Tag Archive: The Gospel


Bible Light Bulb ImageThere are many questions and even more supposed answers about eternity. Lots of people have said there are many ways to get to Heaven.  After all, don’t all spiritual roads lead to the same place? Does it really matter what religion we follow?  If we’re simply sincere, devoted, and passionate about whatever we believe, won’t it all work out in the end?  Can’t my good works outweigh the bad things I’ve done in the past?  How can we really know for sure?

What’s the Answer?

Maybe you’re wondering some of the same things.     If not, you should be. After all, eternity is a lot longer than the few short years we’ll spend on this planet.  Asking good questions is important, but finding the right answers is even more crucial! If you’re lost and stop to ask someone for directions, it really does matter whether the directions he/she gives you are right or wrong. So in hopes of preventing anyone from getting even more lost, let’s examine several of today’s most popular myths.

We’ll examine seven basic misunderstandings/ myths in pursuit of discovering the true answer to how we can know for sure we are going to Heaven.

MYTH 1: The majority must be right. Just because people have answers doesn’t mean those answers are true, even if a majority agrees. A survey of 35,000 American adults shows that 70 percent believe there are many paths to God, but just because a majority believes the same thing doesn’t necessarily make it true.  Consider Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Just because many were in agreement with Hitler doesn’t make what he believed and did correct. Following the majority isn’t the answer!

MYTH 2- Sincerity is what matters.  Just because someone is sincere in a belief doesn’t make it right.

  • Does it matterif a sincere pharmacist puts the wrong pills in a bottle?
  • Does it matterif a surgeon sincerely believed he removed a kidney when in fact he removed the liver?
  • Does it matterif a woman ate a poisonous mushroom, even though she sincerely thought it would be good for her?

It is possible to be very sincere, but be sincerely wrong. The critical question is not whether someone is sincere, rather what is the truth?  Sincerity is not the answer.

MYTH 3: Pretty good is good enough. One of the greatest lies ever believed is that human beings can be good enough to get to Heaven!  I’ve heard this so many times and at one point even believed it myself.  I’ve even had professing atheists tell me if there is a ‘God’, then when they die they’ll be okay because they’ve been pretty good. Here’s the thing, being pretty good isn’t the real issue. God’s standard isn’t pretty good, it’s perfection. After all, God isn’t simply pretty good. He’s perfect.

Being pretty good isn’t the answer.

MYTH 4: Religion is good enough.  At some level, all religions say we must do good works in order to be right. Biblical Christianity is totally unique.  In religion, man has to reach up to God by his good works. In Christianity, God reached down with the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. He was crucified for the sins of the world. If religion, rituals, and traditions worked, Jesus would’ve never had to come and die.  Religion is not the answer!

MYTH 5: My future good deeds will make up for my past bad deeds. Here’s the problem. Let’s say you get a speeding ticket for driving 55 in a15 mph school zone, then stand before the judge and tell him you’ll never speed again. Will that make up for the crime you’ve already committed?  No. What if you tell the judge you’ve driven through that area many times before, always following the law? Will that make up for your crime?  No. We don’t get extra credit for following the law. The law requires that we follow it completely. That’s the whole point. Following the law tomorrow will never make up for the fact that we broke it today.  Simply said, the price has to be paid!  Future good deeds are not the answer.

Myth 6: I’m a good person.  We all tend to compare ourselves with one another; forgetting people are not the standard.  We did not make this universe, and we did not make the moral laws any more than the physical laws of this universe. God is the Creator, and He is the standard, not us. All one has to do is look at God’s law, which can be boiled down to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)  to see if we really are good people, if we measure up to the holiness of God.  Here are a few of God’s moral laws:

  • “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Telling the truth is the backbone of any society and the Bible. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie…” God is truth.  Have you ever told a lie; even a “little” one?
  • “You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that is not yours?
  • “You shall not commit adultery.”  Jesus took this commandment to a deeper level when He said, “If you have even looked upon someone with lust, it means you have already committed adultery in your heart with that person.” Matthew 5:27-28. Have you ever looked at someone with lust?

Now things get a little more interesting.  James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

So if we’ve even broken one of God’s commandments, we’ve broken them all.

 I ask you again, “Have you broken any of the Ten Commandments?” If you’re honest, you’ll have to say yes. Since we’ve all broken God’s law, it’s clear no one is really a good person.

