Category Archives: salvation

Last minute conversions

When Jesus was being crucified his enemies added insults to the injuries he was suffering by challenging him to prove the claims he had made about himself by coming down from the cross.  Even the two criminals who were being crucified with him joined in.

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,save yourself, and come down from the cross!”

So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”

Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

Mark 15:29-32

A short time later one of the criminals experienced a change of heart.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

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Result of the plagues

Exodus 7:1-12:40 describes the ten plagues God had to send on the Egyptians before they would let the Israelites leave to go to the land God had promised them.  Yet even after all of this suffering Pharaoh changed his mind about freeing the Israelites and tried to bring them back into slavery.  Exodus 14:5-31 tells how God opened the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape and then allowed the sea to return to drown Pharaoh and his army.  Israel was finally free to go to its own land and Egypt was in ruins with its ruler dead.

But God’s judgments had another result.

“Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”  Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field.

Exodus 9:18-21

Not all of the Egyptians were as hard hearted as Pharaoh.  Some of them feared God and took steps to protect themselves.  When the Isrealites left Egypt they left behind a group of people who believed in the true God.

Are you blind?

Are you blind?  If you were asked this question I think all of you would answer “No”.  After all, you are reading this page right now so that proves you can see.  But the Bible has some things to say about blindness that might make you change your mind.

God revealed to Elisha the plans of the king of Syria and Elisha in turn warned the king of Israel.

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.”  But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.”  And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

2 Kings 6:8-10

The king of Syria learned that Elisha was responsible for his failure to defeat Israel so he decided to capture him. Read the rest of this entry

Light affliction

Paul wrote,

This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Later in the same letter he tells us what some of these light afflictions were. Read the rest of this entry

Crossing the Kidron

John’s gospel records what Jesus taught his disciples at the Last Supper.  After he finished he and his disciples left and went to the garden where he would be arrested.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
John 18:1

There was a brook called the Kidron between the room where the Last Supper was held and the place where Jesus was betrayed.  Of course they had to cross it.  At first this seems like an unimportant detail, but there is an incident in the Old Testament which shows the significance of going across this brook. Read the rest of this entry

Good Muslim, bad Muslim

When police interrogate a suspect they sometimes use a technique called “good cop,bad cop.”  The “bad” cop questions the suspect harshly and accused him of being guilty and refusing to cooperate.  Then the “good” cop takes his turn with the suspect, showing him sympathy and sometimes even agreeing with him that the bad cop is unfair.  This creates a bond of sympathy between the suspect and the good cop and can even lead to the suspect giving him the information he is after. Read the rest of this entry

Evangelizing atheists

I have spent a lot of time on internet forums debating atheists and trying to convince them that God exists and the Bible is true.  I usually tried to show them that the existence of God is the only logical explanation for the existence of the universe and I pointed out scientific evidence that shows that the theory of evolution can’t be true.  However I have come to believe that I was going about this in the wrong way.  This conclusion is based on hearing two former atheists tell how they became Christians.

The first is someone I know personally.  He had a long conversation with a pastor which ended with the pastor explaining to him how to be saved.   He said he was an atheist and didn’t believe in God, and that ended the conversation.

Over the next few days thoughts about God kept entering his mind and he came to the conclusion that there really was a God.  Since the pastor had told him how to become a Christian he knew what he needed to do and so was saved. Read the rest of this entry

Are you a Satanist?

Are you a Satanist?  The answer most people would give to this question is “No!”  The popular conception of a Satanist is someone who meets at midnight with other Satanists to perform Black Masses and other Satanic rituals.  There are probably some Satanists like this but the vast majority of Satanists are unaware of the fact that they are serving Satan and many of them even believe they are serving God.

In his letter to the Ephesians Paul describes the condition of Christians before we were saved.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:1-3

Before our salvation we were dead in our sins and followed Satan, the prince of the power of the air.  God and Satan are moral opposites so there are different requirements for worshiping them. Read the rest of this entry

Which baptism will you receive?

John the Baptist called on people to repent and then baptized those whose lives showed that they had done so.  Some wondered if he was the Christ.  He responded to this by saying that the Christ would not baptize the way he did.

