Church of Christ dilemma's ministry blog
 
7 Apr 2016
 
Is the Church of Christ a cult?

I believe the distinction between a church fellowship and a religious cult ultimately has to do with control. Cults are characteristically ridgid, exclusive, with a works based salvation theology, often claiming, 'We are the only one with the truth; Everyone else is wrong; If you leave our church your eternal salvation is in danger.'

If control is indeed a characteristic of cults, let's take a look at some of the HL (or Hard Line) COFC beliefs and belief systems and consider for a moment how controlling they can be:

CONTROLLING/ EXCLUSIVE DOCTRINES

The COFC believe that their group has restored the New Testament church- 'the ancient order' and that all other groups are in error, lost, and apostate.

The COFC rejects 'denominationalism' and believe that they themselves are 'the one true church' and not a denomination within Christianity

The COFC often deny that there are other 'true' Christians outside their own religious group or fellowship.

The COFC puts a very high emphasis on things like "having the right name," and that any group that does not view or draw the same conclusions as they do cannot be part of the 'one true church'.

The COFC often uses a lower case 'c' to imply that they alone are the one, universal, world wide "church of Christ"

The COFC reject the use of creeds and confessions believing they themselves 'have no creed but the Bible', which is interesting considering that they have no problem printing what they believe in pamphlets, tracts, and brochures, since a creed is simply 'a statement of beliefs' about what people believe the Bible teaches about a given subject.

The COFC is famous for it's "five step" creed formula of 'hear, believe, repent, confess, and be (water) baptized' and (supposedly) 'only speaking where the Bible speaks'

The COFC gospel is defined in terms of 'what a person must do to be saved'." This is distinctly different from other Christian groups or fellowships who understand the gospel or the 'Good News message' that Jesus Christ came, died on the cross, paid the full penalty for our sin (i.e. 'the wages of sin is death', 'the soul that sins shall die') that He was buried, and that 3 days later God raised Him from the dead. 1 Cor. 15:1-4. How we respond to the gospel is to believe. That is, we believe God's promise, trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. John 3:14-36; John 5:24; John 20:21

The COFC believes baptism is only by 'water-immersion' and often has an unspoken rule that that baptism can only be performed by another COFC member.

The COFC believe that a person being baptized must be baptized in the right way and for the right reason, understanding that baptism is 'for (to attain) the remission of sins'. Anyone not baptized by this method and formula is not saved.

The COFC believe that the NT is primarily a new legal code- "the Law of Christ" and believe that it replaces the OT (i.e. "New Testament Law-Keeping"). This is sometimes called "Patternism", and it is their attempt to copy or follow what they believe the first Christians did in their life, and worship. People must follow this pattern in order to be pleasing to God and thus be saved.

The COFC believe that one must follow the NT by their interpretation method (i.e. formula) of "Direct Commands, Approved Examples, and Necessary Inferences". Exactly what examples are "approved" and what inferences are "necessary" divide various sects or groups within the COFC.

The COFC generally reject the OT except in instances where they believe the OT supports their doctrine, or illustrates the consequences for disobedience.

The COFC will say that 'we are saved by grace, but ...'- (and this is where it gets interesting)... 'there are works we must do to be saved'. In other words, God by His grace provides "a way of salvation", but the individual must save themselves by their obedience of following the 'New Testament Pattern'.

The COFC believe that grace is something God bestows upon a person who has done everything they need to do to be obedient. Thus, God gives His 'grace' or gift of salvation to those who are correctly obedient.

OTHER COFC DOCTRINAL CONCERNS

The role of Christ and His atonement is unclear in the COFC. What does it mean that Jesus Christ died for us? How does the death, burial, and resurrection, connect to the "5 step plan of salvation? Was the role of Christ merely for the purpose of displaying God's love for man and giving man a "NT Law" to obey so that he could thus save his own soul? In other words, the concept that Jesus Christ was our propitiation (God's satisfactory payment for our sin) is not well understood or explained in the COFC.

COFC theology may also be described as "Pelagian"- that man is basically good, or morally neutral, that he does not have a prior predisposition to sin and to do evil. In other words, they deny the doctrine of Original Sin, even though they may admit that 'everyone sins', and that children have to be taught to be good. Thus man sins, but not because of a fallen in nature, but because of a simple lack of understanding or perhaps stubbornness.

Finally the Holy Spirit is not well defined or understood in the COFC. The Holy Spirit is often said to be limited today only to the words of the NT. Thus, the help of the Holy Spirit is not necessary for us to understand the Bible. Overall, the COFC sees the Holy Spirit's activities in a much more limited role than other Christians. There is little or no place for the Holy Spirit in regeneration or sanctification in the life of the believer. Man only needs the forgiveness of sins. Some even reject the doctrine that the Holy Spirit actually indwells a person (often vehemently), despite numerous mentions of this in the NT. 
 
* * *
 
24 Nov 2015
 
Point four: 'Works only refers to the Law of Moses' argument

Some Church of Christ types claim they don't teach a works based salvation because the apostle is only referring to works of the Law of Moses when he speaks of "not of works" as far as justification goes.

But this doesn't hold water either as the apostle uses Abraham as an example of one justified by faith and not of works. Abraham lived 400 years before the law of Moses even came along. And before someone chirps in that is the reason the apostle uses Abraham read the text again.
 
Ro 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness

Notice that verse 2 doesn't say "Abraham couldn't have been justified by works sense he lived 400 years before Moses". No, the apostle admits that Abraham had works but that he couldn't glory before God in them because they were not the reason of his justification. He was justified by faith as the scripture said. Therefore Paul could not be limiting works to the Law of Moses.
 
Further proof is found in Eph 2:8-10

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 
The same works that we aren't saved by in verse 9 are the very same works that we do in verse 10. (i.e. 'Not saved by works; rather saved to do good works'). If we accept the works based salvationist’s twisting of this scripture to mean works here is only the Law of Moses, then that would have the apostle teaching that Christians once saved go back again under the law of Moses. Something even the works based salvationists agree that Paul did not teach. 
 
* * * 
 
22 Nov 2015
 
Point three: 'It is part works and part faith and part grace' argument

The piece meal gospel that came out of the Restoration Movement is so deeply rooted in some that they fall back to this as grounds that they don't teach a works based salvation. The thinking is that 'since we don't believe justification is solely based on works, we therefore don't teach a works based salvation theology.'
 
But notice what the apostle says:

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness
 
Notice he doesn't say "but to him that partly works and partly believes on him who justifies the believing worker, his faith and works are counted for righteousness-"

Rather the apostle puts them in stark contrast to one another. It's faith vs works and grace vs merit; he that worketh not but believes or its he that works and doesn't believe.
 
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace..............

Point is, once works are brought in it is no longer by faith and grace is nullified. Why? Because merit has been brought in.

Btw the part faith and part works is also in agreement with the Judaizers. They didn't deny that faith was a part of justification but only that more parts must be added to it to obtain justification. Acts 15:5
 
* * *
 
21 Nov 2015
 
Point two: It is only a disagreement of timing.
 
Some argue that they teach salvation is by grace through faith just as we do but that they only disagree with the timing of justification. The problem with this is that timing was one of the apostle's arguments.

Ro 4:10 How was it (righteousness) then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Denial that justification occurred at faith but only happened later after works were performed is the same argument the judaizers were making. If one denies that justification happens at the point when one believes then they are denying justification by faith period. They are teaching a works based salvation similar to that of the Judaizers. 
 
* * *
 
15 Nov 2015
 
Point one: Churches of Christ redefine works
 
'We are not saved by works, but there are works we must do to be saved.'

This is a word game Church of Christ types play to try and cover their works based salvation theology. But as the saying goes "a skunk by any other name is still smelly". Ok I made that up. I know the real saying is "a rose by any other name..." But their doctrine is anything but 'grace' so I changed it. The problem with renaming works to avoid revealing a works based salvation is that the Bible gives us the definition of works, faith, and grace.

