Religion and Salvation…

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

The Works-Salvation Delusion

The following are the opening paragraphs of a totally revealing article about “Religion” and “Salvation”. The whole article is noted below for your reading pleasure. It is a long read but it truly exposes the worlds’ objective to make “Salvation” seem complex and to deviate from what God says it is and is well worth your time to digest. It certainly helps to ID what satins’ strategies are and helps us in our combating error.

Galatians 2:211 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come[s] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Religion and Salvation…
T. A. McMahon

When we compare biblical Christianity with the religions of the world, using the Scriptures to guide us, we see that the gap between them is unbridgeable. In fact, one is forced to the conclusion that there are really only two religions in the world: biblical Christianity–and all other religions. (Note: I refer to biblical Christianity as a “religion” only for comparative purposes: a religion is a manmade belief system, whereas biblical Christianity is what God has revealed to mankind.)

These two “religions” are set apart primarily by what they teach about salvation–how one can get to heaven or paradise or Valhalla or Nirvana or the abode of God, or whatever else people believe about the afterlife. Each of the two can be placed under one of two categories: Human Achievement and Divine Accomplishment–or, to put it simply, the religions of “Do” and “Done.” I’m referring to the fact that either there are things you must do (Human Achievement) or there is nothing you can do because it has already been done (Divine Accomplishment) to earn entrance to heaven.

Biblical Christianity alone comes under the heading of Divine Accomplishment. All the other religions of the world must be placed under the label of Human Achievement. Let’s first consider some of the major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and certain denominations or cults that profess to be Christian.

Eph 6:12, 13 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The complete article;
The Works-Salvation Delusion
T. A. McMahon
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come[s] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. –Galatians 2:21

When we compare biblical Christianity with the religions of the world, using the Scriptures to guide us, we see that the gap between them is unbridgeable. In fact, one is forced to the conclusion that there are really only two religions in the world: biblical Christianity–and all other religions. (Note: I refer to biblical Christianity as a “religion” only for comparative purposes: a religion is a manmade belief system, whereas biblical Christianity is what God has revealed to mankind.)

These two “religions” are set apart primarily by what they teach about salvation–how one can get to heaven or paradise or Valhalla or Nirvana or the abode of God, or whatever else people believe about the afterlife. Each of the two can be placed under one of two categories: Human Achievement and Divine Accomplishment–or, to put it simply, the religions of “Do” and “Done.” I’m referring to the fact that either there are things you must do (Human Achievement) or there is nothing you can do because it has already been done (Divine Accomplishment) to earn entrance to heaven.

Biblical Christianity alone comes under the heading of Divine Accomplishment. All the other religions of the world must be placed under the label of Human Achievement. Let’s first consider some of the major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and certain denominations or cults that profess to be Christian.

Hinduism has about 330 million gods who must be appeased through some type of ritual. A couple of years ago I was given a tour of a massive Hindu temple just outside Chicago. The parking lot was filled with luxury cars. There was imported stonework from Italy. No expense was spared. Inside, doctors, lawyers, and engineers, among others, according to my guide, were serving meals to the idols, Hanuman, the monkey god, and Ganesha, the elephant god.

Hinduism is a system of works–things that one must do to reach moksha, the Hindu heaven. It involves the practice of yoga, which, contrary to what many have heard, has never been for improvement of one’s health but is rather a means of dying to one’s body in the hope of delivering oneself from the physical realm. This is supposed to yoke one to Brahman, the Supreme Deity of Hinduism. Reincarnation, a system that supposedly enables one to work one’s way to heaven through many births, deaths, and rebirths, is one of the teachings of this religion.

Buddhism is also all about works. Buddha believed that the key to reaching Nirvana, which is allegedly the state of perfect peace and happiness, is through an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path.

In essence, the Four Noble Truths declare that we endure suffering because of our desires or cravings. These “Truths” claim that suffering will stop when we cease trying to fulfill those desires. According to Buddhism, we can achieve this by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which has the elements of “right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.” This is all done by man’s achievement, i.e., “doing things right” in order to reach Nirvana.

