EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY
THE BIG QUESTION?
STATEMENT OF FAITH
DEAD SEA SCROLLS
SHROUD OF TURIN
QUESTION: Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, "Why should I let you into My heaven?" What would you say?
That is a very good question. How would you answer it? Let me ask you again. Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” What would you say?1
Perhaps you would answer the question like this. I have been a pretty good person, I may not be perfect, but I know if there is a loving God out there He will let me into His heaven.
Or perhaps you would answer the question like this. I have done some pretty bad stuff in my life and am currently struggling with bad choices, although heaven seems like a nice place I do not think I could ever earn heaven, so even though a place like heaven may sound interesting I do not think God would let me in His heaven.
Job in the Bible asks the question,“If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14 NKJV®)
Let me tell you with complete authority how you can have eternal life, how you can live again, and heaven can be that place where you spend eternal life. Real Christians look to the Bible as the absolute authority. The Bible tells us how we can know that we can have eternal life in heaven.
In the book of 1 John which was written by the apostle John, he says,“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13 NKJV®)
This verse brings up another question. How do you know that you have the Son of God? To know you have the Son of God you must be part of the kingdom of God. To be part of the kingdom of God you must be born again.
In the gospel of John Jesus tells an inquiring Pharisee,“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV®) Right now you might be asking the same question that the Pharisee, Nicodemus asked Jesus.“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter into his mother´s womb and be born?” (John 3:4 NKJV®) Jesus did not literally mean one must be physically born again to see the kingdom of God. He explains to Nicodemus,“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6 NKJV®) You must be reborn spiritually.
If you are starting to get interested about who God is then you may be on a path to becoming born again as a Christian. The Holy Spirit may be tugging at your heart right now. It is the Holy Spirit that will give you understanding about Christ. If you become born again you will want to learn as much about the Bible as you can. You will want to communicate to God in prayer. You will want to tell others about your new found faith, and you will want to become friends with other Christians.
To fully understand the kingdom of God we must understand who Jesus Christ is, why He came, and what He did here on earth, and what He will do in the future. Christianity is the study of that ONE, JESUS CHRIST. To be a follower of Christianity we must believe in JESUS CHRIST and know what JESUS CHRIST is about.
Who is Jesus Christ? Many people do not truly know who Jesus Christ is. Jesus Christ is the most unique ONE that has ever lived and is living. His last name is not Christ. Christ is a title. The word CHRIST comes from the Greek language Χριστóς meaning "Anointed One" which is equivalent to the Hebrew Messiah.2 Jesus Christ was the long awaited Messiah that the Jews were looking for. Jesus is Jewish. (Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, and John 4:9)
We can never define Jesus as simply a man who once lived. Jesus Christ is fully GOD and was fully man. “God who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV®) He occupies the second person in the trinity, as a human he was born of a virgin. Here is the reason Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.
Genetically Jesus could not be born with sin. If He was born through the seed (sperm) of man, the seed (sperm) would contain the genetic information of all sinful characteristics of the human race going back to Adam and Eve. GOD the Father provided His Son Jesus Christ to condescend to human form to die on the cross through crucifixion and be raised from the dead proving He was GOD in the flesh to save us from eternal Hell. In the future Jesus will be coming back to judge the ungodly. The ungodly, Satan and his angels will end up in the lake of fire. (Revelation 19:20)
God sent His Son Jesus to come down to earth in human form to save us from sin. To understand fully what Jesus is saving us from, I will define for you what sin is.
Sin is the failure to obey God´s law fully. Many people look at the Ten Commandments as a set of rules to obey to keep God´s law. We find out in the first five books of the Bible that the Jews were given more than just the Ten Commandments as laws to obey. Jesus told the Jews.“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law?”(John 7:19 NKJV®) There are over 600 such laws for the Jews in the first five books of the Bible. Many of these, but not all of these apply to Christians. For example, Christians do not sacrifice animals as an offering to God, because Jesus Christ is our ultimate sacrifice. Jesus vindicates us from all sin.