Here’s the truth:  The reason sincerity, religion, and good works just don’t cut it is because they all originate from men and according to God, we’ve all willfully sinned. That is to say, we’ve all come short of God’s standard of perfection. Period!  We’re not the solution, frankly we’re the problem.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

God knows we’ve sinned.  We know we need His forgiveness. “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” Psalm 38:18  

The shedding of an animal’s blood reminded the Israelites that death was a result of man’s choice to rebel against his Creator. It was also a clue of God’s faithfulness to one day send One who would pay the ultimate price by dying for all of humanity, One who would not only die, but take the spiritual and eternal punishment we deserve so our penalty against God would be fully paid. A male lamb without spot was used in the Old Testament for a yearly sacrifice to God. This was a clue that One would come, not as a spotless lamb, but as a sinless man and God to die for the sins of the world.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29  

Jesus is the Lamb of God that the Old Testament pointed to, the One that would be the final, complete, and eternal sacrifice to God the Father by dying on the cross for our sins. God the Father literally poured out the anger and wrath we deserve upon His Son!

“He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Are you ready to repent (turn) and put your    belief in Jesus and His finished work on the cross for you?

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-6  

Myth 7: Christianity is just too narrow-minded.  With so many religions around the world, this might seem reasonable. Jesus claimed to be the only way to Heaven, yet many believe this is too narrow-minded. But is this bad? When I walk through the front door, does it ever bother me that there’s only one door? When I enter a gas station or a store, do I ever stop to complain when there’s only one door?  No. One door doesn’t mean anything other than there’s only one way in.  One way, in reality, makes it simple. There’s one way, making it very easy to identify both the true and the false doors.  Yes, one way to Heaven is narrow, but narrow doesn’t mean it’s bad. The God of the Bible says He’s one God (Deut. 6:4), so why not only have one way? God doesn’t want us to follow a lie. All may enter, but we must enter His way, not our own. Being too narrow just isn’t an excuse. Believing there are many ways to Heaven isn’t the answer.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

 THE TRUE and ETERNAL ANSWER

The answer of eternity is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!  You have two choices. Sadly, most choose the wide road to exit planet Earth. The other way is the narrow road which is covered with the blood of Jesus Christ.

WHICH ONE WILL YOU CHOOSE?

“If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whosoever believes on [Jesus] shall not be ashamed.”  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13  

“For [God] says, “I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I helped you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:2  

There is only one way to get to Heaven. The true path is through Jesus Christ and Him alone. You must make this decision before you die. There’s no second chance after death.

Repent and believe on Him for the forgiveness of your sins before it’s too late.

(Originally produced and distributed by Once Lost Ministries)

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OldRuggedCross_B&WQuestion: You claim that the payment for sins was not through the physical sufferings of Christ inflicted by man, but spiritual sufferings endured at the hands of God. Yet Isaiah 53:5 says “…and by his stripes we are healed.” The NASB has, “…and by his scourging we are healed.” Please admit your error!

 

Answer: The NASB is wrong. The Hebrew chabburah translated “stripes” occurs six other times (Gn 4:23; Ex 21:25; Ps 38:5; Prv 20:30; Is 1:6) and it and it never means Roman scourging. Do you really think (as Mel ibson’s film erroneously attempts to show that Roman soldiers’ torture of Christ paid the eternal penalty for all of the murders, rapes, wars, hatred, jealousy, and unimaginable evil committed by billions of people during the history of mankind? Sinful soldiers can’t mete out to the Holy Son of God the righteous punishment for the sins of the world!

 Peter specifically says Christ paid for our sins on the cross (1 Pt 2:24), not when scourged. It was during those 3 hours of darkness on the Cross that God laid on Christ the infinite penalty for the sins of the world—and only when He had paid for our sins in full did He cry in triumph, “It is finished!” Not because of His scourging, but as a result of what Christ accomplished on the Cross, the rocks were split, the earth quaked and the veil of the temple was ripped open (Mt 27:51). First Peter 2:24 indicates that the healing by “stripes” is not from disease (as some teach) but from sin: “Who his own self bare our sins….” That this refers to spiritual punishment is clear: “thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Is 53:10). Like the soul, sin itself, though expressed in physical acts, is spiritual: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness…” (Mk 7:21, 22).

Salvation is spiritual and can only be by faith. To receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life as a gift from God is the greatest spiritual good conceivable. Physical punishment executed by sinful men could never make that gift possible. Thus the physical stripes Christ received in fulfillment of prophecy could not pay the penalty for sin; only God’s spiritual punishment could do that. Healing from sin and its penalty is what the gospel is all about: “How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3) —not that “Christ died for our physical ailments.” The promise, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) clearly pertains to salvation from sin, not from disease. Christians in general are neither healthier nor live longer in this life than unbelievers —but we have eternal life.