In Islam, paradise is attained when Allah weighs a follower’s good works against his bad deeds on a scale at Judgment Day. The Qur’an declares: “For those things that are good remove those that are evil” (Surah 11:114). It’s a quantitative process. Good deeds need to outweigh or blot out evil deeds. From the Qur’an again: “The balance that day will be true: Those whose scale [of good works] will be heavy, will prosper: Those whose scale will be light will find their souls in perdition” (Surah 7:8, 9).

Here’s an interesting example of what a Muslim faces to get into paradise: On April 3, 1991, the Egyptian magazine, Akher Saa, recorded a heated debate between four female journalists and Sheik Doctor Abdu-Almonim Al-Nimr, who holds a high position at Al-Azher Islamic University. One of the journalists asked him: “Is the hijab [veil or head covering] obligatory for women in Islam? If I do not wear the hijab, shall I go to hell in spite of my other good deeds? I am talking about the decent woman who does not wear the hijab.”

Dr. Al-Nimr replied, “The ordinances in Islam are many, my daughter, Allah made us accountable to each. It means if you do that ordinance you earn a point. If you neglect one, you lose a point. If you pray, you earn a point; if you do not fast you lose a point, and so on.” He continued, “I did not invent a new theory…for every man there is a book in which all his good and evil deeds are recorded…even how do we treat our children.”

The journalist said: “That means, if I do not wear the hijab, I will not enter the hell fire without taking into account the rest of my good deeds.” Dr. Al-Nimr replied: “My daughter, no one knows who will enter the hell fire…I might be the first one to enter it. Caliph Abu-Bakr Al-Sadik said: ‘I have no trust concerning Allah’s schemes, even if one of my feet is inside of paradise who can determine which deed is acceptable and which is not.’ [See TBC, 10/91] You do all that you can do…and the accountability is with Allah. You ask him for acceptance [Italics added for emphasis].”

In Judaism, heaven is attained by keeping the Law and its ceremonies. Obviously, that isn’t consistent with what the Tanakh (the Old Testament) teaches, yet that has been the practice of Judaism for millennia. As Jesus said, “In vain they do worship [God], teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

His words also apply to a number of “Christian” denominations and cults that stress works as necessary for salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Christ adherents, Roman Catholics, Eastern and Russian Orthodox members, Lutherans, and many others all include something that needs to be accomplished or is necessary for salvation, whether it’s baptism, the sacraments, or joining their particular organization and fulfilling their requirements.

Here is an example from the first 30 years of my own life as a Roman Catholic. I lived by a religious system of laws, many of which a Catholic is obligated to keep. It began with baptism. If one is not baptized, the Church says he can’t enter heaven. It also says that although baptism is required, it is no guarantee. There are many other such rules (works) that a Catholic must keep.

I have a book in my office called the Code of Canon Law. It contains 1,752 laws, many of which affect one’s eternal destiny. Sins recognized by the Roman Catholic Church are classified as either mortal or venial. A mortal sin is one that damns a person to hell, should he or she die without having had it absolved by a priest. A venial sin doesn’t need to be confessed to a priest, but whether confessed or not, all sin adds to one’s temporal punishment, which must be expiated either here on earth through suffering or good works or else be purged in the flames of purgatory after one’s death.

There are obligations that a Catholic must fulfill regarding both beliefs and deeds. For example, one is required to believe that Mary was conceived without sin (an event called the Immaculate Conception). If a Catholic doesn’t believe that, he commits a mortal sin, which carries the penalty of eternal damnation. The feast day of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation; a day on which all Catholics are required to attend Mass. Failure to do so could result in commission of a mortal sin.

All the belief systems that I’ve mentioned, and many others as well, consist of doing or not doing certain things to reach “heaven.” All are based upon human achievement. But what about biblical Christianity? How is that different?

Ephesians 2:8-9 spells it out for us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [salvation is] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast [emphasis added].” That’s pretty straightforward. Our salvation doesn’t have anything to do with our achievements.

Verse 8 tells us that it is by grace that we are saved. Grace is unmerited favor. If any merit is involved, it cannot be by grace. It’s the gift of God. So if it’s a gift, it can’t be of works. That should be obvious. Someone puts in a tough month of work and his employer comes to him with his paycheck and declares, “Good job, Joe, here’s your gift!” No–Joe worked for what he was paid. No gift was involved.

