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Capital punishment – opening the door to salvation

After the flood God gave Noah a new command.

Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image
.” (Genesis 9:6)

Despite the fact that capital punishment was commanded by God many Christians believe it should be abolished. One argument they use is that killing a person closes the door to any hope that he will repent of his sins and be saved. Yet the Bible tells of a case where capital punishment opened the door to salvation for one man.

When Jesus was crucified two others were crucified with him.

Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” (Matthew 27:38-44)

But one of the robbers changed his mind about Jesus.

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 23:39-44)

Even though he was dying he put his faith in Jesus and received the assurance that would be in Paradise that same day.

Have you ever thought about what his fate would have been if he had not been captured and executed by the Romans? He clearly didn’t believe in Jesus before he was sentenced. Perhaps he would have lived out his life and died without having his sins forgiven and been condemned to eternity in the lake of fire. The Romans took his physical life but opened the door for him to receive eternal life.

Deathbed salvation

Mr. and Mrs. Brown were faithful members of their church and the taught their sons, Harry and Tom, to be faithful too. When the sons grew up Harry rejected his parents’ teaching and stopped attending church. Tom continued to be active in church.

The time came when Harry was about to die. He realized that he was not ready and finally repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. His life had been wasted because he had lived for his own pleasure but in the end he was saved.

Tom also reached the end of his life. Looking back he realized that he had tried to live a Christian life but in fact he was not a Christian because he had not repented and believed in Christ. Near the end of his life he finally took this step. His life had been wasted because he had trusted in his church and his service to it rather than in Christ but in the end he was saved.

When we think of deathbed salvation we generally think of someone like Harry rather then Tom. The Bible gives us an example of such salvation. One of the criminals who was crucified with Christ repented and was told that he would be in Paradise that very day. We often forget that all people, regardless of how good a life the live, fall short of God’s standards and need to be saved.

There was a time when I was on the way to ending up as Tom did. I had gone to Sunday school as long as I can remember. When I was 14 years old I got baptized and became a member of my church. I was active in the church and at one time seriously considered becoming a preacher. The only thing wrong was that the church was liberal in its theology and on one there had ever told me how to be saved.

God didn’t wait until I was on my deathbed to save me. About two years after I joined the church I began listening to a radio program called Back to the Bible and through it a learned the true way of salvation.

Someone who lives a life contrary to the Bible doesn’t need to wonder whether he is saved or not. If he thinks about the subject at all he will know he isn’t. But it is possible for someone to live a life that is outwardly righteous and not really be saved. The Bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” Satan uses many tricks to keep people from being saved; one is to convince us we are already saved. Examine yourselves to make sure you are not falling for this trick.

Answers for Seekers

Spiritual health

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Spiritual health

by Ken Ham

Actually, a person’s spiritual health is not just essential, it is most essential, in fact vital! “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Read the rest of this entry

Was Jonah a false prophet?

The Bible warns against false prophets.

The prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, “How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?”—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.  (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

Read the rest of this entry

Repentance

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Repentance

by Joshua Agan

When Jesus sent Paul to the Gentiles, Paul clearly outlines the message he took to all nations:
“Repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Read the rest of this entry

Repentance

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Repentance

by Joshua Agan

A “repentance” which continues to do the same deeds is no repentance at all.

“Thus saith the Lord;
Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them;
diminish not a word:
IF so be they will hearken, AND TURN every man FROM HIS EVIL WAY, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.
Read the rest of this entry

Wrong Salvation Instructions

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Wrong Salvation Instructions

by Ingrid Bosch Seman

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT : PLEASE READ

Wrong Salvation Instructions

This is a short excerpt from Are You a Rotten Fish? that describes a number of the incorrect Gospel RESPONSES that have produced untold false converts.