Ro 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness
 
Works are defined as anything done in the flesh to obtain justification whereby we could boast. It has to do with merit vs grace.

Faith is defined as a ceasing from works and trusting in him who justifies the ungodly. In other words, it is resting in the finished work of Christ. It is ceasing from our works and trusting solely in the blood of Christ for our justification.

The works based salvationists teach as the Judaizers did that there are further works to be done in order to obtain justification after faith. They do not, as the apostle does, define faith as a ceasing from works. Rather they count faith as one of a list of works they do in their flesh to obtain justification. This is not grace. It is merit.
 
They teach a works based salvation.
 
* * *
 
1 Sep 2015
 
Question: Where does 'born of water' ever refer to being 'water baptized'?
 
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
 
"How can a man be born when he is old? Can a man enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born?" 
 
Nicodemus is understandably thinking and questioning (in natural terms) 'how is it possible for a man to be born from his mother's womb a second time?'

Jesus' response:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Obviously when Christ says "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit..." He is answering Nicodemus's question about entering a SECOND time into his mother's womb.

The phrase "born of water" in the passage can be referring to the FIRST birth and would fit the overall context since it is in the womb, in water, that babies grow, and just prior to birth, this water is released and the birth process begins.

When John, talking about Christ being God and coming down to earth in human flesh, said: "This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood...." in John 5:6, it is no stretch that "born of water" can be referring to natural human birth.

However only a COFC type would suggest the answer to 'can a person go back into his mother's womb to be born a SECOND time' with 'you need to be water baptized in order to be spiritually born again the second time'.

This answer doesn't answer the question, nor does it fit the context.

It would help if COFC types could point to a single verse which refers "born of water" to "being water baptized".

However you CAN ALWAYS count on COFC types to say "WATER" every time "baptism" is used in the Bible, and conversely you can always count on them to say "BAPTISM" every time "water" is used.

The reason is because they ASSUME that your "baptism into Christ" is THE SAME as being "baptized into water"

So because COFC types can only understand baptism in terms as being FIRST AND ONLY BAPTIZED WITH WATER, they miss that believers are actually baptized into the body of Christ when they come to faith in Christ by the Holy Spirit:

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor. 12:13

"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." Col. 2:11-12

So the next time you hear COFC types going on and on about Gal. 3:27 and how we are sons of God through 'water' baptism-

Ask them:

Where is h2o found anywhere in the passage?

And conversely, where does the term 'born of water' in the Word ever refer to a person being 'water' baptized?

Rest assured the only 'proof' you will hear that being 'born of water' means being 'water baptized' will be assertions and more 'speaking where the Bible is silent'

* * *

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Gal. 3:26-27
 
* * * 
 
19 August 2015
 
Have you ever heard the COFC axiom "No creed but the Bible"?
 
The COFC believes that people reject the Bible to follow their own man-made creeds. 

The Church of Christ: "Names, creeds, and ecclesiastical traditions divide believers from one another; therefore, these things are to be renounced, doing away with all creeds and human authority."

Nonsense.
 
A creed (Latin credo for "I believe") is simply a statement of beliefs regarding what people believe the Bible teaches in regards to a particular subject. So if a fellowship comes to believe the Bible teaches something different than what their creed (i.e. statement of beliefs) teaches, they simply change their creed to reflect what they believe the Bible teaches.

An example is the Apostle's Creed dated about 390 AD. No one suggests that the Apostles actually wrote it. However, early Christians believed that it did summarize what the Apostles taught.

BTW Here are some COFC creeds (i.e. statement of beliefs) of what many in the COFC believe:

http://www.padfield.com/downloads/tracts.html
 
 
* * *
  
 
30 July 2015
 
Here’s a “Top 10 List” of how you can know if you grew up in the Churches of Christ. It’s in jest, so if you haven’t read this, lighten-up a little.

1. You know the 1st, 2nd, and 4th verses to nearly every song in the book.

2. You think it might be unscriptural to drain the baptistery before worship.

3. You were 18 before you realized that ‘guard-guide-and-direct-us’ was not one word.

4. You thought the offering was part of the Lord’s Supper.

5. You’ve wondered who Ebon Pinon was.

6. You never saw an original showing of The Ed Sullivan Show, The Wonderful World of Disney, or any other program aired on Sunday Nights.

7. You were the only kid in the 6th grade who knew what ‘accapella’ meant.

8. You were the only kid who had actually sung alto or tenor before taking junior high chorus.

9. You have never heard the great life stories of Saint Patrick, Martin Luther, Paul Bunyan, Jonathon Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Sunday, Eric Liddell, Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham…

10. During a service you have: laughed, cried, been disciplined, dropped a book, walked to the restroom, passed a note, whispered to a friend, sneezed and said ‘amen’ -but you NEVER, EVER clapped. 

 
21 July 2015
 
Question: "Which church is the true church?"
Edited from the ministry of gotquestions.org 

Which church— (i.e. that is, which denomination of Christianity) is the “true church”?
 
The answer is that no visible church or denomination is the true church, because the bride of Christ is not an institution, but is instead a spiritual entity made up of those who have by grace through faith been brought into a close, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8–9). Those people, no matter which building, denomination, or country they happen to be in, constitute the true church.

In the Bible, we see that the local (or visible) church is nothing more than a gathering of professing believers. In Paul’s letters, the word church is used in two different ways. There are many examples of the word church being used to simply refer to a group of professing believers who meet together on a regular basis (1 Cor. 16:9;2 Cor. 8:1;11:28). We see Paul’s concern, in his letters, for the individual churches in various cities along his missionary journey. But he also refers to a church that is invisible—a spiritual entity that has close fellowship with Christ, as close as a bride to her husband (Eph. 5:25,32), and of which He is the spiritual head (Col. 1:18;Eph. 3:21). This church is made up of an unnamed, unspecified group of individuals (Phil. 3:6;1Tim. 3:5) that have Christ in common.

The word church is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, meaning “a called–out assembly.” The word describes a group of people who have been called out of the world and set apart for the Lord, and it is always used, in its singular form, to describe a universal group of people who know Christ. The word ekklesia, when pluralized, is used to describe groups of believers who meet together. Interestingly enough, the word church is never used in the Bible to describe a building or organization.

It is easy to get ensnared by the idea that a particular denomination within Christianity is “the true church,” but this view is a misunderstanding of Scripture. When choosing a church to attend, it is important to remember that a gathering of believers should be a place where those who belong to the true church (the spiritual entity) feel at home. That is to say, a good local church will uphold the Word of God, honoring it and preaching faithfully, proclaim the gospel steadfastly, and feed and tend the sheep. A church that teaches heresy or engages in sin will eventually be very low on (or entirely bereft of) those people that belong to the true church—the sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him (John 10:27).

Members of the true church always enjoy agreement in and fellowship around Jesus Christ, as He is plainly revealed in His Word. This is what is referred to as Christian unity. Another common mistake is to believe that Christian unity is just a matter of agreeing with one another. Simple agreement for the sake of agreement does not speak the truth in love or spur one another on to unity in Christ; rather, it encourages believers to refrain from speaking difficult truths. It sacrifices true understanding of God in favor of a false unity based on disingenuous love that is nothing more than selfish tolerance of sin in oneself and others.

The true church is the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:2,9;22:17) and the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12;1 Cor. 12:27). It cannot be contained, walled in, or defined by anything other than its love for Christ and its dedication to Him. The true church is, as C. S. Lewis put it, “spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners.”

Recommended Resources:Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God by Joshua HarrisandLogos Bible Software.

 
2 July 2014

Members of the Church of Christ will sometimes cite James 2:24 as 'proof' that the believer's justification is not by faith alone.