Regarding a person who works, Romans 4:4 tells us that his wages are a payment for the debt his employer owes him, and his paycheck has nothing to do with grace or a gift. A worker who has done a good job can boast or feel a sense of pride in the work he has accomplished. Yet all of that is contrary to grace or a gift. Grace rules out any sense of merit, and a gift does away with any sense of something earned or paid for.

Paul’s teaching in Ephesians is affirmed in his epistle to Titus, chapter 3, verse 4:
But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [Emphasis added]

We can see that this is consistent with Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s not by our works that we are saved–not by works of righteousness that we have done–but it’s by His mercy that we are saved.

You may well imagine that, as a Roman Catholic conditioned by a life of Church rules and rituals, I had great difficulty believing that faith was the only basis by which I could enter heaven. It didn’t make sense to me.

Well, not only does it make sense–it’s the only possible way anyone can be saved. It is miraculously sensible!

First of all, what keeps anyone from heaven or eternal life with God? We know that the answer is “sin.” Here is a small sampling of the applicable verses: All have sinned (Romans 3:23); the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23); sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2); the soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20); sin brings forth death (James 1:15).

In Genesis 2, God explains to Adam the consequences of disobeying Him. Adam was told not to eat from a certain fruit in the Garden of Eden. It was a commandment that was related to obedience and love–not of God’s withholding something from Adam, as the Serpent implied. Remember, Jesus said “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” that is, His teachings (John 14:23). Our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience.

What was God’s penalty for disobedience? Genesis 2:17: “…for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam and Eve loved themselves more than they loved God, because they didn’t “keep [His] words.” They disobeyed Him, and the consequence was death. “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” In the Scriptures, death always involves separation, and in God’s judgment upon them, two applications are found: 1) physical death (the degeneration of the body, leading ultimately to its separation from the soul and spirit), and 2) eternal separation from God.

Adam and Eve did not die instantly, but the death process began at that point for them and for all creation. However, their spiritual relationship with God changed immediately and forever. God’s judgment for sin is eternal: separation from God forever. It’s an infinite penalty. And God, who is perfect in all of His attributes, including justice, had to carry out the punishment. He couldn’t let them slide by and just give them another chance. That would have meant that He was not perfectly true to His Word. The penalty had to be paid.

So what could Adam and Eve do? Nothing, except die physically and spiritually, which is to be separated from God forever. And what can the rest of mankind do, seeing that all have sinned? Nothing. Well, one might ask, what if we do all sorts of good deeds that might outweigh our sins, or if we go to church a lot, or get baptized, do religious things, receive the sacraments, and so forth? None of those things will help us. Why? Because they don’t pay the penalty. So what can we do? There is nothing that we can do–except to pay the penalty ourselves by being separated from God forever.

Our situation would be absolutely hopeless except that God has some other attributes in addition to being perfectly just. He is also perfect in love and mercy! “For God so loved the world” that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for us (John 3:16).

And that is exactly what Jesus did on the Cross. It is incomprehensible to us that during those three hours of darkness (when He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) He took on the sins of the world and suffered the wrath of His Father–for us. On the Cross He “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9), that is, He experienced and paid the infinite penalty for everyone’s sins.

When that divine accomplishment ended, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” meaning that the penalty had been paid in full. It was a divine accomplishment because it was something that only God could do! God became a man and died physically, because physical death was part of the penalty. Yet, as the God-Man, he was able to experience fully the penalty that every sinner would experience–being spiritually separated from God forever.

God’s justice demands payment. Either we pay the penalty ourselves or we turn to Jesus by faith and receive the benefits of His sacrificial atonement. What does Roman 6:23 say? “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Bible could not be more clear that salvation can only be “the gift of God” and that we can only appropriate that gift by faith.

Any attempt to merit salvation by our works is not just futile–it is impossible: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Worse yet, it is a denial of the infinite penalty that God imposed, a rejection of God’s “unspeakable gift,” and a repudiation of what Christ accomplished for us.

