Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 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? 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:3-7

The means of salvation is by being "born again." This is known as regeneration. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5

The process of regeneration, or "new birth," causes the spirit of man and the Spirit of God to be joined together. Because this joining is with God the Holy Spirit Himself, this resulting ONE nature is everlasting. The spirit of man and the Spirit of God are forever "one spirit."


But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:17

Here lies the very heart of salvation. All of our understanding is built upon it.

From the time the Holy Spirit enters and regenerates a person forward they become ONE Spirit. The Bible no longer distinguishes between the sprit of man and the Holy Spirit within him. That is not to say that man is in any way God, or that the Holy Spirit is in any way contained within man's body.

Once joined, there is never again the possibility that the person may be separated from God.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39

It is through this oneness with God that the life in Christ is experienced. It is through this oneness that the Christian obtains the absolute assurance of his salvation and eternal destiny.

No rules of religion will ever be able to accomplish this joining together or "regeneration."
No rules of religion will ever be able to cut off man's spirit from God. No sins committed by the Christian in his body or mind can cause a split in the one spirit now at the root of his new nature.

When the person who has been born again dies his body returns to dust, but his spirit is freed to join with Christ where He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God.


In light of the fact that God created man a rational being, it is logical to conclude that God would want mankind to have knowledge of Him. Foremost in our concern of that knowledge would be what requirements God has for man.

It is fair to ask if God has any requirements at all. That is, whether He created the universe and man, and then simply let them loose to run throughout time on their own while He sat back and watched. In fact, there are some people who say that very thing. They are known as Deists.

God has revealed His plan for mankind.

He has shown in progressively clearer and ever more detailed ways who He is, and what it is that He desires. He has had people live out their lives as examples, each one showing a different aspect or fuller view of God's complete plan. He has provided an account of these things in the Bible.
In the Bible the lives of these people, and the acts and edicts of God, are recorded for all succeeding generations to see and gain understanding.

As previously covered in the discussion of religion, the central element in this revelation was the need for the sacrifice of a life to atone for or "cover" sin. Sin which kept man apart from a sinless and holy God.

Some of the Bible accounts illustrating this include:

Adam and Eve - After they had committed their sin, they covered themselves with leaves. God showed that more than a plant was needed to cover up their sin. God replaced the plant coverings with the skins of animals to give Adam and Eve a "cover" for their nakedness before Him. (Genesis 3)

Cain and Abel - Cain offered plants, Abel offered animals. God accepted Abel's sacrifice and rejected Cain's. (Genesis 4)

God gave Moses the Law in which was set forth the Day of Atonement- On the set day each year, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice upon the Mercy Seat. So each year the sacrifice was made to cleanse the people of their sins from the previous year.
(Leviticus 16)

In the Old Testament the Bible records the Law. There it contains rules of life and the requirements given by God for the sacrifice which was to be done every year on the Day of Atonement to remove the sins of the people. Following on through the Old Testament the prophets revealed how God would provide a man who would be perfect and without sin to redeem His people from the penalty of sin.

The New Testament reveals that man to us. Not just a man, but God Himself, Jesus Christ. The Gospels tell us how Jesus came and announced Himself, and then offered Himself on the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. They also reveal His resurrection from the dead, the proof that all He had said was true. After His resurrection, and His ascension into heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of God, He sent the Holy Spirit into the world in His place.
Jesus went to the cross, taking upon Himself the sins of mankind. (Ephesians 2) The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers to show that what was done in the Old Testament was a type, that is, a symbol of what Jesus would do for those who put their faith in Him. It explains clearly how Jesus fulfilled perfectly those things required in the Old Testament laws.

It tells us that after Jesus offered Himself on the cross He entered into the Heavenly Temple. As the perfect High Priest who Himself was without sin, He there poured His own blood upon the Mercy Seat. This sacrifice met the need to once and for all time cleanse those of us who believe in Him of all of our sins. (Hebrews 9)

He then chose the Apostle Paul. Paul was to be the one to explain all of these things to us in this completed state. The things which were revealed to Him by the Glorified and Risen Christ.

There is one book which the person interested in knowing the truth regarding religion should know. That book is the Book of ROMANS. Most questions raised by honest searchers pertaining to God, man and salvation are explained in this book. (Of course this means in the context of knowing the whole Bible!)

It is the book of Romans which was the key element in sparking the Reformation. Martin Luther felt this book was so important that it should be memorized by every Christian.

In order to truly understand Christianity one must know this book.

The closing chapter on Revelation is The Revelation of Jesus to John the Apostle. In this, the last book of the Bible is recorded the things which will come to bring about the completion of God's dealings with His creation and with man.

Not until Christ returns will there be more to know and be said.


"I'm basically a good person, and I try to keep the 10 commandments."

Throughout all history mankind has had an ingrained desire to relate to God.
Cain and Abel were the first two people born. They felt that desire, so they performed the first acts of "religion." (Genesis 4)

Religion is the attempt to worship God by performing some act.* Cain and Abel made offerings. Many older religions revolved around various offerings or sacrifices to the many "gods." These offerings were made for many reasons- to appease the gods, to thank the gods, to make them happy, to bribe them into helping the people, or to meet the gods' desires for "victims."