Here they will point out that 'this is the only passage in the Bible where these two words (faith & alone) come together, and the Bible is very clear when it says that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.'

Keep in mind that context of James 2:24 is dealing with Abraham, and this verse concerns the time when Abraham was about to offer up his son Isaac upon the altar.

And here James asks the rhetorical question, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?"
 
It is here that I'd like to pose a question as it relates to the context.
 
Is this passage talking about Abraham's (forensic or legal) justification where God 'deemed, or declared Abraham as righteous', or is the passage talking about Abraham being justified (shown, deemed, or declared as righteousness) before men?

This is a very relevant question because Romans 4 tells us that Abraham was justified before God long before Isaac was even born,

And it wasn't by his works, but rather by his faith!  
 
The point of all this is that the justification found in James 2:24 concerns a completely different time, circumstance, and event, which was over 20 years after the justification where "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
 
James 2:24 says, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?"
 
Yes, Abraham was justified- shown, deemed or declared as righteous-
 
But again, was that justification (which in this event was by works) before God or before men? 

Anyone who understands James 2:24 to be talking about Abraham's legal or forensic  justification before God has a real problem, because when Paul talks about Abraham's justification in Romans 4, he makes it very clear that justification before God is not by works:

"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."  Romans 4:3

Unless Scripture contradicts itself— and it doesn’t since it is God’s inerrant Word, James 2:24 cannot be talking about Abraham's legal or forensic justification before God, but rather about him being 'shown, deemed, or declared as righteous' before men.

Looking at the context, Abraham’s justification before men by works "fulfilled" his positional justification before God, which was by faith years before.
 
In other words, because of his faith God 'deemed and declared Abraham as righteous', and he was righteous in his position; this was a legal and binding act. However, when Abraham offered up Isaac, he was living his life experience before men in a manner that was consistent with his position
 
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" James 2:21-24

But there's another point that relates to the words only and alone

The NKJV reads: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."

The Greek word translated only here is monon, which is an adverb.
 
Adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs.
 
Adverbs do not modify nouns.
 
Adjectives modify nouns.
 
We know that this is an adverb (monon) and not an adjective (monhs) since Greek has a different forms for each word.
 
Hodges makes this comment concerning the adverb monon used here in James 2:24
 
"The Greek adverb "only" (monon) … does not qualify (i.e., modify) the word faith, since the form would then have been monhs. As an adverb, however, it modifies the verb justified implied in the second clause ["and not only justified by faith"]. James is saying that a by-faith justification is not the only kind of justification there is. There is also a by-works justification. The former type is before God; the latter type is before men."
 
Thus, we might paraphrase the sense of Jas 2:24 in this way: 'You see then that a man is justified by works, and not (justified) by faith only.'
 
Hodges also makes a helpful observation that this distinction is also found in Paul’s writings in Romans 4:2. The apostle tells us that there is such a thing as "works" justification before men, but not before God:
 
"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
 
Thus, the only way a man can be justified before God is by faith. 
 
References:
 
1) Zane C. Hodges, The Epistle of James: Proven Character Through Testing (Irving, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 1994), 71
 
2) Zane C. Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege: Faith and Works in Tension, Second Edition (Dallas: Redención Viva, 1992), 34
 
* * * 
 
 
23 May 2014
 
An argument for "faith alone"
 
A person challenged to show "one single vierse in scripture that says salvation is by faith alone" replied with the following:
 
Considering the CHURCH OF CHRIST's own standard of "necessary inference", one can identify this as plain as the nose on his face because there are at least 154 passages throughout New Testament which tell us that salvation is simply by placing faith alone in Jesus Christ.
 
Here are just a few:
 
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
 
“Most assuredly, I say unto you, he who hears my Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come to judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

"...but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31
 
 
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, lest anyone should boast." Eph. 2:8

"We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justifed by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified." Galatians 2:15-16
 
These provided verses/ passages plainly state:
 
* a direct relationship between salvation/ justification and faith- with nothing else being mentioned in the sentence or context, and/ or,
 
* a direct eternal benefit from faith- with nothing else being mentioned in the sentance or the context;
 
* therefore, since nothing else other than "faith" is mentioned in the thoughts or context being communicated,
 
* "faith alone" or "faith only" is what is implied and required.
 
To futher illustrate the above reality (as well as to show how 'selective' those in the COFC can be in applying their own standard), this individual applied their no "faith only" argument to the COFC illustration of Noah building the ark
 
-with gopherwood "only".
 
Genesis 6:14-16
 
"Make yourself an ark of gopherwood (only); make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch (only). And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits (only). it width fifty cubits (only), and its height thirty cubits (only). You shall make a window for the ark (only), and you shall finish it to a cubit from above (only); and set the door of the ark in its side (only). You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks (only)."
 
The point:
 
It's utterly ridiculous for the CHURCH OF CHRIST to assert its 'no verse in scripture specifically says we are saved by faith-only' argument when honest consideration is given to the biblical verse(s), text, and context of those passages.
 
To refuse the plainly stated truth from the Word that salvation is simply by God's grace though faith alone in Jesus Christ is like saying:
 
"Noah was told to to build an ark with gopher wood, but the Word never specifies that he was to use gopherwood 'only'." 
 
* * *
 
18 May 2014
 
A contrast of the Church of Christ understanding of "grace"
 
One summer day a young intern was in the office. It was just before lunch and as the senior pastor was leaving they had a short discussion on how some understand grace.
 
The pastor looked at a glass of water that was on the desk which was almost empty. He said, "Most (Church of Christ) folks see grace as being like that glass of water. It's not completely full. Likewise our glass of righteousness lacks a little. So the message that is taught is, 'do as much good as you can and whatever else is needed, God will fill the rest.'"
 
But then, very briefly, the pastor discussed Romans chapters 3 and 4.
 
"...But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witness by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe..." Romans 3:21 
 
The point was that we do nothing to 'fill' our own righteousness cup. Rather God gives us His righteousness and fills it completely.
 
So rather than salvation being a matter of "God's part and our part",
 
Salvation is ALL about God's grace.
 
Someone has said, Religion is all about what you have to do to go to heaven; Christianity is about believing what Jesus has already done for you so you can go to heaven.
 
Romans 3:26
 
"...(God is) just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
 
 
 
* * * 
 
1 May 2014
 
What are the major differences between the Churches of Christ and Baptists fellowships?
 
I believe there are 3 doctrines that distinguishes between the Churches of Christ/ Christian churches and Baptist fellowships: 
 
1. The doctrine of the fall. Churches of Christ believe or assume man is basically "good" or morally neutral, has no fallen or sinful nature- only the need of the forgiveness of sin. Thus Churches of Christ believe man can save himself by his own cooperation and obedience to the 'necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament'. 
 
The Bible doesn't teach this, but rather that man is fallen, a sinner by nature, can't save himself, and therefore is in great need of a Savior. Romans 3:9-20, 23; Romans 5:12-21; Romans 7:14-25; Eph. 2:1-5 
 
2. Their doctrine of 'salvation by faith in Jesus Christ'. Churches of Christ believe a person is 'saved by faith' when their belief causes them to cooperate and be obedient to all of the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament. 
 
Again, the Bible doesn't teach we are saved by what we do (and cannot be because of our sinful or fallen nature) but because of what Jesus did FOR us. 
 
That is, Jesus Christ came, died on the cross, paid the FULL penalty for OUR sin (i.e. God punished Jesus OUR SUBSTITUTE so He wouldn't have to punish us), Jesus was buried, and God raised Him from the dead. 1 Cor. 15:1-4 
 
How we respond to the Gospel is to BELIEVE in Him. 
 
God's promise is that whoever trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior, will NOT perish, but HAS everlasting life. John 3:16; John 5:24; John 20:31; Romans 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:11; Gal. 2:15-16; Eph. 2:8-10 
 
3. Their doctrine of "water" baptism for salvation or 'water baptismal remission of sins'. Churches Christ believe that a person cannot be saved until they are baptized or immersed in water. 
 
