either God Arranged or God Allowed (Exodus 4:11; Ecclesiastes 2:26). I first heard this phrase at a Christmas gathering one day and the truth of the saying stuck with me. I felt that it especially applies to those special case individuals and situations deaf, dumb, etc., (handicapped, babies, natives, etc..).
God judges a person based on what they know, no one is held accountable for things they do not know. (This is probably the category where some children and mentally ill fall.)
(Luke 12: 47-48) “And that servant, which knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
(Ezekiel 18:20) “The child does not bear the iniquity of the father, but the wickedness of the wicked is upon himself.”
(2 Corinthians 5:10) “Each one will be judged according to what he has done in the body, good or bad.”
(1 Peter 1:17) “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:”
Note: These passages indicate that a level of knowledge is required for damnation.
(James 4:17) “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
(Mark 16:16) “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:12) “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:7-9) “But if we walk in the *light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. ……………If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to **forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
*(Walking in the *light is doing God’s will by believing in Christ who was sent to be the light; teaching and showing us how to live so we may obtain eternal salvation)
** (Should we fall (sin) again, as we strive to Live Holy/ doing God’s will, we can be forgiven and cleansed (pardoned) from those sins or mistakes if we confess our sins.)
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12. Christ Died For The Sins Of The World, Why Do I Have To Live Holy? – (1 John 2:2)
What was the purpose of Calvary? From the fall of Adam in the garden until the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ mankind was separated from God by sin. Through the obedience of Jesus Christ the law was not destroyed but fulfilled and God’s redemptive plan was completed ushering in grace.
(Romans 5:19) “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many (not everyone) be made righteous.”
When grace was given, sin lost its dominion over mankind. Man was no longer subject to the law but to grace. But did this give men the golden ticket to do whatever pleased their flesh? God forbid. Previously man had free will facing the law and a system of sacrifices; now man had free will and grace and with that came the ability to choose his own master. Sin would still separate him from God; grace gave him an advocate before the Father to plead his cause and to be restored to right standing with God.
(Romans 6:14-16) “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Grace gave man redemption (it paid his debt for sin) and allowed him to walk away a free man. With that freedom the relationship was restored between the redeemed man and God. All relationships are built of two separate entities, (God/man, man/wife, mother/child, friend/friend, etc.). All healthy relationships have set and mutual boundaries. For example, a father is to train, love, nurture and discipline his child while a child is to love, obey and follow his father’s example. Two entities and appropriate boundaries make for a healthy relationship in which the father can excel in leadership and a child can excel to become a leader. Another example is a marriage. A husband is to lead, provide, be faithful and love his wife while a wife is to follow, lift up, and be faithful to her husband. The relationship between a father and child are permanent; formed through blood, human DNA or adoption, while a marriage is meant to be permanent based on a commitment established by choice. When boundaries are crossed the health of a relationship is compromised, when boundaries are destroyed some relationships cannot be restored.
The answer to the question, Why Do I Have To Live Holy?, is made clear in Hebrews;
(Hebrews 10:26) “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” (See: Hebrews 10:3-10)
In the relationship we have with God, he is our father which means we have the boundaries that are similar to those of a child (to love, honor, obey, and imitate his character, etc.). When a child falls outside the lines of acceptable behavior they fall into disobedience and discipline happens. This is the natural course of events in a parent/child relationship. God too disciplines his children, and his redirection is targeted at bringing the child of God back into right standing or relationship with him. God’s goal was never cruelty or abuse. The discipline will be appropriate for the offense. Those that have greater understanding will be held to a higher standard. Just like an older child is able to be given more responsibility than a younger sibling.
(Acts 5:29-31) “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”
God, as our Father, desires for his children to be holy and above reproach, he wants us to even abstain from the appearance of evil (1Thessalonians 5:22). That is a higher standard than to just do right; it is to do right and not allow yourself to be associated with anything or anyone that could be perceived (whether rightly or wrongly), to be evil. For example, as a man or woman of God don’t allow yourself to be put into a situation that even looks wrong whether is or is not wrong. Abstain.
(Ephesians 1:3-7) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace”
God wrote his plan of redemption to include his son Jesus Christ. Jesus relinquished his human will and submitted himself to God’s plan. He took the bullet (the cross) for us, our wages would have cost our lives and he redeemed them through his obedience.
(1John 2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(Galatians 1:4) Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
1John 1:7, 4:10
Romans 3:25-26; Romans 3:25-26 (CEV)
1Peter 2:24, 3:18
1John 4:14, 5:19
John 4:42, 11:51-52
(John 1:29-34) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (Literally?) 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man (not God) which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (not God)
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
(Hebrews 9:22-28) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
(Hebrews 10:1-39) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
We must hold fast to faith
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
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13. What Is Sin?
Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4)
That is why the scripture (Psa 119:11) says “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
That is why it is imperative to read and study the Word of God (Your Bible) for ourselves, so we know exactly what God considers sin and instill that knowledge into our children. We should want to understand and know what God desires of us and for us.
To Sin Is A “Willful” Act
Sin Is Not By Accident
A sin is NOT an accident. A person cannot commit a sin “by accident.” Sinning is a willful act. The Bible says, “Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). If a person doesn’t know what they are doing is wrong, it is not a sin to them. A person has to know the right (good) thing to do, and then choose not to do it, in order to sin.
