Being a Christian

I pray the first four posts I placed under Religion has opened your eyes. You have read a little about little known facts about the bible, what it takes to receive Salvation, the fact that Jesus is returning, and some prophecy including Armageddon. As we continue, we will be referring back to these areas.

However, first and foremost, I have to stress the fact of you admitting you are a sinner, asking Jesus to come into you heart, asking him to forgive you of your sins, leaving your sins at the alter, and begin a new life living for Jesus Christ.

*God is holy and righteous (Rom. 1:17)
*Man is sinful and his heart is evil (Gen. 6:5; 13:13; Jer. 17:9).
*All people know that God exists (Rom. 1:21)
*All people have sinned (Rom. 3:23a)
*All people are guilty before God (Rom. 1:18-3:8)
*Judgment is self-induced (Rom. 1:18-23)
*Sin dishonors God and contradicts His Holy character (Rom. 1:17)
*God will judge every person, Jew and Gentile (Rom. 2:5; 2:12-16)
*God never forgives any sin without full payment of the penalty for that sin (Rom. 3:25)
*Propitiation is the only saving solution to the fact of God’s wrath against sin. Propitiation is the appeasement of divine wrath by a sacrificial offering. Sending Christ to die for our sins was God’s amazing solution to the problem of how He could remain just (punish all sin) and still justify us (declare us perfectly righteous in His sight) (Is. 53:4, 5, 10, 11; Rom. 3:25)
*The gospel of salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned (Rom. 1:16, 17; 3:20, 23, 24, 28, 30; 4:5: 6:23)
*Saving faith can only come through hearing and believing the Bible’s message about Christ (Rom. 1:16; 10:14-17)
*Justified means to be declared righteous in God’s sight (Rom. 3:24)
*God imputes (imparts) righteousness to those who believe (Rom. 4:3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24)
*Believers, who have been freely forgiven of sins because of Christ’s work, will be given degrees of reward in heaven. This is according to their actions in this life; heaven is the eternal home of born-again believers (Rom. 3:21-26; Mth. 16:27; 25:31-46; John 5:29; Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:9, 10; Rev. 7:15-17)

*Those who reject Christ will be judged for their sins. The consequences of willful disobedience are horrible indeed. The Bible speaks of an endless, conscious torment in hell (Rom. 2:6; Rev. 20:10, 15)

What does it take to be a Christian? The answer to that question sounds very simple at first. We need to believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, that He died for our sins and was raised back to life and then just ask Him to forgive us. Right? Well technically that is right, but in this article I want to look deeper and see if that is really all there is to it.

The reason I say that description is technically correct is because it is. That is all you have to do to have your sins forgiven and obtain eternal life, however, that technical answer assumes some things that many people seem to misunderstand.

First I want to address what separates most of the cults from true Christianity. In our definition of what it takes to be a Christian we said we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. But what does that mean? It means that we must believe that Jesus is God, one of the Trinity. If we don’t then we do not know the real Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witness deny that Jesus is God. They believe He is Michael the archangel, the first of God’s created beings. Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being, the spirit brother of Lucifer. There are many more, but those should be enough to make the point. These groups are cults because they don’t preach the biblical Jesus.

Although members of these groups might say that they believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for their sins, they are not truly saved. Remember only the biblical Jesus can save a sinner. So you see, just knowing the words does not make a person a Christian. But you don’t have to be a member of a cult to misunderstand who the true Jesus is.

Jesus told us that the gate that leads to eternal life is narrow and few find it, but that the gate to destruction is wide and many will go through it (Matthew 7:13-14), so it should not surprise us that there are so many false gospels and false Christs out there.

Even if you understand who the biblical Jesus is, do you understand what He did for you? Again that sounds easy, He died for our sins, but is it that easy? Here we go again, technically yes, but that is not the entire story.

I won’t go so far as to call them cults, although many people do, but there are many ‘denominations’ out there which don’t understand what Christ did for them.

We need to understand exactly what biblical Christianity says Jesus did on the cross. Orthodox Christianity believes that Jesus took the full wrath and punishment for our sins by dying on the cross. That when He said “It is finished,” our redemption was finished. The full price had been paid for our sins. Now I want to explain some of the heretical teachings that are out there.