Again the Bible doesn't teach this; There are biblically and contextually valid interpretations of the pretext verses that are often used by the Churches of Christ which show that water baptism is not necessary for salvation. 
 
One short explanation is that when those in the Churches of Christ find 'baptism' in the Bible, they assume it is talking about "water" baptism. Yet in all four gospels and twice in the book of Acts the Word says that while 'John baptized in water, that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.' Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:4-5 and Acts 10:34-48; Acts 11:15-17 
 
Thus water baptism, which is what the Churches of Christ are usually trusting in for salvation, is simply a sign or symbol of the believer's true, actual, or Holy Spirit baptism which occurs at conversion. 
 
1 Cor. 12:13 says that "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 
 
Titus 3:5 "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,"
 
* * * 
9 April 2014
 
What are the Real "steps" to salvation?
 
Many people are looking for the "steps to salvation". People like the idea of an instruction maual with the steps that, if followed, will result in salvation.
 
An example of this is Islam with its Five Pillars or Roman Catholicism with its seven sacraments that if obeyed, alvation will be granted.
 
So because the idea of a step-by-step process to salvation is appealing, many in the Christian community make the mistake of presenting salvation as a step-by-step process, adding commands like water baptism, public confession, turning from sin, speaking in tongues- etc. as "steps" to salvation.
 
However Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is the only "step" to salvation.
 
The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin we deserve to be sternall separated from God (Romans 6:23). Because of His love for us (John 3:16), God took on human form, took the punishment that we deserved and died in our place (Romans 5:8; 2 Cor 5:21) He was burried and rose again (1 Cor 15:3-4). And God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who receive, by grace through faith, Jesus as Savior (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 16:31).

So salvation is not about certain "steps" we must follow to earn salvation- Rather it is about believing God's promise that it is Jesus Christ who saves us.
 
Yes, Christians should be "water" baptized.
 
Yes, Christians should publicly confess Christ as Savior.
 
Yes, Christians should turn from sin.
 
Yes, Christians should commit their lives to obeying God.
 
However, these are not steps to salvation.
 
Rather, they are results of salvation.
 
Because of our sin, we cannot in any sense earn salvation. We could follow 1000 steps, and it would not be enough. That is why Jesus had to die in our place. We are absolutely incapable of paying our sin debt to God or cleansing ourselves from our sin. Only God could accomplish our salvation, and so He did. God Himself completed the “steps” and thereby offers salvation to anyone who will receive it by faith from Him.

Salvation and forgiveness of sins is not about following "steps". It is about receiving Christ as Savior and recognizing that He has done all of the work for us. God requires one step of us—receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and fully trusting in Him alone as the way of salvation. That is what distinguishes the Christian faith from all other world religions, each of which has a list of steps that must be followed in order for salvation to be received and granted.
 
The Christian faith recognizes that God has already completed the steps required and simply calls on us to receive that gift by faith in Jesus.
 
 
* * *
 
26 March 2014
 
Problems wtih the Church of Christ view of Repentance and Baptsim
 
Repentance and baptism are significant issues for Church of Christ types because when members read passages like Acts 2:38 and “repent and let each one of you be baptized,” they assume that the passage is teaching that if you want to be saved, what you must do (among other things) is make the commitment to 'try to not sin' anymore (i.e. repent) and then get yourself baptized or immersed in h2o.

However, there are a number problems with this view as it relates to both repentance and baptism.

In regards to baptism, those in the Church of Christ think of baptism as being first and only with water, as though the definition of baptism (to dip, plunge, or immerse) implies being dipped, plunged or immersed in the medium of water.

Yet in all four gospels and twice in the book of Acts the Word of God tells us that while John baptized WITH water, that Jesus would baptize WITH the Holy Spirit.’ Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:4-5, Acts 11:16

The point here is that ‘water’ baptism points us to the spiritual reality of the believer’s Holy Spirit baptism, and happens at conversion; we dare not be trusting in it (the symbol of ‘water’ baptism) to save us. For just as there are those within the body of the church who administer the rite of water baptism to new believers (Matt. 28:18-19), it is the true, actual, or Holy Spirit baptism that places the believer into the body of Christ:

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:13

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5

In regards to Repentance, the Church of Christ “5 step plan of salvation” is to hear, BELIEVE, REPENT, confess, and be “water” baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Here it is reasoned that if one will simply perform or comply with these these “5 steps,” the believer will thereby save himself.

Notice that this “plan” places Faith BEFORE Repentance.

To those in the Churches of Christ, this is 'common sense' because it is believed that ‘one must believe before he can ‘repent’ (i.e. ‘morally reform’).

However it is this assumption that justifies the Church of Christ member's REVERSAL of the Scriptural order of Repentance and Faith. Yet there is not a single Scripture in the New Testament to support their view that Faith (or Belief) actually procedes Repentance.

To the contrary, what we find in Scripture is that Repentance PRECEDES Faith:

“…you did not REPENT and BELIEVE him.” Matt. 21:32

“REPENT, and BELIEVE in the gospel.” Mark 1:15

“…REPENTANCE toward God and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21

“…REPENT and turn to God.” Acts 26:20

“…not laying again the foundation of REPENTANCE from dead works and of FAITH toward God.” Hebrews 6:1

There is also a problem with the Church of Christ definition or understanding of the word Repentance.

Contrary to the Church of Christ view that repentance means “self-reformation”, the word ‘repentance’ actually means “an after-thought”, “post-thought”, or “a change of mind.”

The word was used that if you said one thing, “I think I’m going to go do this…” and then changed your mind, “No, I’m not” –then you have repented.

In Acts chapter 2, Peter had just been telling the people about Jesus, whom they thought was just a carpenter, or teacher from Nazareth, and he says to them, ‘No, Jesus is Messiah, He is the God-Man who came doing the miracles, whom YOU put to death, Whom God raised up, He is both Lord (God) and Christ (Messiah)'

So when Peter said to “Repent,” he was not simply talking about “self-reformation”, but was telling the people to change their minds about Jesus Christ. They saw Him as a teacher or Rabbi from Nazareth, but Peter was saying, ‘You have got to see Him as Lord, you’ve got to see Him as Messiah, you have got to repent (i.e. change your mind) about Jesus Christ.’

The bottom line is, this whole idea of repentance is that we see Jesus Christ as the Messiah, to trust Him as our Savior. And when we believe in Him there will be the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
 
 
* * *
 
20 March 2014
 
Differences Between Salvation and Discipleship
 
It is important to understand that there is difference between believing on Christ for salvation and following Him in discipleship. While these concepts are certainly connected, the Word makes it clear that they are certainly not the same.
 
The requirement for salvation is simply faith in Jesus Christ, and is God's free gift to us (John 6:28-29). The requirements for discipleship is for you to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, and this may cost you everything (Luke 9:23).
 
To illustrate this point further, notice some distinctions being make between Salvation and Discipleship:
 
1. Christ’s invitation to salvation is, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28); His call to discipleship is, “Come after Me” (Matthew 16:24).

2. Salvation is about the Cross of Christ (Matthew 16:21); Discipleship is about you taking up your own cross (Matthew 16:22-24).

3. At salvation, you receive God's gift of eternal life (John 4:10 and Romans 6:23); In discipleship, you serve and give the gift of yourself (Romans 12:1).

4. The salvation decision (putting faith in Christ for eternal life) is made only once (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-28); The decision for discipleship (i.e. the commitment to obey Christ) must be made again and again (Luke 9:23).

5. Salvation of the believer is a sure thing (Romans 8:1, 8-11, 28-30, 33-39); As a disciple, we are always in danger of failing (Luke 14:25-35).