Accept Jesus

Were you told to “accept” Jesus? Here’s the glitch with that well worn phrase: Jesus does not need our acceptance, we need His (Romans 15:7). The great news is, He will accept us—if we obey His command to repent and trust Him. Read the rest of this entry

Judas

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Judas

by Joshua Arnold

Judas mourned more for his sin than most professing Christians do today. Not only did he mourn, but he paid restitution by giving back the 30 pieces of silver. He was deeply convicted of his sin, and did not make any excuses for it like most professing Christians do today. He didn’t say “well, God knows my heart”. He made no excuse for his sin whatsoever. Yet, Judas will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Read the rest of this entry

Baptists and Catholics

Here is something I read on Facebook.

***

Baptists and Catholics

by Levi Smith

I implore you to take a moment to read these thoughts….👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

For as much as some Baptists crush the Catholic Church, they sure have adopted a lot of their methods.

• Catholics believe in papal authority, which declares that the Pope has full, divine power over the Church and can exercise this power unhindered.
• There are Baptists that believe that their Pastor holds full, perfect, authoritative say so over all things spiritual and can exercise his power unhindered.
Read the rest of this entry

Job’s rewards

Most of you are familiar with the story of Job.  He was a man who feared God and he was very wealthy.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.  (Job 1:1-3)

Satan claimed that Job served God not out of sincerity but because God had made him wealthy.  God allowed Satan to test Job by taking away his wealth.  Job lost his wealth, his children, and his health.  His wife urged him to curse God and die.    He was also afflicted with three “friends” who claimed that Job had brought his misfortunes on himself by sinning.

Job insisted he was innocent and wanted God to explain the reason for his suffering, but his faith in God never wavered.  In the end God did appear to him but rather than explaining the reason for what had happened he asked Job a series of questions that revealed his superiority to Job.  As a result Job came to know God better than he had before. Read the rest of this entry

Did Jesus claim to be God?

There is disagreement as to whether Jesus was God.  Some who deny his deity say that he never claimed to be God.  The fact is Jesus said several times in the gospels that he was God.

If you begin reading the gospels, beginning with Matthew, you will come to a section known as the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7.  He stated three times in this sermon that he was God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

He equated being persecuted for the sake of righteousness with being persecuted for his sake.  Only God, the source of all righteousness, could make such a claim. Read the rest of this entry

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

Read the rest of this entry

Two kings who repented

Judah had many kings, some good and some evil.  The worst of them was Manasseh.

Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.
2 Chronicles 33:9

As a result of his sins God allowed the Assyrians to capture him and take him to Babylon.  While he was imprisoned there he repented and was restored to his kingdom.

When he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
2 Chronicles 33:12-13

He was the worst king of Judah and he was also the only one who repented of his sins. 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

Stay where God puts you

No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.
Luke 8:16

The kind of lamp Jesus spoke of provided light by burning oil.  A lamp placed under a jar would be extinguished for lack of oxygen.  A lamp placed under a bed could set the bed on fire.

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.

Read the rest of this entry

9/11

On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four airliners. Two of the planes were deliberately flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center, causing them to collapse. One was crashed into the Pentagon. The passengers on the fourth plane managed to overpower the hijackers and prevent them from carrying out their intended mission but the plane crashed, killing everyone on board. The total death toll from these events was almost 3,000.

People asked a lot of questions as a result of the attack. Many wanted to know who was responsible and what needed to be done to protect against future attacks. But the question in the minds of a lot of people was “Why did God allow these people to die?”

Read the rest of this entry

Westboro and Equality House

You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
Deuteronomy 5:32

God doesn’t simply say we must obey but warns about turning to the right or to the left.  That is because there are two opposite ways in which we can disobey each command.

Read the rest of this entry

Bar-Jesus

When Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Cyprus they encountered opposition from a false prophet name Bar-Jesus.

When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
Acts 13:6-8 Read the rest of this entry

Steps to national repentance

Leviticus 4 contains instructions for those who have sinned and want to be forgiven. There are four sections for four different classes of people. For anyone who wants to see his nation turn back to God this order is significant.

Read the rest of this entry

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