When Jesus came on earth, He pointed out in His famous sermon on the mount that to fulfill the law completely you had to be free of evil thoughts. Jesus pointed out that it was a sin to even think about murder or adultery. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 NKJV®)
So we see that sin isn´t only involved with deeds but thoughts as well. Even if we fail to do something that we know we should do, that is sin. We call these sins, sins of omission. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17 NKJV®)
We were also born with a sin nature inherited genetically from the first sinners — Adam and Eve. Because of their sin we will naturally sin if not restrained. For example, you don´t have to teach a child how to sin; he or she will eventually pick it up. You notice that a small child wants his or her way right away not long after birth. We were all like this because of Adam´s sin nature. King David speaks of this sin nature in Psalm 51. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 NKJV®) The apostle Paul says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV®) All who are not saved will end up in Hell.
"Sinners that think they need no physician will not endure the healer's hand. The Law is therefore necessary to give knowledge of sin, so that proud man, who thought he was whole, may be humbled by the discovery of his own great wickedness, and sigh and pant after the grace that is set forth in
Christ." —Martin Luther3
Hell is the place where all sinful humans and sinful angels or demons will go. In Hell there is a second death that is never quenched. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8 NKJV®) Jesus mentions in the gospel of Mark, hell is “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44 NKJV®)
The apostle Paul tells the Corinthians, , “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV®)
In the book of Revelation we read about the final judgment of sinners which will happen. “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life, was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:13-15 NKJV®)
So Hell is a physical place. When you die you will either go to heaven or to hell. There is no other choice.
Yes, there is a real heaven. It will be the eternal home for all Christians, GOD the Father, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the heavenly angels. Jesus tells His disciples about heaven. “In My Father´s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 NKJV®)
What will heaven look like? The apostle John was shown a future glimpse of heaven through an angel while in the spirit of God. Here is his vision.“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1 NKJV®) Then an angel showed John a great city which was called New Jerusalem. John writes about this heavenly city which is in the shape of a giant cube. The walls of the city were adorned with precious gem stones and gold. The light illuminating it comes from God. Read about this city in Revelation 21:9-27.
In heaven there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain.“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NKJV®) Would you like to live in heaven eternally?
So how do we become a born-again Christian? It is through the grace of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul tells the Ephesians,“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV®) We can try to be a good person, but even our best is not good enough.“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our [righteousness] are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV®) So any good works you do will never get you closer to heaven. It is only the belief in God´s saving grace through Jesus Christ. Just believe; it is that simple. We read in Romans about the love of God for sinners like us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV®)
Jesus stands in our place for our sins if we trust in Him. Jesus offers us heaven as a free gift. It is not earned or deserved. Jesus will pardon our sin, because he takes our sin upon Himself. In the book of Isaiah, Isaiah wrote about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 NKJV®) The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”   (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV®)
If you are serious about Christ you must have the desire to change your life to conform to the Bible. You must repent. Repentance is not just being sorry for your sins; it is an act of turning away from your old sinful ways and developing a new way of life that honors God. We all come to God as sinners. Our life is messed up. If you want to have a special relationship with Christ, the Bible calls it to be born again your attitude should be that of a repentant heart to honor God. God is not mocked. (Galatians 6:7)
If you are serious about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the rest of your life and eternal life, you can tell Jesus about it right now in prayer and He will save you if you are serious with Him. Jesus will be Lord and savior over your life. If you choose to follow Christ you have no guarantee that your life will be better or you will be more successful or richer.
You must agree with God that you are a sinner condemned to hell and need His saving grace. You can´t do any good deeds that are good enough to get you closer to God. You must trust only in Christ as your ONLY way to heaven. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NKJV®) Jesus told His own disciples,"...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6 NKJV®) In the gospel of John, John states: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36 NKJV®)
True Christians read the Bible usually daily and pray and attend a Bible believing church to learn more about the word of God. Christians do not do this to gain favor with God. They read the Bible, pray and go to church, because they love God and are interested in the Christian faith.
From your perspective becoming a born again Christian is the biggest decision you will ever make. From God's perspective you did not choose Him, He chose you. If you are interested in becoming a born-again Christian talk to the Lord Jesus in prayer and He will save you. However, just mouthing some words in the air can never save you. It must be from your heart. That's what it is all about. “that 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.” (Romans 10:9-10 NKJV®) To pray you don´t need any fancy words just talk to God from your heart. Pray these words or your own.