6. Salvation is about God's grace to us (Ephesians 2:5-9); Discipleship is about our works for Christ (Revelation 22:12).

7. Eternal life is the result of salvation in Christ (John 3:16); Eternal rewards are the result of successful discipleship (Matthew 16:27).

8. Salvation is about, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17); Discipleship is about, “If any man serve me, let him follow me” (John 12:26).
 
Again, Salvation and Discipleship go together, however they are not the same. To make salvation dependant upon 'successful' discipleship ruins God's grace to us by inserting the requirement of works.
 
* * *
 
16 March 2014
 
The Throne Of God Above:
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!

One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!

One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God
 
 
* * *
 
8 March 2014
 
Open Handed & Closed Handed Interpretations
 
Edited from the website of Church of Christ Recovery/ Be Free!
This is the first of thousands of postings on this recovery site.  If you have found your way to this Church of Christ Recovery ministry it is certain that you are aware of the practices of the Church of Christ denomination.

Most Church of Christ teach that they are the ONLY ones who are going to heaven.  They teach that they have been around since Acts 2.  They teach many things that if you want to be considered “worthy” of heaven then you must follow every one of those things.  All of these are LIES.

The TRUTH is that the Church of Christ members are not the ONLY ones going to heaven.  The Church of Christ has NOT been around since Acts 2 but rather history tells us they came about in the United States of American in the 1800’s and officially recognized 1906.  Additionally the only way you can be found worthy of salvation is through faith in Jesus.

These are not the only lies the Church of Christ has promoted over the years.  It is the desire of this ministry to draw you into a relationship with Jesus and away from hard core Church of Christ.

A logical and wise question to ask at the beginning of this recovery journey is:            

“What things must we agree on to be considered followers of Christ?

This is a fair question because we need a common ground for our faith.  So there are valid and important questions like, “How much should can differing churches agree on and still remain a church that is “approved by God?”  Or, “What things to various members have to agree on in order to consider themselves both Christians?” These are things we need to ponder.

If you follow the hard core Church of Christ model there are some leaders who believe that if you do not see the things the way they see it then you are not a true follower of Christ.  Then there are other preachers or ministers who are a bit more relaxed but still have a list, be it documented or undocumented, on what basis one is a true believer or not.

So on what points must we agree and on what should be considered points of opinion or areas where we can agree to disagree?  For we can’t agree on absolutely everything?

OPEN HAND and CLOSED HAND

There are some things that are OPEN HANDED and some things that are CLOSED HANDED.  Regardless of what you have been told, the things in the CLOSED hand are FEW and those things in the OPEN hand are MANY.

To explain, those things in the open hand are things that as we study, grow in our faith and discuss, are things that we do not have to agree on.  These topics and issues in the open hand are things that we might disagree on but at the end of the day we still love and accept each other as fellow Christians, followers of Christ and members of God’s family.

The closed hand are topics, issues and items that in order to be called a Christ follower, we must believe and support.  These are fundamental issues of the faith that must be accepted by all who call themselves Christian.

Looking at Church of Christ history, the founder of the denomination, Thomas Campbell, was a Reformed (Calvinist) theologian.  So he was completely different than where the Church of Christ movement is today.  His son, Alexander, who was more influential than his father in many ways, was a Pre-Millennialist when it came to the end times.  This also is different than the main line hard core Church of Christ of today.  So one can see that these items are things upon which there were and are disagreements.  There is no way to find 100% agreement upon everything.

To explain a bit more specifically in the closed hand we would put only a very few things.  They would include:

  • There is One God
  • God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • God created the universe
  • Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone
  • The Bible is God’s inspired word
  • Jesus was crucified, buried and raised again

In the open hand we would put a LOT of things.  These are topics, issues and items that we may find disagreement but they are not of first importance or fundamental.  They would include:

  •  Bible translation or version
  •  Women deacons or public ministry role for women
  •  How often communion is taken
  •  Calvin, Armenian views of theology
  •  End times (eschatology, millennial, pre-millennial, post millennial, a-millennial etc.)
  •  Instrumental music in worship, types or styles of music.
  •  Total abstinence or permissiveness of drinking alcohol

And the list could go on for a long time.  Neither of the lists is exhaustive but allow me to assure you that in its completion the closed handed list is extremely short.  There are very few things in the closed hand.

The issue is many fundamental Christians and most Church of Christ members reverse this.  They place almost everything in the closed hand and few things in the open hand.  The result is everything becomes a “heaven or hell” issue.  If you don’t agree with them you are doomed to hell.

The result in the Church of Christ is that there is a minimum of over 20 splits all of whom believing that they have the proper interpretation of Scripture on every point.  The Church of Christ had and has an unhealthy diet of putting down other fellow Christians in other Christian churches and in turn this has led to them devouring themselves.

Their twisting of the scripture, wrong interpretation and thinking is so perverse and like the Pharisees that many in the Church of Christ have turned on themselves.  They are devouring even their own.

Walk away in freedom.  If you are a leader in a Church of Christ, lead BOLDLY away from this Pharisee thinking.  Your salvation has to do with your faith in Jesus Christ and not that you agree with everything the Church of Christ believes.

As a reader you will not agree with all of the postings on this site NOR ARE YOU EXPECTED TO.  This introductory writing is in efforts to remove the shackles from you. You do not have to be a cookie cutter believer and act, think, believe and interpret everything just like the Church of Christ does.  There are only a few things we must have total agreement on to be called Christ followers.

Be Free!

* * *

20 February 2014
A 3 part Church of Christ edited series by David J. Stewart
 
Part 3
 
The Church of Christ denomination claims that they "have no creed but the Bible," but in reality many in the Church of Christ denomination have a book that they use as a "guideline" for church doctrine. It is called, "Why I am a Member of the Church of Christ," by Leroy Brownlow.
 
Chapter 14 is entitled, "Because It Gives Scriptural Answers To the Question- What Must I Do To Be Saved." This chapter would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad to see to what extent the Church of Christ denomination will go to promote their position on baptism.
 
In this chapter Brother Brownlow dissects the question, "What must I do to be saved?" He examines the question word by word. When he gets to the word "do", he says,
 
"It is not what I must get, think, feel or believe. The word "do" suggests activity on the part of the man being saved. Salvation is not a matter of passiveness, but of activity. God saves; still man saves himself by obeying the gospel, God's power to save (Rom. 1:16, Acts 2:40). Take the word "do" out of Christianity and you destroy it. You never read of an inspired man telling a sinner that there is nothing for him to do to be saved."
 
Now I don't know about you, but I would consider the Apostle Paul to be an "inspired man", and oddly enough he is the only man recorded in scripture to have ever been asked this question verbatim, "What must I do to be saved?"
 
It was asked of him by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30. Keep in mind that Brother Brownlow's answer was "It is not what I believe" that saves me.
 
Paul's answer, on the other hand, is just the opposite.
 
When asked by the jailer, "What must I do to be saved?," the Apostle Paul answers, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved!"
 
Mr. Brownlow's answer is a classic example of not being able to see the forest because of the tree! Paul says in Ephesians 2:8&9 that "We are saved by GRACE through FAITH and not of ourselves, it is a GIFT of God, NOT of WORKS, that no one should boast."
 
If you ever stand before Christ Jesus and He asks you why should He let you into Heaven... you had better say, "Because of what You did for me on the cross," not, "Because I was (water) baptized"!!
 
* * * 
 
15 February 2014

A 3 part Church of Christ edited series by David J. Stewart
 
Part 2
 
Church of Christ members teach that (water) baptism is required for salvation, but it is not.
 
There is nothing in the Bible which requires a person to be baptized in order to be saved. On the contrary, we read in John 3:18, "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.

One who has trusted in Christ is saved, not condemned, whether he has been (water) baptized or not.  John 11:25, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

There is no mention in this verse concerning baptism.  
Or what about John 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any   man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."  

