Category Archives: salvation
Many people have had what are called near death experiences. They found themselves outside of their bodies and saw a bright light to which they were attracted, but before they could reach the light they were back in their bodies.
Opinions differ as to what really happened. Some think this was a real event and they actually left their bodies for a short time. Others think this was a delusion created by their minds. The Bible has many accounts of death but it never describes what goes on in the mind of a person who is dying, so we can’t use it to answer the question.
I have no personal opinion on the subject. Those who believe it is a real experience claim that this proves that life continues after the death of the body. I believe in the continuation of life because the Bible teaches it, so I don’t need any scientific confirmation. After we experience death ourselves we will no doubt learn the truth. Read the rest of this entry
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O LORD GOD, you know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. (Ezekiel 37:1-8)
Those of us who are saved were chosen for salvation before the world was even created.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Since God has already decided who will be saved and who won’t there is no point in praying for the salvation of another person. If he has been predestined for salvation he will be saved; if he hasn’t been predestined he won’t be. Our prayers will have no effect. This seems like an unanswerable argument against praying that someone be saved. But Paul, the author of the above quote, wasn’t persuaded by it. He prayed for the salvation of his fellow Israelites. Read the rest of this entry
YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. It is the philosophy that the life we are now living is the only we will ever have so we should make the best use of it by doing those things which bring us the greatest amount of pleasure now. Like any other philosophy it needs to be tested by comparing it with what the Bible teaches.
If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
It is correct in one point. If the life we live now is all there is then the wisest course of action would be to get as much enjoyment as we can. But is this life really all we have?
It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
We do indeed only live once, but our existence doesn’t end when our body dies. Here is a description of the final judgment. Read the rest of this entry
A lot is said about God’s love. It is the topic of the most well-known verse in the Bible.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But how often have you heard anyone say anything about God’s hatred? Some people believe that God never hates anyone or anything because they believe all hatred is wrong and God never sins. Here is what the Bible says about that.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to love, and a time to hate. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,8)
When we hate our hatred is usually sinful because we seldom know when hatred is called for. (Our love can also be sinful. We love something that God has told us we shouldn’t love or we love one thing more than another when we should love the second thing more.) God always knows when it is the proper time to love or hate. Read the rest of this entry
Before his arrest Jesus prayed that if it were possible he might avoid being crucified.
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)
He wanted to avoid the crucifixion but he submitted to God’s will and as you know it was God’s will for him to be crucified. Read the rest of this entry
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.
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.”
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.
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? 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
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
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.
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
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
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? 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.
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
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.”
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
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?”
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.
Read the rest of this entry
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.