After God gave the Law to the Jews, religion became more and more the practice of keeping regulations of lifestyle. The religious scholars began interpreting the meaning of the laws and making regulations to insure that none of the laws were broken. In time those regulations grew to far outnumber the law (called "the Torah"**) given by Moses in the first five books of the Bible.

These rituals and regulations became the primary focus of the Jewish religion. This practice has been repeated in some Christian churches who have added rituals and regulations to the truth of the Bible and create the Christian "religion." Others have taken the Bible and mixed it with the pagan ideas of God and life to create new religions.

That is what the main thrust of religion remains to this day. People "do" things in order to approach God; or to please God; to become "like" God; some even supposedly to "become God."

Those people who believe in "the Judgment Day" do the things they think will weigh in their favor when God judges them, weighing the good and the bad to see whether they should go to heaven or to hell.

It was through the Bible, and the Law given to the Jews that the one true God explained the reason for sacrifice. That reason is Sin. Sin is the wrong that people do. The wrong which separates them from a pure and holy God. God provided a means for removing that sin. That means of removal was the sacrificial substitution of an innocent life for the life of the sinner.

Those who are raised in a "christian" cultural environment are indoctrinated into the concept of a Judgment of all people by God when they die. Religion says that the decision made for either heaven or hell is based upon how well the person has managed to adhere to and accomplish the rules and regulations that have been laid down.
It is in that context the person brings up the claim, "I'm basically a good person, and I try to keep the 10 commandments."

An honest review of this statement shows it to be at best an admission of ignorance. The person does not really have any idea what he should have done and is simply hoping for the best. It can also be seen as an acknowledgement of awareness of personal sin and failing to meet the requirements of holiness that would befit a relationship with a holy and pure God. Thus:
"I am basically a good person, and I try to keep the 10 commandments."

Isn't this really saying "I am not really (100%) a good person, and I haven't actually kept the 10 Commandments" (not to mention the 600+ other commandments given)?

Let's be honest, doesn't every single one of us have to admit this?

Through learning the true nature of salvation a person can move from this position of hopeful ignorance to one of solid knowledge. As a result we come to understand that the hopeful claim quoted above is completely irrelevant when it comes to the determination of our eternal condition.

John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. NASB

John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. KJV

The New American Standard Bible and the King James Versions are presented here side by side simply to point out the concepts of "judge" and "condemn." In the chapter on JUDGMENT we will come to understand the fact that these two ways of translating this verse are both exact, and true.

Meanwhile you may reflect upon how they do indeed promise that the "hopeful claim" is truly irrelevant in relation to any judgment of the Christian.

*Remember this definition of "religion." It is important to know that religion is not the way to heaven. We will see that God wants us to have a relationship with Him, not to practice some religion for Him.

**The first five books of the Bible collectively known as "The Torah" are: Genesis, Exodus Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
The book of Romans in the New Testament has a correlation to these first five books in that in it is given the doctrine establishing the basis of the theology of Christianity. It is for this reason that from the earliest days of the church it was placed first in the books of the New Testament after the Gospels and Acts, even though it was not the first book to be written.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm Basically A Good Person

"I'm basically a good person and try to keep the 10 commandments"

When talking about the subject of salvation, it is very common to hear a person express their feeling in a way very similar to the quotation above.

The statement shows that most people understand the term "salvation" to be somehow related to the concept of "judgment." It is, in fact, a kind of preliminary defense used to express their hopeful good treatment in any such trial.

It is only to be expected that judgment is brought up since it is, after all, that very same judgment that the person is hoping to be "saved from."

Those who believe in this idea of judgment, and salvation as the hopeful outcome of it are victims of what Dr. Dwight Pentecost calls:

"a mischievous habit" that has led the Christian world to speak of the judgment as being one great event taking place at the end of the world, when all human beings, saints, sinners, Jews and Gentiles, the living and the dead, shall stand up before the great white throne and there be judged. Nothing can be more wide of the teaching of the Scriptures."

(quoted by C. I. Scofield in Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, The Five Judgments, chapter 5)

Counteracting this "mischievous habit" (actually it is a Great Lie) will be a central goal of this study. The means of correcting it will be by presenting God's truths pertaining to the facts and mechanics of the Salvation Process.

That is not saying it is some kind of "scientific" explanation. It would not be rational to attempt to apply scientific principles to explain spiritual truths. The two are simply unrelated. Science is a part of the physical realm and can not explain the things belonging to the spiritual realm.

At the same time this is not principally an academic or theological explanation of salvation (called Soteriology from the Greek words for "save" and "word" or study). Hopefully it will be a very practical guide to understanding the truth about the great salvation that has been made available to us through the sacrificial work of Jesus on the Cross.

The study of Salvation will include such topics as:
Religion, Revelation, The Nature of Man, Salvation, Judgment, Faith, The Cross, Resurrection, and Heaven and Hell.

Read Exodus 20:1-17 to refresh your memory of the 10 Commandments.
Bible reminder tip: 10 (X) + Exodus (X) = 20 (XX)