Dear Lord Jesus: I know I am a sinner and I need you to forgive me. I now know that you died on the cross and rose from the dead to save me from eternal hell. Please take my sins from me and make me a new person for you Jesus. I want you in my life for now and eternity. Thank you for the free gift of heaven. I know I do not deserve it and I know I have not earned it. Help me grow in my faith. I love you Jesus. Thank you. Amen.
Welcome to the family of God.
REMEMBER: DO NOT TRUST IN YOURSELF. TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST ALONE FOR YOUR SALVATION.
"The Christian life is more than difficult; it is humanly impossible to live. Only Jesus Christ can live it through you as He dwells within you. The Christian life is not a person trying to imitate Christ; rather, it is Christ imparting His life to and living His life through the person. The Christian life is not what you do for Him; it is what He does for and through you. He wants to think with your mind, express Himself through your emotions, and speak through your voice, though you may be unconscious of it."
Below is a poem by James L. Melton, it gives you a clear picture of what death without Christ is like. I pray you have chosen CHRIST.
THE DAY OF YOUR DEATH
Friend, will you ponder some words of truth, though you be up in years, or yet in your youth?
Copyright ©2001 James L. Melton
How I Became a Christian
Ever since I could remember my parents took me to Sunday school and church. In Sunday school I was with kids my own age, so I thought that was fun. I was baptized as an infant. In junior high school I was confirmed into the United Methodist Church.
Church attendance did not make me a Christian. I read parts of the Bible and memorized Bible verses. I often wondered what it took to go to heaven when you die. I can remember as a young boy my parents and grandmother had the answer. That answer went something like this. “Think of a scale; if you have more good deeds on one side of the scale—you´re going to heaven. If you have more bad deeds on one side of the scale—you could end up in Hell. Besides you were baptized.” [sic] So I surmised being a good person and attending church, baptism, and confirmation were good deeds that would put me into heaven.
After graduating from high school I would come across several people that would confront me with these questions. “Are you a Christian?” “Are you saved?” These people seemed very strange to me. They were more than just eccentric or weird. I thought they might have been crazy or mentally disturbed. To get them off my back I just did what they wanted me to do. They asked me to pray with them for my salvation. I would sometimes wonder if these people were in a religious cult.
I would get to know some of these people and some were highly educated, some were successful business men and professionals. Since I was a photographer I met some photographers who claimed they were born-again Christians. Maybe there was something to this. Maybe some of these people were not nuts.
When I moved to Minneapolis, MN in the apartment unit next to me was a born-again Christian. He seemed very friendly. He didn´t talk about religion all the time and he seemed interested in me. When we did talk about God I can remember some discussions we had about creation verses evolution. I knew he was a four year college graduate, but yet he claimed he did not believe in evolution. I wondered why anybody who went to college wouldn´t believe in evolution.
As a freelance photographer I was not very successful. In September 1982 my commercial jobs were running down and most all of my money was gone. At this point I knew I had to do something else to make a living. One evening at this time I decided to relax and watch some television. I wanted to watch a nonfiction program like some educational TV. I tuned in the educational channel, but there was nothing there that interested me. So I flipped through the channels and found Billy Graham on one of the stations. I decided to listen to him to see if there was anything that I could agree with him on. I don´t remember what the message was about, but at the end he asked television viewers if they wanted to know if they were right with God they could call the number on the screen. So I called the number.
I was asking questions like, “How can I know that I am right with God? How can I know that when I die that I would go to heaven?” [sic] The phone councilor told me that the answers to my questions came from the Bible. He answered my questions with scripture and told me that our greatest problem was sin. Jesus Christ enters into the picture as a sinless God-man to pardon our sins by being punished and dying for our sins and then He rose from the dead. Nobody has ever risen from the dead. To make a long story short through God´s loving-grace I became a born-again Christian. At this point on God would be personal to me.
I joined a Bible-believing church and got into Bible study with a new Christian friend and I have never stopped studying the Bible. I put all trust in Jesus Christ. When I die I trust Jesus Christ will let me into His heaven because of what He did for me. Heaven can only be the domain of the sinless. Jesus Christ has washed away all my sins from the past, present and future. Because of Christ I will enter heaven sinless.