There is one group who teaches that our salvation was not complete on the cross, but instead that Jesus spent three days and nights in hell being tormented by the devil and his demons. They are dead wrong, the price of our salvation was not paid to the devil it was paid to God the Father. To believe that Jesus had to suffer torment at the hands of Satan and the demons, is to show you don’t understand what salvation is or for that matter who Jesus is and what He did to redeem us.

There are other groups which claim you have to be a member of their church to obtain salvation. Did their church die on the cross to forgive us of our sins? No and their church can’t save us, only Jesus Christ can. By adding membership in their church to what Jesus did on the cross, they are saying that what He did was not enough. If they think it was not enough, then they don’t understand Him, God the Father or salvation.

Another group says that you must be baptized before you are saved. Again they say that what Jesus did on the cross was not enough in God the Father’s sight; you must add to it by being baptized. Don’t miss my point here, I believe that we are commanded to be baptized as a sign of our dying with Christ and our faith that He will raise us from the dead, but it is not what saves us. If you add to what Jesus did in order to obtain salvation, you don’t understand exactly what He did in the first place.

Another group says that you must keep the Sabbath in order to be saved. Now I have no problem with someone who wants to keep the Sabbath, but if they link it to salvation, I have a major problem with it. If you add the work of keeping the Sabbath to what Jesus did on the cross then you are saying what He did was not enough. If what Jesus did was not enough we are all lost in our sins.

One group says that you can’t eat meat and be saved. You can’t find that in the Bible and again it is adding the work of vegetarianism to what Jesus did on the cross in order to obtain salvation.

I have even had people tell me that they question my salvation because I don’t use only the King James Bible. They claim if you are saved using any other Bible version you are not really saved. You know, I never read that the King James Bible hung on a cross to save me from my sins. Nor have I ever read in any version, including the King James version, of the Bible that what Jesus did on the cross was not enough unless I use one specific translation of God’s word. If it takes the King James Bible being added to what Jesus did then again you are saying that what Jesus did was not enough. I repeat if what Jesus did on the cross was not enough, then we are all lost in our sins.

You may be wondering, what difference does it make if people add to the gospel, after all they believe the basics. That is the point I have been trying to make, they don’t truly believe the basics, if they believe you have to add anything to what Jesus did. Either Jesus paid the full price of our redemption on the cross, or Jesus and something we have to do paid the price. They are mutually exclusive. I am not trying to say that a person who has believed that there has to be something added to what Jesus did on the cross cannot have true salvation. The Holy Spirit can convict someone of their sin and bring them to saving grace through Jesus Christ even if they don’t totally understand all the finer points of what Jesus did for them. I do believe, however, that once the person is saved the Holy Spirit will continue to work in their hearts and lead them in all truth. I don’t believe they would remain for very long under these false teachings. What I am saying is that if the person understands the two different ideas of salvation and then rejects the idea that Jesus’ death on the cross was all that was needed, then I believe they have denied the only One who can save them. Let me try to explain why I say that.

I want to use God’s word, because what I think does not matter, but what God says does. There are a couple passages I want to quote, but this is only a small portion of the many passages in Scripture that testify to the same thing:

(Acts 10:43 NIV) All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

We must understand after becoming a Christian, we have to talk the talk and walk the walk. After accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we must turn away from our sinful ways and let all things become new. We must study the word, attempt to become Christ like, and let the old things pass away. The world will hate us as they hated Jesus. Our families, our friends, and Satan will attack us, mock us, make fun of us, and try to get us to go back to our sinful ways. Pray you stay in the will of God and let the Holy Spirit lead you in all things.

Salvation is freedom and eternal life. Lack of salvation is the grave and eternal torture and damnation! Which do you choose?

Pastor Rocky

(John 11:25-26 NIV) [25] Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; [26] and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus said He was the resurrection and the life and that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. He did not say that anyone who believes on Him “and” anything. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that after we believe we no longer have to follow Christ, I think we do have to continue in the faith. I am trying to show that there is nothing needed for salvation other than to believe in the biblical Jesus. We are saved by faith through God’s grace. Period! If there was anything that Jesus was not able to pay on the cross, then He cannot be our Savior. There can be no “and” in the salvation message and still be the salvation message.

(John 3:36 NIV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. What does it take to reject the Son? I say it means to deny that He paid the price for our redemption in full. To say that when He said “it is finished” it wasn’t somehow.

What I am trying to show is how seriously God takes this subject. Either you have salvation through His Son or you don’t have salvation. If you deny that Jesus’ death was the full payment for your sins, then you don’t have salvation.

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