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Luke 3:16-17

Jesus Christ was the one he was speaking of.  He baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire and he separates all of humanity into wheat and chaff. Read the rest of this entry

Eliphaz’s questions

When God tested Job to prove his loyalty three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, came to him to comfort him.  They assumed that Job’s suffering was the result of some sin he had committed.  Eliphaz asked these two questions,

“Who that was innocent ever perished?
Or where were the upright cut off?”
Job 4:7

When Eliphaz asked the questions they were unanswerable because Jesus Christ had not yet appeared on earth.  Now that he has come we know the answers.
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You can’t win Pascal’s Wager

Pascal’s Wager is an argument for believing in God even if you see no convincing evidence that he exists.  It was proposed by the 17th century mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal.

It is based on the premise that by the way we live we are betting on whether or not God exists.  If we bet that God exists and we are right we gain eternal life.  If we are wrong we simply cease to exist when we die and don’t suffer any penalty.  If we bet that there is no God and are wrong we suffer eternal pain.  If we are right we cease to exist at death and gain nothing.

Pascal’s conclusion is three fourths correct.  If there is no God it doesn’t matter whether or not we believe in him.  If we live as if there is no God and in fact there is one we will suffer eternally.  But if there is a God, simply living as if he exists is no guarantee that we will receive eternal life. Read the rest of this entry

The sinner’s prayer

One technique used by evangelists is to ask those who respond to their message to pray what is called the “Sinner’s Prayer”.  The wording of this prayer varies; here is one version.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.
Amen.

This practice isn’t found in the Bible.  There are several accounts of people believing the gospel and being saved but there is no record of any convert being asked to say this or any other prayer.

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How to become a saint

Recently two former popes have been canonized as saints by the Catholic church.  According to the book Saints for Dummies these are the requirements a person must meet before before being considered a saint by the church.

To become canonized as a saint, a perfect track record isn’t required (or possible). Hence, being sinless isn’t on the list. So, what is required for sainthood?

Two verifiable postmortem miracles.

Evidence of having led an exemplary life of goodness and virtue worthy of imitation, having died a heroic death (martyrdom), or having undergone a major conversion of heart where a previous immoral life is abandoned and replaced by one of outstanding holiness.

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The guards

Peter and the other apostles were imprisoned by order of the high priest and were freed from prison by an angel.

But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
Acts 5:17-21

Peter was imprisoned again when King Herod began persecuting the church.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
Acts 12:1-3

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Know who your enemy is

There is a war going on between God and Satan.  When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a soldier in God’s army and a participant in that war.  In order to wage war effectively we must know who our enemy is.

When we look at what is going on in the world we see many who are doing and advocating things that violate God’s commands.  Some believe that women should have the absolute right to kill their unborn children.  Others believe there is nothing wrong with homosexual activity and that the government should allow marriages between two people of the same sex.  Militant Muslims use force to impose their beliefs on others.

These people are not the ones we are fighting.

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Ear, hand, and foot

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Luke 5:12-14

Jesus told him to go to the priest because the Mosaic law required that an offering be made by anyone who had been cleansed from leprosy.

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The country of the blind

There is a well known saying, “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king.”  But is it true?  What if there were a country where all the people were blind but had learned to cope with their condition and considered it normal?  How would they respond if someone who could see came into their community and told them what it was like to see?  Would they believe what he said or consider him a madman?

H. G. Wells wrote a story called “The Country of the Blind” which describes this situation.  Here is Wikipedia’s summary of the plot.

Read the rest of this entry

Unfaithful priests

The last part of Ezekiel’s prophecy contains a description of the temple that will exist during Christ’s thousand year reign on earth.  The Levites who serve in the temple will be divided into two groups. Read the rest of this entry

Good news and bad news

Two brothers named Bob and Bill decided to get medical examinations.  Neither was aware of any health problems; they simply wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong with them. Read the rest of this entry

Who makes the choice?

There are many doctrinal divisions among Christians.  For example, some believe that human beings repent and believe because God causes them to do so by choosing them to be saved while some believe that people believe and are saved because they choose to do so.  What does the Bible say about this? Read the rest of this entry

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