What Do I Do Now After Becoming A Born-Again Christian?
Tell someone what you just did. Somebody has probably been praying for you, and you probably know who that person was. Do you have born-again Christian relatives, friends, or co-workers? Tell that person you are now in the family of God. Telling someone about your new found faith even if they are not a Christian will help increase your faith.
Pray about finding a Bible believing church. Start reading the Bible. Start with the gospel of John. The book of John explains very well the deity of Christ. Then you can read Romans. Paul explains in Romans the basic foundations of the Christian faith.
You need to find some good Christian friends. Join a basic Bible study at a local Bible believing church. Welcome to the everlasting family of God.
My best advice to you as a new Christian is this. Since this is all new to you, you need to find an experienced Christian of your own gender to teach you the basics of Christianity. In scripture this is referred to as the milk of the word. You can attend a small group, but it still is best with just one person sitting down and teaching you basics about GOD, Christ, the Holy Spirit, prayer, scripture memory, grace, eternal life, forgiveness, witnessing and other basics that as a Christian you want to know. These studies will help form you into a sound Christian and keep you from drifting into bad theology or false movements that call themselves Christian but are not.
My first one-on-one Bible study was Operation Timothy. In the New Testament Timothy was a disciple of the Apostle Paul. That is how the name of this Bible study came about. I would be the Timothy who would once a week meet with my Paul. We would go through one lesson every week and I would memorize a Bible verse once a week that went along with the study. He would ask me about my life. I felt safe to share personal things in my life and we would also pray.
Here is the link for Operation Timothy. CLICK HERE.
Another organization which has basic discipleship studies is NAVPRESS. I would recommend their study Design for Discipleship. CLICK HERE.
When you first become a Christian it is very important that you seek out a mentor to disciple you in your new found faith so your faith does not die on the vine. Find an experienced believer to teach you from the Bible.
When I first became a Christian I was very enthusiastic and wanted to grab anything to read or listen to that expressed the name of Jesus. Not everyone who names the name of Jesus is truly a believer in the eyes of Christ.“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 7:21 NKJV®) An experienced believer can steer you away from learning any false theology. An experienced believer can protect you from religious cults like the Mormons or Jehovah´s Witnesses. These religious cults worship a false Jesus. They do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. Jehovah´s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a created being. “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3 NKJV®)
Roman Catholicism is a very evil organization that names the name of Jesus. Through tradition they have added to the gospel. Catholics do not accept the finished work of Christ; they want to add their own works to gain salvation. They do not believe that Christ is the only mediator between God and man. “For there is one God and mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV®). Catholics pray to the virgin Mary and position her as a mediator. The true position of the virgin Mary who bore the Lord Jesus Christ was a sinner just like us who needed a Savior to vindicate her sins.
Catholics make it very clear that they do not believe in faith alone in Jesus Christ for the saving grace of justification for their salvation. "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema," (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).
So the Roman Catholic Church positions itself as an authority on salvation through made up traditions and works to augment what Christ alone could only do. THIS IS AN ABOMINATION. The last words on the cross Jesus spoke were, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) We do not need to add to what Christ could only do alone. “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8 NKJV®) The Roman Catholic Church offers another gospel other than Biblical Christianity. Why do you think the Catholics tried to torture and kill those who tried to present the Bible in a language other than Latin? They wanted to control the theology of their converts through force. Remember Mary Tudor (BLOODY MARY)? What a devil!
In the past Catholics tried to keep the Bible away from their members, so they could control their beliefs. They would keep the Bible in Latin and torture and kill anyone caught reading the Bible in English or any other language other than Latin. I don´t understand why Catholics thought the Latin language was so pristine. The Bible originally was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. So Latin was not the original language so Latin isn´t any better than English, German, Spanish, Chinese, or whatever. Did you know that the Catholic Catechism omits the second commandment of the Ten Commandments from the Holy Bible? The second commandment is about the sin of idolatry. Many Catholics pray to idols in their church. To learn more about Roman Catholicism and other religious cults visit this link Proclaiming The Gospel.
Before and during the reformation many leaders would find errors in the Roman Catholic Church. They would bring these issues to the authorities but were severely criticized, tortured, or killed. It was a slow process but thank God for these early reformers who were persistent even when they were tortured for their faith. Praise God for many men like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, John Knox, John Huss, John Calvin, John Wesley, and the names go on and on.
