February 16, 2023
It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. (ACTS 11:26) We would do well to note that nowhere in Scripture does it proclaim: They were called, Protestant or Catholic, Lutheran or Methodist or Pentecostal, or, for that matter, any other denomination. It was man and his traditions that have divided the church. But, as Is recorded in Genesis, "What man intends for evil, God intends for good." Galatians 5 makes a distinction between aspects of our human spirit, which brings such things as division, dissensions and factions, and makes clear the separation from God's Spirit, which brings such things as love, peace and unity.
As Christians we follow Christ. As Paul said in 1 CORINTHIANS 2:2, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." And though we seem inclined to put man on a pedestal, we are better served to focus on the Gospel. It is our natural inclination to lean one way or another. To value one man's views or opinions over another's. But as Joshua proclaimed, '"As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord."
While there are some things in Scripture that are difficult to grasp, the Gospel message is not one of them. It is clear, concise and straightforward. And, since it offers the key to eternal life, should be a major focus of our attention.
Consider for instance the clarity and point of each of the following verses:
ACTS 4:12 "And there is salvation In no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
JOHN 14:6 Jesus himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Farther except through me."
ROMNS 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
EPHESIANS 2:8,9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no man may boast."
There are many more such key verses in Scripture, but to understand the promise of eternal life, the above verses hold the key to understanding Gods plan of salvation. Often when I ask someone if they will be in heaven, the response is, "I hope so." Yet we need not wonder! Not only do the above verses promise a correct pathway, but we are called to believe in a resurrected Messiah (who personally fulfilled over 350 Old Testament prophecies, and whose death and resurrection was witnessed by, not just his 12 disciples, but by over 500 citizens.
HEBREWS 11:1 declares that, "Faith Is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." And our faith is in Christ alone. Our faith is in a resurrected Christ, in His words, His promises.
In Romans 10:9 I have underlined in my Bible the words, "believe in your heart" as, for many years I fell short of believing in the resurrection. Belief is a key to salvation. Words alone will not suffice.
Most of us, if we know any Scripture at all, are familiar with the words of, JOHN 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Hell is not full of people that God has rejected, but rather by people who have rejected God!
And do not misunderstand, "no choice" is still a choice. There will be no "fence sitters" in heaven.