Again, there is no mention of being baptized to be saved. There are 153 places in the New Testament that those who place faith in Jesus Christ have eternal life. Clearly, it is faith alone in Christ which saves a person, even without (water) baptism. 

The Church of Christ cult teaches damnable heresies by ADDING requirements which God didn't add.
 
A careful study of the Scriptures with an honest heart makes it quite clear that works CANNOT save a person, "Therefore by   the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified IN HIS SIGHT:  for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

One cannot be justified in the sight of God by WORKS. 

When James spoke of being justified by works, he clearly stated:
"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I  have works: SHOW ME thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Here James was speaking about being justified in the SIGHT OF MEN. 

1st Samuel 16:7 tells us why, "...for man looketh on   the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Man   cannot see our heart's faith, so he looks at our works instead. 

However, God can see our heart, and it is all that He looks at. 

It is true that faith without works is dead; BUT, it is equally true that salvation (justification in the sight of God), comes by faith, without works.   

Romans 4:6 states, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness apart form works."   

Water Baptism is a work of man, that if added to the gospel of Christ, will send a man to Hell forever because it is a different gospel. Galatians 1:6-9
 
* * *


14 February 2014
 
A 3 part Church of Christ edited series by David J. Stewart
 
Part 1

The Church of Christ is a false religion because it is wrong on the essential Biblical plan of salvation.  In fact, many Church of Christ ministers have taught that the Church of Christ group is the true church of Christ, and no one else is. 
 
They (sometimes) even go as far as to claim that people who haven't been baptized by a Church of Christ preacher will go to Hell. 
 
I distinctly recall a discussion I once had with a Church of Christ minister. He was arrogant, doctrinally corrupt, and unsaved.  He believed that for  a person to be saved, they had to have faith, repent of sins, and be baptized. 

Well, that's two items too many! The only thing that God requires of men to be saved is faith alone in Christ.

"Repent" in the Bible concerning salvation simply means "a change of mind," not the forsaking of one's sins (i.e. One must consider the context). The forsaking of one's sins is a result of growing in grace, which often takes many years, as a believer grows in the Lord. 

One does not have to surrender anything to the Lord to be saved, BUT, simply believes upon Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). 

Thus, the only thing that a person needs to repent of to be saved is their unbelief. 

Whatever it was that you were trusting in before you got saved, you 'changed your mind about' when you realized Jesus was the only way to heaven.

Salvation is God's free gift Romans 5:15. 

A "gift" has no strings attached. Many preachers have developed the bad habit of requiring people to walk down to the front of the church to be saved; But that is a work not required by God. 

Why does a person need to walk down to the front of the church?  Can't they be saved in their pew? Of course they can!  If you'll simply believe upon Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and save you, then you will go to Heaven when you die (John 14:6; Romans 10:13).

 
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Carefully notice the phrase, "if any man be in Christ..."  The change comes AFTER a person is saved, not as a requirement to be saved.

Salvation is like picking an old soda can out of the garbage. You've saved it, but it hasn't been recycled (converted) yet. 
Likewise, God pulls us out of the garbage when He saves us; BUT, now He must recycle us into His image. 

Thus, the Christian's growth in grace is not a pre-requirement for heaven, but rather is a result of that person's salvation.

 
I know this shocks many self-righteous religious people; but it's Biblical (John 3:3; Romans 4:3-5; Ephesians 2:8,9). If you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior (i.e. believe God's promise that Jesus Christ saves you), you're going to Heaven, whether you grow in the Lord or not while on earth. 

There are some lousy Christians in this world, but that doesn't mean they're not saved. 

King David was an adulterer, a murderer, a and crook; BUT, he only lost the joy of salvation, not salvation itself. Such rebellious believers will give account at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
 
Note: The believer's sin was judged at the cross; the 'Judgment Seat of Christ' (as found in 1 Cor. 3:12-15) has to do with rewards, not salvation.
 
* * *

5 February 2014

(Continued) from the ministry of 'Is the Church of Christ a cult?"


Mark 16:16
says, "He who believes and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

You notice that this verse does not say, "and he who has not been baptized shall be condemned," which is exactly what the Church of Christ denomination would like for you to believe.

Jesus is simply making a natural assumption that all believers will be baptized. I would concur with that assumption. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that a believer should not get baptized, unless there is positively no water available, or in the case of a death bed conversion.

In such cases the Church of Christ denomination shows absolutely no mercy. They will say that it was the individual's fault for waiting to the last minute. "Sorry, Bud, your prayers of repentance are falling on deaf ears 'cause you waited too long, there ain't no pool, river or baptistery for miles."

Tell that to the thief on the cross! He didn't have the opportunity to be water baptized and yet because he cried out to Jesus for mercy, Jesus promised him that he would be in Paradise that very day with Him!

Now the standard answer that the Church of Christ denomination member will pop out of his or her preprogrammed gray matter is that you can't use the thief on the cross as an example because Jesus made that promise to the thief while they were both still under the Old Covenant (which as we all know wasn't fulfilled until Jesus died).

But you see, the key issue is not when Jesus made the promise to the thief. The key issue is, under which covenant did the thief die? We know for a fact that the thief died under the New Covenant.

How do we know?

Because the gospels tell us that when the soldiers came to break the three crucified victim's legs, they marveled that Jesus was already dead. They didn't marvel at the two thieves, because they were still alive.

So if the New Covenant was ushered in at the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then anyone who died from that point on, died under the New Covenant. And that would include the thief on the cross!

Added note from the ministry of Church of Christ dilemma

If the "good" thief was going to heaven based upon the fact that he was still living under the Old Testament Law,

And therefore didn't need to be baptized,

Why then was he on the cross?

Because the thief had been keeping the law?!

Are those in the Church of Christ really arguing that the "good" thief didn't need to be baptized because he had was still under the Old Testament Law?! 

So how did that work out for him?

FWIW there was no "good" thief and "bad" thief,

Rather there was a LOST thief and a SAVED thief!

And the SAVED thief was SAVED because he called upon the Savior!

Luke 23:42

"...Then he (the thief) said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.""


* * *

4 February 2014

From the ministry of 'Is the Church of Christ a cult?'

http://www.chocd.org/baptismalregeneration.html

Baptismal regeneration is simply a 50 cent term used to describe the belief that you are born again and receive your salvation at the moment of water baptism. There are certain verses that they (Church of Christ types) use, out of context, that they feel substantiate their belief.

But if you examine each of their verses in context, you will see that the verses clearly do not substantiate their claims. Not to mention the myriad of verses to which they must turn a blind eye, in order to continue believing their works oriented doctrine


Consider Acts 2:38 in which the apostle Peter says to the remorseful crowd, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins."


Now here is a verse they feel is stating that your sins are remitted at baptism. As we all know, if your sins are not forgiven, then you are not saved. But the question that needs to be asked here is: "Is it the baptism or the repentance that brings about the forgiveness?"

Now we could get into the structuring of the sentence and try to argue our point from that perspective (the word "for" can be translated "because"), but usually a member of the Church of Christ denomination is not willing to accept that form of reasoning, so we go with a much more powerful position.

If the forgiveness was brought through the baptism rather than the repentance, how do you explain the presentation that Peter gives in his very next sermon in
Acts 3:19? He is speaking to a very similar group and says almost the same thing, but when he gives the plan of salvation, the topic of baptism is left out altogether!

He said, "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away."

So we see from this second sermon, that it wasn't the baptism that brought the forgiveness, it was the repentance.

In
Acts 10:43 Peter also states, "To Him all the Prophets witness that, through His Name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sin."

Most people reading these Scriptures see the pattern that is developing... it is faith in Jesus that wipes away our sin!

(to be continued...)

* * *


19 January 2014

How does a person obey the gospel?