Martin Luther is one of the most famous reformers of the reformation movement and is known as the father of the reformation movement. He was a devoted Catholic Monk and eventually a Priest, but whatever good works he did he could not feel justified in front of a Holy God. He was given an assignment to teach the book of Romans. What he found by studying and teaching Romans changed his life and the history of Christianity forever.
In Romans 1:17 the apostle Paul wrote: "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'” Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 “The just shall live by faith.” Martin Luther discovered it was grace and faith alone through Christ alone with the scriptures alone without the traditions of men and to the glory of God alone that saved one from sin. What happened to Luther? He was born again. Read John 3:3.
Martin Luther tried to share his new found faith to the Roman Catholic Church but the church was so filled with the idol traditions of men they didn´t want to hear the word of God. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther showed the spiritual deception of the Roman Catholic Church by nailing his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg in Germany. Thanks to the printing press he was able to publish many of his writings. On January 3, 1521 he was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually the birth of the Lutheran denomination pioneered by Martin Luther was born.
Early in the 20th century evil German biblical scholars criticized the Bible and made it into a book of fairy tales. This effect rubbed off on many main line Christian protestant denominations. Many protestant pastors who once believed the Bible as the word of God changed their mind. Some pastors started to edit parts of the Bible. These pastors would choose what to believe or not to believe. This created a whole liberal movement in the protestant church. Today there are many main line denominations who no longer believe that the Bible is the trusted word of God. However, there are still many pastors in main line denominations that believe that the Bible is the word of God. In choosing a church you must talk to the pastor to find out if he is truly born again. Ask him what his beliefs are on regeneration. If you are new to the faith you will want to take an experienced believer with you to help you choose your church.
There are other false Christian movements to look out for. Many of these I will mention here tend to push their way in evangelical Christianity. They are dangerous because they do not stand on the word of God. Beware of the Charismatic movement which brings along in the genre such movements as Full Gospel, Word of Faith Movement, Wealth & Health Gospel; these are a sampling of what the Charismatic movement is all about.
They claim that a Christian´s evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the speaking of tongues. Speaking in tongues is one of the easiest spiritual gifts that can be counterfeited. Many of these followers just babble similar to baby talk. Those who want this gift also will babble right along. The Bible says that you receive the Holy Spirit when you are regenerated or born again. We do not have to work to get the Holy Spirit. If you are saved you already have the Holy Spirit. “[N]ot by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5 NKJV®).
Many of these Charismatic ministries have many practitioners in the healing ministry. At the time of the Apostles God used healing ministries to show that God did not only heal but also would forgive sins. If God wants to heal someone of an illness He will make that decision. The Holy Spirit does not heal on demand such as on a television program. We cannot tell the Holy Spirit what to do. He is God.
God wants everybody rich financially, some say. I almost fell in to this lie decades ago. This desire appeals to the flesh. The desire for riches is the sin of covetousness. There is nothing wrong with a Christian accumulating a great deal of earned income or equity. God looks at your heart. If your heart is lusting to achieve wealth this is covetousness. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16 NKJV®)
Many of these phony Prosperity gospel ministries will get you to send them money by telling you that you should send some seed money to them and God is going to bless your finances exponentially. They try and lay a guilt trip on you if you will not send them some money. “You are robbing God,” they say if you do not give to their ministry. They will use scripture to convince you to send them money like Malachi 3: 8-12 which was intended for the Jewish priests and followers 400 years before the birth of Christ.
Let me give you an illustration of how lusting after riches has no place within the gospel. In some countries where it is illegal to be a Christian many Christians are lucky if they can hold down some type of a job to support themselves and their families. Chances are these Christians may need outside financial help. So are we supposed to tell these Christians that they will be blessed by God if they pursue riches? For many of these Christians the profit and price they pay for their ministry is torture, jail, and death. But through this they share their faith in Christ to many. Contrast that to many of us financially secure Christians in America that are afraid to leave a religious tract somewhere for fear we will be discovered.