It used to be that most evangelicals would agree. This is no longer the case as the apostasy gathers momentum in these Last Days. Recently, a Pew Forum survey of more than 40,000 Americans found that 57 percent of those who said they were evangelicals believed that Jesus is not the exclusive way to heaven. Since Jesus is the only one who provides divine accomplishment, all that remains is the futile delusion of human achievement for salvation. TBC

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Someday…then comes Eternity…

Romans 14:11, 12 “For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every
knee shall bow to Me. And every tongue shall confess to
God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Psalm 22:29 “All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; All
those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he
who cannot keep himself alive.”

Someday…then comes Eternity…Where…

Did you know that you and I are accountable for all of our
actions? I know that sin is a word that is almost nonexistent in our
modern day language but some things do not change with time.

Accountability is one of them. God’s truths and values never change.
That means that we are held to the same standards as those having gone
before us. Those who have not received Jesus as their Savior or have not
been ‘Born Again’ will have to give account of all of their sins. And
as scripture says there are none righteous (Rom 3:10), no not one, and
all of our perceived righteous deeds are viewed as filthy rags (Isa64:6)
in the eyes of God.

I find it interesting that mankind tries the same escape
activities today as they did from the beginning. Listen to what Adam and
Eve said when their moment of accountability came.

Gen 3:11-13 “And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you
eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’
Then the man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me
of the tree, and I ate.’ And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is
this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'”

Accountability in God’s eyes rests with the offender and not their family heritage
or surroundings or any other person, place or organization.

Gen 3:16-19 “To the woman he said, ‘ I will greatly multiply your sorrow
and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire
shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ Then to Adam he
said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten
from the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it;’
Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the
days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for
you, and you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of
it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

That’s the ugly part, here is the best part! Someone took your
place if you will accept His sacrifice for your sins. Sin brought on death both spiritual and
physical, thorns, thistles, diseases, etc. Some day everyone will have to give
account for their own deeds… unless you have been ‘Born again”.

Then Jesus took your place.

No sacrifice of our own or of our churches or of our friends can
take away our sins. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice and His was
without blemish. He alone is worthy to be a sacrifice for our sins.

As the book of Hebrews says, without the shedding of blood there can
be no remission of sins and the sacrifice must be from a spotless Lamb.

Fortunately for us;

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have life everlasting.”
Jesus paid for my sins and took upon Himself my accountability. How about you?

If Jesus is your Savior today rejoice. If He is not or you are not sure then it is
time to settle up with God!!! Check it out for yourself;

Romans 3:10, 3:23
Romans 6:23
Ephesians 2:8, 9
Romans 5:8
Romans 10:13

John 3:3  and 14:6

A Spiders Web and God’s Protection…

Romans 8:28 “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. ”

A Spiders Web and God’s Protection…

During World War II, a Marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific Island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction.

Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several
small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves.
Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy
soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly
search all the caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be your will, please protect
me. Whatever Your will though, I love You and trust You. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw
close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me
out of this one.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over
the front of his cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the
while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the
opening of the cave.

“Hah,” he thought. “What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord
has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout
and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to
his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however,
after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.

Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance,
his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while.

“Lord! Forgive me,” prayed the young man. “I had forgotten that in
You a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to
forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in
the most surprising ways. As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded
the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem,

“In God we will have success!” [Nehemiah 2:20]

And remember: Whatever is happening in your life, in God, a mere
spider’s web becomes a brick wall of protection.

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Understanding the Bible…

II Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Understanding the Bible….

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.” That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.

How do I allow myself to be changed from the inside out?

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, and remind a friend by sharing this story.

Renew your mind with God’s truths…

2 Tim. 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Those who do not have Jesus as their Lord and Savior have one major problem!

I Cor 2:14 “ But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.”

There is one thing needed before you can understand the Bible and know that you will spend ETERNITY with God….

 John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Compromise and Soul Erosion…

Psalm 4:5, “Offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord.

Numbers 32:23b “…and be sure your sin will find you out.”

Compromise and Soul Erosion…

Some great places have been really damaged by the slow process
of erosion. So have some great people. That’s why you’ve got to make the
choices that will stop the erosion in your life.