In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul reminds us of what the gospel is- that Jesus Christ came, died on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins, that He was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead-

"Christ died for OUR sins...that He was buried...that He was raised on the third day...this is what we preach...and this is what you believed." 1 Cor. 15:3-11

This is the gospel.

Here both evangelical Christianity and the Church of Christ believe that the gospel message found in 1 Corinthians 15 is (or at least is part of) the gospel of Jesus Christ.

However biblically speaking, how does a person respond or 'obey the gospel'?

Here the Church of Christ asserts that obeying the gospel means 'being obedient to all the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament', or 'obeying those commands one must do in order to be saved'.

And the difference between the saved and the unsaved according to the Church of Christ is whether or not a person has obeyed ALL OF THE NECESSARY moral and religious requirements of the New Testament.

However, when one looks into the Scripture and looks into the context of 1 Cor. 15 what it means to 'obey the gospel', we find that a person obeys the gospel when they believe the gospel message:

"This is what we preached, and this is what you believed" 1 Cor. 15:11

Consider the following passages:

"But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” Romans 10:16

"...Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth (i.e. believing the message) love one another deeply, from the heart." 1 Peter 1:21-22
 
"Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient..." 1 Peter 2:27

So while we will see those in the Church of Christ go from one "obey" pretext verse to another to 'prove' we obey the gospel by being obedient to the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament-
 
If we look at the context of to see what it means to 'obey the gospel' from Scripture, we find that we obey the gospel by believing the gospel message.
 
So what is the gospel?

Jesus Christ came to this earth, died on the cross, paid the penalty for our sin, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

This is the gospel.

God's promise is that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, trusting Him as their Savior, WILL NOT PERISH but has everlasting life.

So have you obeyed the gospel?

That is,

Have YOU believed God's promise that Jesus Christ saves you?

* * *

14 January 2014

Is faith a work, like baptism?
 
(Edited from Abraham Naveen Konda's Blog: http://cocerrors.blogspot.com/ )

Faith in greek= pistis
Believe in greek= pisteuo
Baptism in greek= baptizo

So the word faith is not directly related to baptism.

In Romans 4 Paul differentiates between faith and works.

"But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Romans 4:5

So Abraham believing wasn't considered a work. Yet his circumcision was.

Same thing should hold for baptism.

Hence baptism is a work.

Eph 2:8-10 clearly differentiates between faith and works:

"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."

If you still want to maintain that faith is a work like baptism, then here's a simple question for you.
 
Do you believe that the earth is round?

If yes, show me your belief.
Can you?
 
No.

James 2 doesn't say 'my works are my faith'; He says, 'I will show you my faith by my works.'

In the same way, one cannot see a person's faith (that he already has) except that they see it through works such as baptism and other good works.


* * *

17 September 2013
 
The Church of Christ "5 step plan" is to hear, believe, repent, confess, and be water baptized for the forgiveness of sin. Here it is reasoned that if one will simply perform these 'steps', the beleiver will thereby save himself.
 
Now notice this plan places faith before repentance.
 
To those in the Churches of Christ, this is “common sense” because it is believed that ‘one must believe before he can repent.’

This view arises from their understanding of both faith and repentance.
 
Repentance is understood by them as "self-reformation."
 
On the other hand, faith in the Churches of Christ is understood as ‘intellectual assent' or 'to accept as true the facts of the Christian faith'.

To them it is believing God’s historical testimony about Himself, Jesus Christ, and that of the rest of the Bible, and should be the means that causes a person to perform or obey all the necessary moral and religious commands 'a person must do to be saved.'

In regards to faith, those in the Churches of Christ often fail to understand that there is a deeper, more substantive aspect of faith which is believing on Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and most cannot distinguish between mere intellectual belief or assent from a personal faith that is trusting in Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation.

Here, they will cite James 2:19 "even the devils believe" and will contend that even the faith of devils is the same as any other faith except that the faith of devils fails to achieve or produce the necessary moral or religious good works necessary for salvation.

Thus, their understanding gives rise to their reversal of the scriptural order of repentance and faith, and yet as we will find, there is not a single scripture in the New Testament to support their view.

In fact, in light of Scripture, we find Repentance actually precedes Faith:

“…you did not repent and believe him.” Matt. 21:32

“Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15

“…repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21

“…repent and turn to God.” Acts 26:20

“…not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.” Hebrews 6:1

These verses should make it clear that repentance actually precedes faith.

Why is this important?

This is significant because when Church of Christ members read passages like Acts 2:38 and “Repent and let each one of you be baptized,” they assume that the passage teaches that if you want to be saved, what you must do (after you believe) is make the commitment not to sin anymore (i.e. repent or "self-reformation") and then get yourself baptized in water.

However, the word Repentance literally means “a change of mind.”

The word for Repent is “metanoia” and it’s actually two Greek words put together, “meta” meaning after, “noia” means mind or thought.

It literally means “an after-thought”, "post-thought", or “a change of mind.”

The word was used that if you said one thing, “I think I’m going to go do this…” and then changed your mind, “No, I’m not” –then you have repented.

In Acts chapter 2, Peter just has been telling them about Jesus, whom they thought was just a carpenter, or teacher from Nazareth. He says, “No, Jesus is Messiah, He is the God-Man who came doing the miracles, whom YOU put to death, whom God raised up, He is both Lord and Christ…”

So when Peter says to “Repent,” he wasn't talking about "self-reformation", but rather was telling the people to change their minds about Jesus Christ.

They saw Him as a teacher or a Rabbi from Nazareth; But Peter was saying, 'You have got to see Him as Lord, you've got to see Him as Messiah, you have got to repent (i.e. change your mind) about Jesus Christ.'
 
The bottom line about this whole idea of repentance is that we see Jesus Christ as the Messiah and to trust Him as our Savior.

Repent and Believe.

And when you believe in Him there will be the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And BTW, everyone one of us who put our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, changed our minds, we all repented.

Whatever else we were trusting in before we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we changed our minds about when we realized that Jesus Christ is the only way, that He is the Savior, and that He is the only One who will take us to heaven.

 
 
* * *
 
20 August 2013

The apostle Paul asks an interesting question in Romans 6, "What then? Shall we continue to live in sin?"

So why would this question be relevant to those in the Church of Christ?

Think about it.

If we are saved by hearing, believing, repenting from sin, confessing the name of Christ, being baptized in h2o, keeping ourselves saved by being faithful and continuing to live a moral and religious "good" life...

Why would anyone think to ask, 'What then? Shall we continue to live in sin?'

Any moral or religious infraction or failure would endanger that person's salvation.
 
But if we are saved by simply placing faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, doesn't it make sense why Paul would ask, and then answer, the obvious objection-

"What then? Shall we continue to live in sin?"
 
Romans 3:8 is another objection the Church of Christ does not need to defend against:

"And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? -as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say."
 
Here, Paul tells how believers are deliberately mischaracterized as though they teach 'we can live any way we want and still be saved' -as Baptists and other evangelicals are often accused of by the Churches of Christ.
 
Question: Is this a mischaracterization that has ever happened to the Churches of Christ? 

But if they are teaching the same New Testament grace message, why are they constantly having to defend themselves that they are not teaching a theology of salvation by works?

Is there any example of Paul defending himself that he was not teaching a gospel theology of works as the Church of Christ constantly is?
If we are not saved by our own moral and religious performance, but simply by placing faith in the Savior-

'What then, shall we continue to live in sin?' is certainly a relevant question if the grace message being proclaimed is- Salvation is simply by placing faith in JESUS CHRIST ALONE!

* * *

13 August 2013
 
D.L. Moody (1837-1899), was a great pastor, evangelist, and publisher, who founded Moody Bible Institute close to the turn of the century.
 
As a young preacher, and just getting started in ministry, he realized that one day he was going to have to do a funeral.
 
And he wanted to be prepared.
 