 The Hebrew noun chabburah translated “stripes” is singular in Isaiah 53:5, indicating one blow from God one blow from God wounding Christ “for wounding Christ “for our transgressions,” bruising Him “for our iniquities”—not the many stripes of scourging that were a major focus of Mel Gibson’s attempt to show that Christ’s physical sufferings paid for the sins of all mankind. Do you really believe that what Christ physically endured in the scourging and crucifixion was equal to what sinners will endure for all eternity in the lake of fire?

 There is nothing in any of the four gospels (other than crowning Him with thorns and mocking Him as a king) to indicate that Christ’s scourging and crucifixion were any worse physically than that suffered by thousands of others. That “Pilate marveled if he were already dead” (Mk 15:44) contradicts the idea that Christ was scourged and tortured within an inch of His life. Thus the statement that “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Is 52:14) could not be due to unusual physical beating, but to such intense spiritual agony that His features were so distorted that it was awesome to behold.

 The idea that the physical suffering Christ endured at the hands of men paid for the sins of the world is neither biblical nor rational for at least four reasons:

 1) Christ didn’t come even close to suffering more physically than any other person. Some men hung in agony for days on crosses, the Assyrians flayed their enemies alive, some victims of the Inquisition were roasted for hours over a slow fire, and the Inquisitors competing to develop the most excruciating torture—sometimes even bringing victims back from the brink of death, letting them heal, and then torturing them again;

 

2) if the physical “stripes” paid the penalty for sin, Christ’s physical tormenters would have played a vital role in our redemption and would in a sense be our co-redeemers (and what if they failed to torment Him enough to save us?!);

 

3) the punishment for those who reject Christ is eternal, but those who scourged and crucified Christ were incapable of inflicting eternal punishment; and

 

4) physical suffering could never adequately cause the moral and spiritual pain which must be involved in the just punishment of sin—in fact, it would obliterate it. The error that physical scourging paid for our sins is also refuted by Scripture’s declaration that Christ “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20), not “the blood of his scourging,” which took place before He was led to Golgotha. We are “justified through his blood” (Rom 5:9), which includes His death. Had he merely bled but not died, we could not be saved. The phrase “shedding of blood” (Lv 17:11; 2 Chr 29:24, etc.) always means death, not wounding as in scourging—and this is the only means of atonement: “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb 9:22). Christ “by himself purged our sins” (Heb 1:3). While this could not be without the shedding of His blood at the hands of others, there was something which He alone had to do to purge us from our sins. That could only have been to endure eternal punishment at the hands of God which no man could exact from Him—something far worse than the “stripes” of scourging. Christ’s spiritual sufferings for sin are beyond our understanding and Scripture only hints at them:

 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me…? smitten of God, and afflicted…wounded for our transgressions…bruised for our iniquities…the chastisement of our peace was upon him…the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all…for the transgression of my people was he stricken…it pleased the Lord to bruise him…thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…the travail of his soul…poured out his soul unto death…he bare the sin of many…he hath made him to be sin for us, [he] who knew no sin…” (Ps 22:1; Is 53:4-6,8,10-12; 2 Cor 5:21), etc.

Christ’s sweating in spiritual agony “as it were great drops of blood” (Lk 22:44) and pleading with His Father in the Garden to be spared “this cup” (Mt 26:39,42) could not have been in dread of the scourging and crucifixion (as implied in the film) which thousands of others also endured. “This cup” from which He shrank could only have been that He would be “made sin for us”—that He would “bear our sins in His own body” and be punished by God to the full extent demanded by His justice for the sins of the entire world. During those three hours of darkness on the Cross, all the “waves and billows” of God’s wrath against the sins of all mankind rolled over Him (Ps 42:7; 88:7; Jon 2:3).

Isaiah declares that Yahweh “bruised [Him] for our iniquities.” It is unbiblical and irrational to suggest that the Roman soldiers were guided by God in each blow as God’s means of punishing Christ for sin. Christ said, “No man taketh it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself” (Jn 10:18). It is God’s law which men have broken, He pronounced the penalty and He alone can execute it in righteousness. Therefore, the payment for our sins could only have been through the punishment Christ endured at the hands of God, not men. Christ had to be more than mere man: He had to be God manifest in the flesh to endure the eternal punishment due for the sins of all mankind in the three hours of darkness.

 We are told that He “by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb 2:9). That had to include the “second death”—eternity of punishment in the lake of fire which is yet future for the lost. This could not have been at the hands of the Roman soldiers who scourged and mocked Him, but only at the hands of God.”  ~Dave Hunt

Q&A from The Berean Call Newsletter, May 2004, http://www.thebereancall.org/sites/2011.thebereancall.org/files/may04.pdf

“Watch the Lamb”

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” John 1:29 

No matter what happens in this life, may we never take our gaze off the Lamb!


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