And we’ve all got a powerful example for that in the Word of God in
the Book of Daniel, chapter 1, beginning with verse 5. Daniel is one of a handful
of promising Jewish young men who have been taken to Babylon after
King Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of their land. The king includes them with
some of his own Babylonian “first-round draft picks” in a leadership
development program that will ultimately propel them to greatness in the kingdom.

Everything was fine until the king, “assigned a daily amount of
food and wine from the king’s table.” This was a special “training table
diet” designed to make them into the best physical specimens possible. But
that kind of food was totally out of bounds for Jews back then, as defined
by the laws of their God. A tough choice here! You’re on your way to
greatness, and right here at the beginning you’re being asked to
compromise a little. At stake could be your whole future and maybe even
your life if you defied the most powerful man in the world.

But the Bible says, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with
the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission
not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show
favor and sympathy to Daniel. This official was afraid he might be
executed if Daniel and his Jewish comrades ended up looking worse than
the others. So Daniel persuaded him to allow a ten-day test of an
alternate diet of vegetables and water. Long story short, Daniel and
company,  the Bible says, “looked healthier and better nourished than
any of the young men who ate the royal food,” and “the king found none
equal to Daniel” and his friends.

God may be asking you to risk everything right now on what
looks like a very expensive faithfulness. It could really cost you to do
what’s right, to hold to your convictions, to refuse to compromise your
integrity or your purity. You’re risking everything on the faithfulness
of our God. It’s tempting to give in to get ahead … to get that need
met … to get out of that jam. But with your compromise goes a huge
piece of you and the blessing of Almighty God. Resist that eroding tide.

And remember that God’s favor is for God’s faithful. You may,
like Daniel, find yourself in different environments, pressured by
different expectations, but you’ve got to be sure that it’s always the
same you. You have to “resolve not to defile yourself” – to build an
uncompromising wall against even the first step that would take you
outside the ways of your God.

Mat 6:33a “But seek first of all His kingdom and His righteousness…”

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

If only I…

Psalm 92:1, 2 “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, Oh Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.”

If only I…

Today, upon a bus, I saw a handsome young man And wished I were as handsome.
When suddenly he rose to leave,
I saw him hobble down the aisle.
He had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as he passed, he passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
“I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you.
You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join them?”
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he couldn’t hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go…

With eyes to see the sunset’s glow.
With ears to hear what I’d know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

 

I Thes 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Will a good life get me to heaven…

Will a good life get me to Heaven …..?

The quick answer is NO. Before you stop reading listen to how I come to that conclusion. First comes the realization that there is an eternity past this life on earth. Our life may consist of 1 minute to 100+ years old whichever life extent I have. So what does God say will keep me from eternity with Him?

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

 Rev 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 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.”

 We think many will be judged based on their works and church affiliation for their ticket into heaven. We hear many saying so on their judgement day in Revelations 20:11-15. Yes, those choosing to be judged for their eternal destiny based on their deeds or works will be. But listen to what God says about our deeds or works and their ability to wipe away the penalty for our sins.

Eph 2:8-9 “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.”

Titus 3:5 “ not 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,”

There is an option we have. We can leave our destiny up to manmade solutions or up to the sacrifice of Calvary. We like to think that we are able by ourselves or by the Religion or family spiritual heritage we are in that one or all of those things will determine our eternal destiny to heaven. You say to yourself and all around you, ‘I am a good person’. If there is such a thing as eternal loss or separation from God or eternity in Hell than I must not be bad enough to merit it. Really, listen to what God says that our human or fleshly natures are without His Spirit and allowing the Spirit to control our lives.

 Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

 Mat 7:21-23 “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. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

II Thes 1:8-9 “ in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”

Rom 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

Our flesh or humanity when separated by sin from God looks like the following.

 Gen 6:5-6 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

 Isa 64:5a-7 you are indeed angry, for we have sinned– In these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities.

Rom 3:9-12 “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”

So, the question becomes, when do I obtain eternal life with God and the Holy Spirit in my life?

Acts 16:30-31 “And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Rom 10:8-13 “But what does it say?”The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 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. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

            So, now you see based on God’s word found in the Bible that our eternal destiny is based on our acceptance or rejection of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins with no additions to His sacrifice.

Gal 2:21 “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”