So he decided to look into the Scriptures and find one of Christ's funeral messages.
 
Because he thought that if he knew what Jesus had to say at a funeral, that maybe it would help him out. 
 
And so he began looking into the Scriptures.
 
But guess what?
 
He found that every time Jesus went to a funeral, Jesus broke the funeral up because He raised that person from the dead!
 
And he realized that Jesus doesn't have any 'funeral messages'.
 
And He doesn't.
 
That is why when believers have a funeral, we have hope.
 
Because Jesus has Conquered death,
 
And gives Resurrection and Life.
 
* * *
 
1 August 2013 
 
There was man by the name of Josephus who was a Jewish historian who lived during the 1st century. Here's the account of what he wrote about Jesus:
 
"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.  For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had  first come to love him did not cease.  He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him.  And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."
 
This was written by Josephus about 100 AD.
 
Though he was not a believer in Christ, did you notice what he said?
 
'Jesus appeared to them alive the third day.'
 
So why is the resurrection of Jesus important us?
 
When Jesus was resurrected alive from the grave, He showed He conquered death, paid for sin, gives resurrection and eternal life, and proved that He is God.
 
1 Corinthians 15:16, 17 & 20
 
"For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! ... But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."
 
* * *
 
23 July 2013
 
Are you trying to be saved by following a Law-system or by faith in Christ?
 
For those who are trying to be saved by what you do rather than by trusting in Jesus who is the only One who can save, please consider the following passage along with its implications:
 
"For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have have been through the Law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe...Therefore the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."
 
Galatians 3:21, 22, and 24 
 
* * * 
 
 
1 July 2013
 
Let's Make the gospel message clear
 
Have you ever heard or used the following phrases when sharing the gospel?
 
"Accept Jesus into your heart"
 
"Make Jesus Lord of your life"
 
"Give your life to Jesus"
 
"Pray to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior"
 
Alright, so what do these phrases mean exactly?
 
And where are these phrases used in the Word of God to tell someone how to be saved?
 
Maybe you understand these phrases as synonymous to mean "believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life".
 
But personally I've been in a Baptist fellowship for a number of years and I still fail to understand what these Christian phrases, axioms, or adages mean.
 
Yet even The Baptist Faith and Message states that "There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord."
 
So what's the point?
 
When witnessing for Jesus Christ, please be sure to make the gospel message very clear-
 
Jesus Christ came, died on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins, was buried, and God raised Him from the dead.
 
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
 
How do we respond to the gospel?
 
We are to believe
 
1 Corinthians 15:11
 
"This is what we preach, and this is what you believed."
 
God's promise is that every person who will believe in Jesus Christ has eternal life.
 
Therefore we are to place our faith in Jesus Christ and believe that He alone saves us.
 
This is how we respond to the gospel message.
 
Therefore, let's be clear about the message.
 
* * *
 
John 11:25, 26
 
"I am the resurrection and the life. the one who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
 
 
1 May 2013

Are we saved by faith when we obey, or saved by faith when we believe?
 
Members of the Church of Christ will often point to passages like Romans 10:16 and 1 Peter 1:22 to say 'we are saved by faith when we obey the gospel', meaning that we 'obey the gospel' by being obedient to all the necessary moral and religious commands and requirements of the New Testament.
 
Yet when we take the time to look at the context of these passages, we actually find that 'to obey the gospel' actually means to believe it:
 
"But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?” Romans 10:16
 
"...He (Jesus) indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart..." 1 Peter 1:20-22
 
So what then is the gospel?

And what does it mean to believe it?
 
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul tells us the gospel,

“I want to remind you of the gospel…which I preached…which you received…in which you stand…by which you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures…that He was buriedthat He rose again the third day… according to the scriptures."
 
This is the gospel message.
 
The gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, that He was buried, and that God raised Him again.

We are to go and tell people the message that God loved us so much, that He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and that He rose again.
 
So how we respond to the gospel?
 
We respond to the gospel by believing the gospel message-
 
Continuing again 1 Corinthians 15,

"This is what we preached, and this is what you believed." (vrs 11)
 
The bottom line is that people obey the gospel when they believe upon Jesus Christ and trust in Him as their Savior. As Acts 16:31 says,

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”
 
It is that simple.
 
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.” Eph. 2:8

“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” Rom. 1:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12

“Most assuredly, I say unto you, he who hears my Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come to judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

These are just a few verses, 154 places in the New Testament in all, where the Bible says those who place faith in Jesus Christ have eternal life.
 
* * *
 
September 12, 2012
 
Quote of the day:
 
"It is utterly impossible for me to change my own disposition in my own strength. The new birth is something that must be done for me by another; and God has promised to do that which I cannot do for myself. And he will do it for you too."
 
Ezekiel 36:26-27
 
"...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them..."
 
* * *
 
September 10, 2012
 
 
 
Lyrics:
 
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worshhip your holy name

You're rich in love and you're slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind
For all your goodness I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find

Bless you Lord!

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Soon my soul will sing your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name (repeat 3x)

Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name (repeat 3x)   
 

* * * 

September 7, 2012
 
 
* * *

August 29, 2012
 
 
 
Song Lyrics of "Dive" Steven Curtis Chapman
(What is this song talking about? Answer below.)
 
The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
And carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rains
I have been carried here to where the river flows yeah
My heart is racing and my knees are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice
That’s telling me it’s time to take the leap of faith
So here I go

I’m diving in I’m going deep in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush lost in the flow in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep the river’s wide the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim I’m diving in

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river’s flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for yeah
But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you’ll take my hand
We’ll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let’s go
 
(Answer to above question: This is not talking the rite of water baptism, but the believer's true, actual, or Holy Spirit baptism which occurs at conversion.)
 
1 Cor. 12:13
 
" For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
 
* * *
 
August 25, 2012
 
 
 
Song Lyrics of "When I See The Blood"
 
Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due;
All who receive Him need never fear,
Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.

Refrain:
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, so He will do;
Oh, sinner, hear Him, trust in His Word,
Then He will pass, will pass over you.

Refrain:
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.
 
Judgment is coming, all will be there.
Who have rejected, who have refused?
Oh, sinner, hasten, let Jesus in,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.

Refrain:
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

O great compassion! O boundless love!
Jesus hath power, Jesus is true;
All who believe are safe from the storm,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.

Refrain:
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.
 
* * *
 
August 24, 2012
 
 
 
Song Lyrics of "Only Trust Him"
 
Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.
 
Chorus:
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.
 
For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.
 
Chorus:
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now
 
Yes, Jesus is the truth, the way,
That leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay
And you are fully blessed.
 
Chorus:
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now
 
 
* * *
 
August 20, 2012
 
Someone has said 'Religion is about what we have to do to please God so we can go to heaven; Christianity is about believing what Someone has already done for you so you can go to heaven.'
 
 
 
 
* * *
 
August 8, 2012
  
An awesome and incredible 6 minute devotional video
 
 
 
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Entries
 
Posted by Karl on 28-Jul-2017 at 22:14:48 EST
Subject: Is God the author of Confusion?

Why will there be a judgment day? Jesus said, "48He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.<br><br>49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.<br><br>50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." Therefore, the only kind of faith that is approved by God, is an obedient faith.

Posted by Kerry on 19-Feb-2017 at 18:00:25 EST
Subject: Is Jesus a liar?

May I ask a question? How is faith attained? The apostle Paul answers this in Romans 10:17, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." What are the words of Christ? "He that believes [the gospel] AND IS BAPTIZED will be saved" (Mark 16:16). Faith alone doesn't save (James 2). The apostle John wrote, "[Christ] came unto His own and His own did not receive Him. But to those who did receive Him, who believed in His name, to them He gave the right TO BECOME the children of God" (John 1:11-12). Those that believe have the right to become God's children. They aren't children of God by merely believing.