A sin is NOT a mistake. A mistake is NOT a sin. A mistake is an error that is committed accidentally. A sin is a willful act of disobeying God.
A sin is NOT a fault. A fault is NOT a sin. A sin is a willful act of disobeying God. A fault is a flaw or weakness.
Now that we understand what sin is we can better understand other topics as they relate to sin.
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14. Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven?
Will we be able to recognize our friends, loved ones, and others in heaven?
Before addressing this question with scripture, I would like for us to just take a minute and think whether or not having the same human emotional feelings (which is inclusive of every emotion; hatred, anger, love, etc.), such as we now experience here on earth today, would actually be a good thing for saints to possess in Heaven.
Pondering the thought of seeing our loved ones in Heaven with us may at first seem pleasing, but how would you feel if a loved one didn’t make it to Heaven?
Have you ever wondered, what if I am not successful in helping to save all my family members? How will I be able to enjoy heaven if those I love now will not be with me and will be suffering for eternity?
When you are born into a family, special bonds are established as we develop. Besides our natural family, however, we have another family if we are born again. God becomes our Father and every other believer is our brother or sister. I have a feeling that our spiritual bonds (our spiritual family) will be much stronger and deeper than those bonds we had with our natural family. According to scripture, it appears that our natural family ties will be loosed at death and replaced (changed) with our new spiritual family ties with God and Christ (Ro 8:11, 16-17, 1Cor 15:51, 1John 3:2).
If that is the case, the removal of the family ties we held on earth would free us from grief or missing anyone not in heaven with us (Isa 65:17, Rev 21:4). We cannot imagine that happening but we have not yet known and felt and seen what it will be like in eternity. From scripture we are certain that we will no longer be under the curse of sin, death, disease. We know that God will wipe away every tear. Paul said; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) One thing is for sure, we can trust that God has this problem worked out.
2Pe 3:10-13 — But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Rev 21:1-5 — And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
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15. Why Must I Confess My Sins If I’m Already Forgiven?
Why Must I Confess My Sins?
Sin is the key word in this statement. If you have no sin in your life, there is no need for confession!
The purpose of confession is to indicate that we are assuming responsibility for our actions. We are not blaming our actions on others. Confession means that we see ourselves in relationship to our deeds of sin just like God does.
Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4)
All sin is against God, it is destructive to His purpose for our lives, and it carries with it consequences that will prove painful (Mat 25:46, John 5:29, Rom 6:23).
The Bible tells us that if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:26).
This is just one aspect of why God’s grace is so vitally important. It is because God’s grace allows room for forgiveness to be administered through confession; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
(1Jn 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Forgiven sins have no condemnation consequences!
16. How Will The Old Testament Saints Be Saved, If All Must Come Through Christ? (John 14:6)
This is a good question. This concern is taken from (John 14:6) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
However, if we fail to rightly divide the word of God it would appear to be impossible. Consider what the Bible tells us about Salvation, in “select” passages.
According to the Bible there are several required steps necessary for all sinners, if we were to take every scripture literally. This however would create several immediate problems for many of the Old Testament Saints.
Their Belief Is Missing
We are told by Peter that a person should BELIEVE in Jesus Christ and be baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). How would the Old Testament Saints come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God (1John 5:5)? It is by hearing the Word of God. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Therefore, a person should have faith in Christ, who we know did not exist during this time period (being the seed of David- yet to be born by Mary, who was yet to be born herself), if in fact Jesus was indeed a real “human being” and the true blood offspring (descendant) of David (not just the outward appearance of a human).
Their Confession Is Missing
It is stated that a person should also CONFESS his faith in Christ.
(Romans 10:9-10) “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Here again, we are presented with another apparent impossibility, as Jesus had not yet been born, crucified or resurrected from the Dead.
Their Repentance Is Missing
A person is to REPENT of their sins and be baptized.
(Acts 2:38) “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Fulfillment Occurs On Judgment Day
It becomes clear that the criteria for the Old Testament Saints were not totally the same prior to Christ. Yet we know that there are those who the Bible characterizes as Holy men of God (2Peter 1:21). Many of whom were obedient, righteous and faithful to the will of God (Mat 25:46, Luke 1:6), which as we all know is a good thing.
Nonetheless, this passage in (John 14:6) is true literally, “Jesus saith unto him, ….. no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Because everyone will be judged (John 5:29, Acts 24:15), and everyone (including the Old Testament Saints) will stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ (John 5:22, Acts 17:31, Romans 2:16, 14:10, 2Cor 5:10, 2Tim 4:1) and this fulfills the truth Jesus speaks of.
17. The Sinner’s Prayer
The Sinner’s Prayer Misconception
Many preachers today say, “You must pray the sinner’s prayer and invite the Lord Jesus into you heart.” But no one in the Bible was ever told to do that. In fact, Paul prayed after Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6 NIV, Acts 9:11 NIV) and yet Paul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always (Acts 10:2), and yet there remained something he still had to do after calling for Peter (Acts 10:6).
The Requirements For Today
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:17, 19, 24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10). We are to make Jesus “Lord” of our life (master/obey him) because God has made Jesus our Lord (Acts 2:36). As with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save (Matthew 7:21).
You Must Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the importance of baptism for salvation (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21). Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3). To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4).