There are also other false Christian movements like the Emergent Church movement which believes there are no absolutes. To this movement it is not necessary to understand the Bible. The New Age movement mixes western Christianity with eastern mysticism. I could go on and on with various false Christian movements. So when you look for a church consult an experienced Christian you trust.
However, you may never find a perfect Church. Find the best one you can find and give your talents and all of yourself to that church. You want to be attending a church that has a clear understanding of salvation through grace that preaches the gospel of Christ and wants you to bring your Bible to Church.
There are peripheral theological issues outside of salvation. Not every Christian is going to agree on everything, but all Christians agree on what a born again Christian is. Theological issues like end times prophecy, infant baptism, Calvinism, King James Only, Creation all can stir up arguments. Christians have different opinions on these issues. However, I can feel comfortable worshiping with all truly born again Christians who may hold other theological views than mine. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV®)
Should I Get Baptized?
Yes. Find a good Bible-believing church, join it as a member and talk to your pastor about your new found faith and ask about baptism. He will set up a time for you to be baptized. Baptism is an outward sign to believers and non-believers that you are serious about your faith.
With water baptism, immersing your head into the water signifies dying to your self. The old man is dead. Coming out of the water signifies a new man or a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV®)
The Apostle Paul further explains in Romans about baptism. This verse says it all. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4 NKJV®) So when you come out of the water you are a new creation in Christ. This is what has happened to you when you became a born-again Christian.
Many people were baptized as infants. I was baptized as an infant. My parents were there to witness and were enthused to foster me as a moral and Godly young man. Their intentions were good. Out of their sincerity I don´t really believe they knew what baptism was all about. Ministers who baptize infants I believe are theologically incorrect. I believe that the only person who should be baptized is one who has experienced the new birth — being born-again. When I became a born-again Christian I was baptized again as a new believer. The pastor brought me to a lake and submerged my head under water and brought my head back out of the water. This symbolizes the born-again experience — Romans 6:3-4.
Through tradition the idea that sprung up was that the sacrament of baptism saves one´s soul. This is not biblical. The sacrament of baptism can not save anyone from hell. Only the grace of Jesus Christ can save one from hell. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV®) You can boast about your infant baptism, but it won´t save you. Remember you cannot work yourself into heaven.
What happens if I sin when I´m a born-again Christian?
When you become a born-again Christian, Christ takes your sins away. It is as though you have never sinned. Your sins are justified. Justification is a legal and theological term that means freedom from blame; you are guiltless, cleared, or vindicated. Paul spoke these words at a sermon at Antioch. “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man [JESUS CHRIST] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39 NKJV®)
On the other hand, even though we are Christians living in a body that has a sin nature we will sin, but we can ask for Christ´s forgiveness. The apostle John writes, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV®) Read the next verse, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10 NKJV®)
Every Christian battles with his sin nature. The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” (Romans 7:19-20 NKJV®) So since we have this sin nature, is this a license to sin? No. The apostle Paul further states to the Romans, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 NKJV®) As soon as we know that we have sinned we should pray for forgiveness.
When a true Christian sins, he will feel guilty about his sin and ask for forgiveness. For an example read Psalm 51, King David's prayer of repentance. One who is not a true Christian will never feel guilty of his sin. He will not be in agreement on what the Bible says of what sin is. He or she will be their own judge on what they feel sin is or is not. A true believer in Christ is always in agreement of what the Bible says about sin. Those who practice sins condemned by the Bible without guilt or asking forgiveness are not part of the kingdom of God and will not enter heaven. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 NKJV®) In Jesus' own words,“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18 NKJV®) Jesus further states, "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me." (John 14:24 NKJV®)
SALVATION PAGE: END NOTES
1. D. James Kennedy. Evangelism Explosion Tyndale House Publishers; Wheaton, IL (1970) [one of the two diagnostic questions Dr. D. James Kennedy used in his “Evangelism Explosion” training for churches which I was part of] p27.
2. Lawrence O. Richards, Ph.D., General Editor & Writer; The Revell Bible Dictionary; Fleming H. Revell a division of Baker Book House Co. Grand Rapids, MI 49516 (1990) [Christ=Anointed One] p 209.
3. Ray Comfort; The Evidence Bible; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Alachua, FL 32615, USA (2011) p1341.
4. Ibid. p 1674.